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Why Photographers should Stop Complaining and Embrace Pinterest
See full article with pics / graphics at my blog at http://goo.gl/TYjzJ


The Digital Rapture
As this future becomes more and more plain to me, I see a rapture of sorts, where old-school photographers clinging to the old-fashioned ways of doing things will be “left behind.”

So much of the irrational behavior and anger is usually based in fear (fear-of-change, specifically), but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a brighter digital future, if you're willing to see it.

When it comes to sharing your photographs online, you can go in two directions. You can put small images online, watermark them and then spend some or all of the week chasing down people that have used them inappropriately.

Or, you can be like me. Offer up all your creations in maximum and beautiful resolution to the will of the web. The web, and the universe, has a certain flow to it. You can become one with that flow and enjoy the ride. You can let the opportunity of what-can-be motivate you rather than the more poisonous fear-of-loss.

The Big Picture - The Now of Sharing

Sharing isn’t the future; it’s the now. Before we talk about Pinterest in particular, let’s discuss an overall digital sharing strategy. Forming a solid philosophical foundation will help keep you from feeling like you’re always flapping in the latest digital breeze.

A pure artist has two motivations: creation for the sake of creation and sharing for the sake of connecting with the world.

Sharing your artistic creation with one person is better than zero. Sharing your artistic creation with 20 people is better than 10. And so it goes. Furthermore, if you want people to see your work in all its glory, it needs to be available at maximum resolution with no watermark. This is my opinion. Personally, if I see an image with a watermark, oftentimes all I can think about is that annoying watermark. Maybe this is just me.

The Results of My Open Sharing

I’ve been doing this for over five years under the Creative Commons Noncommercial license, which means anyone can use my images for personal reasons such as blogs, wallpapers, etc., but they must contact us for commercial licensing. It has resulted in my images getting over 45 million views on SmugMug alone in the past few years, which is just one of many places that host my images; and emerging in the last six months in Google+, where open sharing has helped me to get over 1 million followers. When I share images there, the results go crazy because of the multiplication effect. For example, the “End of the World” image below has been viewed more than 5 million times.

All those views are thanks to Google+. Remember when G+ got started and many photographers were also upset about copyright issues? I never did.

None of this would have happened if I had the opposite attitude towards sharing. There are many other photographers that know exactly what I mean and get a lot of pleasure out of people seeing their work. It doesn’t matter if it is 100 people or 1,000 people that see your work. The point is that sharing (aka communicating your vision) with others makes the artist feel more alive.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is window-shopping on steroids. It is said, in a generally dismissive manner, “Oh, women really like Pinterest.” Fool! Women rule the world! In the great interwoven networks of our Dunbar 150s (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number ) , it’s the women that form most of the connections between and across groups.

I say it is like window-shopping because it is a very visual and eye-darting experience. Women have a particularly good eye at finding something that is “interesting.” Now that doesn’t mean it’s good or bad necessarily, it just means that they are interested in it. They have an ability to “gather” interesting bits - a skill that still baffles my befuddled male-hunter brain. Then, almost effortlessly, they can “pin” it to their own board -- their own “window.” This window-shopping then spreads at an algorithmic rate as different users with different Venn-diagrams of interest start building their own windows, all of which adds to the growing meta-mind-share of interesting images.

>> “My wife used to have an interest in my interests, but now she only has an interest in her pinterest.” - Trey Ratcliff on a lonely night...

Why are some photographers anti-Pinterest?

Many photographers fear Pinterest because anyone can “pin” an image of theirs and all copyright is stripped away. This isn’t necessarily true, because the link to the originally pinned location is still there. So, you can think of it as a hyperlink that just happens to be a visual thumbnail instead of boring text like “Awesome Photo of Disneyworld.”

Instead, now I think of Pinterest as sort of an amuse-bouche. If people are interested, they will follow links to find out who actually took the photo. Perhaps they want a print. Or maybe they would like to license the image to use for an advertising campaign or on a commercial website. Either way, people that are willing to pay you money will do their best to track you down.

Free traffic leads to real revenue

Most people in the world are good people. If they find digital art they want to buy for a print or use in a commercial campaign, they will figure out a way to get you money. 99% of your traffic is truly “window-shoppers.” They will look at your goods, take note, enjoy them and move on. But 1% will want to make a personal or business transaction with you.

Despite what fear-mongers have told you, everyone will not steal your images. Most legitimate companies will work out a proper licensing arrangement with you. Even though I use Creative Commons Noncommercial, I still license my images with the Copyright office. This enables us to sue companies that do not go through the proper channels. There was a well-publicized case lately where we sued Time for using my images in an ad for their iPad app. But that is another story. The point is that most people do not steal, and on those edge cases where it does happen, you have many reactive options.

Pinterest accounts 15% of our Traffic

StuckInCustoms.com has healthy traffic that grows every year thanks to good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. We don’t advertise or buy links or any of that stuff. So I depend on the Internet and nice people like you to link back to the site and tell your friends that you find something unique and cool.

Last month, we had 714,143 Pageviews and 234,107 unique visitors. 15% of this traffic came from Pinterest. Amazing! If Pinterest didn’t exist (a reality some photographers would prefer), then our traffic would be 15% less. Choosing to switch-off innovation is a fool’s errand, especially in today’s world. It reminds me of the scene in Anthem where the council of candle-makers becomes rather upset at the invention of the light bulb.

New Styles of Human Communication

Increasingly, we have a new way of talking to one another. It’s not through voice or text -- it’s through photos. They are like Chinese characters taken to the next order of magnitude. It’s strange to think about, but I can quickly show you five photos and communicate an idea, a story, or a complex thought. There wasn’t an easy way to do that 5 or 10 years ago.

