Thursday, April 9, 2020

All Rights Reserved: Copyright Infringement - for Photographers

All Rights Reserved: Copyright Infringement - for Photographers

The advent of the internet has started an open season on copyright infringement of photographs. Website owners and developers find it all too easy to take photos online and put them on their websites.
Hence, professional photographers must understand the legal ramifications of copyright law in the photography industry.

Don't let your work be plagiarized without a fight!

After all, you have busted your behind trying to perfect your craft. So, before you capture your next photo or use an image you find on Google, make sure you are aware of how privacy and copyright laws work.

What exactly is copyright?

Copyright protects the legal rights of the intellectual property or work of art owner. In Layman's terms, copyright is the right to copy. For photographers, this means that only they're the original creators of their images, and anyone they give permission and authorization to, are the only ones with the exclusive right to post, publish, or otherwise reproduce their images.

Your photo = your copyright

The moment you snap photos on your camera, you own the copyright to your images. Regardless of your skill level, your pictures and other content are protected by law.
Bear in mind that copyright laws vary from state to state and country to country, so the information in this article is general.

More education required

The lack of education or knowledge about copyright has caused a lot of issues in the photography industry. A lot of emerging photographers are not informing their clients on copyright and usage, so clients expect that they own their images and can publish or reproduce them without authorization from the photographer.
To add to this problem, lawyers often advise their clients to obtain copyright from the photographer, but in many cases, this is completely unnecessary, unless the client wants to sell the photos and make a profit from those images.
Copyright law for photographers
While it is not really necessary for photographers to submit any paperwork for their photos to be copyrighted, it may not be a bad idea to do so. Having your work copyrighted could get you punitive and compensatory damages in case of an infringement.
How to copyright photographs
In the United States, copyrights can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Forms can be downloaded on their website, which explains further how to copyright photographs.
The registration will be based upon whether or not your photos have been already published; unpublished work is granted the strongest protection and could easily be filed, published work, however, requires a longer process and will be determined by the date of publication.
Should you register your copyright if you are publishing photography online?
The same copyright laws protect your photos when you publish online, and your work will never become public domain unless you change its settings.
Some platforms have settings when you upload your images that allow for commercial use of your work without paying for it. You can still, however, report copyright infringement. Although when in doubt, just watermark each photo with a © symbol.
What if an image is made using your work and then used commercially?
Yes, that situation can be considered as copyright infringement if it is regarded to be a derivative work and that the illustrator has plagiarized the copyrightable elements of your work.
A derivative work must still contain some substantial originality. The threshold for originality from this work is assessed much higher than that required for the original work.
Who owns what?
An important point to note here is that whoever created the derivative work owns the copyright to the revision of the photograph only, but the original copyright is still owned by the creator of the original work the derivative work was based on.
Is there a simpler approach? Yes. 
Since photography, copyright laws may seem daunting and overwhelming, and copyright notices are not really necessary for your photos to be copyrighted, it is a great idea to place some sort of notice on your pictures in order to, to some degree, deter theft and plagiarism.
Watermark photos for added protection
Watermarking your photos, for example, is important in a way that it allows people to know that the photographs are not to be used unless authorization or license is granted by the owner personally.
Unlike professional publishers who know they should not use another photographer's work and are willing to pay for it, a lot of times, people simply are just not aware that they are infringing on copyright and end up placing your work on their websites.
Promote the rightful owner
A watermarked photo will not only let potential unauthorized users know that it is prohibited but in the event that they do, their readers or audience will know who the rightful owner is, of the photos.
Part of being a professional photographer is managing a business. A lot of photographers admit that the photography part of their business only represents a percentage of all that is involved, a lot of the time and effort is spent on other facets of running the business such as the sales, administrative, and management aspects. It is beneficial if part of that time is used to know and understand how to protect your work.
What can you do if your photography is used without permission?
Hopefully, you have added a © copyright notice on your work, but even if you haven't, you will still be protected by your country's copyright laws. There are several different ways to handle this situation.
Option 1:             Request a photo credit
If the infringer is already offering a decent marketing outlet for your photographs on their own website, you may want some credit - where credit is due. Send him or her an email or D.M. them on social media to request a credit on your photography and likewise, set the parameters for the right to use your work.
As well as a link
Add the stipulation that the infringer must also publish a copyright notice and a link to your own online portfolio, too. The good thing you can get from this is that you may even get some new customers because of all the additional exposure. Free marketing!
Option 2:             Prepare a DCMA take-down notice
This take-down notice must be in writing and signed by the copyright owner, recognizing the copyrighted photo that was infringed.
As the photographer, you must also include a statement that the info contained in the notice is accurate and that you have the right to proceed because you're the owner of the copyright.
Even if you don't live in the U.S., you may still use this tool to stop an infringer in the United States from using your work.
Option 3:             Prepare a Cease and Desist Notice
If the infringer could be a potential client and you'd rather not cause a fuss, personally reach out to them and inform them that their use of your work is not duly authorized. Either request payment for an appropriate license fee to use your image, a photo credit with the link to your digital portfolio or website, or if that does not work, ask them to cease the use of your image.
Receiving compensation
The compensation you can receive from a copyright infringement can often-times amount to over thrice your normal license fee if you register your works in a timely manner.
Keep in mind that there are some risks in sending the demand letter yourself. You may have to be up for a struggle because if the infringer says that they were duly authorized to use your photography by filing a request for declaratory judgment to deter a lawsuit.
This may also involve taking legal action for which you may need the help of a lawyer in a court that may not be in your area. Not fun, especially if you are out of your jurisdiction.
To avoid these from happening, include in your letter an "offer to settle in an attempt to settle this dispute." Consider speaking to your legal counsel first.
Option 4:             Get a lawyer to send a demand letter
Although this can lead to rising tensions, the weight of your demand letter is drastically increased if it comes from a lawyer.
Some lawyers charge a flat fee to send a letter, but others may charge a "contingency fee" depending on the percentage of the recovery—or both.
Make sure to find a lawyer who specializes in copyright issues.
Option 5:             File a copyright infringement lawsuit
This is your most assertive option and will involve pursuing legal actions by filing a suit.
It is ideal to hire a lawyer to help you file suit because legal procedures could be complicated. Even if your photography is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office during the time of the infringement, you could still file a suit. Nevertheless, you may want to register your works for possible future infringements to be eligible for legal damages.
Keep in mind that you will have three years from the date of infringement to file for legal actions for copyright infringement. But in most jurisdictions, you will need to have received your registration certificate to file a complaint in a Federal district court.

