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Photography Question 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005

Business names on photos - Yes or No?

I've just found out by my printer that some of my clients have been scanning my prints and getting reprints done (how rude!). My printer said she couldn't do anything about it, cause I hadn't copyrighted the prints.

I have two options:

Stickers on the back of the prints, but I am wondering if these will be easily peeled off


in the bottom right of all my photos print Natalie Howe Photography (c). I just think clients won't like this, but you have to protect your image, I suppose when it is framed you won't see it anyway.

What do you all do?

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8/22/2005 7:10:36 PM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  I put © Prairie Images on all of mine. . . and some of the studios around here just make a stamp with all the copyright info and put it on the back . .. the paper I print on from MPix also has a copyright notice on it that says Kodak Professional Do Not Copy. I try to put the logo in a spot as low as I can so it doesnt' detract from the photo. ON wallets this can get kind of tricky but so far it has worked out. What size prints are they copying?? I started only offering 4 x 5 so if they try to take it to like Walmart or somewhere they won't have the exact same size and will have to either crop or stretch to fit. . . not that this is foolproof but at least they shouldn't get a perfect image! If they are copying 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 though then they probably are getting good images! :-(

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8/22/2005 8:10:22 PM

Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Hi Natalie,

I put (c) my name and the year in the lower right corner. I have templates I've created set up in photoshop so that I open one and just slide my picture in under the copyright layer, then flatten. I have one that has the copyright going straight and one that is diagonal and fits nicely into the corner. You can then lower the opacity if it stands out too much. I usually lower the opacity so that it doesn't take away from the image but is still noticeable to anyone printing it.

Make sure if you do this that you take into account that if they frame the print your copyright should be within the space where the image will show through the frame. You don't want a partial copyright showing, that wouldn't look professional.

Oddly enough, I saw a lady throw a fit because a photographer hadn't put his copyright signature at the bottom of her portrait. It was almost a status thing to show that he had done her portrait. So aside from protecting your image, you can also promote your business. That way someone can show that they have a true "Natalie Howe" portrait. Hey, whatever works to keep us all moving forward. Hope this helps.

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8/22/2005 8:28:36 PM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
Your printer is wrong. There has been really big articals in our local newspaper about a guy that could not have his photos printed because they 'looked' too professional (walmart refused him as did kmart and wolf) . If the printer knows this is a copywrited photograph or can reasonably suspect and recognize that it is he is breaking the law and can be fined. Just think of this as stealing a photo off of the web, is there a copywrited mark on them? No, there is not but, if you steal it and print it you are really setting yourself up for trouble. Same exact thing applies here if this printer is making money off of illegal copies they are putting themselves at risk of a lawsuit by you. $50,000 to be exact for each stolen photo!! And no, you do not have to have a listed copywrite with any formal register to list a lawsuit.
Most photographers around here are upping their prices to allow for this illegal use. My favorite photographer just upped her prices.
I would list a copywrited stamp on the back just to secure the knowledge. And I would warn your printer that he is setting himself up for a lawsuit.
Hope this helps,
Melissa Zavadil

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8/22/2005 8:37:03 PM


BetterPhoto Member

check out this thread.

I use an embosser on ALL of my prints except for wallets. Including proofs.

I stamp the backs of my wallets with a custom stamp that I had made that is a circle with copyright printed along the top and bottom of the circle and my studio name and address inside the circle.

I also send my prints to prolabexpress and they also print the word copyright and my studio name on the back of all my prints. That's in addition to using the professional paper that says do not copy on it.

Obviously, you can't be too careful.

I charge almost nothing for a sitting fee and make all of my money from reprints and so I can't chance someone copying them.

I also took some pics to our local walmart and had them developed to see if they would, and they wouldn't. They said that they were too professional looking and refused.

I was happy that they refused and of course that they thought they were professional looking too!


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8/22/2005 9:02:46 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Stamp it or printed on the back. Get some dual sided paper if needed. If you put it on the front, it blends easily if it's done in a slightly lighter shade, or use layers options with overlay, screen, burn, dodge. Or combine softlight with emboss. Lower corner since eyes are up top. The ones who don't like are the ones who plan on doing what you're trying to prevent.

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8/22/2005 9:03:32 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  Thanks everyone! Yep, I can't believe she let them scan them when she knew they were mine - maybe our rules in Oz are different, but I know I am covered by copyright laws regardless. I tried to stamp the back of my photos, but the stamp never dried. I might do the layer thing like Liza has set up, sounds like it could work. You could probably set up an action for this too, so you could batch process photos (grouped in sizes only). I might have a fiddle with this.

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8/22/2005 9:13:30 PM


BetterPhoto Member

I bought special fast drying ink for photographers. It dries in something like 1-2 sec.

It was really expensive ($45.00 I think), but I think I have a lifetime supply. :)


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8/22/2005 9:22:11 PM

Jennifer S
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/9/2004
  WHAT?! I would be SOOO furious if I had a printer who knew it was my work and went ahead and made copies anyways! It doesnt matter if you have copyright symbols or not. You own the rights as soon as you take the picture and printers who even suspect people are copying professional photos owned by someone else can refuse to make prints (like Melissa stated)- and your printer didnt just suspect, they KNEW!!

As for the copyright mark, I always planned on putting a small mark in the bottom corner (like ©Jennifer Sawicki). I hope you find a copyright solution that works for you. Good luck!

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8/23/2005 1:16:31 PM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Those are your pictures from the second you release the shutter. Fight this please Natalie. That guy should know. And if he doesn't help, go to his boss, then his boss, then his boss. Like Jennifer said you own the rights the second you take the picture whether they are copyrighted or not and no one has the right to copy them.

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8/23/2005 1:36:39 PM

Mellanie    You can also make a brush in PS7. That way you can resize your brush for whatever photo....color match it to the photo, etc. A great tutorial:
copyright brush

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8/23/2005 3:03:41 PM

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