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23 February 2012

Pinterest on copyright infringement

This is the latest on the blog of Pinterest which seemingly is attempting to justify the constant infringement of photographers images which are "pinned" to their site by those who don't seem to realise (or care) that images are copyright.  Their blog suggests that we photographers place an "opt out" widget on our websites rather than  them insisting on their pinners obtain permission before pinning images on their site.  That would be like you or I placing a sign on our car/computer/bicycle which states DO NOT STEAL!

Edit: 7 May 2012: Looks as though the blog posts have been deleted.  And I am still finding my work "pinned" illegally and each time I send them an email demanding removal which is getting tiresome.  


  1. As a Painter I SIGN my work... Instead of Spending all your time tracking down unidentified photos or complaining about everyone stealing your work.. WATERMARK IT or whatever it is that others do.. GEEEEZ!


  3. Kat

    As you can see from my work on this blog, I DO watermark my work but that does not stop them removing the mark, cropping it out or taking the image from sites where my work is not watermarked such as print sites and where I have won awards. These are not watermarked for obvious reasons. I have one of my images on at least 700 Islamic blogs and yes, it is watermarked but in 90% of these sites the watermark has been removed.

    And "Katangelkisses", I am known by my name, Sheila Smart, on every blog, website or forum where I participate and I do not hide behind pseudonyms and therefore have the courage to stand by my convictions.

  4. Pinning is not stealing, it's bookmarking, I guarantee they will changes the wording in their terms so they do not own your images soon. I'm pretty sure their reasoning behind that wording is so they have the right to show screen shots of other images ect. They don't need to steal and sell your images. The battle you are trying to fight, to not have your images shared online, can only be won if you do not post them there. If you want to do everything you can, watermark your images (which you have done, nice job), grow your internet presence so that people recognize your work, especially the people you can actually consider buyers, get a layout for your blog that doesn't allow the right click save option, and diligently take down stolen photos from other websites, but you really can't just blame pinterest. It's a great service and people use it for sharing their work all the time. They are still new, they grew fast, and they will work out their kinks soon. Keep on watermarking your images, it's the best protection you can have. But to be ranting all over the internet isn't going to stop a couple of jerks from sharing your pictures. That just comes with the territory, sorry. At least you can know that those scumbags probably would never buy your work in the first place, so you didn't lose the sale. Your pictures are very beautiful, I hope you get many visitors to you blog that are here to buy! :)

    1. Thanks for the feedback,SK but most of my work is not on my blog, its on my website. My images are also on many print sites where there is no watermark. Disabling right clicking on my blog or anywhere else does not work unfortunately as there are many other ways of lifting them! My website has 10.5 million hits to date and my work is recognised by those in the industry. I send out DMCA notices at least five or six times a day in the vain hope that some day, only images which are sourced from my website (or with proper attribution)appear but, of course, this will never happen. The genie is out of the bottle.

  5. Hi again Sheila,

    "Pinners" obviously have no clue as to how money is made from graphical/photographic content, it's a waste of time to argue with them. They seem to think that the only revenue we get from images is selling/licensing. That's probably a minority.

    About the no-pin meta-tag: I was angry like the Hulk when I heard about this nonsense. Aside from the fact that a meta-tag should be to opt IN rather than opt OUT, the message Pinterest serves to attempting pinners is infuriating. They recommend that the pinner hassle us with questions!

    I've been swimming in the shark-infested waters of the internet for a decade, and figured out a way around this, to serve the message *I* want pinners to read, which is nowhere near as lovey-dovey.

    Get in touch witih me if you want that tip!


After Topaz

Using Topaz Spicify, the image has been enhanced in both colour and "pop". This may be a tad OTT but when printed out, it looks rather good (even if I say so myself!!).

Elderly gents

Image enhancing filters

I have recently been experimenting with different filters for post processing images. Topaz has been one of them. Using the adjust filter, one can change rather dramatically an image which may (or may not) need enhancing. Purists argue that one should not enhance or change an image but in this era, we are bombarded with enhanced movies so it seems a natural progression to enhance still images. The pic directly above is the original image (shot RAW and converted using Adobe Camera RAW).