Tips on Copyrights
Don't forget the metadata
Whether IPTC or EXIF, don't forget to ensure that every photo you post online has this data attached to it. This should, at least, include copyright and author information, more than enough to verify that you are the owner of the photos if needed and make it easy for someone interested in purchasing licenses for the photo to track it back to you.
License and license well
State what the terms of use of your works are under, it is important to make their license clear and place it on every page of your site. With Google, people don't come in through the front door, and they will not click to read your dedicated license page.
Keep it simple
Make the terms plain and simple and in a place where anyone who just stumbled across the image will notice it. The odds of the license being followed go up considerably when it is clear and visible. Likewise, make sure to avoid both legal and industry jargon as they only serve to confuse further.
Search for your works regularly
You are most likely to know what you're most popular works are, and it makes sense to see where they are being posted. For quick searches, you could use an image search engine such as Google Images and Tineye.
 Meanwhile, if you want a more complete solution but you are on a tight budget you can opt for ImageRights or SignMyImage. For a more advanced and thorough system, considering either Digimarc or Picscout.
The main point though is to use those software and tools first and foremost to get a grip of how your images are being used and then decide about ‘if’ and ‘how’ to respond.
Focus on bad actors
Use common sense when contacting those who are using your images and respond accordingly. Understand that a lot of people are not exactly aware of how copyright works on the internet and, as a copyright holder, you have a chance to educate them.
Register your works
It goes without saying, but consistently and regularly register your content with the U.S. Copyright Office, particularly if you are in the United States or are dealing with copyright infringement in the United States. Failure to register, especially for a professional photographer can be a very  expensive mistake.
Keep putting out high-quality content
The best way to protect your works against piracy is to be ahead of it. If you are putting out high-quality work regularly, the infringers will always be several works behind. Keep honing and improving your craft and putting out fresher, better works, and you will likely find that the impact that infringement has is much less.
Copyright is something that many people don't understand – even your clients. It is important to educate yourself and others you work with on the ins-and-outs of copyright. Laws differ from country to country, but you can find more information - online.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How to Protect Your Photos from Theft

How to Protect Your Photos from Theft

Technology has brought a myriad of advancements in the photography industry. The digital era allows photographers to see their pictures as soon as they are captured. Some adjustments can be done inside the camera, while others in a digital darkroom, such as Corel PaintShop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. The world wide web has opened up lucrative opportunities for photographers to present and sell their work on websites that can be viewed from smartphones, computers, and tablets. Together with benefits for photographers, the Internet likewise provides opportunities for intellectual property thieves. Photos and images are being stolen from websites every day. They are used to make a profit by someone else other than the owner. Watermarking photographs that are placed online is the best way to prevent theft.

Why are images stolen?

Some people assume that every photo uploaded online is free to take, but the rest of them know better. Everybody is looking for a way to make some extra money and some resort to using images produced by other people to create products in on request print shops.  
A lot of companies offer printing services for mugs, shoes, tote bags, calendars, greeting cards,  and many other products. The objects are then sold to the person who uploads the images for a fee. Unprofessional freelancers are taking photographs from websites and digital portfolios and uploading them to on-demand print companies and making money from the hard work of someone else.

Is it worth chasing image and photo thieves?

