I’m a freelance photographer, a one man band, who has a passion for sports photography. I have been running Blueline Photography since March 2018. Copyright in photography is a difficult topic to approach, but I’ll do my best.
I’d love for photography to be my full time job. At the moment its just not viable so I do have another day job, photography however is my passion.
At the beginning when I started in the world of photography it was a whirl wind – what camera do I buy? What lens do I buy? Which editing system is best? How do I market and sell my images? These were all questions I spent hours and hours researching.
Whilst doing this research I came across watermarking and copyright for photography. Now here is a minefield, I‘ve read all sorts of legislation and opinions on the subjects. So I made a decision to watermark my images. This was to try and offer myself some protection. To stop my images being used without permission. Never did I realise it would be so, so tough.
Within days of taking my first photos I started to see my watermarked images appear and be used by people. Now at the start I was short on confidence and not sure what to do so it went unchallenged, was that wrong? Yes, I let myself down. I allowed my work to be used and possibly set a precedent, one that I am still fighting today.
(C) images by Blueline Photography
The legal bit
In terms of the photographs they are protected by copyright just like any other piece of creative work, and are protected in UK law by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and some EU directives that came into force in 1989, and under these acts they come under the classification ‘Artistic Work’.
This basically means that photographs can’t be used or reproduced without permission. I now have confidence in where I am and I do challenge people I see using my images without permission. I’ve done that just this morning.
Reporting and Abuse
The verbal abuse I’ve received via return message is horrendous, its not the first time its not the last.
I’ve just filled another report form into Instagram. People may ask why do I care? Well let me point a few things out. I’ve invested about £6000 into my business in the last 2 years to buy equipment to make sure I can produce the best possible images I can. At the start of this, I decided I would be a reasonably priced photographer so that everybody could afford my images. Deciding that I would Charge £2.50 per digital image, its not a ground breaking price and I think you will struggle to find anybody cheaper for a full size high resolution image.
I don’t just turn up at events and point the camera and that’s it. Take my attendance at Karting events for example. I plan the points I will be at on the track so that I can get different photos and different angles, prior to attendance, it gives me a structure to the day and means I maximise time. Once I’ve finished shooting the images I edit each and every one, dismissing many that I don’t like or the composition is just not right on. This process can take anywhere between 3 to 4 hours for each race meeting. Then I upload the images to my online store and monitor for sales and questions.
Seeing my work
The buzz I get with each and every sale I can’t describe, I can’t thank the people who buy my images enough. Each one sold is another step forward for me and my small business. When people tag my social media channels -which I love – on their photos too it just expands my reach and helps me grown for that I am eternally grateful to people.
Unfortunatly I do have to monitor social media, I do see my images used with watermarks, it hurts to be honest because I feel I’ve worked for nothing. I do message an challenge people, in a polite, professional friendly manner, this is often met with aggression and abuse. Be rest assured I do report each and every breach I see.
I have to its my business and I hope in future my livelihood. I’ll leave you with one thought.
Would you walk into a shop, pick up a bottle of milk and leave without paying? – Its the same with copyright in photography -most people wouldn’t so please don’t take my watermarked images, plain and simple, its theft.