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#1 Scubysnaps

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 07:48 AM

Hi gents,
After numerous trips and gaining some experience in many areas, I am finding not many here are keen to show their images, whether on here, their own website, or any other internEtional (Have I just invented that word!?) method.
Of course, being only in the dSLR game for a year (but done well over 100 divesd in that time) I've always been very excited to share them on the world wide web. But recently I'm feeling that I'm missing something.
Does doing this reduce their value somewhat?...if any

Edited by Scubysnaps, 30 November 2010 - 08:19 AM.

Cheers
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#2 John Bantin

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:03 AM

Hi gents,
After numerous trips and gaining some experience in many areas, I am finding not many here are keen to show their images, whether on here, their own website, or any other internEtional (Have I just invented that word!?) method.
Of course, being only in the dSLR game for a year (but done well over 100 divesd in that time) I've always been very excited to share them on the world wide web. But recently I'm feeling that I'm missing something.
Does doing this reduce their value somewhat?


'Sharing' is the key word here. Unfortunately, many people think that intellectual properties including photographs have no owner once they are on the www. This often includes those who use pictures for commercial gain. So if you put your pictures into the public domain, expect to see them used by others. I tend to keep any pics I post low res, (72dpi) and of a small size. On the other hand, you might not mind giving your pictures for others to use. That's your choice.

Edited by John Bantin, 30 November 2010 - 08:04 AM.

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#3 Scubysnaps

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:17 AM

Yes John, all of mine that go on the web are 72 dpi too, my sites also got some basic protection on it. But I've had this since I started. I'm not necessarily asking about people taking my images, I thought maybe just for others to see ones' images on the web (however much protected) might lower the value?
Cheers
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#4 gina

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:23 AM

I thought maybe just for others to see ones' images on the web (however much protected) might lower the value?

I suppose if you had a very unique shot, and it was prominently displayed online, then the impact of that photo might be lessened. An extreme case might be that others would see and copy the uniqueness of your photo after seeing it, and when you went to sell it, or enter the photo in a contest, then others may not realize your photo was the first of its kind.

In my opinion, realistically, having others see your (high quality) photos would not lower the value, but instead would start to get your name known, which is something every UW photographer wants!

On the other hand, you might not mind giving your pictures for others to use. That's your choice.

I am an amateur photographer who takes some half-decent photos, but I have no illusion that I'm going to make a living off my photos. Instead, I have chosen to get my name out there in a way that benefits non-profit and educational institutions. I have done this by putting my photos up on Flickr and licensing them under a Creative Commons non-commercial license. By doing this I have had many zoos, aquariums, educational websites and publishers use my photos. In exchange I get photo credit, plus the knowledge that a much wider audience is now able to view my work.

If I ever get to the point where I am working, say, for a magazine, or otherwise consistently getting paid for my photos I would probably change the licensing on my existing photos so that people cannot use my work for free, but I would still display it in an online portfolio.

-Gina

#5 Scubysnaps

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:26 AM

Hi Gina,
Thank you so much for your opinion on this :D
Cheers
Paul

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#6 decosnapper

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:39 AM

.................But recently I'm feeling that I'm missing something.
Does doing this reduce their value somewhat?...if any



Yes - Never give away today what you expect to charge for tomorrow.

Whilst on a flight recently, I read an interview with the editor of Vogue magazine, with reference to their newly-launced Ipad App. It was interesting reading; I can't remember the exact details, but the article said (among other things) that if your customers get used to seeing the photo shoot videos on the magazine website for free, how can you then expect them to pay 3.99 for the App?

This really is a no-brainer. Simple economics dictate that if someone can get something for free, where is the logic in charging for it.

It is no mistake that precious little of my work is on the web. There are several reasons:-

1. As John says, many think that copyright does not apply to the internet. It does and there are many cases to prove otherwise, but it fills one with little joy when it comes to tracking down infringers and recovering damages. That is not to say I don't pursue infringement - I do - but it isn't much fun. Copyright infringement was normally around 1-5% of my annual turnover, but the trend this year looks like it will be higher......

2. If I am licensing images to magazines, why would anyone buy the mag to see my work? One could argue why indeed, but that's not the point. If there are the same images on line, then the unique selling point for the magazine (and therefore myself) is lost, or at least degraded.