Someone on Pinterest can make a board called “Feeling a bit blue,” and they can fill it with cool-colored melancholy photos. Isn’t this just another way of making a poem? If I built up this pinboard and sent it to a friend, it’s nothing but a visual poem in a new medium. It’s just as powerful, and, in many ways, more accessible.

Pinterest is simply another way (a newer, evolving way, mind you) for humans to communicate with one another. It is increasingly the job of digital artists to inspire, share and bring more beauty and communication into the world.


Join Me on Pinterest
I’m at http://pinterest.com/treyratcliff/ . I have boards with my stuff, places I'd like to visit, other favorite photographers, and design ideas. Link to yours in the comments if you want to share.

Discussion of your opinions on the matter
Whenever I discuss the subject of copyright in the evolving Internet, there is more than enough vitriol that gets spewed into the comments. That is fine. I leave comments here open - so, what do you think?
Other Pluskins on Pinterest
I've found many people from Google+ on Pinterest so far -- add your name to the list. Here are some: +Stu Maschwitz +Kalebra Kelby +Doug Kaye +Maria Popova +Billy Wilson +Robert Scoble +Alex Koloskov +Felicia Day +William Beem +Gary Vaynerchuk +Joe Ercoli +Peter Adams
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Alan McBride's profile photoStephen Flournoy's profile photoParker Tulloss's profile photoA Dresner's profile photo
270 comments
 
Incredible, this is HDR done to perfection.
 
is this edited? i guess somehow
 
It is always awesome to see how my pictures get shared, now if I could just get someone to love them enough to buy them. But really, just got done doing a data project on how my pictures are shared, and where they are shared. The idea that someone likes them enough to share them is totally awesome in my book.
 
I would love to use Pinterest, but I have neither a twitter nor Facebook account. Once it gets modern enough to use something useful like a Google account, I'll care. Till then.... meh.
 
As they say, +Trey Ratcliff, any publicity is good publicity. Pinterest is yet another way to get the word out for photographers.
 
Willing to try it and the picture is blue-tiful ;)
 
Thanks.

+Grazy Iz yes, I unashamedly edit most my photos! :)

+Dan Morrill yes - getting people to buy photos for their home is a whole new issue! :) They can't really be persuaded to do so... they just have to fall in love with the thing on their own...
 
This is the 2nd article I've read in 1 hr today about Pinterest.... time to start pinning my photos! Thnx!
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I went ahead and followed you Trey, I am here http://pinterest.com/kkartphoto/
The only thing that I dislike about pinterest thus far is that it is hard at times to find original content and in some ways that reminds me of another site; tumblr, where it seems like nothing short of just a huge "paste shiny link here" . I do however like the way that it displays work, very easy and clean. What you said about "window shopping" certainly rings true. I just wish that there was an easier way to find photographers who post original content.
 
Interesting... cheers for the heads up :)
 
You just might convince me yet on those uploads w/o watermarks. In many ways it makes sense, but weighing in the factor that it isn't how you make your money, selling prints. I'm curious +Trey Ratcliff do you then believe it has a direct effect on the number of prints you sell? Or does that even matter to you? Do the sheer numbers make the difference?
 
Totally agree with you there, if I really like an image I'll always buy it even if there's no watermark. 1. To show my appreciation for the work. 2. So the photographer can keep on producing images I enjoy.
 
Your photos are amazing. And thanks for making them open to all.

Open source software can be the same process as what you're doing. Developers make great products available for free then make money based on that for those wanting custom specifications, configuration, etc. This is business they would have never had if the basic product wasn't free because the user base wouldn't be there. In WordPress, examples would be W3 Total Cache and the Athualpa theme.
 
I was raised on the concept that "Free" was good. Nice work.
 
This is so good it made me think it was Bob Ross, awesome.
 
I am on pinterest too, but I haven't started there yet. Awesome write up and ofc image Trey. I'll follow you there, and as I get that organized, hopefully during part of this snow day... I'll be lost there instead of google for a bit. I love it because there are all kinds of ideas on there.
 
Pinterest is like a drug for me.... I joined like 2 weeks ago maybe... I have like 1600+ pins... oops. And yes most of them pinned while at work... it's been slow. I also think about 500 of those were in the first 2 days... So glad you joined, now I get to see more pretty photos on my "home screen" or whatever you call that page where you see all the people you follow's pins.
 
I feel you're correct regarding the old-fashion ways, times are changing. Love this cold blue shot, beautiful Trey.
 
I agree with every statement you made, Trey. I'm on Pinterest as well but I haven't worked as hard at it as you, don't want to link my profile yet lol :)
 
+Donald Peterson "...Putting your photography into a social media setting that they prefer makes sense...." - I'd never thought of it that way before. I've only made an opinion based on the snippets I've seen in and around the internet and other media. Food for thought anyway...
 
Proof again that obscurity is far worse than "piracy"..
 
Incredible, haunting image, Trey... Spectacular treatment on this...
 
I could not agree with you more. I've been on Pinterest countless times. I'm planning a birthday party and I have pinned everything from placemats to photos, and yes I'm always interested in who took it, and how. I pinned things for ideas, reminders of poses, or sheer inspiration. Never once have I thought, " let me pass this off as my own, or make a large print of it." Maybe because I'm a rookie compared to may photographers? The watermarks are horrible. I will just skip a photo if I can't view it clearly, I do understand wanting to protect your work. But there are ways around the watermarks too. I'll make sure to follow you on Pinterest! Love your work:)
 
Thanks +Trey Ratcliff , of the watermark stuff a lot in the past, but you just opened my eyes!
 
Thanks everyone.

+Dru Stefan Stone About Prints -- that is a sticky subject. I find that if people fall in love with a photo, they will do whatever they can to get a print they can afford. I don't think watermarking has anything to do with that. Sure, without a watermark, they may "steal" it and print it out themselves, but that print may be low-quality. If they order from many artists, including me, they get a limited edition print that is more valuable and rare.

