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Strobist Terms of Service

Please read the below Terms of Service which relate to linking, content reproduction translation sites and use of the word Strobist®, which is a registered trademark.

First of all, thanks for caring enough to click through to read this. Right away, that separates you from the automated scumbot content scrapers that I have to go after nearly every day.

Strobist® is the product of countless hours of hard work and it is very important to me that I protect the value of the original content. Everything you see on Strobist® is copyright David Hobby in the year that it was first published. (In the case of third-party contributors, they retain the copyright.) That does not mean that you cannot use material from the site, only that there are a couple of rules.

Linking In

If you want to link to the articles, that's cool. It's what makes the blog world spin. But don't be a scraper. Feel free to post brief abstracts of the original posts -- the pithier the better. Please limit any verbatim excerpts to ONE PHOTO and ONE OR TWO paragraphs at the most. A prominent link to the original source is required, lest we confuse anyone about the source of the content.

VERY IMPORTANT: Frequently this blog publishes the work of other people. Given that you were not part of any previous agreements or permission, do not reblog the work of others from my site. Any permissions I may have gotten certainly do not include you. So ask them before assuming it's cool to just republish their photo.

Content Reproduction

Wholesale cut-and-paste reproductions of entire posts are strictly prohibited and will be taken very seriously. That is copyright infringement, plain and simple. This blog is my entire livelihood, and if you are going to jeopardize my family's income, I will come after you.

My preference is to come after infringers (especially the automated, made-for-Adsense scraper guys) with a two-by-four. But I have been told that the lawyers are more civilized (a matter of opinion, to be sure) and, ultimately, far more rewarding.

Translation Sites

I very much appreciate the general idea of foreign-language Strobist® sites, and it is something that I am looking into. We already have a Spanish® language site here and an Italian translation group here.

While the idea is cool, the implementation of 30 disparate sites grabbing my content and translating it with no structure or control would be be problematic, to say the least. Therefore, translations of the site into other languages require prior written approval. Additionally, they are only permitted within the framework of a Flickr group, or on a website that I control.

Specifically prohibited are full translations on separate websites or blogs, the most egregious of which seek to confuse people with the use of the word "Strobist®" in the URL and/or design schemes that mimic those of the original site. I am generally a nice guy, but if you caught me in your living room walking out with your stereo you might be a little miffed, too.

It's a very easy thing to get a website or blog shut down (and the content deleted) by demonstrating to the ISP and/or host that one of their publishers is flagrantly infringing copyright. (If they do not shut you down, they are liable, too.) Please don't make me do that. And if you are scraping me with a mindless MFA-type site, you go to the front of the line.

So, long story short, just because the site is free does not mean that the content is free for the taking. Thanks for understanding, and sorry to be a buzzkill.

Strobist® Trademark

Strobist® is not a generic term. I coined it in 2005 and it is the federally registered trademark of my company. Thus it is not available for your generic use with lighting products or education. Please do not use it to describe your product or lighting-related service without expressed written permission.

It is not my desire to waste my time (and ultimately, your money) coming after you for a trademark infringement. It's much cooler, less stressful and far cheaper if you just don't do it in the first place. Thanks in advance.

Finally, I do not necessarily endorse (nor guarantee the safety of) content external of this site. I point to things all of the time, and in almost all cases have visited the links myself.

I generally note NSFW content on outbound links. But please be aware that content on the other sites can be changed after I link to them. If anything is weird, content or virus-wise, please let me know and I will check it out ASAP.

David Hobby


Brand new to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Connect w/Strobist readers via: Words | Photos

Comments are closed. Question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist


Anonymous ElleP ( site below underconstruction) said...


I'm not entirely sure if this is where I should post my comment about your site/blog STROBIST.
I've been perusing this on and off for months now.
I especially like th humor that Mr.David has. His comments on his boot camp, assignments and his way of teaching.
Thanks you for this site.
To me its educational and a very refreshing approach in learning how to use strobes.
Soon I will get the courage to join and get critiqued. Not that I don't have a thick skin for this, in fact I do. It's just I'm very critical of my work and sometimes I think I can do better all the time.
Shouldn't we all be that way since one can always do better if persistent and willing to learn ?
I'm appreciative of this "Strobist" Blog.