During most of the holidays, photography calendars were very popular items, and some small print shops are searching for location-themed images online to print calendars to sell to companies within their group. Normally such calendars are printed with the business name. To avoid having to pay a local photographer, newspapers and magazines have lifted photos from the Internet. The sad reality is most photographers can't afford to sue anyone without permission for using their photos. Because intellectual property is patented the instant it is created, if you want to reclaim the financial loss, you must go to court and prove it is yours. Several people are stealing photos for advertising to their sites or using them as screen savers. They don't use them for financial benefit, but they still do it without any of the photographer's knowledge or permission.

How can you protect your work?

Don't get frustrated about stolen pictures. Resist the temptation to stop posting your photo online. You'll lose sales opportunities and the chance to build your brand name. Watermarking the image is the common-sense approach which is becoming popular for the thievery. There are many ways that photographers who have graphic design programs and expertise can create an important watermark.

The importance of watermarks

If you're using Adobe Photoshop, you can make a personalized watermark brush that's saved that can be used for all your photos, and you can watch a demonstration on how to create it at Digital guides from Corel PaintShop Pro and Gimp also show ways to create appealing watermarks. Many photographers type their name on their photographs in capital letters, but this may appear confusing, inappropriate and unprofessional.

What if you don't have a graphics program?

If you've never used a graphics system other than what your computer and camera software does, the online watermark programs can still secure your images. From a wide variety of templates, you can select and choose your theme, color, and font, or you can follow the instructions to build your own. It is simple, it is quick, and it is inexpensive. In just minutes, you can be shielding your lovely images.

Prevent piracy of images using resolution and scale

One of the first and simplest steps, any photographer can take when it comes to protecting images from photo theft is to reduce the resolution and size of their photos when posting online. The Copytrack Global Infringement Report found that images with a 16:9 aspect ratio were most likely to be robbed while Full HD or 1920x 1080 pixels were the most common format for image theft in 2018.
A good start will be to post your images in an aspect ratio and resolution other than Full HD if you are looking for an easy way to dissuade possible photo thieves. To protect their work, photographers may also use semi-transparent or opaque watermarks. The last thing most thieves want to do is take the time and energy to erase watermarks, instead of simply finding a different, unwatermarked file.  If you do watermark your pictures, it's important to ensure your watermarks are sufficiently prominent not to be easy to expel.
Photographers may also opt for the barcode Digimarc or the undetectable watermark. These hidden watermarks act as digital forms of image copyright security by incorporating information about copyright directly into images themselves while maintaining the information invisible to the human eye. For image owners, it becomes a win-win, as they can upload their photos without requiring an obvious watermark. While an invisible watermark will not always help to prevent theft of photographs, it will make it much easier to trace images once they have been taken.

Making it painfully evident that your work is copyrighted

Another common method is to make it loud and clear that your pictures are proprietary on your page, use wording throughout the document that states all the work is copyrighted. If you really need exceptional licensing to use your images, ensure it is clearly displayed so that every online user can see that they are not allowed to take your photos without purchasing licenses.
It can be helpful to add a clear warning that means you're going to chase down your photo's unlawful usage — and that it can lead to serious fines for the guilty. The starting point for fines in most countries is the expense of the initial license per file— and in some cases, additional charges may be added on top. Of example, if someone were to use one of the pictures on a business website, you might argue the business owner took advantage of the advertisement and try to add a proportion of those earnings to the fine, plus legal and court expenses.

Will it guarantee complete security?

While letting people know that your work is copyrighted will not automatically guarantee complete security against image stealing, it will help inform others who might otherwise have inadvertently stolen their images. And, you never know — clearly showing your use criteria could even lead to additional licensing of your photos.
Another quick step to take is to name the owner of the copyright and the image source itself. When applying this detail to the lower margin of the frame, for example, it is made perfectly clear who holds the image rights and where the photo came from. It holds true even if the photos can be found somewhere other than the page, making it clear once again that nobody is entitled to use these pictures.

Identification of stolen images for copyright and post-licensing

Although this approach does not ensure immunity from the act of image piracy itself, it is helpful to sign up for copyright protection when you need to back up your copyright claim in court. Having the photographs licensed by a district court or notary will provide you with the requisite evidence to prove that you are in fact, the one who owns the copyright for a particular image. When you sign an image, you will receive a certificate clearly demonstrating that you are the legitimate copyright owner.

How do you obtain a copyright license?

Obtaining a copyright license is easy enough: Generally, any photographer could always go to a site such as to protect their photos. But there are new ways to get this done in 2020, such as using blockchain technology. For example, copyright registry firms such as Concensum provide a complicated alternative for those around the world who want to claim a copyright for their pictures. Their worldwide register of intellectual property is specifically designed for photographers who want to preserve their images, using blockchain technology to anonymously store uploaded photos and data about the copyright owner and the licensing benefits.
As any photographer probably knows, posting pictures without getting them compromised at one point or another can be next to difficult. That is why one of the vital things, you can do to secure your job is to guarantee that you have an action plan for when you are becoming a victim of online image stealing.

