Web & Graphic Design

Why i’m giving away free photos

Months before i decided to give stock agencies one last try (which if you read the previous post know it turned out pretty bad) i created a Flickr account. At the time, I was preparing to close up a website i had used for a couple of years to host my photos and obviously i was looking for another place to showcase them. Luckily, I’m long past the stage where i feel the need to protect my files with huge watermarks or post only small resolution versions. That’s why i went in the entire opposite direction by licensing them under Creative Commons Attribution and uploading the highest resolution available. Somewhere along the line i learned that sharing and helping others find content without particularly expecting anything in return can be just as rewarding if not more, rather than keeping them all hidden or selling them for prices that are downright insulting.

While I’m not a professional photographer, I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and for an amateur, I’ve certainly gathered quite a bit of experience. Although I take my camera bag just about everywhere, especially during trips and holidays, i do like to think of myself as a designer. Photography is just an added bonus and a nice way to help remember the places I’ve seen or strengthen my awareness of the world around me.

So why did i decide to make my photos available for free? Here are just a few reasons:

  • believe it or not, i very much enjoy seeing all the various ways in which my work can be remixed by others or simply used within their websites. It’s really inspiring and it certainly helps you get new ideas as well as insight into what kind of content people really need. It’s like an ongoing effortless brainstorming.
  • there are plenty of situations where paying for images on a daily/post basis wouldn’t simply make sense money wise. This is particularly true with blogs and other websites that aren’t really profit oriented. It always nice to see that your work enlivens an article or helps illustrate a certain topic.
  • every bit of exposure is welcomed. Besides, keeping all these images to myself would definitely help no one, not even myself.
  • when having to choose between selling your photos for literally 30 cents or giving them away for free, i prefer the latter option. For some “strange” reason, I’m thinking that any web service which endorses such low prices for a product with a relatively low average number of sales is clearly taking advantage of its contributors.  It’s simple arithmetic which shows that those tens of millions of dollars paid to photographers often mean a yearly income of less than 10 bucks per image.
  • i simply can’t stand supporting companies that have proven time and time again to be extremely arrogant and disrespectful to the very same people on whom they depend for their livelihood. It’s extremely distasteful using strength in numbers to bully users into unconditionally accept their rules. I also have a hard time buying into the whole “have the photographers’ best interest in mind” when the agency’s taking up to 80% of the income. Now that’s a percentage that would make even Steve Jobs jealous.

While I’m pretty confident about my decision to avoid any photo agencies from now on, I’m also quite aware that Flickr is generating no revenues whatsoever. As a result, increasing the frequency with which I can upload content will be limited just like it always has. Also, as you’ve probably noticed, I’m not a big fan of cluttering the pages with ads, nor have i found them to be effective.


This entry was posted in General stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.