+Melissa Maura Glad you agre with the Watermark bit! :)

+Heidi Anne Morris oh yes +Lotus Carroll and +Thomas Hawk are on there too - I just followed them last night! :)

+Rachel Heil that's a lot of pins! hehe
 
+Trey Ratcliff I noticed you typed "End of the World" instead of "Edge of the World" :) Hmmm, that photo could very well be entitled "End of the World" too.....
 
Good comments and post, +Trey Ratcliff and, in spite of my skepticism over it, I may put a board on there to see where any traffic/revenue generates from it... Gotta be worth a trial, hasn't it?
 
I am on there too, - http://pinterest.com/throughtamseyes/ I have been there a while, but haven't been following it much. I need to start really paying attention to it because it is a great way to gather ideas all in one spot.

Lovely lovely blues in the photo, +Trey Ratcliff! It seems so icy... and more like the beginning of the world.
 
+Trey Ratcliff oh, and a short question: could you please help and name some more image sharing sites except for pinterest and flickr? thank you, have a nice day, greetings from germany!
 
Great points, +Trey Ratcliff. As the web is going more visual as we noticed in story telling and social magazines like FlipBoard, it makes sense, even more sense for photographers to look into Pinterest like apps and tools.
 
Would love to check it out. Can someone send an invite?
 
Some good insights, but I also disagree on several points...

First, "the link to the originally pinned location is still there" -- this sounds better than what is really the case. The "original" location may be a copyright-infringing source, not the original photographer. Yesterday I noticed a photo of Jimi Hendrix and decided to see how well the "source" link worked. Did it take me to the original photographer? No, it took me to a blog where some guy (I think in Russia) was posting hi-res photos that were definitely not his. That I could eventually track down the photographer is not the point; the point is that somebody made a decision for that photographer, presumably without their consent, to reproduce that image.

That leads to my second point, that there's a big difference between you choosing to release your work in an open way and somebody else choosing to release your work in an open way. It's a matter of choice, and copyright (on which any "open license" relies) is supposed to guarantee that the choice is made by the artist, not some random stranger (regardless of profit motives).

Third, and maybe this is just from me mis-reading it(?), but you seem to present releasing your work under a Creative Commons license as a "new thing that is an alternative to the old thing" where the "old thing" is copyright protection. As stated above, CC licenses rely on copyright protection; without that protection, the license is meaningless. In a Venn diagram, CC-licensed works are a fully-enclosed subset within works protected by the "old" way of doing things, i.e., copyright laws and treaties.

I've released photos, videos, software, and writings under open licenses, and I have advocated that others do the same. I've even been attacked for "not respecting artists" as a result of that advocacy. However, enabling and encouraging people to take choice away from the artist is not something I support, and that is why I'm still opposed to any site that encourages copyright violation. Like it or not, that's what Pinterest is doing when they encourage you to copy what you find on the Web.
 
I am following in the same vein with posting everything at 1920x1080 and just letting it go where it will. I am just getting started showing my work to the public and figure that since this is a learning period for me, anything I produce that people go nuts over is just useful feedback for what to focus on in the future.
 
+Trey Ratcliff I do love being able to reach out to people via social media, but the reason you give for things seems kind of black & white, when it's really gray... or maybe it's targeting different types of photographers. I put watermarks on my photos, and will continue to do so for the time being. Why? Am I afraid of theft? Not really, especially with the smaller versions of images out there. I do it because it's marketing that works for me. I have gained new clients because images were posted that had my small watermark in the corner with my url. I was told this by them when I asked how they heard of me so I know it works.

Social media is awesome, I try to post where I can with something useful. However, people share on a whim and don't always post who created the photo. Just scan a Facebook feed with the tons of photos and people sharing 'cool photos' with others. I haven't seen one photo where they said where they got it from, and most people upload it to their own profile. That's the reality of it, as much as I love creative commons and saying "oh, just give credit". I've only found photographers via most sites if they had a watermark on the photos so I could track them down and see who deserves the credit. In Popular Photography this month, one photographer posted how another site put his image up, it was raved about, yet they gave the wrong credit. Who provides checks on this stuff, it's just assumed it all works out? Sure, now he was able to correct it, but how many thousands of others won't get their credit for their hard work.

I think it helps to get those people back to your site for people like myself who work hard to create a great print or portrait for display on a wall instead of buried in files on a computer or collecting dust in a drawer on a CD. I can see how a commercial photographer would benefit tremendously, as opposed to being scared of sharing anything online. I'm far from anti-online-sharing given that I'm also a web designer, and have been for years, and convince my clients to get everything online to showcase, but I think there is a balance somewhere. Some watermarking can be ugly, like direct center over a face, but I still think there is a bit of usefulness in there given what I said above about being lost in the mass uploads and sharing.

I haven't tried pintrest yet, but I expect it would be really useful to get people to my prints and other things as well. Just gotta find the time. Oh, just be careful noting that they do add their own affiliate code to things where they can make money of links, like if you linked to Amazon and such. If you're affiliating things, you would have to edit to add your own (My affiliate friends have been up in arms over Pintrest lately).

I'll just end with saying, thanks for posting to keep a dialogue going for so many things. This is what I really love most about social media, especially on G+.
 
Somptueux!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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My wife love this, my son's violin teacher asked, so I finally started using Pinterest last week. I'm still trying to figure it out. Especially the part where Pinterest says to NOT self promote, and how to make it work for me. Do I pin my own stuff?
 
+Tom Sparks That's a good point. What +Trey Ratcliff is apparently suggesting is contrary to what Pinterest says the site should be used for. There are other sites (Flickr, Ipernity, etc.) that are specifically for sharing your own work, and such sites often allow you to release your photos under a Creative Commons (or similar) license.
 
