Friday, January 13, 2017

If you want your photos in print, get them on-line

The latest edition of the Collectors Gazette includes a few photos of my APT models, both Hornby and wooden. 

Many people would like to be able to say the same. Even for those of us who do this for a living, there is a certain amount of pleasure in nipping into WH Smiths and picking up a magazine with your stuff in it.

The way to do this used to involve submitting images to an editor and hoping they would like what they saw. If you were lucky, the pictures fitted with something they were working on an you got in. If there wasn't anything suitable to hand, they would head to a photo library and buy in images. 

The world has changed. My pictures appeared because the author found them on Flickr. I'd put them on the site, properly titled and tagged, a simple Google search bringing them up. A couple of e-mails later and all is arranged.

In the magazine world this is happening more and more. I've used the web to source pictures for articles several times in the last few months. In fact I filled most of a bookazine a few years ago this way. 

I would offer a few hints for anyone hoping to do this:
  • Old images are especially interesting as the writer can't just nip out with a camera and bag them themselves. Your old collection of slides might be interesting if you scan them in.
  • Tag your images with relevant keywords. This is easier in photo libraries such as Flickr, but you can also do the job with the metadata on your web page if that's the way you prefer to work. 
  • Don't put publication quality images on the web. I normally shrink mine by at least 75%. That's big enough for a blog and on-screen use, but unless the picture will be tiny on the page, or rubbish quality, the user will need to ask for the proper file, so you find out who is using it and where.
  • If publication rather than payment is your aim, use Creative Commons licensing in your photo library of choice. That way, the photos can be used for free (appealing to editors) but normally with a credit.
  • You might like to put a watermark on the image to stop people just pinching it. This is more of a problem on-line, but it's worth thinking about. I don't bother personally.
  • A web address in the corner of an image might be a useful advert for your website if the shot is used elsewhere on-line, but it won't appeal to print editors.
  • If someone asks to use a photo, reply to their e-mail. It's very frustrating not to be able to get a response. Normally all I'm asking for is permission and a file, in return for money for the repro fee. 
  • Get over yourself. You are not the only person with a camera out there. You will not retire on the proceeds of the odd sale. Just enjoy seeing your work in print, the money (if there is any) is a bonus. 
  • The media won't spend money when they don't have to. Some of the time it's because there is little money in the publication, if you are reading this then you probably aren't taking photos for Vogue where cash flows like water, you are aiming at specialist publications with limited reader numbers. Personally, I think all photographers should be paid for their work but sadly that ship has sailed. The interweb is full of people who will work for free sadly. This allows big media (I'm looking at you BBC) to source free photos. 
  • If your picture appears in a magazine, buy two copies and squirrel one away in something to keep it mint. Use the other to bore everyone with your skilz. And do show off, people really will be impressed.
Update: This week I also received the following e-mail:

I am contacting you from the Dr. Phil talk show here in the U.S. There is a photo we found on Wikipedia that may be yours that we would like permission to use in our show.

To give you some background, we are taping a show with a guest named Annie, who is delusional and believes that she is the 'Annie' that Michael Jackson wrote about in his hit song, ‘Smooth Criminal.' In actuality, an audio engineer who worked on the album disclosed that Michael Jackson wrote the song about the CPR doll named CPR Annie. We would like to show this still of “Resusci Anne” in our stage monitors when Dr. Phil talks about the origin of the song.

Reference link:
Does this photo belong to you and can we use it in our show?

OK, no money, but I get a mention in the programme credits. Not bad for a snapshot taken during some first aid training.

1 comment:

Nick Brad said...

Dr Phil, that's a huge show in the US, congratulations. Shame they can't do a free plug for your book, but I guess that would be kind of hard to fit in with the picture and the theme of the show.