Each week I’ve been showcasing a different photography topic. This week I thought I’d change it up and bring up a growing concern with the profound affect of the internet.
The importance of protecting your photos online!
Throughout my day I read roughly 20 to 30 blogs a day. I don’t always comment, but often I get great ideas from what I read. Do I take these ideas verbatim? No, I make sure I write them down in my blogging notebook, but I also make sure to give them a spin of my own. I will never take an idea and use that idea straight from the other person, it’s not my style, and because copyright’s are so huge right now, it’s not worth it.
The past few weeks a few articles have come out about the use of photos, especially in the relation to blogging, and I thought I’d write about a few topics:
1) Use of Google Images
For many of us, our first go to search engine is “google.” And often we look up images. However, just because those images are on google does not mean you have the right to utilize them. Someone out there took the photo, someone deserves the credit, and every person that has taken a photo deserves the credit.
We can’t just take the photo off of “google images” and credit the website (in the past, I’ve made the mistake to do this a few times!) The truth is, we must know the person behind the photo, and gain permission from them. Some sites may have gotten the photo directly from Getty Images or other Stock Photography places where they paid for use of that photo, or it could have actually been the site’s photographer themselves.
2) Stock Photography
If you’re in need of photos related to a blogging article or topic, a good place to look into is “stock photography.” Stock photography offers a wide range of photos for purchase and you are given the license to utilize these photos for a specific purpose. In other words, when you purchase these images, you are protected from any copyright issues that may come up.
Images found off of Flickr are copyrighted by the photographer’s showcasing their photo’s. However, through flickr, it is very easy to have the ability to email the photographer and ask about utilizing such photo and beginning the communication with the artist if you find a photo you truly like. Also, flickr has recently connected with Getty Images, and photographer’s on flickr have the ability to accept invites via getty images for licensing purposes. Flickr has done a great job of protecting the photographer. There is not even a way to save images off of flickr to your own personal computer.
How many of us have instagram now? How many of us connect our photos via facebook and twitter and other social media platforms? I love instagram, and I just got connected to it this past weekend, and I’m already obsessed. Now that I’m sitting down to write this article I’m thinking about how does instagram protect our photos online?
The nice thing about instagram is that you see other’s photo’s, and the program is only visable via your phones. However, there are also other programs in which you can utilize instagram via your computer (webstagram) Webstagram has the ability to showcase your entire instagram via your computer, and with webstagram that means you can even SHARE other people’s photos. Webstagram does credit the photo to the original instagram username, but still scary that it’s that easy to share other people’s photos. This is exactly why we should be watermarking our photos. The issue on the photo sharing comes when we share our photos via facebook and twitter. What is protecting our photos then? And that is the scary part. Did you know that if you share something on twitter or facebook, the rights to your photos are handed over to them?
If you’re not comfortable with that idea, think about what you’re putting out there, and ask yourself, what other means do I have in protecting my photos? I will be sharing some other ideas later.
Just tonight I learned there are a few watermark apps available for both iphone and android phones. You could always watermark your cell phone pics before adding them to instagram 😉 iwatermark is a great app available for both iphone and android phones.
So how do I as a blogger, someone that utilizes instagram, facebook and twitter protect my photos online?
a) Watermark, Watermark, Watermark
I’ve learned the hard way with this one. But you have to watermark your photos. Think about this. Each day you write blog posts for your blog, each day you put a few of your photos on your blog, and each day you receive how many people reading your blog? With a lot of the blogger programs, people can just right click your photo, and boom, it’s saved to their computer. Pretty scary, right?
By watermarking your photos, it’s keeping your photo’s protected. If someone takes your photo without asking, the watermark is on that photo as it goes with it.
A few watermark sites are:
1) Visual Watermark
The licensing fee for this downloadable program is 20 dollars (pretty reasonable) and once you have it it never expires
2) Pixlr.com (this was recommended by Maribel from Stroller Adventures)
b) Sharing on Facebook and Twitter
The key to sharing on facebook and twitter is to also watermark. If you’re ever asked to cover an event, and you showcase your photos, put the watermark up. The people at the event, if they love the photos, will want to know more about the person behind the photos. And your watermark tells your name or your business. They will look you up. PS: your blog is your business
People are liking and sharing photo’s constantly on facebook, don’t you want to be known for the photos you take? Since facebook and twitter are taking the rights to your photos if you share them on their sites, the least we can do is protect our photo’s by watermarking.
If you take a photo on instagram that you truly love, keep it on instagram, but don’t share it on facebook or twitter until you get home. Most cell phones can connect to computers, and you can take that photo and watermark it when you get home and then showcase it on facebook or twitter.
Or, make sure you have iwatermark app added to your phone. Take all cell phone pics with your regular cell phone camera, add the watermark then put the photos on instagram. It’ll save you a set by plugging the phone into the computer, and save you the worry about where your photos may end up.
As I just learned tonight, webstagram has the ability to connect your instagram to your computer, and not only does it showcase your own photos, it showcases the ability of everyone you follow, and even gives you the option of sharing their photos (ouch!) EXACTLY why we need to watermark our instagram photos!
If you don’t care, then go ahead, and share it, but if it’s a photo you love and want protected, this is the way of doing that. (watermark!)
This one gets my blood boiling! I love pinterest, and I have spent many hours on there, but you may have noticed, as of late, I haven’t been on there much. One is because I’m concerned about the copyright issues happening on that site, and 2) It’s hard to maintain all social media platforms.
For those that utilize pinterest, can you do these few things for me?
If you pin a photo of a recipe off a blog you really love, in the description, credit back to the site where the recipe was shared. And 2) Watermark your photos so if your blogs do get pinned your photos are protected, even if the website credit gets lost down the road.
I know this has been a pretty long article, but the last thing I want to leave you with are these common courtesy tips when it comes to working with other bloggers:
1) If you ever go to an event with another blogger, and you forgot your camera it is okay to send an email to another blogger that was there to ask for photos. HOWEVER: be prepared that they may so no. And 2) if they give you permission to utilize their photos, and they send them to you, make sure to always CREDIT them. They were the ones that took the photos, they deserve the credit. They will recognize the credit, trust me on this!
2) If another blogger ever emails you a photo they took of you at said event, please make sure to always credit them.
3) If you happen to be that blogger that emailed the photo’s over, watermark your photos. That way, if the blogger you’re working with forgets to credit you, you are still protected. And it’s perfectly okay to exchange emails after it’s been posted, and say, “hey, I’d like credit.”
4) If you ever have a GUEST Blogger on your blog, and they give you photos. Always ask them if they took the photo’s. If they did not, this is where you have to do your homework. Remember, this is your site, so if any issues arise, you are the one that has to do the answering. It may come down to you not being able to utilize such photos on your site. However, if they took the photos, make sure to credit them.
5) And the last one. If you have a group of bloggers in a photo, or if you took photo’s of a few other bloggers, and there is a shot you’d love to utilize on your blog, always, always ask the other bloggers if it’s okay to showcase the photo on your blog. Some people don’t like their picture being taken, or may not be comfortable having their photo elsewhere, etc.
Yes, for the most part, we, as bloggers, are use to having our photo’s taken, but it’s still common courtesy to ask beforehand! There are a lot of rules out there in relation to utilizing photos of other people.
In the end, just make sure to read up on the importance of copy right issues, and the use of photo’s in press publications, etc.
Disclosure: This post was written on my own accord, and with things I have seen happen on the interweb. I will be the first to admit I do not know about all the copy right issues, but STRESS the importance of protecting your photos online. It is still your responsibility to read up on copy right issues in relation to photo usages and blogging etiquette.