Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Thoughts on Watermarking, Copyright, and Creative Ownership

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Creative ownership is, to put it lightly, a pretty touchy subject among professional photographers. Many have very strong opinions about watermarking, and about use of images without permission, etc. I have read and observed a lot, and have come to my own conclusions as far as what I believe is best for my business, but first I want to cover a few key points.

First, the photographer is the owner of their work. It is his or her art- yes even if the subject is you, even if you hired the photographer to take the photograph- you still need to get permission to use or reproduce said photograph. Usually that permission comes in the form of purchasing a print or digital file. I see photographers online all the time with the same story about a client who bought a 5×7 and scanned it and got 8×10′s made from the scan at your local superstore (no names named, but one with a smiley face logo comes to mind..), or the client who right-clicked or took a screenshot of a photograph on the photographer’s blog, and posted it on Facebook or printed it out. Technology has made it so very easy to do those things- so easy, in fact, that many people don’t even know that they shouldn’t, and especially don’t know why they shouldn’t.
I am not pointing any fingers here, I promise (so far I have had stellar clients and have not had these things happen, as far as I know).

There are a few reasons why doing the above is not okay. For one thing, it is bad for the photographer’s business. There is the obvious- you’re saving money- so your photographer is not making money from the sale. The cost of doing business for a photographer is much higher than many people realize, and we rely on sales in order to make money (dug, I know, but a reminder nonetheless). A lot of hard work and creativity goes into running a creative business, and the chief complaint I hear from many photographers is that do not feel they are respected as an artist and professional.
The not-so-obvious downside is the quality of the reproduction. Professional photographers work with professional labs, usually carefully chosen for their exceptional image quality. The smiley-face-logo superstore I mentioned does not provide quality that meets the standard of most custom photography businesses, and as a photographer I would not want a potential client to see my images printed poorly, as that could reflect on my work. I know that many other photographer feel exactly the same way. Not only that, but we want you to have amazing quality. Isn’t that why you hired us to begin with?

As far as posting images online without permission- I know this is where a lot of people just have no idea. The rule of thumb I suggest is, just ask if its okay.
For my business, personally, I want my clients to post their photos on Facebook, etc. I make low-resolution digital files available for purchase, and include them in all of my print collections. But, I ask that a copyright notice and link to website is always included with the posted photo. I, along with most of my fellow photographers, rely primarily on word-of-mouth to lead people to my business. If no credit is given, no business is gained.

Here is where we get into watermarking. As you may have noticed, I used to watermark every single image I posted online. I didn’t ever really like doing it, but I wanted to deter people from using my images without permission, and solve the issue of posting without giving me credit. Many professional photographers watermark, and I completely understand why, but have chosen not to do so anymore. One day I was perusing another photographer’s blog. She takes absolutely gorgeous photographs, and yet as I scrolled down, the watermark was the first thing I noticed about every image. It made me sad. This is my career and the source of my income, but it is, first and foremost, my art. I want people to see and enjoy it. So I decided to stop watermarking, to ask clients to post credits as I mentioned above, and to hope that people will respect me enough not to steal my work, to ask permission, and to give credit where credit is due. I know that not everyone will, but if someone wants to steal, they will anyway- watermark or not.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this- it is just something I have been thinking about lately.

Okay, now back to our regular August Break programming… : )

{New Camera}

Today my Nikon D700 came in the mail. I knew it would be awesome, and better than my D70s in many ways, but I am still amazed. I went out with it in my in-laws’ back yard earlier to play a bit. I still have a lot to learn about it but I am already in love!
{these are all SOOC (straight out of camera) except for cropping in the case of the square ones. you’ve probably noticed I have a thing for square crops :) }

a little self-portrait action (possibly one of the last shots of me without dreads?!)
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just look up.

