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zainzubir
2nd May 2008, 08:23 AM
Your Photography Business : Protecting Your Work

by Cindy Bracken

Protecting your work is a common concern among photographers. In this day and age, it is easy for someone to steal your images, and this can really cut into your profits if you aren’t careful. Here are some precautions to take in order to protect your photography business:

* Educate your customers
o Some people just aren’t aware that copying is illegal.
o Have them sign a copyright notice (see example at the end of this article)

* Clearly mark all of your images (proofs and finished portraits) with a copyright symbol and the name of your studio. You can do this in Photoshop or by using a foil stamping machine. Go to http://www.veachco.com for more information.

* If you release your proof images electronically, it is a good idea to clearly mark each and every one with the word “proof” in a highly conspicuous place (such as next to a face). This is pretty easy to do using Photoshop. Also, electronic proofs should be low resolution. This way, if any copies are made, the quality of the prints will be extremely poor.

* If you sell a CD with printing rights to your images, make sure to include a copyright release form with the CD, signed by you and on your studio letterhead. In most instances the client will need this in order to have prints made. Be sure to make recommendations to the client about which lab to use for best results.

* Another way to protect your profits is to charge a high sitting fee, creation fee, or require a minimum order. This way, you make your money up-front, and do not have to rely too heavily on print sales for your profit.

Sample Copyright Notice for Photography Studios (this should be printed on your studio letterhead and signed before any images are released to the client). Keep one copy for yourself and give one copy to the client.

I understand that images produced at (your studio name here) are copyrighted under United States law. I understand that it is illegal for me to copy these images in any form or have copies made elsewhere. I understand that if I want additional copies of any image, they must be purchased through (your studio name here).

___________________________________________
(signed)

___________________________________________
(date)



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