The arrival of the internet has provided never-ending opportunities for photographers; it has facilitated us to promote our work online, reach a wider audience and easily share finished products with clients. However, the largely unregulated nature of the World Wide Web has brought some more negative repercussions as well.
Monitoring and guaranteeing the correct use of your intellectual belongings can be extremely difficult since there’s no way to know who’s trying to download your photos once hosted online. These five tips will help you secure your work and significantly reduce your chance of falling victim to online theft.
- Knowing the Rules
Copyrighting is one of the best ways to protect your images and delivers a good starting point in order to establish a level of protection. However, what many photographers fail to understand is that if they fail to state copyright explicitly, then your images spontaneously fall into the public domain and can be used and dispersed freely.
If you want to copyright your image, the format of your claim should go as follows: the universally recognized symbol ©, the word copyright, or at least an abbreviation, followed by your name and the date. This can be done as a text attribution or can be layered onto the picture as a watermark.
- Establishing Permissions
It is very common that some photographers capture and upload photos that others need to work with. This can be under a private license, in a work-for-hire environment where you make a contract and sign away your rights to the image, or distribution.
Successfully guarding your photographs means creating and establishing the right license. Here are some of the most-used options available.
Commercial – The purpose of Commercial photography is for marketing or advertising; this license is to use if you sell your work to a client who will use it to endorse a product or event.
Editorial – Editorial photography means those photographs are used for educational or journalistic reasons. Magazines, newspapers, and websites usually require this kind of license.
Retail – Retail photography is commission-based photography which is usually created for the buyer’s personal use. You’ll use this license for weddings, portraits, creative art, etc.
Creative Commons – Creative Commons are free licenses that direct the way an image can be used for a particular purpose. These types of licenses also give you an opportunity to ensure all use comes with a properly formatted attribution.
- Showcasing Your Photos Online
The greatest hazard to your photos comes when you upload them on websites or social media. It’s impossible to know when people are trying to download your images, and often watermarks are inappropriate for the selected user or can be cropped off. This makes it difficult to manage your online content.
However, there are a few simple tricks you can try to decrease the unwanted distribution of your work.
Low Resolution – If you are promoting your services, use low-quality images.
Tiling – Splitting up your photos into lots of smaller fragments and then getting them back together on a web page may be a time-consuming task, but this means thieves are less likely to bother downloading it all again.
Disable Right Click – If the images uploaded on your own website or blog, then you can disable the right click feature. Although this prevents thieves saving the image directly, it doesn’t prevent screenshots.
- Running Your Website
As you are a professional photographer, you must have your own website. Make sure that you keep your photos safe. Hackers can gain access to your page via the admin panel and steal your work from within.
Password Protect – Ensure all your passwords are over eight characters with a range of symbols and are individual to each account. This reduces the chances cyber-crimes.
- Using Cloud Storage
Most of the threat to your digital photography comes from hosting them on public web pages online. However, there’s also a notable threat for those who store their work using cloud storage. While convenient, these virtual drives have a plethora of susceptibilities of their own.
One of the easiest ways for cyber-criminals to gain access to your accounts is via public Wi-Fi. These disgracefully insecure networks leave all your data visible to others who are also connected. This means that whenever you type in the password for your cloud account when out and about, it can be interrupted, and the hacker can gain limitless access to your pictures.