This is the first I've heard of pinterest.
I wish more photographers thought like you and I do about showing/sharing their works with unadulterated enthusiasm and pride.
 
Cool! I may finally get on the pinterest bandwagon
 
+Clarissa Snow Looks like there are over 200 million Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr alone. Doesn't seem to be a rare thing...
 
Thanks all for a great discussion.

+Stuart Whitmore Yes I know what you mean, but Hendrix is a bad example. I doubt the photographer that took that photo had a website when he took it in the 70's so finding the root "web-artist-source" is nearly impossible. Conversely, I am getting out ahead of all the pirate links to make sure that my links are the original source that get re-pinned around. Make no mistake -- there is a link battle out there... and you have to be getting out there early and often with your own. People can still find the original source / photographer, but it takes more time if they have to hunt around the web for it.

+Anthony Torres thanks for the thoughtful post
 
Just think how many designers and artistic people are browsing Pinterest daily. Might be some great opportunities for Photographers there. Just saying;) Great Post +Trey Ratcliff
 
+Trey Ratcliff No problem. Like I said, this is what I love about G+ that I don't get on sites like Facebook. Unfortunately, my family portrait clients live there so I need to be there as well. Keep up the great topics, and I'll continue to read and hopefully engage here more.
 
wwwwwwwwwwwwwooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww......
 
+Trey Ratcliff: You mentioned on your Facebook Page that this picture has gotten 5 million views on Google+ (this is mind-blowing!) How do you know how many views it has?
 
Purchased your android app - best backgrounds imaginable. You are a gift.
 
Thx - yes I just checked +Peter Munnerlyn and it is about 5.5 mil now. So, this article about photo-views is skewing it a little !
 
+Peter Munnerlyn currently the way I check is by going to the Picasa page for the photo, which shows views --- check my blog for a screenshot of what I mean.
 
+Trey Ratcliff > I've read your comments about this before and haven't been swayed at all... but this one is starting to make me change my opinions a bit. I confess to having the fear factor and do watermark my images. I also get irritated when people copy, edit, and upload them on G+ (it makes my skin crawl)...so I upload smaller images in reaction to that... but these things I think I can get over, with time.

My big question for you is with regards to the creative commons license and also registering with copyright office.... how does one go about doing these things? Is it easy or cumbersome? Do you license everything individually or as an artist? Cheers,
~Alexis
 
+Trey Ratcliff: I gotcha:) I thought you were a beta-tester for Google Analytics for Google+ and I was about to get very jealous.
 
Wondering how long it takes for the invite to come through, +Trey Ratcliff - and what is it that they check or verify before "allowing" you into Pinterest??
 
Just getting started with Pinterest, but looks promising for marking photography inspiration among other interests. Interesting read +Trey Ratcliff. I always have the same reaction to new social media endeavors, about a week or month of no thanks. And then I give in :). Did the same with google plus. Plus has proven I should give in earlier. Here is my profile for those interested. http://pinterest.com/robbybowles/
 
I have a rocket launch video that has been taken many times without notice, edited into compilations and sold by professional videographers. I only licensed the video one time to Japanese TV. It bothers me that others have made more money on my lucky shot than I did, but since I only ever made $1000 on it I can't rationalize hiring a lawyer to sue them. I just wish it was easier to get a revenue stream going on digital media, writing, or any creative content for that matter. I create and create and share and share and I have zero income from it. If I was making money it would be easier to tolerate a few people making money with my material as well.
 
I'm also on Pinterest. It makes your eyes ogle on beautiful products, whimsical objects/building, delicious looking food and lanscape pics. I think if G+ is for reading/intellectual connections, then Pinterest is for your visual viewing pleasure.
 
Thanks.

+Alexis Coram I still register with the copyright office - that protects me when big companies do steal stuff, which is quite rare. But then, it's an easy case... and all this talk about "hiring lawyers" -- that's not a problem. If you have a solid case, many law firms will take it on contingency so you don't have to pay any out-of-pocket.
 
Man, you are getting good at Photoshop. You should be called photoshoppers instead of photographers!!
 
PTL!!! I'd love to return to photography, but not having an old system or new digital, stops this from happening. I agree with you though, for me it is a passion to be shared, though I once used it for profit. It's about revealing the grace GOD has blessed me with, thru the lens that so draws me back to the art. LORD willing, I'll soon return to bless others with the skills HE's graced me with in this way :{)))
 
Thanks, Trey. Just wondering if you register with the copyright office once and it covers everything you do, or if you have to register each image separately? It hasn't ever seemed to be intuitive to me when I've researched the process.
Jimmy S
 
Wow ,great post.Pictures not to shabby as well:) Stunning of course.
 
I've always had a link to Pinterest in my profile. But, unlike most, I don't use it for photography. I'm not saying it's not a great tool for it, because it absolutely is. I just think more people should give it a try before instantly condemning it.
 
I wish I could share my photos on pinterest, but they still haven't sent me an invite.
Erika z
 
Great post, Trey! I absolutely agree with you. Specially with regards to watermarks! I hate images with watermarks, it totally breaks the spell, it's very distracting. I personally don't feel like sharing a photo, no matter how beautiful it is, if it has watermark on it. Or if it is low-res. I personally find it impossible to be inspired by a picture with watermark.

 
it is natural?.......... especially the colour
 
I am a die hard Pinterest user, http://pinterest.com/goodwinart, and its potential for photographers and visual artists is huge. On our community boards, based on the image, some pins get shared thousands of times with a link back to the original post. Many of us also go to great lengths to describe the pins and give credit to the original artist, which is so important. Pinterest, and this type of sharing, is going to change the way products are marketed I believe. I am willing to take the risk and share my work there, not to mention the personal benefit of how it helps organize my distracted brain a great deal.
 