How to know if someone has been using your images

Luckily there's a way to get the rightful compensation you deserve for your stolen pictures. You can use a range of services to figure out if someone has been using your images online without your consent, such as Google's reverse image check, or web-crawling apps that actively scan and trace your photos so you can be notified as soon as a hacker inappropriately uses your images. When you know that your photographs are being used without consent, you will take legal action to make claims for your stolen pictures and get back money that you deserve legally.

Disable Right Click
The most common method people steal your images is to access them online, right-click them, and save them to their own devices, and use them as they wish. But one way to hamper the process is to delete the photos of your pages by right-clicking.

How to turn off right-clicking?

There are several options to do that, but the quickest way to do that is by WordPress plugin such as No Right Click Photos App. This plugin uses JavaScript to deactivate the action right-clicking on pictures. On the drawback, this move does not eliminate the possibility that your photographs may be stolen but it does act as a safeguard against data thieves. Casual criminals are likely to move to a location with easier access to the video.
Do not take chances with your pictures, as no one else will benefit from your work. Build a reputable watermark that will protect your images and foil the theft of intellectual property.

What do I do next when someone stole my photos?

Whether or not you have followed the preventive measures mentioned above, you may have your pictures taken. You may not even recognize your work has been replicated several times, but how do you react when you do? If a robbery happens and if so, what are your alternatives? Here are just a few to consider.

Removal request

Often solving the problem is as easy as asking someone else or organization to delete your photograph. Policing your content is a time-consuming activity, but it is a way out of other ways to get your work done.

DMCA removal notice

Outlet appeals are usually accompanied by a takedown notice from DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which must include the name of the work, the location of the work, a declaration of good faith, a statement of authenticity and a statement that the author is the legitimate copyright owner.
Cease and Desist Notice: In situations where your work is being used without your permission, in compliance with the DMCA, you can submit a notice of cease and desist. Nevertheless, a report issued by the U.S. Copyright Office suggests such warnings only operate for the short term, because the other party can take away any physical evidence before any evidence has been collected. That is why it advises photographers to "make print screens, record as much as necessary about the mishap, inform website owners, the hosting company, and search engines in accordance with the DMCA" when taking this course of action.

The takeaway

Sadly, when it comes to maintaining the images online, there is still no ' one-size-fits-all ' approach. The unfortunate reality of the internet world is that photos and other content are thriving misused without proper authorization from their respective owners. Nothing will ever protect your material from being hacked by committed photo thieves; you can only discourage them. Through incorporating all of these above-listed image security methods, pirates would find it much harder to import and edit the images. It will also stop and prevent would-be-thieves in fear of potential penalties from stealing your images.

Monday, March 23, 2020

How important is Social Media Marketing for Photographers?

How important is Social Media Marketing for Photographers?

Social media marketing is now recognized as a very effective way of winning new customers and building trust and loyalty with existing ones. Many experts are citing visual marketing as one of the most essential business trends for the years to come, and social media platforms such as Instagram are a perfect tool for this.
Pictures appeal to human emotions, and they are a compelling way of promoting products and services and developing a brand.

Considered using Instagram marketing?
Instagram marketing may not be something you have considered for your photography, but the increasing popularity of this social media platform means it could be an excellent opportunity to reach more audiences.
If you currently take photos for a hobby, a living, or are just starting out as a photographer, and you are not on Instagram, you could be missing out on a ton of potential exposure. A lack of familiarity with this social media platform could mean that you don't know where to start, so we have created a simple guide to help photographers get up and running on Instagram Marketing.
These questions and answers will help you decide if Instagram marketing is a productive activity from which you will see a return?

1.     What is Instagram Marketing?
Launched in October 2010, Instagram is an online platform for sharing photos. It integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other networks, and allows the user to share pictures instantly. One of the things which set Instagram apart from other similar photo-sharing apps is the ability to apply different filters for aesthetic effects. Simple snapshots can be made to look like professional photographs with the creative use of digital filters.

Publish or perish!
On Instagram, the more often you publish, the more you can boost your brand awareness. Yes, you are not only an artist but a brand as well. The channel is brimming with thousands of curators, potential clients, and agencies looking for fresh talent like yours.
Furthermore, having an Instagram photography account will help you build an enthusiastic community that will hopefully, associate with your imagery. This platform allows for one-on-one engagement that can bring you valuable feedback on your work and endless inspiration.
The Best Part
The best part of Instagram marketing is that you don't even need to be a professional and seasoned photographer. Instagram marketing is all about capturing and sharing the moment and making your audience feels close to you.
The quality of photos most smartphones capture is very good, so there's no need to worry about technical skills. If you want to share pictures of your products, you just need to make sure they are in focus and in a well-lit environment. If your pictures look too professional, you could lose the impact of sharing images which should appear to be taken at the moment.

