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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 29 Sep 2012 (Saturday) 16:11
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There is a question, but this is really more of a rant.

 
HotShots
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Sep 29, 2012 16:11 |  #1

So, how do you prevent people from stealing your pictures off a website? I know, I know. The only real way is to not post them and that brings me to my rant.

I have a successful (by my definition) part time sports photography business. I have chosen to sell my pictures while others that shoot the same events give theirs away. Roughly 40% of what I make covers expenses, 40% is donated back to the school I work with (I am very proud of this, by the way), and the rest I keep for myself.

I have added an ugly looking watermark that would hopefully encourage a person to buy a 'clean' picture. As for pricing, individual pictures are a little higher priced but I also offer a "Season Pass" which is like a subscription that allows them to download pictures - this is VERY reasonable.

It frustrates me to no end when I see the watermarked pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I'm actually a little more tolerant when kids do it. But, I have several parents that post them too. Including officers of the clubs that receive my biggest donations. They know how much I donate and they know where the money comes from. And, they know they don't want me to STOP donating. But, they don't seem care.

I know that this issue can never be fixed and I think that's why it is so frustrating to me. How can you let customers see the pictures but still encourage them to actually make a purchase?

Thanks for letting me rant for a second.


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stillinamerica
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Sep 29, 2012 20:54 |  #2

Do not post them online. Simple answer.

Not a helpful one though. So I will try to be helpful. Be the one who posts them on fcebook, put them on your page, let people tag themselves and drive people to your website. You cannot beat the system so use it to your favor.


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Christina.DazzleByDesign
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Sep 29, 2012 22:36 |  #3

^ This.

I tried to fight the system too. In the end I decided to just use facebook as people are going to use it. LET them tag themselves, with an ugly watermark if you like (but sometimes a really busy watermark can distract from the photo itself). It will make the people happy, and I havn't lost business from it. Actually I've probably gained a few more purchases, from extended family members seeing the photos on their facebook after they see the person tagged in it.

Besides, the photos uploaded on facebook get compressed by facebook into totally unprintable images anyway. Unless someone wants a pile of pixels on their wall, I think those who seriously want nice prints to hang, know to contact the photographer.

It also drives traffic to your website and/or facebook fanpage. In the end I decided that could be more useful in the long run. And if people tag or re-share photos - hey, at least my name gets out there plastered across the photo for their friends to see.


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Mike ­ R
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Sep 29, 2012 23:04 |  #4

I shoot HS Sports as a side business. Several years ago, when I found out that kids were stealing shots and using them on FB, I made the offer to a football team that if any kid wanted a clean image, sized for FB, that I would give it to them. Not one kid asked. But as long as their parents were buying prints, I accepted it.
I now have a business FB page in addition to my web site. On my website, I changed the watermark to a large "PROOF" instead of my ©info. I don't think anyone would want to steal it.
On my FB page, I post a shot from each game, with my © on the bottom. On occasion, I even tag the kid. I really believe that this page, and the photos I post on it, drive people to my website. It's still early in the season for the fall sports that I shoot but sales are good.


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glumpy
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Oct 02, 2012 08:36 |  #5
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HotShots wrote in post #15058534 (external link)
How can you let customers see the pictures but still encourage them to actually make a purchase?

Simple.

Sell onsite only.
That's what I did. Worked fine.
You will get lots of people whining that the pics aren't online any more, I'd tell them directly why not. Too many people steal them and if it continued you'd have to stop shooting all together.

If you do onsite only your sales will probably double, most go up more still.
You just have to act on what you have learned and prevent it.

If you want to get the pics in front of the people without them stealing them then sell onsite only either from printed proofs or galleries on view stations.


From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.

  
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RDKirk
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Oct 02, 2012 12:31 |  #6

glumpy wrote in post #15069165 (external link)
Simple.

Sell onsite only.
That's what I did. Worked fine.
You will get lots of people whining that the pics aren't online any more, I'd tell them directly why not. Too many people steal them and if it continued you'd have to stop shooting all together.

