Written by Adam Edwards
The first step is to use image management software before uploading. This involves tagging your images with appropriate metadata such as copyright, author, website URL, and contact details. A specific copyright notice that the images are unauthorized for use without licensing is also advisable so that anyone who downloads it knows that a) it is not free to use and b) they know where to find you if they want to see more.
As thorough as you may be at entering this data, though, many photo-hosting sites strip this from images during the upload process, making the efforts to protect the work before uploading fruitless. Should the downloader have honest intentions and want to follow up with you to make a purchase, they will find it hard to do so if the embedded metadata has been removed from the file and they are unable to find any other reference to the owner.
For UK photographers in particular, this is a poignant topic in light of the new UK copyright law regarding orphan works, which effectively serves to strip photographers of the standard copyright protection traditionally afforded to their work (“I created this. Therefore it is rightly mine.”) This proposal only made it into law after several previous attempts were protested and blocked by photographers rising up in outrage at the attempts to seemingly take their hard-earned images for free — and profit from them. The new law states that if a work is found online and the author is not apparent, a ‘diligent search’ must be performed to track down the rightful owner. If the owner of the image cannot be located after this search and if the image hasn’t specifically been registered, the work can be considered an orphan work available for free use for almost any purpose without the owner’s knowledge or approval.
With the potential for images to be separated from the embedded metadata (including copyright) so easily, a ‘diligent search’ may not actually turn up a whole lot, or even be possible. So for maximum security (as well as other benefits such as reinforcing your brand and letting people know where to find your work), it is highly recommended to include a watermark on any images you share on art communities and social media networks.
Watermarking your images can prove to be a controversial topic among photographers, with views ranging from those who believe it ruins the image, to those who wouldn’t dream of posting an image without one. Whatever your stance, there’s no denying that a stylish watermark consisting of your logo and website URL can benefit you in several ways – it helps to reinforce your brand, deters image theft, drives more traffic to your website, and is a visual way to determine ownership should the image ever be found out of context.
For those who prefer to upload their images watermark-free there is a much higher chance that under the new copyright law, the image may legitimately end up as an orphan work because any visual identifier of ownership will not exist. Watermark-free images – regardless of how extensively the metadata has been filled out – unfortunately have very little to stand on in terms of being identified beyond the instances in which a photographer, acquaintance, friend, or customer recognizes the image and informs you. This is another great reason (beyond the marketing benefits and feedback) to be active in online communities.
As photographers and artists we are all in the same boat regarding the laws protecting our images, and this tends to be a close community that looks out for one another. Any photographer who has experienced image theft knows it’s no fun and wouldn’t wish it on any of their peers, so the more watchful eyes out there aware of your work, the better.
There are certainly steps you can take yourself to prevent your work from becoming orphaned; however, this involves registering every single image you upload online with a variety of different licensing bodies, which is a lot of additional work for no immediate return.
Should you decide to forgo this route there are technologies available to help with reverse searching images based on their visual content (such as Google image search and TinEye), but you should never expect that these will find all instances of an image’s use, especially when you consider that even small modifications may cause them not to be returned in search results.
The places you choose to share your images are also an important factor in their overall security. When you upload to larger online communities you are potentially reaching a far wider audience, but you also open yourself up to a wider range of would-be thieves. Since the security options are generally out of your hands for art communities, the protection of your images is at the mercy of the hosting site – so uploading your images at a lower resolution with a watermark in place is certainly recommended. Not only does this ensure that high quality prints cannot easily be made from the files, but it also helps to reinforce your brand and direct traffic to your website, where you tend to have greater control and customization over the security options. In this respect you should choose carefully, so as to ensure that where your images are showcased at their best, they are also at their most secure.
My personal choice of website host, Zenfolio, gives me peace of mind in this area. With a robust range of image protection options such as right-click saving being disabled by default, powerful access-control options, and the ability to watermark my images, it’s reassuring to know they are protected. Zenfolio provides an online backup to store my high-res files, and each image uploaded also generates several smaller Web-sized images that can be watermarked and thus ready for sharing on other sites. It’s reassuring to know that my website not only helps keep images protected on the website itself but also provides the necessary tools to help keep them safe elsewhere, too.