2.     Do I have to have a product?
Visual marketing is advisable for marketing products, but you can also use the same techniques for services you offer. If your business is in the fashion retail niche, it's easy to see how sharing photographs of your apparel can raise awareness and lead to revenues. An industry like dental hygiene, however, may need to think more creatively when it comes to Instagram marketing, sharing abstract images associated with freshness and confidence.
Several of the most successful examples of Instagram marketing involve sharing pictures of satisfied customers with testimonials, and this is a great idea if you have willing volunteers.

3.     What Should I Post?
Instagram shouldn't really be a carbon copy of your website or portfolio; think of it more to showcase the world your own unique personality and style. Try and strike a balance between excellent shots that show your ability, and some ad-hoc phone photos as well that offer a glimpse into your business – a bit like a visual diary!
You can likewise use Instagram to experiment with different styles and get some feedback from your followers.

4.     To Filter or Not to Filter?
Instagram's wide range of filters are completely adequate for a lot of users and being able to modify the levels of these certainly makes it easy to beautify your images until you're satisfied and happy.
Nevertheless, as a serious photographer, it is likely that you have your own style and technique already. Using filters is okay (after all, it is your Instagram account, and you can do whatever you please), but you may get closer to the output you are looking for by experimenting with the various editing apps on offer or using your own preferred software until you find one that's perfect for you.

5.     Is There an Ideal Time for Posting on Instagram?
Posting content at different times of day will affect how your audience responds and engages to it. You want to post your content during a time when most of your audience is online and engagement could be high, so the Instagram algorithm identifies your content as popular. This way, it will have a much better shot at landing a place on the explore tab where you can get a ton of new followers. Once you know the time that works best for your chosen audience, schedule all future posts around that time.
However, this can vary depending on your location, the type of content you post, and your audience's routine. So how can you make sure you're posting at your optimal time? Post, experiment, learn, repeat.
Trial and Error
Like many other things in life, the only way to figure out what works for you is by trying out many different options. Before you decide on a specific day or time to post on your Instagram photography account, play around with different publication schedules. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to be constant. There's no point in searching for the best time to post on Instagram if you only do so once in a blue moon.

6.      What Caption Should I Put?
On Instagram, you don't have to write a lot. That's one of the reasons for its huge success. Still, don't forget to add a description (or "caption" in social media slang) to each of the images you post. It can be short but should still be rich with valuable info for your community.
Lacking inspiration when it comes to the caption?
Don't worry. You have much more to tell than you think. For example, you can talk about where your picture was taken, the gear that you used or even the people you met along the way. For the more adventurous audience, shape a funny haiku-like caption to show that you're as sharp with words as you are with your lenses.
Useful tip:  Don't forget to tag all the people involved in the photo (from the hotel where you shot it, to the client that commissioned it. This way, you will multiply the chances of your image being seen, liked and commented on.

7.     What is User Generated Content, and How Could It Help My Brand?
Some marketing experts believe UGC is arguably the best form of digital marketing. Word of mouth recommendation is deemed as being incredibly powerful, and businesses have thrived on this for decades. In the online realm, customers can have an active involvement in how your brand is perceived by others.
Promote Authenticity
Satisfied customers may share photos of themselves enjoying your services and products, and this is a very powerful marketing tool. UGC builds trust and boosts awareness. More and more business owners are encouraging their customers to take Instagram pictures that will ultimately lead to positive reviews and further sales.
Moreover, it promotes authenticity. Consumers are twice more likely to view user-generated content as authentic, compared to content created by brands. That offers brands an important credibility boost since most people say less than half of all brands create authentic content.

8.     How Can I Grow My Audience with Instagram Marketing?
Instagram marketing only works if you already have an audience and followers. There are several ways to develop a following, and the strategies are like those utilized to build audiences on other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Engaging potential customers by following them and liking their pictures is a great place to start.
Great way to Attract Attention
Once you are comfortable with Instagram, it is a good idea to turn your attention to expanding your audience – especially if photography is your primary source of income because of more followers = more potential customers. Instagram accounts with big audiences will also attract the attention of prominent companies like Associated Press, and National Geographic, Getty, who may be on the lookout for new talent.

9.     How Can You Make Sure It's Not Just Your Friends and Family Liking Your Photos?
Follow people whose Instagram accounts inspire you, and don't just limit this to the most popular posters – by searching hashtags yourself, you can find other photographers who are interested in the same subjects, techniques, and technology as you.
Benefit of Interacting with Other Photographers
Once you start using Instagram to interact with other photography accounts, the app will begin to understand what your interests are and will, therefore, populate the Explore tab with photos it thinks you'll appreciate. This is another great way to find new accounts to follow.
Engaging with your fellow creatives by commenting on their images and starting a conversation will introduce your work to more people, and you might make some friends in the process! You may even be able to find a local community that you can become part of, to the benefit of everyone involved.

