Tag Archives: Photography

Be Inspired.

26 May

Deb Schwedhelm, my dear friend and an amazing photographer posted this incredible image + statement on her blog yesterday. Not only are her words true, she is a phenomenal example of a woman who is true to herself, who seeks her own path, who  takes risks in her work and most of all, nurtures her own profound sense of creativity. If you enjoy this post, browse her archives to learn more about her and her life. If you are just starting out, you will admire her journey — and if you’re a veteran photographer, you may just discover a kindred spirit. Thanks Deb for being fully YOU and for never ceasing to be original and inspirational.


Follow Your Heart

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
– Steve Jobs

It’s so easy to get caught up in being inspired by others’, which often results in feeling frustrated and discouraged with our own work. And that’s exactly when we need to dig a little deeper, trust ourselves and follow the direction our heart is telling us to go.


How to be YOU.

19 May

If you’re reading this, you already know we value originality. In fact, we shout its merit from the rooftops. While a large portion of our mission is to defend copyright in the photography industry (and give photographers the tools to do so), we also want to share resources that encourage photographers to foster creativity and pursue their own unique path as well. Today, MCP Actions features a great article by Jessica of 503 Photography that does so perfectly. The topic is building your storefront/website and is a perfect follow-up to “Do the WRITE Thing” posted earlier this week. Instead of looking to other photographers for inspiration, Jessica chronicles her journey of finding the right design and copy (note: it didn’t happen in the first iteration).

She shares tips like “Be You”, “Write Genuinely” and “Let People Get to Know You” — sounds simple and obvious, but she expands on what this looks like and, no, you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it. Most importantly, anyone can put her suggestions into action — if you’re ready to hang your shingle as a photographer, be prepared hang the shingle of a brand that’s uniquely you as well.

Take a look at the full article here.

While you’re reading, browse these articles on finding and developing your unique brand:

Losing Your Fear. Finding Your Brand – Fast Company
One Easy Way to Find Your Brand Idea – Shoestring Branding
Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand – Mashable.com

Do the WRITE thing.

17 May

In the last week, I’ve heard from a handful of photographers dealing with copyright infringement. It’s sad. It’s offensive. It’s disrespectful. If you’re a photographer just starting out (and there are *many* of you), please don’t browse another photographer’s web site and swipe their copy. That includes: metatags and html codes, splash pages, about pages, bios, price lists or anything not written by you. Basically, if you hit copy and then paste to your site (even if you make a few slight modifications) it’s still WRONG! Not only is pilfering wording unethical, plagiarizing web site copy is illegal and can result in your website being removed from your hosting site.

If you’re just starting out and find wordsmithing to be a challenge — hire a writer, do a trade for services or just wait until you have something to say. Your initial web site copy doesn’t have to be geniusly written or even terribly unique. But, it should be your own. Or one day, you may find yourself writing a letter like this (if you have a conscience):

“I’m not really sure how to begin… but you’ve been on heart and mind lately. Maybe you don’t remember me, maybe you do. I’m writing to tell you that although LONG overdue I am truly and sincerely sorry for what I did to you last summer and how wrong I was for that. I have no excuses or even a good explanation it was just plain wrong and totally thoughtless and me being a complete idiot. And well I’m hoping that you will forgive me and I would like to make amends. That is all. My sincerest apologies go out to you and any grief I may have caused you, I wish you all the best.”

This email was from a photographer who had copied my bio and originally refused to change it because it “described her perfectly.” In the end, she fessed up and created her own original work. And, just as quickly as I asked her to change her wording, I forgave her. For many photographers, a simple admission of wrong doing, an apology and correcting the mistake is all it takes to make things right.

For photographers looking to protect your copy, I recommend the free online tools from Copyscape and Plagiarism Detect.

If you’ve been the photographer who has been copied, we’ll be giving you step-by-step directions on how to issue a DMCA take down notice to the offender’s web host. It’s step one in combating the process (if the offender refuses to respond or remove the material).

Joey Lawrence Speaks Out on Imitation.

15 May

A reader recently sent a link to photographer + prodigy Joey Lawrence. He vents about copycat photographer Diego Verges and his images of the Mentawai people. Verges’ photos are blatant copies of Lawerence’s, right down to setup and camera angles…it’s sad really. Here’s what Lawrence had to say:

“Usually when someone rips off my work blatantly, I don’t say much. I don’t want to put them up on my blog, on a pedestal for everyone to look at, I usually just let it go and forget about it. I also realize there are a lot of photographers, and no one can claim something is one hundred percent their own idea. However, something came to my attention recently that was just too close stylistically to what I do to ignore.”

Are these images inspired or imitated? Take a look and decide for yourself.

In the same, vein Tom Hoops shares his commentary on photographic plagiarism of his work and asks the question, “Why?”

He surmises that many photographers are just learning, striving to emulate artists they admire and most aren’t attempting to be harmful (and I happen to agree). The danger, he says is this:

“Ultimately though the more you copy the less you’ll become your own person. The less likely you are to stand out from the crowd. You wont generate your own ideas, you won’t experiment, you’ll look to others to do it for you and in the end you’ll never achieve what you probably set out to do when you picked up your first camera.”

The moral: use imitation of photographic style as a learning aid (not to establish a reputation), use inspiration to grow and eventually, follow your own path.

Be Yourself.

11 May

Saw this awesome image by Liz and thought it was a perfect fit. Brightens things up a bit, doesn’t it?

“Individualized” by Elizabeth Leighton: Don’t settle for being a part of the crowd

Quote of the Day

10 May

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Herman Melville

Revised Submission Guidelines

10 May

After receiving some great advice and doing additional research, I stumbled on the site You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice. It is an open-source blog already doing a solid job of sharing copyright infringement in the Art industry in general (with specific photography/web/design categories). They have a well-established and simple submission process. As well as guidelines to consider before sharing. Their mission is “a site dedicated to pointing out those things that give you that feeling of ‘haven’t I seen that somewhere before?”

We’ll share a link to them in our sidebar and occasionally link to a relevant post on their blog. Consequently, we won’t need to post actual submissions on this blog. What we WILL have are sample emails to send when you think you’ve been violated and step-by-step guidelines on how to trademark your brand/images. If you’re new, you will find tools on how to research and what to consider before you brand your business.

What does this do? It lessens liability for this site so we can move forward with our primary mission – to educate and help photographers defend their copyright.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted suggestions and recommendations.

Inspired or Infringed?

9 May

Some great articles discussing whether virtually identical images constitute infringement. Take a look and decide for yourself:

Copycat or Not – from PDN

When Does Similar Become Too Similar – Conscientious

Way Too Similar – Conscientious

A FANTASTIC discussion on an area that has been significantly debated in the portrait photography arena. What constitutes photographic plagiarism and how should it be managed?

Photography, Copyright, Plagiarism, and the Internet – Conscientious