Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Profile Photos

It's official. Everyone in America and possibly most developed countries is now living two lives, one real and the other virtual. Between facebook, myspace, twitter, and a ton of different photo sharing sites (flikr, shutterfly, photobucket). All of these sites encourage profile photos, and photo galleries. Most of which we have done ourselves and let's be honest, not so flattering. As a professional I've made it my personal mission to reduce the amount of ugly online by including free profile photos with each session. As part of your session fee 5 images will be posted on facebook and any other site you prefer to use for your profile or any other way to see fit. Prints must still be purchased (and don't even think about scanning them, 'cuz I'll know...)

Why? We live in a new age where copyright laws are, well, let's just say, being reinvented everyday. I firmly stand on the side of other creative types and feel that intilectual property holds a value for which one should be compensated. But I think it crazy to fight against the proliferation of ideas and content for the sake of controlling it. I simply believe that yet again a social revolution has created an opportunity. Offer digital rights and receive approperate compensation, or let someone steal it from you and go completely unpunished. I prefer to keep my clients on the right side of the law. (Mom this means you!)

Plus with this feature I've found greater appeal. Just ask any client who has recently had a sneak peek of their wedding photos thanks to facebook or today's model, Patsy, who when hearing digital rights were included in the session booked instantly.

For me this is no brainer. More exposure, free word of mouth advertising, and instant feedback from clients and their friends. I know what images my clients like, what they are staying about them and I have created an opportunity to keep in touch with them and increase return patronage. All for doing something besides playing Farmville.

This same feature has also been invaluable when working with High School Seniors. I don't know how many times I've added a new client simply because a current client shared their images on facebook.

Tomorrow: More on Filters and White Balance.


  1. This is something that's been on my mind a lot lately and I haven't found a solution that I'm completely happy with yet. In the image above, I notice you have your watermark on the image. Do you give the client a watermarked image? I like that you fold the licensing for this usage right into your session fee.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. @Michael J Huxley

    It depends. For anything I post online, I watermark. If a customer pays for copyrighted files (print quality) I do not. I also just started watermarking print orders (I should have done this all along truly). I do not however watermark larger prints because I feel if people are willing to spend the money on 11x14 and larger images they don't need to have my name scrawled on them. Plus the watermark on the prints is much smaller then on the web photos.