September 21, 2007 6:10 AM  
Anonymous matt adcock said...

well said brother!

September 26, 2007 12:05 AM  
Blogger alherdez said...

I wonder how many people have actually bothered to read this. If you ever need help with the 2 by 4 punitive action, drop me line; It's always more fun when you do it with friends. Great job with this website, David!

September 29, 2007 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Townsend said...

"automated scumbot content scrapers"? Ouch ... them's fighting words! :-)

October 04, 2007 7:12 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Nice site. I've bookmarked it and will come back to learn how to use strobes. I stopped using flash when bulbs went out of fashion in the late 60s (just available light since) so I need a major refresher course.

I'm curious though. You say "This blog is my entire livelihood..." I know from experience that making a living from photography is tough but are you saying that all your actual photography produces no income?

Jim Bullard

November 04, 2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger David said...

I am currently on a leave of absence from my staff photographer position at The Baltimore Sun.

November 04, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Whew! I was beginning to wonder if there was any hope of ever turning a profit.

November 04, 2007 12:08 PM  
Blogger Hung V said...

i just like the humor David uses in his blog. :) Keep up the great work David!

November 05, 2007 2:01 AM  
Blogger Venkatdeep said...

Hey David..
Its a great site you have running here. I recently got a Sony H5. I've been reading Strobist and I must say amazing lot of content!! I've learnt quite a bit lurking around here.
Most content on Strobist is aimed at photographers using SLR's. Of course with some slight modifications one can apply the same to compact cameras too. But, I was wondering if you could start a small section on off camera lighting for compact cameras.
Great site David.

November 06, 2007 11:48 PM  
Blogger Maria Ziganini said...

I have just started The Strobist in Russian blog
Where to start my translation from? What are the do's and dont's? Masthaves and etc.
Any advice is extremely welcome =)

November 12, 2007 9:29 AM  
Blogger David said...


I am sorry, but use of Strobist content, other than within the framework of the TOS above, is not permitted.

Please do not post wholsesale translations of the content, which is protected by copyright. Although it is easy to get the Blogger account of an infringer suspended, I do not enjoy doing it and would certainly rather not be forced to do it to yours.

Thanks much,

November 12, 2007 1:24 PM  
Blogger Maria Ziganini said...

Dear David,
I never meant to start my own blog - the copyright of your is a MUST - i fully understand this. I just meant that i'm not able to translate the whole bunch of your articles in a moment and maybe you could give me a piece of advice where to start from =)
The blog will just the same a strobistenespaniol, even the name is similar - strobistinrussian

November 12, 2007 2:04 PM  
Blogger David said...


I understand what you are saying. To be clear, StrobistenEspanol is under my account in Blogger. It is translated by someone else, but the control of the site is in-house.

We are looking at doing other languages, but my content is not available for Russian translation at this time. When we do include Russian, I would need to maintain control over the website. I am sure you can understand that if the original content is mine, you would either have to do it on a site that is within my control, or license the content to a site that you control.

If you would like to start up translations of the Lighting 101 material, for instance, I could set up a Russian Strobist group on Flickr, which I would administrate, and you could begin that way immediately.


November 12, 2007 2:48 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I want to say that this is the same blog that scraped your content the last time (at least it looks similar). Anyways, here's the link:


November 26, 2007 8:28 AM  
Blogger David said...


Thanks. I am trying to nail the guy down. He has about a hundred different content scraper MFA blogs.


November 27, 2007 1:20 AM  
Blogger Mingo said...


I am an avid reader of you blog and a soon to be managing photo editor for the Michigan Daily (the student newspaper for the University of Michigan). I have started a blog to feature the things i find that could help my very young photographers. I read and understood your terms of service but i would still like for you to know i am doing this. Please let me know if, in the future, i accidentally mess up and you feel as if i have infringed upon your TOS. Thank you for your time and please let me know what you think.

-Rodrigo Gaya

November 30, 2007 8:47 PM  
Blogger David said...