Rather boring shot of Sydney Harbour

I am going to show how a somewhat boring shot of Sydney Harbour (if there ever could be one!) can be turned into something a little more spectacular. Below is the original shot (shot in RAW format with my Canon 5D) and taken off the back of the Manly ferry.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour
Rather boring shot of Sydney Harbour


Using Adobe Camera Raw ("ACR"), I converted the raw image with parameters: Blacks 7, brightness +31, Contrast +61, Clarity +77, Vibrance +7, Saturation 72 and a bit of Curves which brought me to the below image.



Flood filter conversion

I then produced a "reflection" using Flaming Pear flood filter. For those unfamiliar with this filter, it gives the image a perception of a reflection (poetical!) and I see it often in publications and I find myself examining ALL images with reflections to see if the photographer had used this very handy filter. I have details of the conversion if anyone is interested but to post it would be a tad boring. Flaming pair flood filters can be found here


Sydney Harbour reflection using flood filter

Sea of Hats

I was on my lunch hour when I was strolling around The Rocks area of Sydney when I saw a group of private schoolgirls on an excursion. As soon as I saw their hats, I knew that there was a good opportunity to get a good snap. As luck would have it, they started to cross the street to where I was standing. I knew in my head the image I was looking for and I had to be above them. With an enormous amount of good fortune, a ramp up to a shop in this old area of Sydney was a few metres away. I raced up the ramp and shot this image. It was taken with my Canon 70-200 f/4L at f/5.6 which gave me a shallow depth of field leaving the centre hat in sharp focus and the rest of the hats out of focus. I submitted this image in late 2005 to the Black and White Spider Awards and it won Outstanding Achievement - People and also won me the Photographer of the Year 2005 - amateur. It really is nice to get recognition of one's work and even though I am now a professional, it still gives me a warm feeling when I look at my certificate!

Sulphur crested cockatoo in flight

This is an image on which I have added a "flood" filter. It is quite effective and quite a nice shot in any event. Flood filters can be found here and they are worth every cent. There is always a debate regarding "Photoshopping" images but as long as one is honest about the origin and digital changes to the image, I think its legimate. The original image, taken in our garden, of the cockatoo actually landing on the lawn, had a piece of its left hand side wing missing so I "replaced" it in Photoshop CS4. Cockatoos actually dislike water and when they start attacking the timber balustrades on our verandah, all I have to do is get out the spray bottle and walk towards them. They are endearing creatures, very intelligent but are enormously destructive. They are very long lived (up to 80 years) so don't even think of buying one unless you plan to outlive it and put up with the high decibels of squawking! I really hate seeing them in cages and they must long to be free when they see a large flock passing by.

Surfing the storm

Late one afternoon, I was snapping at Avalon Beach, Sydney, when a storm approached. This did not stop a late surfer. This image is available as a print via my RedBubble site. Click on image which will take you to the print site.

Sydney Opera House abstract

An abstract look at the famous icon. It is very difficult to take any pics of the Opera House as everyone and their brother has done it before. For this particular image, I used Optikvervlabs filter.

Leopard seal

I took this shot of a leopard seal exhaling bubbles at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. This is, apparently, one of the few leopard seals in captivity. Apparently it was found injured awhile back and is happy in its huge enclosure at the Zoo along with its mate. Through a stock library, this image is to appear as a full page in a textbook.


A portrait of an elderly lady
This is one of my favourite images of Alice, an elderly aboriginal lady who sadly is now deceased. I would occasionally see her at Circular Quay in Sydney and she would often smile at me. I used a Dragan filter to bring out more texture to the image. I am often asked if I have ever been challenged when photographing candid subjects. Only on one occasion, I was asked not to take a photograph of a female street performer which was odd as that is where they often make their money. So, of course, I acceded to her wishes. Many buskers or street performers expect payment for taking their photograph and its something I always do as its their living, as taking photographs is mine. One of my most popular galleries on my website is one of Sydney Aborigines and I have many kind comments on my work. I did have one person, a Sydney academic, who actually called me a thief as she was under the erroneous impression that I was selling images of these colourful folk without payment which in fact is not true. I have model releases from many and I have made subsequent payments to them.

The smoker

The smoker
An elderly man puffs on a cigarette

Mudda Mudda

Mudda Mudda
My favourite subject
Mudda Mudda (aka Cedric) is an aboriginal busker who is often found at Circular Quay, in Sydney, accompanying other aboriginal buskers. He has such a great face and this image won me a UK award last year for traditional portraiture here