I wrote this article in December 2012 and held onto it as a draft. It's amazing how quickly things can change in a month & a half. Life has been moving so fast and I've been shooting so many gigs, that I've felt that momentum has increased and I am again learning so much. I love it! Funny that only 6 weeks ago, I felt much different. So here it is... My lessons of 2012 written in December 2012, posted finally today.
"As the end of 2012 draws near, I reflect on what I have learned this past year. It's easy to feel stagnated, like your talent isn't growing fast enough and the thirst for more knowledge can be frustrating when it feels like it isn't seeping in. Sometimes it's the simplest things we forget to focus on that ends up slapping us hard on the face.
I've been bitched slapped with a good one this year and I'm kicking myself that it's taken till now to see it. Ownership and copywrite of my material & what should and shouldn't be shared with my name on social media.
No, this isn't a story about how someone stole my images. This is moreso about my own mistakes of being unclear with clients and friends when shooting something for them & what my own limitations are re: protecting the quality of my images and my reputation. Sounds simple, even like it shouldn't need to be thought of... but you'd be surprised.
EVERYONE has the ability to doctor an image. Be it on a smart phone or tablet through instagram or camera +. or on your home computer. Programs such as iPhoto, Foto Flexer & Picassa allow anyone to run a simple filter over an image. In my case it's happened on images that I have given to people both with and without my copy write information on it. What looks cool and funky for one eye can look off putting to another. We all have our own taste and style. I've realised that I need to be very careful to maintain that my images are mine and if not, be in editing, are accredited as so. People hire me for a number of reasons, word of mouth, the budget is right, I'm easy to work with and my style. My style is what I have to protect the most (even though I am the first to admit that I am still developing mine). It's what I have least control over once my images are picked up by a well meant mate/fan/client and they run a filter over my image, with the copyright info on (with my name) and then posted on social media pages and then (all with good intensions) I am tagged in it.
Yes this has happened to me on more than one occasion.
That's simply not my work anymore. It's not how I would edit it and it's not fair to let people think that I edited (or in some cases, I wouldn't want people to think I've edited the image as such)
There is ego entirely involved in this. Because I care about how I am respected in talent by my peers. I use social media pages to reach out to likeminded photographers because they inspire me, I have something to learn from each of them. Everyones talent ranges but my ability to learn from each one remains the same. So I worry when an image is doctored by a third party & then floats around facebook or twitter with my name attached to it. It's just as bad as an image of mine not being credited correctly.
So whose fault is this? It's mine. Because I alone didn't communicate with the parties/friends/clients, whom I pass my images onto, what my own stipulations are. I was carefree and lacks. Wrongly so. This is my responsibility and I need to make my stipulations clear from the beginning. I can visualise Zoe Wiseman shaking her head at me as she reads this. When you visit Zoe's webpage page she makes it so very clear what you are & not allowed to do. Zoe is smart. I, not so much.
So my lesson learned for 2012 wasn't entirely about lighting as I had hoped. It was about being a smarter business woman and being a smarter photographer when it comes to protecting my reputation (be it small) as a visual artist."