You're fine to abstract and link. It is the people that lift entire articles and publish them on their sites that I am talking about.


November 30, 2007 8:53 PM  
Anonymous kent said...

Hi David,

Nice site, well done. Thought you might like to know about a site I stumbled across tonight. The lack of formatting and pictures doesn't really do your work justice. Probably isn't doing much to help pay for those braces either.

Keep up the excellent work.


December 02, 2007 1:23 AM  
Blogger David said...


Thank you very much. I have contacted them.


December 02, 2007 10:20 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...


I'm a "newbie" but I'm also very serious about it. LOVE the strobist site and am currently going through all the archives. However, when I hit the "subscribe to..." link, I am taken to this site is this correct?

The blog says that "if you are reading this on another site, let me know". I'll not go any further until I know for sure.

Thanx! Bigbirddy (Jeff)

February 18, 2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger David said...


Yep, that is where you subscribe. the bottom tags are there to trackback the people who just cut-and-paste my posts to their sites.


February 18, 2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

hey david,

i'm a media producer and literary scout in nyc and like to talk to you about a book project.

please get in touch.


March 28, 2008 3:56 PM  
Blogger Ivan said...

Hi David,

Please refer

I see that you said that you contacted them previously... obviously the 2x4 failed to connect!



April 15, 2008 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i found this site in a desperate google search for an obscure photo problem. (Not strobe related.)

April 15, 2008 3:50 PM  
Blogger anadolugezgini said...

This site is a great source for us.I would like to translate and use your content in my new website ofcourse with credit.

Site is in Turkish.And name translated to English is "PhotoNotes"

I can use the content translated in a subdomain or in the main content.

I have great respect to the copyrights so every content translated will be credited and linked to the original site.

If you give permission for me to use your content i really be happy :)

My sites are
and the photonotes will be on which will be a blog type wordpress powered site.

Looking for your reply..Thanks

May 12, 2008 3:16 AM  
Blogger David said...


I am sorry, but if you read through the TOS, you will see that kind of use is specifically not permitted.


May 12, 2008 3:27 PM  
Blogger anadolugezgini said...

just tried my chance ;)

anyway thanx for that great source..

May 12, 2008 4:34 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I absolutely love your website! I just wanted to let you know that I have added a link to your website from mine.


May 29, 2008 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the first time I actually read an entire TOS agreement. Quite entertaining.

June 12, 2008 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone on ebay appears to be using your photos of the Vivitar 285 in their ad: (ebay # 120275559212

June 26, 2008 9:58 AM  
Blogger Mark Howells-Mead said...

Hi David

Firstly, along with many others, I'd like to congratulate and thank you for all of the hard work and time you put into making the subject such an interesting and easy addition to a photographer's skill set.

Those of us in Switzerland who follow your blog, who primarily share photos through Flickr, would like to start up our own blog to focus on off-camera flash photography, with a particular aim of locations, technique, and a central, localized resource for equipment and technique. We have no intention of using your content, other than to cross-reference to within the TOS you've mentioned. Would you be OK with that?

We already have registered and we are specifically intending to make it visually different from, so as not to confuse people or try and steal your thunder. We feel that the use of the word strobist as a generic term for this technique is acceptable, as it is now in everyday use within the photographic community, though we don't intend on using the word as a headlining brand name or title. (Just as we wouldn't call our site "Flash" or "Camera".

Our whole project will not be a profit-making exercise and we hope it will be a local resource which will, in part, point visitors and photographers your way.

Best regards from the Alps
Mark Howells-Mead

July 10, 2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger David said...


I think the idea is very cool, but I couldn't support the idea of a site named, as it absolutely could be confusing to someone coming across it for the first time. The word may be common, but it is not generic -- it refers to this site.

My preference is that you not use the word strobist in the top line domain. But if you feel you must, please qualify it in a way that very clearly distinguishes it from the original site, usually by defining it as a group and via geography.

For example:,would not be cool. But would be okay. The differentiation would also help you to build your own local search engine juice, which is important for you.

Just understand that if my site were to become just one in a cacophony of sites out there (,,, etc.,) it would be very confusing to people.

