Every photographer who is serious about their craft will eventually run into copyright issues. Because of the advent of digital photography, most folks have devalued the craft. I think it’s because everybody can purchase relatively inexpensive digital cameras and equally inexpensive inkjet printers. This gave everybody the ability to take snap shots and print them out at their leisure. In the mind of a regular person, because they can create a snap shot in an inexpensive manner, there really is no cost associated with creating a professional photograph.
What few realize is that the digital single lens reflex cameras professional photographers use today is a bit more expensive than the film versions of years past. Even fewer realize that the lenses used in these new DSLR’s have exponentially gotten more expensive. What escapes everyone but the working photographers is that there is actually a lot of skill required to take a professional looking photo. The snap shot a regular person takes is probably good for a 4×6 print. Once you get bigger than that, it becomes apparent that it is nothing more than a snap shop. What puzzles me is that everyone out there that takes snap shots always prefaces that they are not a professional but deep down still expects to be praised that their pictures are just as good as the working professional. The images produced by these folks are great snap shots. That is exactly what they are, a great snap shot. The most positive praise I can give them is that they were out there trying. Entry into the craft is prohibited by the cost of the equipment needed to produce professional photographs and not the snap shots everybody seems say is just as good as what the professionals take.
The time it takes to actually learn how to use light, positioning, safety, and setting the camera is even more prohibitive. The attitude most folks take is that anyone with a camera is a photographer. I agree with that statement. Anyone with a camera is a photographer. However, not every photographer can create a quality image. The product that most photographers with a camera can create falls within the term that I’ve over used, a snap shot. The quality of these images is perfect for the internet. The quality of these snap shots fall short once the need to display them past casual appreciation is needed. The possibility of getting that sale or that sponsorship is directly related to the quality of the image provided.
Some individuals think they can use my work with no regard for the effort I put into it. Granted that photography is just a hobby for me, it is not a reason to blatantly use my work for any commercial purpose without my permission. I generally allow for the private display of my work in addition to what is fair use. Most folks erroneously interpret that to mean they can use it for any purpose. Once an individual uses my work for commercial purposes, they have stepped out of the bounds of the license. With the recent court decisions affecting copyright such as L.A. Times V. Free Republic and New York Times Co. V. Tasini, it seems that photographers now have additional ammunition to press their rights.
One thing I hope folks get out of this post, respect my work. Give the credit where it’s due. Support the cause.