Adam Edwards is a young talented photographer from Oxfordshire, England. Edwards photography scenes are naturally beautifully. Every shot inspires a breathtaking look at some place I would love to go and experience for myself. Take a look at what he’s captured throughout his unique journey across the globe so far: http://www.adamedwardsphotography.com.
Excerpts from Photoshelter Blog – This is the company that hosts my website. The article was written earlier in 2013. I thought it was an interesting look at what was considered popular trends this past year. Thanks Photoshelter for permission to re-post excerpts.
Posted by: Lauren Margolis Date: March 5, 2013
It’s no secret that competition in the wedding photography industry has gotten fierce. More and more photographers are entering what has become a very lucrative and growing market. On the flip side, there are also many couples who are willing to let their “photographer friends” shoot the big day.
So it goes without saying that building a competitive edge is key to finding success. To learn more about how the top wedding photography trends today, we talked to wedding photographers in our community who have been running successful businesses for years.
We covered the bases, too – everything from shooting style to client budgets to advertising. Here’s what they had to say:
Nearly every photographer we talked to described their shooting style as some form of photojournalism: “fine-art photojournalism”, “photojournalistic style, balanced with family portraits and classic couple shots”, and “candid, documentary style photography with a touch of fashion and editorial” were just some of the ways they described their photography.
And while we still see a lot of it, photographers indicate that vintage-style is becoming just that – vintage. Couples want their big day documented just like any other newsworthy event, with a few setup shots of Aunt Mildred thrown in for good measure. “Ultimately, a wedding will always be a story of poignant moments, with a record that needs to be timeless,” says New York-based wedding photographer Brian Dorsey.
Photo by Brian Dorsey Studios
Hobbyists vs Pros:
The wedding photography market is an over-saturated one. More and more hobbyists turning full-time make it even more so. The competition is tough, but pros feel like this just pushes them to work harder and become the best of the best. Also, many pros aren’t necessarily seeking the type of client who’s just as happy having their DSLR-wielding friend take over.
“My advice is to work on finding your own particular niche,” says UK-based wedding photographer Lisa Devlin. “Too many photographers think that playing it safe is the way to go, but if you try to appeal to everyone, you will end up appealing to nobody in particular.”
In a similar vein, Chip Litherland of Eleven Weddings Photography says, “There are clients everywhere, it’s just a matter of finding the right ones.”
Facebook is the social media platform of choice among pros in 2013, followed by (relative) newcomer Pinterest and then Twitter. Wedding photographers love that they can “friend” their clients, then post a teaser gallery the next day and tag the bride and groom. It’s a surefire way to get them excited to see all the final images, and also get your work in front of their friends and family.
Pinterest has become more even more popular over the last year, as the audience is filled with potential brides. “I post a little of my own work, but it’s mostly from other people pinning my images,” says Lisa Devlin, who makes the work on her site “pinable”. “This is probably currently the best social media for wedding photographers – brides love it and they do all the work for you!”
But, by far the long-lasting cornerstone to every successful wedding photographer’s business is a blog. A personal blog is still the way to connect with your audience and get your work featured on bigger wedding blogs. It’s also the ideal platform for creating a narrative around your work, as well as giving people a sense for who you are and how you work. Connection is key to getting hired in the wedding industry.
Photo by Lisa Devlin
The standard package for 2013 among these photographers is:
- Somewhere between 8-12 hours of shooting
- Second shooter/assistant
- Online photo gallery
- DVD of high res images
- Photo album
- Prints or option to order prints from the online gallery/DVD (i.e. the rights to print)
Common add-on’s are larger prints (11×14 in., for example), engagement shoot, photo booth, and “trash the dress” shoot. Interestingly, these photographers don’t usually offer canvas wrap prints – there just isn’t any interest from their clients.
Most photographers also believe that beautiful presentation is still important. Branded packages, chocolates, and hand-written thank-you notes are all examples of ways photographers are making their clients feel special. One photographer even suggests giving more prints than in the original agreement – it makes the bride and groom feel like you’ve gone above and beyond, and helps secure more referrals.
To read this entire post go to:
Also has free downloadable pdf on growing your photography business.