Thanks +Trey Ratcliff for not only sharing your photos but your wisdom. Your post could just as easily be about writing or software code or recipes or... I think human evolution is best served when we share our best.
 
Totally agree...as a potter...we have always shared information in much the same way scientists publish papers. In ordrer to progress both creatively and technically...it is important to understand and respect our place in history as well as the mark we add ourselves.
 
hey Trey I did not know you were that famous, LOL saw you on the tube explaining how to get noticed on here, which is what I want to do, so I can sell more of my art. Your info was very informative, it is much appreciated. We think alike in many ways, for instance the constant fueling of the visual scene, idea wise. Just to say thank you for your wise words, it is appreciated.
 
Yes, yes, yes.

Great post.

I feel the same way I feel about Pinterest as I did about Tumblr when it first came out which is super enthusiastic and that it is the wave of the (sharingtastic) future.

Oops, forgot to add my own: http://pinterest.com/viviennegucwa/

It's still sparse. I am planning on adding about 4698076 things in the coming week :).
 
Perfect depiction of Europe weather right now.
 
As Cory Doctorow says (of writers, but surely it applies to all artists): "the problem isn't piracy. the problem is obscurity."
 
+Trey Ratcliff, I pretty much agree with your views about sharing and copyright 100%. Food for thought though, regarding this:
"Offer up all your creations in maximum and beautiful resolution to the will of the web."

I (and probably increasingly many others) spend more time viewing photos on G+ on my phone now than the computer. And because of this, unfortunately your photos take 3 or 4 times longer to load than most everyone else's photos, so I know when I see one of your posts not to tap on the thumbnails due to load time. I enjoy your images (when I'm on a computer) and would love it if you'd reconsider this practice of posting the maximum resolution. When it comes to the web, nobody really needs a 5 or 6MB (or more) version of an image to enjoy the quality of the photo on a monitor or a tiny phone screen. Half that or less will look exactly the same at the resolutions the vast majority of people are using, even on a large monitor.

It's not about fear of copyright violation...it's about sharing more effectively. Food for thought.
 
I am going to pin this post to my photography pinterest board, ;)
 
my name is elvis presley and i love your photos they are beutiful.
Boris G
 
Thanx to Google+ i came across your photos. Truly amazing. Keep up the good work!
 
this one deserves a share
 
absolutely amazing! what a pick!
 
+Jim Bradshaw They added a 'What's Hot' section to the menu on the top left of your stream... if you go there, there's a slider at the top of the page. All the way to the left sends nothing to your stream.
 
+Alexis Coram: The ASMP has an excellent tutorial on the copyright registration process here: http://asmp.org/content/registration-counts. With their new pilot program you can register up to 750 photos taken in the same calendar year in a single registration for $35. Note this information applies only to the USA.
 
Great picture. I was wondering where to go to take some new shots... though I don't think I'll be going this far!
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I like that idea of a 'visual poem'...I've shared some of these...as have you...I especially enjoy your photo montages set to music! how fun! :) And isn't extrapolating this concept of telling a story thru a string of photos in sequence the very thing which spurred the creation of film/cartoons/and whatnot? Emulating & enriching life...tis the dawn o a beautiful age we embark upon on this internet! I mentioned to a group of Colorado photographers worried about their photos being 'stolen' on G+ that it is my belief that photography has moved toward and ideal of 'look at my work, this is what I am capable of' vs. 'this photo belongs to me'...just my two cents worth at where I see things going... I watermark my photos less for copyright issues than the simple desire for the common folk to remember who took the darn thing...I find a watermark can add to the beauty of the piece and somehow it goes back to the painter, sculptor signing their work making it authentic in some way...perhaps you computer geeks can create a hidden watermark which somehow allows the viewer to scroll over an area of the photo to see who it belongs to without having to search for metadata (as many don't yet know what that is or how to find it) and then the watermark would vanish into the photo again once you moved the cursor away :) You must take this simply as my opinion for I engage in this art solely for the sheer love of creating, enjoying & sharing beauty...I'm not so savvy on the business side yet, apparently... :)
 
Amen brother +Trey Ratcliff ! Halleluhia for the web and sharing! I am at http://pinterest.com/kevin2kelly/ but I have not been putting my own work. I am mostly scrapping booking others. But after hearing what you are doing I think I'll make a new board of my own photos.
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I'm joining. Thanks for the info. :)
 
+Trey Ratcliff, as a software engineering manager I love to see you embracing the technology that my industry is building. As someone who has been an artist at times, I can't help but think that some version of a subtle, watermark in the lower side of your images couldn't harm the experience of the photo and would keep your name alongside the work.

There's more to the story than just getting revenue - you want your name to be associated with your work as many times as possible, even if it's just to window shoppers.
 
it would be good to watermark all the content you personally create as it seems piracy is about to keep an upperhand
 
This is a pretty interesting stream of comments. Aside from the (well-deserved) compliments on the attached image, it seems people don't want to really think/talk about what Pinterest actually is. There are plenty of opinions about "sharing your work openly" and "creative works should be free" and so forth -- but that is irrelevant to Pinterest!

First off, Pinterest does not want you sharing your own content (at least, not primarily; if you do, it's supposed to be an occasional exception). Second, your choice to share your work has nothing to do with taking something from somebody else by force, such as by infringing on their copyright, by doing what Pinterest does want you to do: Share what you find (meaning, what others created). What makes you think you can violate the rights of somebody else just because you personally feel that what they own should be free?

If I grow carrots and decide to give them to my neighbors for free, because I feel vegetables should be freely given, does that mean I can walk into a grocery store and steal radishes? Or that I should support an organization that encourages stealing corn from the fields of local farmers? Of course not -- my decision to give away things I create is irrelevant to whether the creations of others can be taken against their will.