3. I sell web use rights for images. Licensing work for reproduction in a printed publication and the web require separate licenses and neither are free. Posting work on the web for nowt or giving your work away for free sets the market rate at which you expect your licenses to sell for.....

4. Creative Commons is an admirable thing, but zoos, aquariums, schools and publishers will all buy licenses if they really want the image. If they won't pay, then do they really need it? Not in my experience. Charities plus all of the above have licensed images, and will do so in exchange for money, all one has to do is ask. Giving work away in this way devalues photography for the amateur and pro alike - the commercial world has evolved to understand that money, not credits, are the real commodity. Credits do not work at the petrol station, supermarket or, heaven forbid, the underwater camera shop.....and we all know the value of the kit we use - right? As John says, its your choice....and one I understand but do not and never will agree with. That's not to say I don't give some work away - I do - but it is usually in the form of a print, as a way of saying thank you to someone or an organisation for their help, assistance or access.

5. Getting your name known is great, but known for what? A great source of cheap or free material? If you want to establish a name, go and enter competitions. If you want to earn money, don't give things away. For what its worth, every time something of mine runs in a magazine I get recognition and money. Truth is Gina, I don't want to be known, but do actually need the income I derive from creating images. It helps feed and clothe my kids.

If you genuinely want to be a pro and derive income then the first step is to act and think like one.

I do apologise if this comes over a bit heavy.....its been a long, tiring day.........if the above is too much to wade through, just try replacing the word "image" or "picture" with "car" (or other object you desire) and they try the "Can I have one for free" conversation in the local Audi dealership........

Edited by decosnapper, 30 November 2010 - 10:59 AM.

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#7 Poliwog

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:46 AM

I usually post my images to a stock photo agency.I get a few sales, but as Gina says, I am under no illusions that I am going to make a huge amount of money out of it.

I do this for two reasons:

1. I have always considered somebody paying a reasonable fee (and not microstock prices) for the use of my photos as the highest compliment that could be made to me.

2. I do it in deference to those individuals that decide to make photography their career. While I do make competition for these individuals, I do like to support their efforts by charging a reasonable fee that would best allow other photographers to prosper also. In essence, I don't want to cheapen the efforts of others.

The stock photo agency is the best way for me to police copyright infringement and charge a reasonable fee while also reaching the audience that can really make use of my images.

Just my 2 cents.
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#8 TheRealDrew

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 11:06 AM

Hi gents,
After numerous trips and gaining some experience in many areas, I am finding not many here are keen to show their images, whether on here, their own website, or any other internEtional (Have I just invented that word!?) method.
Of course, being only in the dSLR game for a year (but done well over 100 divesd in that time) I've always been very excited to share them on the world wide web. But recently I'm feeling that I'm missing something.
Does doing this reduce their value somewhat?...if any



People will steal on the internet, it is a given. You can watermark and do the rest. Note that you should be concerned about the size of the image when posting to the web. If an image is 3888 x 2592 at 72 DPI it is a big difference when compared to 388 x 259 @ 72 DPI.

Nowadays the market is so saturated with photographers that unless you have something that is really unique, the odds are you are not going to miss out on a sale because it is posted on the web. Trying to get published in a magazine takes an tremendous amount of effort and also luck, despite what some people indicate who do make their livings doing this. Get a shot of a Great White Shark dancing with a Top Hat and Tie on, yeah someone will grab it. A general reef shot or common shot, too many people in the game already and stock agencies out there. Not saying that you should go and undercut the pros and take their legs out, but there is also a point of what reality is for many people who shoot. So if you want to post, maybe keep the real special ones off-line, low res and watermark the images and have fun if that is why you are doing this.

#9 spencer!

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 02:43 PM

i post all my images online with a small watermark and the protection built into my site. I love to dive and I love to take pictures, and I love to share with my friends and family. I don't have the patience to try to be a "pro", but i try to take nice photos:) For me, all the value of the photo is in the memories and the sharing, so withholding them would devalue them in my mind. What good is a photo that no one sees but me?