If you do onsite only your sales will probably double, most go up more still.
You just have to act on what you have learned and prevent it.

If you want to get the pics in front of the people without them stealing them then sell onsite only either from printed proofs or galleries on view stations.

There is another current thread where same question has been asked, and I've given the same answer.

People are most willing to buy at first sight. Every time they see the image, it reduces the impulse to buy a bit more--especially if they can show them to friends without making a purchase.

You'll do better with this kind of product to sell on site at first sight. Make sure they get the implication that any you take back with you will not be available later.


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Ralpho
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Oct 02, 2012 15:28 |  #7

Try changing your watermark to something offensive. For example, if its girls basketball make your watermark "****!" and run it big in center of photo. Few people will want to steal it.




  
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jra
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Oct 02, 2012 23:59 |  #8

Even with watermarks, people will use the photos on Facebook and other social networking sites. Instead of trying to fight it, I would encourage you to embrace it (assuming you plan on continuing to post pics online). Make your watermark so that it reflects directly to your site and enjoy the free advertising. The only other option I could suggest would be to stop posting your photos online (as has been suggested) or to only post photos that have been purchased (it would encourage people to purchase). Posting images online is a catch 22 in a lot of ways......you hope to sell but it also offers people the opportunity to take.




  
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glumpy
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Oct 03, 2012 02:59 |  #9
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Ralpho wrote in post #15071076 (external link)
Try changing your watermark to something offensive. For example, if its girls basketball make your watermark "****!" and run it big in center of photo. Few people will want to steal it.

Yeah, I'm sure in this day and age of political correctness someone in the leagues or somewhere isn't going to blow a fuse over having the word **** scrawled all over pics of female players. Can't see that winning a lot of favour with anyone! :rolleyes:

Sorry but I don't think that is a very smart or practical idea at all.


From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.

  
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ndelacova
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Oct 04, 2012 11:00 |  #10

Just a couple of thoughts...

Have you confronted the people that have taken your images? Have you written in Facebook that the images can be tagged but are not for the taking? Many people believe that since you can right mouse click and save it, then its free, regardless of whether it has a watermark. You can reduce the number of photos of the kids that have taken your images and increase those that buy your images.




  
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symbolphoto
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Oct 04, 2012 12:00 |  #11

This is an easy one. Either you find a way to make your photographs noticeably better.

Or

Seek alternative genre's for a side job. If the only thing separating you from from income is any Joe that comes along with a camera, then you are in for hard times, my friend.

People don't care that you are donating. They want their photographs also. You don't have exclusive rights and they know that. So what's to prevent them from doing it? Nothing.




  
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cdifoto
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Oct 04, 2012 12:12 |  #12

ndelacova wrote in post #15079047 (external link)
Just a couple of thoughts...

Have you confronted the people that have taken your images? Have you written in Facebook that the images can be tagged but are not for the taking? Many people believe that since you can right mouse click and save it, then its free, regardless of whether it has a watermark. You can reduce the number of photos of the kids that have taken your images and increase those that buy your images.

You don't even have to right click on facebook. There's a button next to every photo for downloading. You can also easily share with yet another button. Sharing is the whole point of facebook.


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deuce818
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Oct 04, 2012 19:59 |  #13

Ralpho wrote in post #15071076 (external link)
Try changing your watermark to something offensive. For example, if its girls basketball make your watermark "****!" and run it big in center of photo. Few people will want to steal it.

lmao!


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Joe300
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Oct 04, 2012 21:38 |  #14

What I do is let them have it for free,(they are going to download it anyway).
so when they all start talking about my great action shots and who the photographer is they go to my web site and parents buy more. I get gigs with school seniors, etc.. you know the paying jobs....LOL

One kid had my football image on his cell phone of him catching the ball, I told him you got that from my site, he said well yes... I told him you owe me $5.00. the next time I seen him he handed me $5.00 but I give it back... told him to buy me a water and popcorn...LOL

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SillyGuy
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Oct 06, 2012 18:28 |  #15

I like ralpho's idea


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