10.    How Can I Draw More Attention?
This is an easy, fun, and quick way to engage in social media culture. You need to be up to speed with current trending topics and relevant hashtags. Then you should shape some of your work to fit the current trends. This can be an excellent way to get your photography in front of millions of brand new and fresh eyes.
Use of Hashtags
But with thousands of images published every minute, there is little chance that a random user will stumble upon your photos unless they are one of your followers. That is why we use hashtags: to allow for new curious eyes to see our images without needing to pay for a promoted post. A hashtag is a text following a # symbol that is connected to a certain topic. Social media users can search a hashtag to discover content that would be most interesting to them, allowing them to discover new exciting artists.
You can utilize the power of hashtags every time you attach one (or more) of them to each of your picture's descriptions. Thus, you'll multiply your chances of being discovered and attract more followers, likes and comments.

Three questions will automatically arise:
1.      How many can I use?
On Instagram, there is a limit of 30 hashtags per publication. However, on the contrary, there is no reason to skimp on this. The most serious, scientifically driven studies show that on Instagram, unlike Twitter, the more hashtags you put, the better your posts perform. Since you don't want to overload your pictures, you can safely go for something between 3-10 hashtags per post.

2.      Where will I put them?
For your follower's sake, please don't write your entire description with one hashtag per word. #Because #it #is #not #really #legible #is #it? Simply put your hashtags at the end of your posts for a clean look. You can also hide your tags, by including them in the comment section below the post or by burying them beneath five lines made of one dot line breaks (that's because Instagram caps off captions after the third line, so your hashtags won't be visible).

3.      Which should I use?
Don't try using obvious, common words like #photographer, #love or #landscape. They are overused, which means that your pictures will be instantly buried under thousands of new posts within a second. Plus, you'll receive a lot of spam comments from bots, which can be extremely annoying.
And the worst?
Instagram could shadowban you, and your posts won't appear when people search using those hashtags. Instead, go for photography tags that are just popular and relevant enough to give you potential, but not too crowded, so you have a chance to stand out.
How to establish your hashtag repertoire?
·        First, check out which hashtags other photographers in your field are using.
·        Second, consider related hashtags by browsing through different posts containing a hashtag you have already successfully used.
·        Thirdly, don't forget to use Instagram's search function to discover a list of valuable new ideas and the number of  related posts.
By shaping your content to be relevant to these tags, you can find a huge range of new fans.

11.    How Can I Protect My Photographs on Instagram?
Putting a watermark on your photos is hugely important because images on Instagram are meant to be shared. Without a watermark, the source of a photo can quickly be lost. Make sure your watermark is visible, without detracting too much from the image itself. Check out our guide to Where to Put Your Watermark for ideas.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Why Watermarks Matter in the Virtual World

                       Why Watermarks Matter in the Virtual World

Watermarks help protect the ‘intellectual property’ of your images – virtual or real!
Through placing a ‘watermark logo’ on your virtual images, makes it difficult for anyone to copy them.  Watermarks can be an important tool that greatly reduces the chances of someone taking your photos/images and using them unscrupulously without your permission.  In addition, they can be used to ensure what is Real and what is Virtual.

Quite simply there are 3 ways watermarks can be used effectively:-
·        Watermarks deter your photo/image being copied or reproduced
·        Watermark logos - displayed the same way each time on all photos/images – become your brand, or signature
·        Watermarks assist in the identification of what is ‘Real’ and what is ‘Virtual

Virtual Renovation Service – use of watermarks
One such company using Watermarquee watermarks successfully in the virtual world, is Australian start-up Proptech group:  PerfectRoom.  This virtual renovation service provides Realtors with a 3D photo-realistic image of the ‘potential’ for a property which is for sale. 

Such a virtual renovation maybe to update elements of a home including floor coverings; painting of walls; updated appliances; as well as removal of walls to expose a home’s true renovation potential.

Unlike Virtual Staging – where an ‘existing’ space is filled with amazing furnishings;  with Virtual Renovation, walls are removed and the entire space of a home may be redesigned or repurposed.
Here, entire walls are removed; window treatments added; light fittings included, and floor coverings changed.

The original photo is superimposed in the form of a watermark with the words, ‘Actual Room’ and the ‘PerfectRoom logo’ together with the words ‘3D visual’ is displayed on the 3D virtual image.  

Watermarks are used to clarify which is which!  Real ‘vs’ Virtual
Such watermark labelling also assists with not misleading any potential buyers.  It is clear to a home searcher – which is the Actual Room and which is the 3D Virtual Renovation Room.  This is very important so everyone is clear on what they are seeing (and potentially buying).
Given these images are posted on Instagram and Real Estate sites, it is imperative that all efforts are made to protect those images.  Just because it is a ‘virtual’ image – doesn’t make it any less important than a real photo.  It still needs protecting from someone stealing it for their own use.

Just as in an advertisement for a property for sale, the agent may use a company logo watermark to clearly identify the IP ownership of a particular photo.  This watermark logo clearly identifies them as the copyright owner of that photo.

