Tag Archives: photography

How to share news photos: A guide for anyone who finds themselves with a camera amid news events

Mamiya camera

Thousands marched in Montpellier, France, this weekend to protest pension law changes. My daughter was there studying abroad, camera in hand, but a bit stumped about whether her images had commercial value and how she could share her images with possible paying clients. She uses Tumblr and sometimes Facebook to share images with family and friends, but this case was different and she was seeking a broader audience.

We now have the capabilities to share images from around the world, while traditional news organizations have fewer staffers capturing images. Thousands of students are studying abroad, gathering thousands of images, but knowing how to get that work seen and possibly bought is still tricky. Establishing connections and getting good work found remains as hard as it ever was, and perhaps even harder with information overload.

Quick phone images can be shared immediately with the world through services like Twitpic, but controls on use and the ability to caption and tag well are limited. Sharing on Facebook can be fast too, but the terms of service can disturb anyone who wants to maintain control of their images.

Flickr offers the best ability to be seen, to share and to protect ownership.

To start, here are a few steps that will prove valuable for anyone who finds themselves amid news events with camera in hand. I’d love more tips, corrections or alternative advice from others who have found themselves in similar situations.

First, understand that speed is crucial. If it’s a big news events, its primary value comes in the first few hours after an event. Share quickly.

Sign on to Flickr. Go to the You menu. Upload photos and videos. Tag photos liberally, thinking about the keywords that people would use to find photos. Use all languages that are appropriate.

Be brutal in self editing your work, only adding three to five of your photos from an event, mix of vertical and horizontal. Be brutal in length and quality of videos. Upload speeds can be slow; make sure size is large enough for print but not so large it makes upload time unbearable:
Resolution: minimum of 200 pixels/inch, 300 pixels/inch is better
Pixel dimensions: width of at least 1000 pixels, up to about 1600 pixels

If you think you have enough quality photos for a slideshow, you can upload more photos: 10 to 15. Flickr can make an automatic slideshow and give you a link to it that you can share. But keep in mind that each of those photos needs an accurate, unique caption, and that’s likely to take much of your time.

Captions must include who, what, when, where, maybe why, maybe how much. If the photos are taken in public places, groups of five or more people don’t require individual identification. If fewer than five people are in the photo, get names. If it’s a news event and you can’t get names, you can still upload the photo, but it might not get used. Be honest about what you don’t know. Photos taken on private property are a different matter: Did you have permission to be there? Did the people in the photos give permission? Then you’re covered. Otherwise, legal issues could get sticky.

Include your name and e-mail (a real e-mail that you will check for any questions or queries later) in the caption information. It should be an e-mail that you’re OK with being public and that you do check. If it’s an e-mail address that’s almost not functional because it’s too overloaded, use some other method of contact: public, permanent phone number, unique Facebook name, something that will find you.

Doublecheck the licensing of the photo after upload to make sure it’s some rights reserved, with noncommercial use. With that license, people who want to use it commercially should contact you and offer to pay. You could also mark it “All rights reserved.” People can still offer to pay for it, but it won’t get reused by noncommercial sites.

Consider using social media to link to that Flickr account to get the word out.

Ahead of time:
Check the default licensing on your account for noncommercial use or all rights reserved.
Check your contact settings to make sure people can get in touch with you.
Have a Flickr account, either free or pro, spend some time becoming familiar with it, check settings such as the “license through Getty” setting and remember how to sign in to it.

More ideas? Let me know.


Finding World Cup 2010 images: Searching outside the usual places

Demotix photo sharing site

The Demotix photo and video site takes a 50 percent cut of image sales.

Late Saturday, as the World Cup soccer games paused for a moment, I searched for images from the games and the spectacle through TwitPic and Flickr for a class assignment at P2PU.

To search Twitpic images, I used PicFog, an interesting, new (to me) tool.

As you would expect, Twitpic photos from the World Cup most resembled snapshots, and the best stuff was on Flickr, all rights reserved. A couple of Flickr groups, like the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 Impressions, have Getty Images managing or owning quite a few of the photos.

What remains true: “Fast, cheap or good. Pick two.”

And in some ways, it seems we’ve grown accustomed enough to new tools to know how to place and protect quality, creative work.

Of course, exceptions happen, like the use of TwitPic just after the Haiti earthquake, as a quick, available tool to transmit photos. Use of those photos led to cease and desist letters and a lawsuit.

Pricing and marketers’ percentages, however, still remain in flux, and some say out of whack.

Demotix, a site where photographers and video creators can upload their work to seek paying clients, actively sought contributors in one of the Flickr World Cup groups. The Demotix site offers a view around the world of important events in a visually pleasing way.

Demotix takes a 50 percent cut of any sales. That number is low compared to what some are saying the general Getty percentage is for photos licensed through a new deal with Flickr. Getty takes 70 percent, it appears, for some photographers.

The Getty and Flickr deal has some professional photographers concerned about falling prices for their work. I’m sure sites like Demotix could also be troubling, just as some professional writers have been concerned about “citizen journalists.”

We shall see what comes next. Anyone selling any photos through Flickr and Getty?