Everybody wants to be a star. Some want to be movie stars, rock stars and yes as sad as it is, some want to be reality TV stars. But let’s look at photography. Now in case you didn’t know it the “professional photographer” is hard to come by. Professional defined as one who makes a living using a camera. And making a living I mean, he/she uses their camera to get someone to give them pictures of dead presidents (and Ben Franklin). But with that said all the rest are just photographers on various steps of the ladder. Now that doesn’t mean they cannot someday rise to the professional level. So they go about their photography journey pasting their photos everywhere they can because they want to get noticed. And one would assume getting noticed is somehow going to get you up that ladder. In my opinion it will get you up the ladder but you must beware of where you are posting your photos and who is stealing them. That’s right… stealing them, or maybe you could say it is not stealing, but rather you gave them your photos, after all you most likely did not read the fine print. What I am getting at here is there are thieves at every level, from the guy who stole your photo from Flickr to put into his own portfolio to the website itself stealing your images for stock photography that they will make money from and you won’t see a dam dime. I must admit I myself would put up portfolios on photo websites. But the whole time it was in the back of my mind that “what if someone steals my photo?” Ah there certainly can’t be any harm in that right? Until that really cool photo you shot, of that really nice looking girl who gave you permission to use the photo in your portfolio shows up on the cover of a printed media for an abortion clinic 5 states away. Yikes!!! Say there Elvis, looks like you’re going to be a famous photographer, but not quite like you planned. The fore mentioned is just a scenario, but one that could very easily play out in real life.
Here is another take on it. Everybody wants to be that famous photo journalist, getting the cover of Time magazine. Or at least a photo on the front page of the local newspaper, man that would be so cool. Oh, I know I’ll be an ireporter and send my photos of a news event to the cable news networks. Man that will surely make me famous. But ask yourself this: what do they do with the photos after they use them. Actually let’s first look at the fact you just gave a major news network free content. A news network that makes millions or possibly billions of dollars a year, and without content they make nothing. Boy are you smart… and I bet you have the deed to the Brooklyn Bridge too.
So yes for about a year or so I had portfolios on three different sites. Not a lot of photos but enough. Then there is Facebook. What about Facebook? Same thing, people steal stuff from Facebook pages all the time. The only way to combat it is to use a good watermark and post photos no higher than 72 dpi/ppi. I’m not going to get into how to create a watermark or digital watermarks, but rather I just want to plant that seed in your head that you must be careful Awhere you post and how you post your photos. Like I stated earlier, the whole time I was doing it I had a little voice in the back of my head saying “are you sure about this.” Even funnier I know of at least a few major photographers who have their photos on sites that are… shall we say questionable. Just think before you post.