Obviously, the intangible photos being posted on Pinterest do not allow a direct analogy with removing a tangible product like an ear of corn. However, copyright law provides ownership of intangible "intellectual property" -- and if we throw out copyright law, we throw out the Creative Commons licenses, and the ability of +Trey Ratcliff to sue if a no-commercial-use image is used commercially without permission.

Pinterest is not about sharing your own work, and it is about encouraging the copying of the works of others whether or not they have agreed to that. As I said before, I've released works of various types under open licenses, and have advocated that others do the same, but that is the choice of the creator and not something to be imposed against the creator's will.
 
that is so so so khute man i waish i could have my time their
 
Good comments +Trey Ratcliff I have already had wedding enquiries as a result of images i put on Pinterist only a couple of weeks ago. I can certainly see benefits here....
 
I started to use Pinterest a few days ago and I instaled the "Pin it" button into my browser. But I startded to think about copyright. I am with you +Trey Ratcliff - this is a great opportunity to get more exposure to our work - but I am affraid to violate someone else's copyright. I will pin Richard Avedon's image from his homepage, for example - and it will appear on my "pinterest's wall" - does it mean I am violating his copyright? His image will get reproduced on my new website (and my Pinterest site is my new website) and I suppose to pay for this new use of his image ... His images should stay within his homepage without paying a fee for using it somewhere else. What do you think about it? There will be a link to his homepage but it does not mean I did not reproduced it without permission.
 
Great article and I totally agree with every word, Trey. I use Pinterest for some months now and love it to find new inspiration. I'm also glad to see some of my photos "pinned" in other Pinterest boards. Here's my Pinterest profile: http://pinterest.com/nunoferreira/.
 
Anyone have any thoughts on what is missing in Pinterest? Personally Id love to see.. private boards This way I can create a collaborative board with either a client or someone I'm working with and keep our project under wraps. Or I can keep tabs of things I may not want to share with the world. I'm wondering if it is going to perhaps become a tiered paid service? One price for private boards... and a second higher price to have private collaborative boards. Seems to me like this may be the route the service goes.. I certainly hope not. I wrote a smal post ( certainly in comparrision to this post) about six creative uses for Pinterest hope its of use to someone! You can peep it on my G+ stream here: http://goo.gl/D13D7
 
Impressive.The blue gives a perfect idea of unity and coldness.I have been there,because I live near.
 
I really like this photo, I have to tell me pal's.
 
I tried to sign up for pinterest. Then I realized that I'd either have to allow it to post to twitter for me (which wasn't ok), or update my FB to FB timeline (which I don't want to do). So, Pinterest fails for the moment IMO.
 
What a great post +Trey Ratcliff You outline your points so well. It is very true that any digital artists (and digitally social people) need to think more openly about how to distribute and connect with others through their work or messages. It's such a difficult climate right now with the battles between piracy, vs sharing, vs ownership of any type of material, be it a song, picture, painting or prose. I particularly like your "visual poem" concept as it relates to a new way of communicating with each other.

Although really, the one piece that stuck in my head (other than your gorgeous_Edge of the World_ image) is:

My wife used to have an interest in my interests, but now she only has an interest in her pinterest"

Bahaha!
 
The mobile site is dire to navigate
 
Thank you for this. It was very refreshing to read.
 
Dear +Trey Ratcliff, ...aside from the photo, great discussion. I'm one of those who brand and watermark, but you really got my noodle stirring now.

I would love to have greater google+ exposure and feedback on my works. Your post motivated me to relax and take benefit of "sharing" - I'll gladly showcase from now on my works in high-res and unbranded. But some of my prints are sold as limited-print proper fine-art pieces within art galleries - Should I showcase those online, showcase them watermarked, or not at all? - Would love your thoughts.

Thanks for your absolutely stunning contribution to the photographic community! Consider following me, wont let you down... Keep well, +Piet Filmalter
 
I'd never heard of pinterest until a couple of days ago. Signed up this evening, and it seems good fun. Given that the pinned pictures always link back to the source, I don't see a problem with it :) http://pinterest.com/benlocke/
 
Hi all, I completely agree with all that you have said Trey however I don't understand 'getting stuck' on the watermark. The watermark goes with the image and allows anyone to know the author. It doesn't have to be intrusive. If someone wants a large format clean copy then they can simply ask for one (non commercial of course). Sorry, I don't see this as a big point of discussion. You were a software developer, I am a software developer. Let's look at it in the light of that field of creative endeavor. I cannot understand why a non intrusive identifier is such a show stopper for some folks.
...my two cents.
 
I just Followed you Trey. I am using for my Biz as well. I just started so I am not yet sure how it will affect my Biz. But Hopeful!
 
"A pure artist has two motivations: creation for the sake of creation and sharing for the sake of connecting with the world." LOL The first part yes but the second part, give me a break. Artist share there work because of self interest. They want and need the attention there art brings them. Sex, Money, Power, fame,and all those other glories humans desire .
 
thanks for the post +Trey Ratcliff. You've inspired me to do the same. I started using pinterest to put up some photos to share with others.
 
Wow, this is awesome where is this place?.... My pal told me about this....
 
Where's the minus-1 button? As a newspaper editor who has seen fair use ignored, and ignored, and ignored (as a blogger, I don't ignore fair use), I think this is a ridiculous idea. Oh, Time Magazine isn't going to rip you off, but other people with commercial interests in mind will. Gawrowhnteed.
 
It looks like the peace Garden in my country,wonderful!
 
