It seems I have “rattled the cage” of some photography blogger and due to his barrage of nasty, spiteful and slanderous comments and comments on various pages of my website I thought I would do an open letter response to not only make him stop harassing me but also to put the record straight for anyone else who may have doubts about my web pages, the content and what my site and blog is all about.
Long story short, the blogger is accusing my site of being phoney and “clickbait” and accusing me of not being a photographer and owning a camera. I am struggling to see what I have done to this individual, and I will probably never find out. Perhaps this blogger has a chip on his shoulder because he doesn’t (or can’t perhaps?) make money from photography – this blogger openly states on his page that photography is a bit of fun for him and he has a day job. Perhaps this blogger has a chip on his shoulder because he struggles with traffic? Basically I don’t know what the problem is here, but I am going to set it straight.
Even though I make money from my photography (so I guess I can’t be a bad photographer) I still use some stock photos on my tips, advice and tutorial web pages. Before I use any image on my site that is not one I have taken myself I check the licensing agreement/arrangement to make sure that I am not doing anything wrong re copy right and the like. Some of the stock photos are totally free (these can be used for any purpose), some of the stock photos I had to pay for, and some of the photos are taken by fellow photographers who allow me to use them on my website. I never claim to be the creator of any image on any of my webpages that was not taken by me.
Now, given I actually own a camera and take photos using stock photos and photos taken by my photography buddies may seem weird to some people. The thing is there are times when I can’t use any of the photos I have taken.
Let’s take my wedding shoots for example. Whenever I take on a wedding shoot I insist on a formal contract between myself and the happy couple. My contract states that although the photos I take during the wedding belong to me, I will not use them for any online marketing purposes. Whilst there are some vein and self-centred people out there who want all and sundry seeing photos of themselves, none of the clients I take on want this. Yep, none of my clients want photos of their happy day cast all over the internet and I refuse to do this because it is not right, it is not ethical and if I ignored this I would never be asked to shoot another wedding again. I respect people’s privacy, it is something I take very seriously, therefore I never use any of my wedding photos on my web pages.
As another example, let’s look at my boudoir shoots. Once again, before I undertake a boudoir shoot I issue a formal contract stating what happens to the photos, and in the contract there is a clause stating the photos will not be used online in any way, shape or form. If the model decides to post the photos from the shoot that is their lookout and I have no problem with this, however I will never use the photos on any of my webpages.
The way I conduct my photography is simple. Whenever people are involved my photography contracts state that whilst I own the photos and all the rights to the photos I will not use them for any online marketing, online tutorials or for any other online purpose. I don’t get my photography gigs through the internet, and I operate my photography blog for fun, for something to do and to give some of the tips and tricks I have learned over the years to anyone who may find it useful.
Because of the above I use stock photos for some of my webpages. Just because the images aren’t mine it doesn’t mean I don’t actively take photos of people. Just because some of the images aren’t mine it doesn’t mean I am trying to trick or scam people. I use stock images because I think they enhance the written content (i.e. the points I am trying to get across) and enhance the user experience.
I could just dispense with using stock photos and just leave the narrative, however I think this would put many people off. I know that when I find a webpage that is nothing but paragraphs and paragraphs of text I close it down without even bothering. If the paragraphs are broken up with some (relevant) images I will at least start to read the page to see if it is of interest or not. Because of my online habits I ensure there are always some photos to make the page a little easier to read.
Aside from the “people” type photos there are other images I do not use on my website. If I sell one of my photos on a “one off” basis I never put it on my site or blog. If someone likes a photo of mine to the extent they are willing to buy it there is no way I am going to use it for my own use. Even though I own the rights to the photo, as far as I am concerned the rights go to the client paying for the image.
I do sell some of my photos through various print on demand stores and I will use these images on my site and blogs, however I will always watermark them and provide a link to the site where a “clean” copy of the image is available to buy.
Since I use free stock photos on my site and blogs I make sure I “give back” and submit some of my photos to the free stock sites for other people to use on their website and/or blogs as they wish.
So there we are, if you look at my pages and think it contains a stock photo, the chances are it may well be. But, just because it is a stock photo don’t dismiss my site or blog as “click bait” like this narrow minded, spiteful and nasty blogger has, well not in the first instance anyway. Before dismissing my site and/or blog at least take a look at the content and see if it is of any use. If, after reading a few lines you are still of the opinion the content is of no use or (dare I say) a load of rubbish then, by all means, leave the site and go elsewhere. But please, give it a chance first.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.