What about in the ‘virtual world’?
So to in the virtual world.  With every PerfectRoom being an individual design – the end result needs protection from theft.  Here, a watermark is a major deterrent from being used illegally as well as not misleading any potential buyers.
This is imperative for the real estate platforms as well, given the high quality 3D photo realistic images can often be hard to distinguish from the originals. Perfect Property, Irelands fastest growing real estate platform uses watermarks to ensure the integrity for both their buyers and sellers.

In Summary
Safeguarding your work is important.  Watermarking is a major part of protecting your ‘virtual’ images and therefore guarding your work.  In addition, it can be used for identification and to build your branding. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

18 Photography Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

18 Photography Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

The accessibility of state-of-the-art and modern photography equipment has opened the door for enthusiasts, hobbyists, and professionals alike to pursue new niches in capturing captivating images. As photographers try and experiment with new techniques, some exciting trends are emerging and producing beautiful results.
This year we explore 18 exciting, emerging trends: from Drones to Pantone colours to Minimalism!

Times have evolved 
A few years ago, articles about the trends in photography were only interesting for professional photographers whose bread and butter are the pictures and images they take. Upcoming trends, however, influence the photography world so immensely that photographers must be aware of what people will be looking for in the future. It would also be useful to have some time to think of these upcoming photography trends and to recreate the wheel and make something similar but new.
This art is no longer a thing for a limited number of people – it is a popular hobby of millions. Innovations impact our lives at every turn, and there are thousands of fresh trends that people want to be a part of.
Here are some of the freshest photography trends to explore in 2020

1.         Macro Photography
Macro photography is a photography style that zooms in closely on an object (or a specific part of it) to capture its intricate details. Think of pollen on a flower or a butterfly's wings, for instance. Macro photography takes a common object and showcases it in a way that we have never imagined and thought about before.
Get creative and original
When we see the subject through a macro lens or the special device used to get every layer of detail clearly, for the first time, our mind is fascinated with the opened scene. In this special moment, people can easily forget about the fact that there are millions of other people who have already seen and photographed these things. Macro photography is too popular to pay attention to ordinary close-up shots.

2.         Film ‘vs’ Digital
While most of the population enjoy the freedom of digital photography instead of using traditional film, photographers are into film photography again. It requires thoughtfulness and intention before shooting a photo to make sure that the angles and lighting capture the best possible shot.
Working with photographic film also provides photographers with a way to discover the base of this visual world. And best of all, you have a physical, tangible object after capturing your shot.

3.         Light Painting
This technique is one of the most versatile photography styles. The same image can be shot in a number of different ways by experimenting with:-
·        Exposure time
·        Natural and artificial light; and
·        Reflections.
This is a lucrative trend for photographers because of its unlimited potential for creativity. Everyday images become captivating works of art with a few simple lighting adjustments.
No special equipment required
It doesn’t require any special equipment or lenses and isn't limited to a studio setting. For photographers who enjoy experimenting with light and shadow, light painting is an excellent niche to showcase their artistry and skill.

4.         HDR
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, is a technique that taps into the range of brightness between the darkest and lightest areas of the subject. It does not require any special equipment, although it does take a bit more time to edit and get the desired result.
Perfect for portrait and landscape
HDR images are perfect for portrait and landscape photography because of their ability to highlight differences between the light and shadows in an image and strike a balance between the two.
Most modern cameras have an HDR setting that lets the user adjust the contrast modes directly in the shot and saves them the editing time. Some photographers choose to take three images at various shutter speeds and then combine them to create the final image.
5.         Panoramic

Panoramic photography, or panotography, use wide-format shots to capture wider images like skylines and landscapes. It's designed to capture an image in the same way our eyes see it.
If a wide format lens isn't available, but you want to experiment with panotography, many smartphone cameras offer a panoramic setting. It is likewise possible to edit individual images to create a single, panoramic shot.
6.         Vintage-inspired

Vintage-inspired photography is proliferating as a modern take on an old-school photography style. With the popularity of filters on social media sites, the vintage look is a favourite for professionals and amateurs alike.
Retro vibe gives a unique outcome
To give your photos a retro vibe, experiment with saturation, contrast, and brightness to get the feel and look of an old photo. While most people use vintage photography to take "timeless" subjects like people or landscapes, it can be fun to take a modern-day subject and apply a vintage overlay for an ultra-unique outcome.

7.         Aerial
Aerial photography used to be limited only to those with access to helicopters or planes. Now, thanks to the popularity of drones, nearly anyone can take mesmerizing images from the air. The clunky drones of the past that cost an arm and a leg have innovated into a new breed of compact photography drone that costs less and takes higher-quality photos with a wide range of settings.
While there are state regulations for where and when drone photography is acceptable, it is quickly trending as a new outlet for architecture, landscape, and wildlife photographers to capture images that would not have been possible otherwise.

8.         Candid
When the first photography equipment was invented, spontaneity was just not a possibility for photographers. They had to painstakingly pose their subjects and keep them still for a while to get a decent image.
Have you seen blurry photos in the olden days?  Nope? That's because they had to lay motionless for a period of time to get a quality shot.
Capture the moment
As technology took over and cameras evolved, so did the flexibility for photographers to capture scenes and people at the moment, and gave birth to candid photos.
Candid photography is gaining popularity as a lucrative niche for professional photographers to capture authentic and raw photos and moments in time. Who wants staged photos anyway? Candid photos highlight the realness of the moment and if people were the subject, the trueness of human emotions.