Hmm-m. My offline collection of ~8k landscape photos confirms that it is now already :) . Most of those are from unknown authors and mostly not because of my actions but because of the sources.
Minimal watermarks (seen only in a corner with careful inspection, for example) are not really bad. Though using metatags of images is probably better. Especially if you are using ‘attribution’ in your (cc).
 
so true for humans anger is based on fear
 
I'd like to stay on Pinterest for awhile....there I can see lots of fun shot and also I'd love to see photos by phorographers because the photos are really awesome
 
Breathtaking, love it!! What a view.
 
Where I may find this at higher res (2560x1600)?. I'll love it as my desktop image!.
 
A wonderful world!
 
I Love This Shot!!! It's very Beautiful, Trey.
 
+Trey Ratcliff Problem I have signing up with Pinterest, it requires that you click the Facebook button...
 
+Sam Jensen
I Do Not consider myself to be an artist. lol
I think Photography is a Form of Art... It's a form of Expression. What would you call it?
 
peaceful nature how romantic!!!!!!!!!
 
It is just awesome............ Great pic.
 
beautiful.......................
 
New desktop background! Mesmerizing. Thanks!
 
So, artists should go back to their origin; show the world how talented they're, not becos they just want to make money :)
 
A reminder to social media newbies: Before you act on +Trey Ratcliff's elegant marketing campaign and rush to request an invite from Pinterest, please take a moment to read their about info, and especially the privacy info. http://pinterest.com/about/privacy/

Not that there's anything particularly fishy in there, or that it's any different from that of other social media services but, just that you understand and are aware of what you're getting into.
Pinterest is yet another 'free' social media service where you, the enthusiastic sharer, are the actual product of the service. You are the cattle being fed with ads, and your self-curated and produced free data of interests, as well as all the metadata (personal and identifiable information) you provide, is a highly valuable commodity these days. Cattle with money, pre herded in convenient and identifiable boxes.

Not that there's anything wrong with that per se, either - that's just how mass marketing and advertising works these days, and how it's going to work increasingly in the near future, just like Mark Zuckerberg noted in his open letter recently. Social media killed the old media star.
No doubt Pinterest got a tsunami of new user requests after this effective 'marketing campaign,' and hopefully Trey's business will eventually get new clients, too. ;-)

FWIW, it's a good idea to keep in mind that today the aforementioned "cattle herders" know much more about you than they did ever before.
 
I tend to not worry about people stealing my images. Haven't run into any issues yet, so I'll just keep on keepin' on.

Yep, I'm on Pinterest, and I've been digging it. Once central place to gather my interests? Yes please!
http://pinterest.com/jcmatthies/
 
This is my Google search page background., such an awesome photo.
 
pinterest doesn't let you to register if you don't have facebook or twitter account. How cool is that? And I don't have either of those accounts. * shrug *
 
I love to share my photos and others on Google+. I was looking into Pinterest, I like the idea and visual layout, but really had issue with one particular part of their TOS. I hope +Trey Ratcliff +Thomas Hawk or anyone else here can help clear this up for me. The statement says "By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. " http://pinterest.com/about/terms/ The item that brought me to a halt was granting them permission to sell. I think all social media requires you to grant permission to use what you post, but this is the first time I have run across selling listed in TOS. I'm an amateur photographer so I don't need to worry about them wanting to sell anything of mine, but the idea of it doesn't sit well with me. Maybe I am interpreting this wrong? Can anyone give me their insight on this?
 
Alright +Trey Ratcliff I've been wanting to debate this idea with you for a few months now. Here is my chance, eh?
First of all I truly think you are good guy at heart so I'm not hating on you, just debating the issue. However the fact that you make it out like those of us on this side of the fence are just misinformed and not insightful kinda rubs me the wrong way. What's good for the goose ain't always good for the gander.
The truth is, Trey, very few of us are in the position you are. I can't afford to travel the world to wild and exotic places on my own dime in hopes that I sell the images. I can't afford to hire an attorney for $10,000+ in hopes that I can recover the $500 someone owes me. I can barely afford to put gas in my car and pay for a roof over my head. When you talk about the poor folks who just can't afford your work, well that's me! Having a nice camera and a little gear is a luxury for me. I imagine I'm in the majority when it comes to that, not the minority.

Let me tell you a little more about me and MY experiences. When I was 25 I started my own business. A gyro/hot dog/brat/philly cheese steak cart. We were the only one in a college town of 100,000. We were financially successful and we also gained cult status around town. At our height, my partner decided to file bankruptcy and left town with all my money, my cart and all the tools that go along with it. Because we were supposed friends we only wrote up a small contract which in the end did very little to protect me. So I hired a lawyer, gave him a few grand, and expected him to do SOMETHING on my behalf. He didn't do a damn thing.
The whole event has cost me $100,000s of dollars. 40 grand a year for the last 13 years!


I just spent two years in Hawaii. Showed up with $50 to my name and a camera bag full of goodies. One day I was in a little cove all by myself for several hours. I had just filled up a memory card and needed a new one to get about five more shots of the sunset. My bag was about 10 feet behind me sitting on a rock. So I change memory cards, grab my five shots and turn around to leave and my bag is gone. My Canon 70-200mm2.8L, gone. My 85mm1.8, gone. My 580EX flashes, gone. All my tools besides my camera and the cheapest lens I owned, gone.
I ran up the hill, the only way out of the cove, and looked around the parking lot for my bag and the crystal meth junkie who now had possession of it. Several folks in the parking lot said they saw a guy running down the highway with a big black backpack. I jumped on my scooter and drove up and down the road for about an hour with no luck.


A few months later while driving said scooter I was hit by a car. It was 100% their fault and they ran from the scene. I was lucky I had fast reflexes or I might not be writing this today. Nobody who saw the accident got the licence plate but they all stopped to tell me they saw what happened to me and would be witnesses if needed. My scooter was totaled and I was out several grand and I had to walk six miles to my day job for the next few months.