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#10 gina

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 03:45 PM

4. Creative Commons is an admirable thing, but zoos, aquariums, schools and publishers will all buy licenses if they really want the image. If they won't pay, then do they really need it? Not in my experience. Charities plus all of the above have licensed images, and will do so in exchange for money, all one has to do is ask. Giving work away in this way devalues photography for the amateur and pro alike - the commercial world has evolved to understand that money, not credits, are the real commodity. Credits do not work at the petrol station, supermarket or, heaven forbid, the underwater camera shop.....and we all know the value of the kit we use - right? As John says, its your choice....and one I understand but do not and never will agree with. That's not to say I don't give some work away - I do - but it is usually in the form of a print, as a way of saying thank you to someone or an organisation for their help, assistance or access.


Not long ago I had a very similar conversation with a well-known pro UW photographer about this very thing. I respect his position, as I do yours. But this is a topic I would like to talk a little more about.

I guess I should say that I started by putting my pics on Flickr so that friends could see them. After all, I am just an amateur who likes to take photos, whether they be underwater or at a gathering of friends. I have ties to the free software community and licensing my photos as Creative Commons seemed like a step in that direction (I believe there is a place for free software as well as products one pays for, so please, no arguments about that). Eventually several non-profit organizations used my photos with my permission and I was fine with that; these were conservation organizations, and I felt donating a photo was no different than donating money, which is something I might have done in different circumstances.

It feels good to see a photo you took displayed in a zoo, or in a magazine. I don't feel that my photography is (currently) good enough to win contests or sell to editors, so I have taken an easier route to that end--is that really so bad? I certainly do not want to deprive any pros of paid jobs or notoriety, but at the same time I feel like my images are in a different category, sort of like if McDonalds was giving out free burgers in front of a 5-star restaurant.

All that being said, I am this close to starting to lock down my images. What if I my photo skills improve to the point that I can sell photos? I'd rather people buy them than use them for free.

I would really like to hear more opinions and discussion about this.

-Gina

What good is a photo that no one sees but me?

Exactly. I like to share my photos.

-Gina

#11 decosnapper

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 11:52 PM

Not long ago I had a very similar conversation with a well-known pro UW photographer about this very thing. I respect his position, as I do yours. But this is a topic I would like to talk a little more about........
..................It feels good to see a photo you took displayed in a zoo, or in a magazine. I don't feel that my photography is (currently) good enough to win contests or sell to editors, so I have taken an easier route to that end--is that really so bad? I certainly do not want to deprive any pros of paid jobs or notoriety, but at the same time I feel like my images are in a different category, sort of like if McDonalds was giving out free burgers in front of a 5-star restaurant.

All that being said, I am this close to starting to lock down my images. What if I my photo skills improve to the point that I can sell photos? I'd rather people buy them than use them for free.


There is nothing you could not achieve with an ordinary license to use instead of Creative Commons (CC), but it would mean negotiating on a per-request basis......whilst this may seem tedious this one aspect of how pros derive income.......each use is considered, a fee agreed (if required) and a license to use granted. This might seem like a ball ache, but read on.......


CC kind of works, but has problems. Firstly, not all users are aware of non-commercial restrictions that can be imposed (read on for more on this) and secondly it means the photographer is - to a certain extent - losing control of their own work, how it is used, for what purposes and intentions. There is no reason why the Dolphin Slaughter Supporters United group/forum/whatever could not use a nice CC image of a dolphin to promote their cause. Ok, I know this is made up and extreme, but the point is once released under CC you cannot stop someone (within the terms of a CC license at least) using your work freely.

CC is a one-way street. Once released under CC, thats it. No going back to rights-managed.

Although I have no direct evidence, I also think CC takes money out of photographers pockets, mainly because CC is widely misused. How? Consider a blog using a CC license. Fair enough, non-commercial right? What if the page carries adverts? Google ads all over it? Suddenly the image use is no longer CC, its use is commercial - the image is being used to drive traffic to the site in the hope that someone will click an ad and the blog author get paid. Image use in this way requires a commercial license as the end user is deriving money - no matter how small - from the benefit of using the image.

Perhaps all those zoos and not-for-profits are using CC images to promote their cause, raise funds or attract visitors? Welcome to the world of advertising.