For that reason, I would never link to, nor talk about any other plain "strobist" site on the main site. With the clear differentiation, there is no such restriction.

Thanks for understanding.


July 10, 2008 10:15 AM  
Blogger Mark Howells-Mead said...

Hi David

And thank you for your quick response. Though a Google search for "strobist" returns nearly half a million results and (as a term) seems to have become the generic word for the techniques you do so well at describing, we certainly have no intention of ripping you off or detracting from your work.

With that in mind, we're happy to compromise and have just instated the domain, which ties in well with our pre-existing Flickr group. The domain will remain active, but will re-direct to seamlessly and we won't use the "plain" domain, so as to avoid confusion.

Please do bear with us during the set-up phase and we'll send you a link to the final version as it goes online soon. I'm sure that you have many such requests but it'd be an honour if you'd subscribe to our RSS feed (when we get that far) and help us to help photographers over here if and when you can.

All the best.

July 10, 2008 10:30 AM  
Blogger scubajunkie said...

2 things

1. @mark howells-mead - I think starting your own Strobist site is a cool idea. But, while "strobist" is a common term, it originated with Dave and based on his history, he'd have no problem getting it trademarked. Just like Microsoft has trademarked "Windows" and all it's variations.

2. @Dave - has several of your articles verbatim on their site with no apparent link to the original content. What is MFA? (Made for advertising?) Keep up the great work.

August 14, 2008 6:22 PM  
Blogger David Li said...

Hi David,

Big fan of your work and have been following your web site for a year. Just got the DVD set and have been watching it non-stop. Great work. It took one month to get it through custom here in Shanghai, China. A couple friends and I are interested in translating the Strobist contents into Chinese and would like to know how we can go about doing it.

David Li

September 08, 2008 4:48 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hey, David-

Thanks for your note. Please leave me a comment (labeled "Do Not Publish" if you like) with an email address, so I can get in touch with you.


September 08, 2008 9:58 PM  
Blogger Matt Hunt said...


Firstly, thanks for your amazing site and generosity in sharing your knowledge.

Secondly, I am starting a blog and would a style like that in the top right of your blog where the link to this TOS is. I know I can look at the source code but before I dive in, did you get it from a public source or is it your work? If the latter, can I use it? I've no wish after benefitting from you lighting to knowledge to rip off your html skills as well.



November 28, 2008 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Peter Phun said...

I'm curious as to whether you plan to return to newspapers given the current slashing of staffers in the business.

I left the business about 5 years ago, after 20 years at a daily in Southern California.

I have a post which I hope may interest your readers.

Needless to say, you're on my blogroll.

The downside to not being in the business anymore is “access” But you probably don't have that problem.

Thanks for your hard work. I'm glad to hear there's life after newspapers.

February 14, 2009 1:45 PM  
Blogger albertvo said...


Your blog has been a great learning and inpiration resource for my photography. Another great resource is "strobist info" that people post along with photos on flickr. I'm a web developer by day and have purchased the domain name "" and would like to build a flickr connected website that makes it easy for people to browse through photos that implement strobist techniques. I just want to make sure that is not infringing on your trademark and would like to take the necessary steps to do this the right way. Thanks!

February 19, 2009 12:29 AM  
Blogger David said...


Strobist is not a generic word, it is a word I made up in 2006 and is the name of my site and livelihood. As such, I could neither support nor publicize an unrelated site run by someone else with that domain name.

Thanks for understanding,

February 19, 2009 2:11 PM  
Blogger albertvo said...

I understand completely, would you be interested in a partnership? If all else fails I will try to think of another name without the "Strobist" association, but I feel that this name would be a huge factor in its success.

February 19, 2009 2:19 PM  
Blogger David said...


I agree with you that the name would be an integral part of the success. Which is exactly why I would not consider partnering with someone who simply came in and took the Strobist name and stuck it on their own site, actually.

I doubt Apple would partner with a third-party site named "," either.

I worked very hard to build Strobist from nothing into the site it is today, which is also why I chose a word that did not previously exist when it came time to name it.

