Thursday, May 2, 2013

Do you know where your pictures are?

by Linda

Part of my journey into photography came about because I wanted to take better pictures for my blog. The pictures I posted were OK but the pictures I was seeing on other blogs were so much better. I invested a little money and a lot of time and have been able to post better pictures on my blog.

Invariably, discussions pop up about what to do to keep people from taking pictures from a personal blog and using it as their own. More than a few cases come to mind of people using the pictures of others and being sued. People earn their living selling their pictures so for others to take them without permission or compensation, just isn't right.

Have you ever wondered if any of your pictures have been used without your knowledge?

Recently as I was wasting time exploring Pinterest, I came across a pin that said "how to see if your photos are being used on another site". I clicked on the link and looked around the blog and immediately loved it because there is a story about a home nugget ice machine!  Nugget ice! Like Sonic has! Right in your house! I need this!

Can I have a minute......


The story about seeing where your pictures may be is on Kevin and Amanda's blog.  This post will tell you what to do to find out if your pictures are being used in places without your knowledge! There is even a link to a "cease and desist" just in case!

I tried it out with some pictures from my blog. I started with posts that were the most popular, then I looked at some posts that were old but recently looked at. If you are on blogger, you can get all this information on your stats page.

The picture at the top of this post is from my personal blog about 2 years ago. I found that my picture was being used here,  on a menu for a hotel in Kenya. It is the picture for their peppered steak.  I had not been notified that anyone wanted to use this picture. As I looked around the menu, I wondered how many other of those pictures were also used without permission.

Honestly, I was surprised. I didn't watermark the picture but I did upload it at a very low resolution and a very small size.

I believe that this kind of thing is going to happen, there are people who cannot/will not pay for or take the time to photograph a needed photo. There are copyright laws but they do not apply to most of the rest of the world and the internet is a whole world kind of place. 

So the question is what can we do about it.

Don't post pictures on the internet. Anywhere. Ever. Patrol the internet to see if there are any of your pictures being used anywhere and if so send a "cease and desist" letter. This option requires quite a bit of due diligence and doesn't seem like too much fun, something I would rather not concern myself with.

Put a large watermark through the center of the photo. This makes it difficult to use the photo as the watermark will show and is difficult to try to remove. I suspect someone who would take a photo without permission would not have the faintest idea how to edit a photo to remove such a thing. However, I find large watermarks extremely distracting. I understand why they are used and as I am not a professional photographer, I will watermark but not a large one through the center of the photo.

Upload very small (800 pixels or less along the long edge) and low resolution (6 or 7 on PSE, 70% or lower on LR). This size will look pretty good on a blog but if anyone tries to take it to use anywhere else, once it is enlarged, it will look pretty bad.

Have your pictures been used without your permission? Tell us how you keep your pictures to yourself!

And the next time you're in Mombasa, I know a place where you can get a peppered steak! It looks pretty tasty in the picture!


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Lynn said...

I thank you for the information , great post. Pinterest can be very useful sometimes :)

heyjudephotography said...

By the way, great looking steak! :) You've shared important information Linda. It's so frustrating to find out that someone is using your work without any credit ( or payment) being given. You've provided a quick and easy method for everyone to check and I hope everyone will. As artists we need to protect the rights to our work. Thanks for sharing!

Dotti said...

Yummy looking steak! This is such a scary thing, isn't it? I agree about the watermark in the middle of the page ... it distracts from the picture. I use a small watermark near the edge which could easily be cropped off. Difficult to know what to do. What really baffles me is people/organizations that steal these images ... they know they're stealing. Thanks for the information, we can't hear it often enough.

Cathy H. said...

I would order that delicious looking steak!! This is so hard for me to believe! I know it happens, but it still blows my mind that some one would steal an image! Thanks for the info, it seems an easy way to check!

terriporter said...

Such a great post (and amazing looking steak!), Linda. I have given this subject some thought but I have to say I'm not crazy about any of the three options. Not posting just isn't an option and I completely agree with you about the watermark thing -- a big one just detracts from the image. Posting small images is a pain because it means opening your photo into Photoshop and resizing it first, which takes time. I think I have my Flickr settings such that my images can't be downloaded but not sure that's foolproof. I am interested to check the site you mentioned to see what I find. And let me know the next time you're fixing that steak -- I'll be over for dinner!

CarolHart said...

Thank you for your thoughtful post. Due to all this sharing on the internet, this issue pops up time and again as we struggle to figure out where we all stand on this issue. I agree with you, if someone doesn't want their image taken without their permission, they should't post it anywhere, ever. We can all build walls around ourselves to shield out pain and disappointment, but we would also be blocking the joy and excitement of connecting with others as well. This is all part of the ebb and flow of life. For myself, I do put a watermark on my image, but usually in a corner. I also post low-res images only. However, if someone wants to take one of my images without asking permission, well, I say have at it. At the end of the day I am pleased someone admired my image enough to use it for themselves. I really don't care about being financially compensated for it's use as I am not trying to earn a living from my photography. I would like to know when one of my images are being used, not so much to give my blessing, but to share in the joy that someone out there enjoys and relates to my work. So, in that sense I am saddened by the fact that the "image grabber" and I have missed an opportunity to connect. Their loss!

Katie said...

thanks for the useful information! i'm gonna do some exploring tonight after dinner. ; )

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