I know there are several people who like my photography; the Facebook ‘like’ button shows me there are at least 112 of you. But I’m in this business to make money, as otherwise I won’t be able to spend the time I do taking photographs, and there will be less stuff to like. I’m not going to beg – that is undignifed and unnecessary. I’m not going to chastise you – that would be counterproductive. But I am going to point a few things out that may not be immediately obvious.
If you want to use my photography on your site, that’s fine, but please get in touch and we can agree a price. The chances are the people who use your site are not there to buy photographs, so even if my photos are seen by thousands of pairs of eyes on your hugely successful site, there is no direct mechanism to convert those views to sales, nor any incentive, so a credit and/or a link to my site will not be enough. In fact a credit is the minimum I’d expect for even a paid photograph.
If you want to share my photographs with others, that’s fine by me. I don’t have a problem with people coming to my site to see what I do, as it increases the chances that someone will buy something, or hire me for a photoshoot. However, I reserve the right to decide by which mechanisms you share my photographs. Sadly there is little I can do to prevent Tumblr being used to reproduce my images en masse, however you may notice that you can’t use Pinterest to share an image from this site. Similarly, several of my images are available on Flickr, where there is a link to licence the images from Getty, so I have an (albeit small) incentive to share my best work there as widely as possible.
But you probably already know all this (however if you didn’t, I hope it’s been useful to know). As it is, I do have one final request to make, and this goes out to those of you who are also photographers. Please, please, please, DO NOT undersell yourself as a photographer. If someone wants to use one of your photographs for a website, or a magazine, or some other commercial use, don’t assume that by getting your name in print they are doing you a favour. As I mentioned above, this will not raise your profile as a paid, serious photographer – the people who see your photograph are not necessarily going to be the same people who would want to buy it; your customer is the person who uses the image. In fact, if someone DOES request the use of your photograph, you can quite reasonably argue that merely by their having found you, your ‘exposure’ is good enough already, and does not need the mythical boost that such people promise. The more photographers demand to be paid for their efforts, whether amateur or professional, the harder it will be for us to be exploited, and the less ‘acceptable’ it will be to try to obtain photography for free.