You might be surprised at how "good" your photography is Gina. Others (the not-for-profits etc) have already decided they want to use your images. Agreed they think its worthy of no payment, but that is not the point - you have established there is a demand in the market for this kind of work.....In my experience those who want images for nothing are easy to find - so easy in fact they find you - but those who pay, and there are still plenty out there, don't need to look for images. Those who want to sell a license find them. It is not easy, and be under no illusion that the world will beat a path to your door (not in my experience anyway....talented others may disagree.....) but paying clients exist. And don't think you need a established name to sell images, or that images need to be stunning to sell. It might help, but its not a prerequisite; last month a very bland image of a fish licensed for 2400 Euros........and its an image that would never win anything. Not even worth a front cover. Maybe a 1/4 page for editorial. But the client wanted it for advertising.....selling burgers outside fancy dining? Not in the clients' eyes.

CC had great intentions, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions and its just wrong. I have a firm (but tongue in cheek) belief that every time a photo gets CC, a butterfly has its wings pulled off. If the intention is to one day charge then using CC for promotion is flawed. If you can accept that your work may end up being misrepresented or financially ripped off then use CC.

In summary; Giving images away - CC or otherwise - sets a market rate at which you are prepared to work for.

Edited by decosnapper, 01 December 2010 - 12:09 AM.

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#12 Karl

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:04 AM

I only wish my images were good enough for someone to steal :D

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#13 Paul Kay

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:29 AM

If you look at pro advertising photographer's websites you will see many stunning images - images are used for many purposes including marketing (including marketing the picture takers) and this inevitably involves web use. Over the last decade photography has changed almost beyond recognition and the licensing of images has shifted too, and no doubt will continue to shift.

This thread seems to be about stock photography and stock photographs are more valuable if their captioning includes useful and above all, accurate. information about the image. The web is awash with pretty images, some free, other not. I sell information these days - with images attached - rather than just images.

Copyright laws remain in place and whilst its easier to steal an image than it was, it is still theft and can be dealt with accordingly (although you would have to be in a position to demand a very substantial fee to make much web based theft enforceable).
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#14 John Bantin

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 01:36 AM

The crux of the problem is that the world is now awash with good underwater pictures and most are excellent - therefore by the laws of scarcity value, they have little. I asked Alex on here where all the fabulous pictures he takes go. He didn't answer. (I have a ready if modest source of demand that I would never have established if it were not for the degree of difficulty in getting good shots in the days of wet film processes.)

Brian Duffy (just before he died) reflected that in his day (the '60s) you needed some skill to be a good photographer but now anyone can do it - unlike playing the violin.

In the '80s, my pictures were exhibited in all media all around the UK. (Millions of pounds were spent on the media for them.) I had no visible credit but I now live on the money it earned me. Those days seem to be over. I got out of it in the mid '90s when the bean-counters took over and luckily before the digital revolution. Now I take snaps like everyone else.

I wouldn't recommend anyone try to make a living out of underwater photography unless they are selling the hardware or photography courses. Just go and enjoy yourselves!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#15 Captain_Caveman

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 06:06 AM

^^ What TheRealDrew pointed out - DPI has no value on digital images. You can stick 72dpi on whatever you want, it's the image dimensions which dictate it's quality.

DPI is only a factor in print.

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#16 Scubysnaps

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 06:34 AM

Isnt it PPI whats relevant here? (Not having software to hand) Would have thought 72PPI is the same quality no matter what the size is?
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#17 gina

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 04:57 PM

Decosnapper,

Thanks for your response, and for the information. You might be happy to hear that just today I turned down a request to use one of my photos for free :D

-Gina

#18 decosnapper

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 11:23 PM

Decosnapper,

Thanks for your response, and for the information. You might be happy to hear that just today I turned down a request to use one of my photos for free :D

-Gina


The butterfly lives!

Thanks Gina.
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#19 TomR1

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 04:08 PM

Interested thread and somewhat unfortunate. If a photogrpher is trying to get better one good way is look at other people's shots. I like to look at shots that I might be able to take and try to understand why that shot is better than mine.

My solution is to place reasonably low res shots on the internet. However, I am always a year or two behind because the way I choose to display them takes time.

I am not trying to sell shots but I don't want to give away what others earn a living with.

#20 gina

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 06:15 PM

I am not trying to sell shots but I don't want to give away what others earn a living with.

This was my take-away message from the conversations I've had with others.

-Gina