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So, You Think Your Photographs Get Copied A Lot? Check This Out!

It's inevitable.  You finish working on some photos, and send them off to your client.  Naturally, they are excited to receive them and inevitably one or more wind up on a photo sharing site or app.  Suddenly, and within short time that photo propagates all around the globe and mutates like some form of digital virus.  Ultimately, when it gets back to you, its all smutchy, cropped, and filterized!  Blah!  People, what have you done!  :-)

Always remember:  If you (or somebody) posts it, it will be copied (and edited) a lot as it starts its journey around the globe.

Here's one example:

tattoo couple photo
Tattoo Couple

This is a photo from about two years ago, that to the best of my knowledge, I hadn't personally posted anywhere.  The subject of the photo enjoyed it, and posted it to at least one location... and from there it grew, and grew, and grew...

It impossible to know exactly how many times this photo was copied and reposted.  From time to time she would email me and say "I found our picture on such-and-such (app or webpage.)"  People have even gone as far as photoshopping it, cropping it, putting filters on it, ect.  Its amazing to see how something can change from its original.  And there's no way I could even possibly know how many people have changed it!

Here are some of the recent reposts from Instagram and Tumblr alone:

Not to mention the hundreds of shares and reposts on Pinterest:

Pinterest screen shot
Tattoo Couple from Pinterest

That version looks a bit more whole, but it's a screen grab from somewhere.

So, all in all, this one little photo traveled round and round the globe and wound up being  "Liked" and shared on Instagram and Tumblr hundreds of times.  It became a board favorite for many on Pinterest, and God only knows how many people made this a wallpaper on their iPhones, or reposted on their favorite image sharing apps.

So, what do I think about this?  Some people probably get mad, but I think it's great!  I'm not so keen on the editing part, because more often than not people make it worse, but I think its unavoidable in this day of unfortunate Instagram filters.

I finally posted full versions of this photo on my Pinterest account just the other day, so at least there would be a fresh uncropped/unedited version out there somewhere.  People like that photo, so why not let them enjoy it!

Now, if that were to wind up on the cover of a magazine, or some other commercial use, that would be a different story, but I'm not too worried about that little web-sized cropped/edited/smashed version circling the globe being of much use for publication.

To my suprise... IT DID! I found the image as part of a collage on a South American clothing companies website... (goes to show you...)

As I stated earlier, this sort of propagation is inevitable.   People will share your hard work from your websites, Facebook posts, and Instagram accounts.  Often these photos are put into personal use by people building "boudoir inspiration collections" to get ideas for boudoir sessions.  I know my clients often send me all types of boudoir poses leading up to their sessions as posing ideas--- and I often ask for them!  I think its useful to get an insight into what type of session they have in mind.  Sometimes people take these photos just because they like them, or they are fans of photography.  Photos are to be enjoyed.

Then there are times, however, photos wind up in places most people may not be too keen on-- namely other photographers websites.  I mostly feel bad for clients who are getting a false impression of the quality of work they will receive-- but that's another topic, though...

Next time you find a favorite photo and repost it, stop and think about that photos long voyage it may have taken to reach you, and how far it may travel after you help it along.  Fun!

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