If you ever hope to build a site that can stand on its own, I highly suggest taking that route: Come up with an original name and work your butt off offering something new, of value.


February 25, 2009 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I love your site; it is a huge source of inspiration to me. I'm not too sure what I love more, however. The amazing tutorials, endless information and inspiration, or your sniping and dry humor that you infuse into everything you write.

This is hands down the best TOS I have ever read, and it was actually damn entertaining. Kudos :)

Keep fighting the good fight against those scumbags!


June 22, 2009 7:21 PM  
Blogger Constantin said...

Hello David,

First off I am a big fan and I do enjoy very much reading your wonderful posts every week !

Second of all I own a little site, the and I have been notified by my host provider that my site was deactivated for a possible copyright infringement you have reported.

I would like to apologize for any trouble I may have caused. I explained to my hosting company that I do not copy the content of other sites but rather try to consolidate various blogs via the publicly available RSS feeds and link back to the full article.

Again, the intent is not to copy the content but rather to provide a quick intro and then link back to the full article providing the credits for the article. This pretty much a general practice throughout the blogosphere.

I do use a 3rd party WordPress plugin that extracts RSS feeds and unfortunately at times it happens that due to the way the article is written or due to the way the RSS feeds were setup the RSS atom description is the full article and then the plug in extracts it as the description. It's an automated process and I appreciate that you pointed out that flaw.

Please take a minute to see how your RSS feeds are syndicated via the FeedBurner

If you think this way of handling the RSS feeds is not acceptable I can manually reduce the content or remove the entry all together. Linking back to you site should be beneficial to your site. We do have the comments blocked on such posts for the sole reason of enticing users to follow the links to the orignal article. Althought I do have few adsense and ebay ads the click rate is very small, barely existent(10-20c a week).

Please let me know what you think and again please accept my apologies for any troubles I might have created !

My best regards,
Constantin Moisei

September 02, 2009 4:30 PM  
Blogger David said...


If you are leaving a comment under this page, I have to presume that you actually read the post. So you certainly must know that what you were doing was not cool.

Further more, you left me no way to contact me directly on your site -- either through a comment or an email link.

What did you expect me to do? Send you cookies?

You can't just lift people's content and republish it without permission.

Sorry dude.

p.s. And no, you cannot have permission.

September 03, 2009 1:46 AM  
Blogger Photograjph said...

Hi David (et al),

I've been a regular reader of the site, and thought I had left a comment here previously (and was wondering why a reply never came in - could be the new anonymous policy perhaps!). Anyways, the site is brilliant and I'm always telling people to head to the site for great tips and info.

Which leads to my query, which I thought I would post here for lack of other useful place to stick it - I already run the occasional lighting workshop (studio or location), and I keep getting asked to run a specific "Strobist" workshop. No probs, except the term is copyright/trademarked (I assume) and I'd rather not re-invent the wheel anyway...

I'm located in Victoria, Australia, which means I have 2 questions:
- Can you visit us some time and run some workshops (it's a great country, only 19hrs to get here!); or
- Is there any chance people like me can run an officially recognised "Strobist" course??

I'd be happy to pay for licensed workshop content and use of material, or pay registration royalities, or other acceptable kick back to Strobist, but I have no intention of creating that kind of material from scratch.

Thoughts? Based on the enquiries I get, it would seem to be a popular, sought-after idea. Then again, getting people to back it with registrations is always a different proposition!!

Keep up the great work, and I look forward to more great content on the site!!


September 08, 2009 3:18 AM  
Blogger David said...


You did not leave an email addy for response *and* your site hides your addy behind javascript.

So I will answer here.

Thanks for the thought, but I am not licensing the Strobist name for any workshops given by other people. That said, I wholeheartedly support people teaching other people -- but I would appreciate it if you did it under a different name. ;)

I am hoping to come to AU at some point in the not-too-distant future. Lotsa reasons to go -- teaching being merely one.

Thanks much

September 10, 2009 2:11 PM  
Blogger Gerty said...

Please do come to Oz! How do I make sure I hear about it if you are coming and planning to run any workshops etc.?

September 23, 2009 12:20 AM  
Blogger janracek said...

