If I were to tell you that there is a website out there that steals photos you post on the Internet and sells them without your permission, how would you react? I bet you would not be happy. Earlier this week, our very own Thomas Stirr reached out to me, asking what I would do with a website called “WallPart.com” that sells posters of my photographs. At first, I didn’t think it would be bad, since my photos get taken without permission all the time and they often end up being on some unknown sites (mostly outside of the USA). But this one did tick me off a bit more than usual, since not only did it contain a boatload of my images sold at a ridiculous price of $5.59 for a 6×4 print, but it also contained images of pretty much every photographer I typed into the search field. And based on the Alexa rank of the website, the site has been growing at an incredibly fast rate, with close to 60% of hits coming from search engines. That’s pretty alarming, given that the majority of people ending up on the website are coming from the USA. So if you have been posting your work online, it is either already on this website, or fairly soon it will end up there. So what should you and I do about these thieves?
Barring being struck by some incredible bolt of inspiration between now and the end of December (which given my advancing age and rather porous brain is highly unlikely), this will be my final article here on Photography Life in 2015. I’m looking forward to doing periodic postings next year. December is always the time of year that I hunker down and do some planning for next year’s business. During this exercise I am always reminded of the importance of choosing clients well and I’d like to share some considerations with you.
Both Zenfolio and SmugMug are giants in the world of photography hosting websites, and each has its fair share of loyal supporters. I have used each website for more than a year – first Zenfolio, then SmugMug – and the differences between the two became clear over time. In this review, I want to share my experiences and help other photographers choose which site is better for their needs.
The photography world seems to be in an almost endless state of flux these days with a plethora of new cameras and lenses popping up in the market like mushrooms after a rain. Debates rage about the future of various brands, technologies and camera formats as folks share their often hard-edged opinions. This certainly is a tumultuous time to consider new photography gear, whether one is an amateur or a working professional. My old, tired brain has been in overdrive lately with thoughts about the potential financial impacts of some of these issues. So, I thought I’d share these mental meanderings with readers.
Love it or hate it, Facebook has become an important social media platform for not only promoting your work, but also for finding new clients. Whether you choose to create a fan page for your business or just upload your photographs in your own profile, you might be wondering what the best resolution and export settings should be for your images, so that Facebook can display them at the highest quality. In this article, I will not only go over Facebook’s resizing and compression behavior, but also show you the proper settings to use when exporting images from both Lightroom and Photoshop.
When publishing articles on our site, our team always cross-posts links to the same content on our Facebook fan page, where we have close to 250 thousand fans. One of the biggest frustrations we came across with Facebook, is when we post a link to an article that contains images, and Facebook refuses to show the image on top of the link. The strange thing is, sometimes deleting the URL and pasting it again will show images and other times, Facebook completely refuses to do it. And when the image does not show, no matter how many times you refresh the page or paste the link, it will never appear. Since a number of our readers have Facebook fan pages or personal pages where they paste links to their sites or portfolios, I thought it would be a good idea to share the way to force Facebook to show images in links.
I have a rather peculiar confession to make, something I’ve not spoken of loudly to all that many people before. Here goes: whenever someone asks me what I do in life, what I do for a living, I always cringe slightly. Now, I do not mean Photography Life – I am very proud to work here and enjoy writing interesting articles immensely (whether I manage to write something interesting is a different matter altogether, but I dare say I do every now and then). No. I always cringe before saying I am a wedding photographer. Mind you, I do not actually consider myself a wedding photographer – I am curious about people more than I am about weddings, and that is what I am interested in, people and their being. That is part of the reason why the “get to know me” section on my website is the way it is. But if someone asks me just out of curiosity or politeness, they’d be bored to death if I’d go on and dive into all the philosophical debates about how people photography during weddings and wedding photography are different. The time and place for such debates is on a comfortable couch among friends and with a glass of red wine in your hand… if you have patient friends. And so the easy way to answer is – I am a wedding photographer. You’d think that, after I say that, the question’s answered and it is my time to ask that person what he does. It should be that simple, for as soon as I answer I blush and am instantly overcome by the need to explain. And so I still end up diving into all the philosophical monologues trying to justify and explain my work, and consequently bore everyone to death.
I hate that.
A side note: if you suddenly feel the urge to scroll down to the comments section and tell me how I’m a hypocrite for doing what I hate and lying about it to my clients, hold on for just a second. There’s obviously a little bit more to it and I am afraid you are going to have to read all I have to say to get my meaning.
If you reside on planet earth, own a computer, and have ever searched the internet, you already know that the number one search engine in the world is Google. What you may not realize is that YouTube is number two.
If I was to be completely honest about encouraging people about setting out on a career in wildlife photography, I feel these days I could sum it up in two words. ‘Forget it!’ Having said that, I do not take rejection of article ideas well, I am poor at self-promotion and I am not brilliant at keeping my agents supplied with my latest images. Finally, I do not keep up to date with all of the latest camera bodies which produce superior image quality compared to the old Canon EOS 1D Mk2 I am still using for my wildlife pictures and the Canon EOS 5D Mk2 that I use for landscapes.
You have insurance to cover damage to, loss of, or theft of your photography equipment, or do you? We have all heard the words of warning, look both ways before you cross the street, don’t talk to strangers, and read the fine print. Maybe for photographers it should be read the fine print before you sell a print. Recently a friend of mine (who, for the purposes of this post we’ll call Bill), learned about insurance and the fine print found in policies in an unfortunate way. Bill had his home broken into and some of his expensive photography equipment stolen. Having someone violate your home is hard enough, but the loss of valuable items is like salt in a wound. Finding out that the insurance you purchased and thought protected your loss doesn’t have you covered, might take you to a different state of mind and not in a good way. Read the fine print.