We have recently heard some disquiet comments on how images turn up on Google without any information. While it is debatable whether Google is helpful or a hindrance to the stock photography industry (keep reading) it is certainly our responsibility to make sure that all images shown in photo library websites contain the authors name in the EXIF (IPTC section) data of the image. The only place that Google can extract data from is the EXIF data, and obviously, Google is not going to show an author’s name if the image doesn´t contain it. As the images that are available to download from Google’s search results are often large and plentiful, copyright infringements are becoming more and more rife, and are impossible to track if the photographer's name is nowhere to be found.

Remedy? Protect your images, use your EXIF!!!!

age fotostock will never remove the EXIF submitted to us, but it’s up to you to include it in your image data. Click here to read more about submitting your photos with EXIF.

Facebook however strips the EXIF data of the content you post there.  So if you download an image either from facebook directly or from facebook via a google search result, there´ll be no EXIF data found at all.  Is this a blessing or a minefield? Facebook states:

While you are allowing us to use the information we receive about you, you always own all of your information… which is why we don't share information we receive about you with others unless we have: removed your name or any other personally identifying information from it.

Adios EXIF! Fine if you have privacy concerns, but a complete nightmare if someone has `published your holiday snaps on their website and you want to prove copyright infringement.

Remedy? Watermark it! Click here to see the watermarked images that age fotostock posts on facebook everyday.

On this topic, there has been another interesting blog post regarding Google in the last week, published by Cepic. It’s recommended reading on the full story of our industry's fight against the unlawful use of third parties' content in the latest features of the new Google Image search:

Google indexes and uses images for various GOOGLE services. The vast majority of those images is copyrighted material, used without any authorization by the rightholders. Recent developments relating to image search show more clearly than ever how by unauthorized indexing, ranking and displaying of images in a certain way, GOOGLE is slowly but surely turning into a large picture library for free content – without and sometimes even against the explicit will of the content owners.

- 27 May 2013 CEPIC – Center of the Picture Industry

Be savvy: protect your images, and get informed about the internet platforms that you are working with. A stitch in time always saves nine...


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All of you should read the following post in the CEPIC Blog which debates the recent Dreamstime Microstock offer of over a million images for free use, based on the pedestrian thinking that people that get images for free will eventually pay for them sometime in the future...

CLICK to read the article in the Cepic Blog 

Our photographers' chatroom has been humming with backlash. Here's just a few of the photographers' reactions:

"I'm not allowed to talk about the "old" days but back then the bosses of the agencies cared passionately about the business and often were artists as well, now it's all about money for them and lack of it for us.It won't be too long before photographers have to pay to sell their photos that are being given away free."

"I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that shooting stock in this type of environment is rather pointless and perhaps not worth the effort for the 99%. Luckily I have other more marketable skills."

"I might be the eternal optimist, but I think there is still a decent paying place for high quality niche images. One that a micro shooter could not produce and one any jackass can't take with their iPhone. I try and produce them all the time."

"There is certainly no NEED for FREE content in today's ADVERTISING market. If you want to advertise, PAY the creator of the content you'd like to use! When one person (or business) WANTS to use free content - that doesn't mean another person has to deliver it at his own expenses."

It is clear that digital technology and the Internet has opened the door for new business models that favor the distribution process that balances the lowering of selling prices with the generation of volume. While this may initially sound logical, the ugly side is that photographers in general and the stock photography industry in particular will fall into decline because photographers cannot generate enough revenue to continue producing great images.

Cheap prices have devaluated photography to unimaginable levels in just a few years and have demoralized professional photographers. I believe that the only way to maintain the value of photography is to produce high quality content that attract clients attention because it is unique, innovative, creative and experimental and which maintains a more than decent price. age fotostock maintains the same principles, shooting the best images we can and trying to sell them for the best possible price.

We have entered into a vicious circle that we can only break out of if photographers and stock agencies demolish the fence that separates them and openly discuss certain pricing logic - otherwise the future will be uncertain for both of us.


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To quote a photographer in age fotostock's photographers' chatroom:

"To produce great images, money isn’t the main necessity. It´s imagination, conceptualization and being able to use available resources that are the most important things"

Words from the wise - it’s true! We’re finding that photographers don’t need to break open their piggy banks for a photo shoot with top models in the Caribbean in order to make images that sell. They needn’t even leave their neighborhood. With a general shift in image trends, the world of design and publicity is tending towards images that mix creative flair with real life moments, images that give us a unique way of seeing the most ordinary things.

Photographers, look around you - there’s a high chance that your best photos can be taken in exact spot in which you’re standing. Attention to detail, a creative angle, willing friends that will sign a model release (hey, this is one of the only times it’s suitable to say “shoot your children”), people going about their daily lives, in natural locations – with a little imagination all of these make excellent ingredients for images that can quite simply knock your socks off. Remember, gold is not the only thing that glitters…!


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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