So recently I’ve been bumping up against an interesting professional hazard. I call it a hazard because I’m not sure how I would feel if photography wasn’t my business.
A little history and a little personal ranting…
Digital Photography has already created enormous changes in the photography industry and continues to do so. With social media taking over the world comes new complexities to issues that are already heated and often difficult to navigate.
When professional photographers just shot with film, life just seemed simpler. There was less education required because the client didn’t need to understand much more than the idea that the photographer owned their negatives. Now everyone wants the images on disk and most people think photographers charge too much. And since everyone has a camera, they think they can produce the same high quality product as a professional photographer. I mean why not, right? Just snap some photographs and download them. Easy enough, right? NO! There is SO MUCH MORE TIME and energy that goes into what we do. Once we click the shutter our job has only just begun!
Now add SOCIAL MEDIA to the pot and people think it’s open season. Many people don’t know or understand anything about ownership issues when it comes to photography. It’s on the internet, so I can use it whenever, where ever and however I want, right? It’s on the internet so it’s free, right? WRONG!
Now back to our regularly scheduled program… My most recent issue:
I’m not sure if this is a new phenomena or just new to me, but this has happened to me a few different times in the last couple of weeks. I have uploaded my images onto Facebook and have discovered them used on other people’s Facebook pages. And no, I’m not talking about when people “share” your photos, links, etc. I love it when people press SHARE and show others. It’s good marketing, it’s a nice little nod to the ego… you know! No, I’m talking about people who have (I assume) downloaded my images, and uploaded them up on their page into an album. I didn’t even know you could download images from Facebook until a few months ago. Now I’m not sure how I feel about posting images anymore. After it happened the first time, I left the copyright info in the description of my photos (my photo software embeds metadata in my images that default into the description field of photos when I upload them on Facebook.) The second time I noticed it happened (different person) the copyright info was no longer present and clearly was NOT honored or acknowledged.
Tag yourself, share the album, knock yourself out! You can even ask me for a copy of it. But somehow having my pictures show up in someone else’s profile in their photo albums makes me feel unappreciated and a bit like someone stole them and claimed them as their own.
What do you think? Am I overreacting? Has something like this ever happened to you? Help me out! I need some opinions.