Most people are aware that personal photographs are not for you to take, that doesn’t exactly stop some from doing it.
The sad fact remains that most people don’t realize that photographs of food, scenery, DIY crafts, so forth and so on are also not to be taken and used without explicit permission.
After watching everyone complain about having their pictures “stolen” or “not credited”. I began seeing the flip side of the coin- the people claiming that they didn’t know it was wrong or thought it was okay because they did credit the original owner.
This post is not to ramble on about this problem, this spreading epidemic. This is about how I chose to deal with it. I decided last year that I would only use my own photographs, the only exception is if I were supplied photos from the owners. For example: Giveaways or Book Promotions.
I have also chosen to not watermark most of them. Why? you might be asking. Honestly, it is because it really doesn’t do any good in the end. All watermarking can be removed if a person is diligent enough to do it. I feel I don’t need to take the extra time to do this daunting task, when it really doesn’t matter in the end. Besides, I fully believe in Karma.
Taking your own photographs can be very rewarding. You are able to capture a moment in time that only belongs to you. Moments like those are magic and show through to each and every viewer that sees it. Yes, you can use stock images but you lose the uniqueness-the pure quality that only a self-taken photograph can provide. Take the photo above for instance; yes I could probably find similar online somewhere.
What I won’t be able to find though is that particular moment-that tender moment captured of my teen daughter and youngest son. Another thing I could not do is passionately portray this to any readers with the same emotion- the same vigor. Or how about the Monarch butterfly photo at the top of this article. I could never again catch the moment of our release of this butterfly-the butterfly that we nurtured from a lonely caterpillar. That photograph not only shows the true beauty surrounding the beauty, it shows so much more feeling.
I find that maybe I internalize things more deeply than some, but when I see photo’s that people have shared I can usually tell if they were taken by them or found somewhere else and “borrowed”.
There are many resources available to help one learn how to take great photographs, programs to help touch them up, and tutorials on everything you could ever want to know. I highly suggest in taking the time and producing your own photographs for your writing. You share an intimate piece of yourself with your readers, you connect better with those that normally would pass you by.
I have gone the extra mile and began doing color palettes for my photos. This way I can easily design them to suit my particular need at the time. What I don’t have to worry about is being accused of taking what doesn’t belong to me.
My credibility will be something I never give up.