Saturday, April 7, 2012

Open Letter To Those Requesting Images

Hi (name withheld),

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have worked several years on it, and I take it quite seriously. Everything that is mine is copyrighted.

As you might imagine, bloggers like myself get several requests each year for pro bono usage of our work. The reason is that authors, organizations, companies, and governments who request these images do not want to hire a professional to do the image work they require. No doubt, that would be expensive and possibly cost prohibitive.

So it is that searching for images online has become normative. So has stealing those copyrighted images. I am sensitive to you using the phrasing "before I do the ol' copy and paste" in your email. This would be a mistake for several reasons beyond violating my copyright.

Many of the images I have posted in my early years as a blogger I do not feel are up to publishing standards and I would need to do an amount of post-processing to achieve my standard for that purpose. Anything with my name on it, whether cited or not (I can see my images from a mile away), must be up to my standards.

I went to art school and have attained my masters degree. I am a professional. I am still paying for my education through loan payments. In other words, even if everyone who needs images for their productions regards my work as casual, and therefore should be given away for free, or for the price of flattery or attention, those individuals should be aware that it has a cost. This cost is beyond taking the picture, beyond the cost of the camera, beyond the post-processing time, as there is a history of investment in my ability to capture in images something meaningful, which clearly you respect since you thought it worthy of your project.

Finally, I use the Internet to present a portion of my work, but this doesn't mean that I ascribe to the creative commons idea for everything I do. I will consider a sliding scale for imagery needed by non-profits, governments, and publishers. I appreciate the hard work (and low pay) of non-profits, and I have in fact worked for more than one. Understand that I simply cannot undervalue my work in this manner.

Good luck with your project -nature guides are of high value in my book, and worthy of excellent imagery.




  1. Hear you Frank. At this point, I'd say everybody expects almost everything for free. Have any of your images been pinned on pinterest yet? Not so crazy about that myself either and although only a few of my pictures are there, I was never asked for my permission. Recently I saw one of Marie's images on pinterest before I even saw it on her blog. I did have a good experience with someone at a Hubpage who used a picture but then took it down at my request. Not exactly what you are talking about but similar. Even non-profits have budgets for staff and projects.

    1. I found some stuff on pinterest. Don't mind that so much if there is no commercial application and it redirects traffic to the blog. It's the projects. Even the Canadian govt didn't want to pay. If they steal the image, I probably won't find out if it's an obscure publication. And I'm still waiting and waiting to be paid from the one publisher that agreed to pay. Not holding breath.

  2. Picasa 3, which I downloaded for free from google has an insert text image feature so you can select, watermark and save the images in question. I just started a gardening blog and I understand it is pretty flattering to see it on a Pinterest page but just in case, you may want to start adding a watermark to your photos.


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