My point? Yeah, nine out of ten people may have walked by my camera bag and not touched it, but the tenth will steal it every time. So should I just leave my camera exposed for the world to take in hopes that nobody will steal it? Should I not sign a contract if I get into business again because people are inherently good? To me this is pretzel logic and is not good business sense.
It's funny because I'm a hippie at heart and one of the most giving people you'll ever meet. The truth is that mentality has not helped me, it's hurt me, because lots of people WILL take advantage of you if they see the opportunity to. I'd love to live in your Utopian world, Trey, but unfortunately my experience says that world does not exist.

I do understand your point that someone using an image for something like a desktop image or for a personal blog is really no big deal. That person wouldn't pay anyway, right?
However I believe that many people in business today feel that free images is the new way of doing business and they WILL take advantage of that situation. We all know about the Craigslist ads asking for free work to be done, which you will not find in any of the other services. I've had marketing agencies use my work, without attribution or money, to promote products. I've had a bank contact me asking me to "donate" my images for their calender. A BANK, not a non profit. While I was in Hawaii I was contacted by a guy who wanted me to shoot his wedding for free. His $40,000 wedding on the North Shore. Remember the blog by the New York Times that basically said, "Decorate your home for free by downloading images from Flickr". For crying out loud, Time Magazine is doing this and I have no doubt smaller publications are doing the same.

Again, I can't afford to hire a lawyer at their inflated prices in hopes that I will recover a little money. Glad to hear you can, but that's not realistic for most of us.

These are the 1% that are supposed to know better and are supposed to pay for our services.
But they don't. Why would the bank pay me for my images, even if they are high quality, if they can go somewhere else and get them for free? IMHO your focus on the good people who do the right thing is missing the point. Many will not do the right thing and helping them out by leaving your camera bag lying around is not smart. Lesson learned. ;)
If I was a cabinet maker on a shoestring budget and I left my warehouse open to the public and gave away 99% of my work, I doubt I'd be in business long. Why do you think photography is so much different than every other business out there?

You often mention the music industry as an example. For me that's apples and oranges. When a band or artist creates an album they get paid by the producer to create said album. When someone downloads an mp3 for free or burns a copy of their buddies disc for themselves, the artist doesn't lose out, the producer does. I don't have a producer, or an agent, or a union protecting me or a team of lawyers tracking down copyright violations. I'm a team of one and when someone takes just $20 away from me, I feel it. The music business didn't just let it happen either. They shut down all kinds of sites and sued many people for large sums of money. Photography is much different than the music world and not a realistic comparison if you ask me.

Alright, to actually cover the topic of this post, Pinterest. I've seen many things that say the idea behind Pinterest was to share other people's ideas and products, not your own, and that it's in bad taste to use it to promote your own work. We have plenty of sites to do that. Dozens!! I would never think to pin my own stuff on a website designed to share other people's, especially when I have many other options to do just that.
So, Trey, if that's true and it was intended to be used to share other's work, not your own, would that change your marketing strategy. Come on, you're a nice guy and nice people always do the right thing. They never take advantage of a situation if it will benefit them. Right?
Even if it gets me more traffic and a handful of paying gigs, if it's not in the spirit of the site then it seems awfully self centered to use it for that purpose with all the legitimate options out there.

If I'm wrong about Pinterest than that does not apply. I'm just going by what I've seen and heard.



My belief is that what works for you will not work for the majority of photographers and maybe you should stop and pay attention to all the negative feedback you are receiving instead of dismissing it so quickly. Especially the negative feedback from folks who have been doing this professionally for many years longer than you. The old guard might just know what they are talking about.

You know, Trey, you and I have been contacts on Flickr for many years now. If you go to my profile page you will see that I give you credit for "exposing" me to HDR many moons ago.
http://www.flickr.com/people/ajschroetlin/
Over the years we have also exchanged personal messages. One time I found your little monkey avatar on another user's page and I let you know about it. At the time that was in a way your logo and I thought you'd like know about it. Seems funny now that I even bothered to tell you.
With that said, do you have me in your circles here on G+? Nope. Do you ever comment on my work? Nope. Even though I've commented on a lot of your work over the years, including here, I'm apparently not worthy....or I've slipped through the cracks....which is understandable with a million plus followers and a lot of talented photographers. So while you are concerned with the "poor" art buying public's rights you don't seem too concerned about your fellow photographers so much. That's a bummer. I doubt that's your intentions but it sure comes across that way sometimes.

Sorry for the blog sized post but I enjoy writing too and pages can appear before I know it. I'd love to hear your response. If you can convince me I'm wrong, I'll be happy to admit it. So far that hasn't been the case and I refuse to believe I'm not enough of a visionary to "get it".

So there you go. My 2 cents....maybe a quarter. :)
Thanks for your time.
 
Thank you so much for this article, I had actually quit Pinterest due to a couple of articles I read about how bad it was for photographers. I enjoy your point of view, embrace this technology and share to your heart's content. After all, that's what art is all about, sharing what you see or imagine with others. I am now back on Pinterest, have yet to figure out Google +. Here is my new Pinterest account, thanks again: http://pinterest.com/hollystigen/
 
I agree 100%.
The photographers that ignore social networks like Pinterest are missing out and will perhaps lose business because of it. Social media is driving web traffic now, gone are the days where you only needed a website.

Now Pinterest is the third largest social media network after Facebook and Twitter. While G+ doesn't need to be like Pinterest, they need to understand how people use the social networks better. (and please hire some great designers do the graphics) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2127078/Pinterest-popular-social-media-network-beating-LinkedIn-Tumblr.html
 
Wow Trey!!  That really is spectacular....
I haven't got into pintrest too much, losing contact with everything else :(   Thanks for sharing!
 
oh ya?!
boooooooooooooooooooyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
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