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watching birds
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Jackie’s amaryllis about to bloom
amarillas- almost there

A few thoughts on equipment…
I am usually a big proponent of spending your money on glass rather than camera bodies. Good lenses make a huge, huge difference, and will last you a lifetime if taken care of. Especially in this digital world, a camera body will need to replaced periodically. But, there comes a time when you just have to upgrade the body, and I was there. I was noticing graininess, needed high ISO capabilities, and really wanted a full-frame sensor. I am really, really glad I made this decision and I feel it was a smart one for my business. I will now have a backup camera (my old one), which is also a very good thing. Now I will be saving for some new lenses, as my collection is quite small and limiting. The 85mm and a macro are high on my list…

more photos coming soon I am sure!

beauty in everything.

there is beauty everywhere.

even your front yard. these are from mine.

it is always a matter of allowing yourself to have the eyes to see what it really there.

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right now I am longing for good conversation. unfortunate that Seth can only say “mama”, “baby” and “wow”. yeah the stimulating ideas are pretty limited with just those three.

but I am contented anyway, mostly because we got outside for a while today and I took these pictures and even had the time to do the post-processing and get them online. and there are Indian lentils in the crockpot and I feel like some important things are falling into place, and I am about to drink a very nice cup of hot tea…

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Silhouettes.

I love silhouette photos. The light and color perfectly exposed, with the essence of everthing else crisp and beautifully intact. Sunset and sunrise are such peaceful times. They make me happy.

I took these today at my in-laws’ house before dinner:

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These were all taken with my 50mm lens, at f/1.8 and 1/60 sec.; ISO 400.
I want to do some silhouettes with people, on the beach. The only problem is that I live on the East coast, so sunsets on the beach are out. Sunrises are pretty but don’t have the same effect or colors. (And they’re early!)
I’ll think of something.

I have an idea

I want our home to really become my studio. I want to be able to meet with clients for consultations and proofing right here, where my computer is. I picture my work on canvases on the walls and beautiful welcoming decor and little accents that make people feel that they are not intruding- that our house is meant for guests. I also have an idea in my head for an outdoor studio setup in the back yard. I just need some really great outdoor cushions, a large sheet, maybe a hammock…
I love the idea of people coming to view their photos here, us offering coffee or tea in beautiful whimsical mugs, a relaxed and personal atmosphere of creativity rather than only offering online proofing.
I think it would work. I think it would be great. More to come.

Cityplace Art Festival

We caught the tail end of this cool art fair earlier today. Many of the booths had signs asking people not to take pictures. I’d never really thought about it before but I can understand them not wanting someone to make a profit off a photograph of their work- that completely makes sense. I was kind of sad though because there were so many cool things and I wish I could share them with you. I did take some of these sculptures, where there were no such signs. I am not planning on selling these photos, and I will even link back to these artists’ websites, just to make sure credit is given where credit is due. Because these are awesome.

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This is by Bob Wilfong. Actually that link is to a gallery. He doesn’t seem to have his own site. (Please correct me if you find out otherwise.) But his work is stunning and a lot of it is music-oriented. Very beautiful.

I loved the metal sculptures by Dale Rogers- they were so unique.

The Peter Pan one:
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“…Neverland!” I love Peter Pan!

And this abstract tree with a cardinal sitting in it:
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And this pretty face:
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And then we saw this:
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This was not art, and not for sale.
A real live skunk just out for a stroll down the street with his owner. He was actually pretty adorable.
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She said that after the “spraying” glands are removed they make wonderful pets and are very intelligent. Who knew?
I was almost too shy to stop and ask if I could take a picture, but I am glad I did. I need to step outside my comfort zone more often.

And then a massage therapist as giving little sample chair massages, so we stopped and took part in that. Goodness knows we needed it.
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I love art festivals :)

Funny Face

This child has a truly amazing range of facial expressions. We went outside to play earlier today and it turned into a mini photo session.

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Of course to keep him from trying to climb all over me I had to give him something to play with- the closest thing was my lens cap. He liked that.
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Love this cheesy toothless smile.
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Irresistibly adorable, no?
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“High five!”
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Wish List Wednesday

Today is Wish List Wednesday at the Foster Family blog, and I decided to play along!

I few things I have been eying lately…

A Shootsac. Drool.
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A Funky Camera neckstrap.
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A 35mm lens… and an 85mm… and a tripod… and a backdrop stand…
okay nevermind I will just put the logo for the camera store how about that? :-P
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Another pair of my favorite ever jeans- Gap Sexy Boot.
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These boots from Simple Shoes:
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Happy Wednesday everyone!

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