9.         Animals
Whether it's a domesticated pet or wild jungle animals, animal photography has a way of drawing and capturing our attention. While it has always been a niche in the photography world, this style has spread to engagement photos, wedding photos, stock photos, and also to lucrative pet photoshoots.

10.       Landscape
There is an increasing trend for landscape images as standalone art--without an animal or human subject as the main focal point. Photographers are experimenting with new ways to showcase unique characteristics of landscapes, whether it is the unique textures of water against grainy land or the contrast between shadows and sunlight.

11.       Vibrant Colors
Strong, bright, and bold colours are what we expect to see in 2020. We believe this is to catch attention from the hundreds of thousands of images that are taken and shared every day. The stronger and bolder the colour, the louder it shouts. And it needs just that if it was to get noticed. Wall paintings, graffiti, and other outdoor designs are also becoming trendy and louder to stand out.

12.       Vertical is the Way
It's tough to imagine that even the orientation of images could be a trend. Horizontal images had always been ideal for landscapes and vertical for portraits. Here, however, you capture the flow of the subject or scene. It's absolutely due to smartphones. Every photo you take is automatically vertical unless you turn your device sideways. This is a big jump from SLRs, DSLRs, and mirrorless systems that are initially in the horizontal position.

13.       Saffron 14-1064
Colour management has a niche in photography. For the last several years or so, there has been much internet chatter about teal and orange split toning. Of course, nothing new is created. However, what is new is how we use the colours and management in our photos.
In 2020, we expect a trend in photography where the Pantone colour, Saffron, is widely used. You can also find the yellowy-orange colour in photo-editing apps by using the Pantone number, in this case,14-1064.

14. Capturing Images from Videos
Photography is an excellent medium to work with. You can capture almost any scene, well-lit or otherwise, with any digital camera or smartphone camera. As we have better sensor resolutions, photographers are free to film more.
The reason is that you can take still images from videos, whereas you cannot do the opposite. These images still keep good quality. Video filming a scene gives you the best of both worlds, ensuring you don't miss anything in that scene.
There are many advantages plus sides to this process. One is that you have the chance to monetize a stock video and a stock image. The other is that each second of the video gives you 30 or 60 frames to choose from, depending on your capture settings.

15.       360 Photography Trend
360° photography is going to be a huge photography trend in 2020. Whether for real estate photography or panoramic landscape photography, there is immense potential. This type of photography gained popularity in product photography, where the subject would turn as the camera captured it. Now, photographers are changing the way we take images by turning the camera 360° as it captures.
Ideal for real estate
Time-lapse photography is also something that benefits from this process. Nevertheless, it is also ideal for real estate photography. With this trend, you can capture a 360° shot of a room, where the viewer can move around it as if they were actually there. It helps bridge the gap between reality and photography in the digital realm. Moreover, you can create tiny globes, which, when done right, look amazing.

16.       Cloud Storage
As technology progresses, cameras gain better resolution. A bigger resolution indicated bigger file sizes are needed to store more information taken from the scenes you shoot. With increased file sizes comes an even bigger need for storage. This storage needs to be portable, as many of us travel and work on the road.
Hello, cloud storage
Cloud storage is a way to store and use your images around wirelessly. A few prominent companies, like Google, Apple, and Samsung, have their own cloud services, which is open to everyone. They all have a certain amount of space for free, expandable for a price. The great thing about this kind of storage is you have access to your files and images anywhere. You do, however, need a connection to the internet, but if you have one, you can edit your images on the go.

17.       Nature Awareness
As we get deeper into a more technological world, there will always be an element of resistance. We look to utilize the natural environment in our images, one way or another. It could be product photography or even portraiture, events such as weddings.
A natural setting fits into our increasing environmental awareness. Our connection with nature is developing more and more. This is visible in our consumer behaviour of actively opting for natural and sustainable ingredients.
As we continuously search for these products, manufacturers need to source images from a natural setting. This paves the way for your choices in stock photography images as well.

18.       Minimalism
Each year, we look at our photos and evaluate them through a magnifying glass. Complexity has always been a key player in photography, where photographers use techniques on top of utilizing colour management.
With the popularity of Instagram and its overused filters, photographers who want to stand out and be taken seriously take a step back. They opt for something that makes their images unique and different: a more minimalist approach. How so? Less noise translates to more focus on the subject. This goes for fashion, portrait photography, landscape photography, etcetera. The more minimalist your images are, the better.

The Year Ahead
There are nearly unlimited ways for photographers to create mesmerizing works of art through these and other trends and by using old techniques and equipment in fresher ways. Photography is an art form that's always changing and paving new ways for creative photographers to highlight their talent.