When Michael Novo sent me his draft for a guest post about watermarking your images, I knew it would spark a little controversy. I knew there would be some serious discussion. At this point, I probably won't publish any more of the comments. I don't think there's much more to be said, but I want to respond to the entire controversy in one post this morning...
"...I am incredulous that you published that post by Michael Novo about the concept of publishing unwatermarked photos that are too crappy to be stolen...Maybe others agree that we should all produce crappy photographs, get paid up front, and then not worry about them getting stolen?
I don't watermark my pictures for fear of them getting stolen. I watermark them for marketing purposes. I want my photos shared and shared and shared, and I want people to see my watermark. It's a completely unfair comparison to bring in Jerry Ghionis, as Jerry does not really have the need to market the way that we do. His name is known. His work is known. His style is known. We exist pretty anonymously among the prospective clients scouring over The Knot, Wedding Wire, doing google searches, or visiting bridal shows to determine whom to hire as their wedding photographer. We need to be known. Our work needs to be seen. And a watermark takes out pictures from being shot by "Anonymous" to being shot by "Ron McKinney Studios." And personally, I need that."
Here's the challenge we all share. The Internet has changed the way we do business today. It's changed the way we communicate and share images. Each of us has the reach today that just a few years ago only magazines and publications had. That means you've got to do everything you can to present only your best work, advertise, promote and build your brand, but a brand which as Peter Adams wrote is so much more than just your style:
It is incredibly naive to think that a brand is just a "style". Branding is the whole kit and caboodle.
" Brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's product distinct from those of other sellers." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand) My logo, my business name, my imagery all make up constituent parts of my brand.
The true challenge we share is artists stealing other artists work. I love what people like Corey Ann and Photo Stealers are doing, but the real responsibility rests with each of us. We've all got to watch each other's backs and that appears to be what's happening. Stolen images result in so much more than that knot you get in your stomach being victimized, it's the impact it has on potential clients, when the photographer they've hired can't produce the results.
I've written and said this numerous times before...With the exception of modern medicine no one career field has given society more than the photographic industry. That carries a huge responsibility to deliver your very best work, exceed client expectations and set a standard for outstanding customer service.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.