Correct image use and copyright: Where do I begin

Correct image use, oh my word where do I start. Hands up I only really started caring about this when I became the one on the other side of the lens and now I’m a keyboard warrior about it. I hold my hands up to previously sharing a watermarked image. In my defence, I no idea of the badness of this and since I’ve realised I won’t ever be so naughty.

I literally cannot scroll through my time line without seeing a stolen image. One person even posted pictures that had ‘If you can see this anywhere other than the *insert website* it is stolen’ I mean you don’t get clearer than that and still it was in my news feed. I really can’t explain how mad this makes me. These people are my friends, good people, with morals who wouldn’t steal a car so why do they steal a picture?

Consider a phone App

I do believe it’s just a lack of knowledge hence why I will continue to write pieces such as this until I quit photography. I explained it to one friend like a phone App. You’ve purchased that app for you to use. Your family members may be able to use it but that’s it. You can’t sell that App on because you only purchased it for you to use on your phone. You couldn’t put it all over Facebook and invite people to play it because it’s not yours to do that with. Make sense?

Once I used this analogy the previously mentioned friend became contrite and realised what we meant. Luckily, he genuinely couldn’t understand what my beef was so he took the time to understand.

Here’s the deal with the watermarked ones. The ones with the ginormous water mark across the middle. They have probably been used on an online gallery and screen shot taken. This makes my blood boil. Spare a moment to hear why.

A show photographer’s day

Ok so show photographer packs up her/his thousands of pounds of equipment (we aren’t all rich that’s just how much good stuff costs!) They then get in their car/train etc and make their way to the event they are photographing at. Then they spend all day in a ring getting pictures of people and their horses.  Hopefully they get the chance to grab some food and a toilet break.  It’ll still be at least 8 hours work. Now they poodle home and sit down to download all the images, edit them perhaps and then upload them to their online gallery. This wouldn’t be free either and 99% of the time they wouldn’t have been paid for being at the show.

Already you can see quite a lot of financial outlay for this one day. The photographer doesn’t mind though, they love horses, love photography and hope to sell images to cover the costs and perhaps make them a small profit.

Except people don’t buy them, they screen shot them, they take pictures on their phones and then they share on social media those images. Sometimes with the watermark there sometimes they’ll just crop it out. Please explain to me why that photographer would do another event? Does love pay the bills? Does ‘getting publicity’ pay the bills? No. It does not. So the next time you think about doing this, and hopefully none of you do, spare a thought for that photographer who made diddly squat money and given up their time and money so you can have pictures and memories to treasure forever.

One day there will be no show photographers and I don’t blame them!

Correct image use

Memes: No no

Next up is pinching pictures to make memes, very bad. Rude and its theft. Same as goggling a picture and using it on a blog post or on Facebook. Technically you haven’t brought the rights to that image so shouldn’t be doing that. When you purchase an image, you are buying rights. So, if you buy a print that’s all you are buying, a print for you to use at home. Remember the App analogy. If you purchase digitals files you will normally purchase the right to have these printed and used personally. Sharing on Facebook that is normally fine, especially if you credit the photographer. However if you wish to purchase for commercial use then the price will be a lot higher!


Model’s rights?

I often hear the phrase ‘Model’s Rights’ thrown around too. Hate to break it to you but it doesn’t really mean anything. If you are at a public event on your horse you photograph may be taken. That photograph will belong to the photographer. Now we don’t deliberately upset people so if you really don’t like the picture and don’t want it in the public domain drop them a message. This is especially true of stock images. Images that could be used to illustrate a magazine article or a blog post can be brought through stock image providers. One provider specialising in equine stock images is the newly establish Pferd-Images. A go to place for equine stock images that are high quality and easy to download.

Social Media is our friend

Following some advice from a well-established photographer I’ve taken to offfering low resolution water marked images that I will give the client as part of their shoot fee. This means the need to pinch images are reduced and if you read my post about Facebook earlier this week you will know that I love a bit of getting the name out there. All I ask is that the watermarked is left there, it’s a subtle one don’t worry, and that the page is linked where possible. People are inherently lazy and won’t want to follow the trail back to the images so it’s nice to have it clear and easy to see.

My parting words are please don’t use watermarked images unless you’ve been specifically given them for social media. If it’s good enough for you to share with a watermark then its good enough to purchase. Plus, if you wouldn’t steal a car why are you stealing an image? We all have bills to pay and by doing this you are making it very hard for the photographers to earn a living. If you like pictures then you need to like photographers.


Next blog post The Hickstead Derby