Many of my peers in hobbyist photography “watermark” their photographs, both on their websites and certainly on any social media or group sharing sites. And yet many of the pro photographers I follow don’t do this, even though they arguably have more of a reason for doing so.
A watermark is an identifier that sits overtop of some portion of the image. It is usually semi-transparent. The identifier could be the photographer’s name, their business name, or a combination of both. A copyright symbol and year might also be included. These labels might be simple white text or more elaborate logos and fonts. They are most often placed in a corner of the image, but sometimes can occupy more central space. Text sizes vary, but most are unobtrusive, aiming not to interfere with proper viewing of the image.
Why do photographers use them? It seems there are two main reasons: to guard against theft and to advertise their work. Let’s examine each of those purposes. Continue reading “To Watermark or Not to Watermark – That is the Question”
The options for manipulating an image after capture are endless today. Creative edits can include composites, the addition of graphic elements, and the use of finishing treatments such as texture overlays, painterly conversions, grunge and high dynamic range (HDR) effects. These are just a few possibilities.
But as recently as 1935, the only manipulation available to a photographer was around how much highlight and shadow to reveal in the print and where (a.k.a. dodging and burning). All film was black and white. The most creative photographers played with different development processes and printing surfaces, but these were all still monochrome results. Others tried coloured filters at image capture, or layered emulsions that could produce different colours, but this made the capture and processing much more complex and the results were often poor.
In 1935, Eastman Kodak Company introduced Kodachrome and changed the world forever. Despite this, colour photography did not become widespread, at least not in the consumer market, until the 1960’s. So colour image capture has really been in broad use for just 50 years.
Today, all digital cameras capture colour data by default. Black and white conversion is available both in-camera and through post-processing. The irony is that the same debates about colour vs. black and white that drove the creation of Kodachrome still exist today. Here’s my take on the creative debate. Continue reading “Black and White or Colour?”
Photographing people comes with some additional complications not present when photographing still life. An obvious statement, you say. One such complication is the question of permission when photographing people informally.
Last week, I had dinner with acquaintances who insisted that photographers own all their images from the moment they are shot. Permission to use them is not required. I was also out shooting with others who believe that documents get in the way of artistic freedom, particularly in informal settings. I wanted to know more.
First, a disclaimer: this post is NOT legal advice. Every jurisdiction is different – it’s up to you to understand the laws that apply to you and how best to protect yourself. You should always follow any copyright and privacy laws, particularly if you hope to profit financially from your work.
And this post is not about formal portraits or events for hire (weddings, family milestones, freelance event photography, etc.), which typically include negotiations and signed contracts; it’s about the more spontaneous form of people photography known as “street” photography.
Continue reading “Some Common Sense Advice on Photographing People in Informal Settings”