Making Your Work Hard To Find Isn't A Feature

from the promotional-value dept

Wired has a write-up of PhotoShelter, a site that helps "protect" photographers from the scourge of their work being too easy to find. They cite Lane Hartwell, the photographer who got bent out of shape when one of her photographs appeared briefly in a popular viral video, as an example of the kind of photographer who would benefit from the site. I can understand why she'd be unhappy that she didn't get credit for the use of her photo, but I don't see how switching to PhotoShelter would have improved the situation. Most of the money in photography is going to be from commercial clients. Companies tend to be pretty good about paying for photographs (and other content) because they've got deeper pockets and less plausible fair use claims. On the other hand, non-commercial uses of photos aren't going to be very lucrative; most individuals and smaller non-profits will use a lower-quality free image rather than pay to license a professional photograph. Certainly the creator of a viral video isn't going to pay royalties on a product he's planning to give away for free. So the smart way to handle things is to treat non-commercial uses of your photographs as promotional opportunities, seeking credit rather than compensation. That should build your reputation as a photographer and hopefully get more commercial clients interested in your work. PhotoShelter appears to be a solid site for professional photographers looking to catalog and market their photographs. But the fact that the site makes it more difficult for people to find and use a photographer's work isn't something photographers should be cheering about.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Hellsvilla, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 4:51pm

    I read her article...

    I read her article, and my conclusion was: She's too stupid to have a real job. Hiding your portfolio is the fastest way to achieve obscurity.

    Nothing against PhotoShelter mind you, it does look like an excellent resource for Photographers. It's just that any photographer that thinks the two are mutually exclusive is a photographer that does not want clients.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Joe, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 4:57pm

    Paragraph breaks please

    Please please please start breaking up your text into smaller paragraphs. Those big blocks are very tough to read and impossible to scan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Uncle Deercamp, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 5:42pm

    What a complete tard. Most people would kill to have their picture/art in a viral of some sort.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Cynic, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 6:25pm

    Right, I imagine most families and businesses in the world have a budget for photographic images. Duuhhhh, not in this universe.

    The way to get anything sold for which there is not a darn pressing need in this world is to establish relationships with your customers or prospects.

    Maybe this new site will help photographers, but I'm a cynic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Ben, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 8:58pm


    Yeah it's great to have all that exposure, except that nobody knew who's picture it was because there was no credit given.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Mar 6th, 2008 @ 9:53pm

    You know, if it was private information...

    ...everyone would be screaming that it was thier fault for putting it online. Because nothing online should be considered safe or private, right? The photos that I don't see used are ones that are marked with the photgraphers or companies name, like the Istock photos that come up when I do a Google search for images. It would be very hard to use them, because it says Istock right across the front, and it's very easy to do that with Photoshop, while still allowing potential clients to see the quality of work. It's much easier to say, do a Flickr search for photos that have been marked 'Don't care what you do with it.' by way of Creative Commons.

    Am I saying it's okay to steal unmarked artwork? Nope. But it is going to happen and when these people throw a fit, they just look like noobs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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