Hi David,
I was experimenting with off-camera flash since i was 18, now I realised, that as I'm from czech republic, many people there just cant speak english, I wanted to make a site, such as to show them how to use off-camera flash a tell em about it in czech language. Content s not gonna be translated from this site, no way, czech site should live its own life, the only thing is whether you dont mind if we used "" domain...

best regards

October 29, 2009 5:01 PM  
Blogger David said...


I would refer you to the TOS page, but you are already there! I would strongly discourage that for many reasons, one of which is you would never get any traction of your own. All of the Google juice would just point to me.

You are a photographer. Be creative. Come up with a word which will work for you in Czech and be your own. you never know -- your site might grow into something special. The last thing you want is to not have your own brand.

Think..... It'll come to you.

October 30, 2009 3:15 PM  
Blogger lazyj said...

Thanks so much for starting and keeping this site running for so long. It is a true inspiration to many people and you are a great teacher.

Fun to read, fun to learn from. Keep it up, and thanks for all the great tips and knowledge.


December 01, 2009 6:07 PM  
Blogger Al Overdrive said...

Hi David,

I'm quite impressed with how you have handled these comments - I also don't understand why so many people (who I assume are photographers) think there is any chance of you giving them all your content for free, allowing them to use the strobist term as their branding and get nothing in return for it.

I bet they'd be the first people to complain on thier blogs if they found out someone was using one of their photos for free on a website or revenue generating form.

Thanks again for keeping this site open and free, I hope you can continue to make this site and support yourself :)

January 15, 2010 5:07 AM  
Blogger windeaux said...

How can I send the results of a photo shoot I did using a D90 and an early 1900's flash powder gun?
A person from Nikon thought it would be interisting for your readers.
John Menihan
Rochester, NY

January 27, 2010 1:40 PM  
Blogger Will Kronk said...

Hi, I'm just wondering if you're allowing Cowboy studios user of the name Strobist. Saw this and thought you might be interested

January 20, 2011 12:18 PM  
Blogger David said...


I did not know about that circumstance, but I constantly have to go after those guys for trademark infringement.

Fact: They have NOTHING to do with the site, and are merely using the term to try to get into your pants. I would not trust them, and by extension, whatever they are selling, as far as I could throw them.

They are very close to becoming my first trademark infringement suit. I am tied up in two big projects right now, but expect to turn my sites on them shortly.


January 20, 2011 3:16 PM  
Blogger decosta said...

Great site, but I just want to clarify that is it ok to write in a blog that I'm writing about your site.

A typical sentence would be

'I'm using Strobist to learn lighting techniques. *link to your website*


'Today, I'm doing Bootcamp Assignment 1 - It involves taking a headshot,etc. You can find more details on [link].

Is that type of usage ok?

November 29, 2013 10:46 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...


Yep, that's cool. And good luck with your journey!

November 29, 2013 1:12 PM  
Blogger el carronero said...


Hello David,

i m a Reader from Germany and will start to translate the new lightning 101 PDF-file (12.2013).

With the lack of a twitter account I chose this way to ask for permission to do this and when I am done where to put the file for approval by you (where to put the link when i am done)?

In the original file are pictures by other Strobist Readers. Is it ok, if i put them in the translation too?

The content would not be altered, but for the sake of a good German tran slation i have to do the grammar sometimes in an other way and drop some small passages.

I hope that you give me the permission to translate this file.

Best regards Erik

February 14, 2014 11:00 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

@el carronero --

Sorry to publish, but you left me absolutely no contact info, so how the hell am I supposed to answer you via back channel. HMM?

Certainly, you can translate L101 new version into German. And you can use the photos therein. But please do not change any content or add anything.

All you have to do as far as moving the file is to leave me a link (in a comment is fine, or you can grab a Twitter account.) Then I will upload it to a Google Drive I control to make it easy for people to DL without causing any bandwidth issues if too many people want it.

Thanks (er, danke) for your efforts! Many German readers will also share the same sentiment.


p.s. I would also love to have your actual name to credit and thank you, rather than a nom d'internet.

February 14, 2014 6:08 PM  

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