Well, durrr!

August 28th, 2009

Big business versus protestors: an American protest group is up in arms because a Powerful Coal Lobby is using images bought from a picture library to depict their supporters.

I guess what they want is for the Powerful Coal Lobby to go out and gather all its supporters together and photograph them to use in its propaganda. Then they can see for real the horns and tails they expect to see worn by PCL supporters.

Instead the PCL bought their pictures from a picture library. Well, durrr!

That’s precisely what picture libraries are for.

These are model released, royalty free images. They can be used for any purpose the purchaser wants.

If the people being photographed have any moral objections to their image being used to promote things they don’t approve of, such as guns, pornography, tobacco etc., they always have an opt-out clause, as all fotoLibra members have for every image they upload. Not many of our people use it, so we assume most of our members are happy to have their Royalty Free images used to promote taxes, the government, banks or any other form of corporate or institutional villainy.

These models clearly don’t mind their images being used to promote the coal industry. So why shouldn’t they be? The protest group could just as easily buy the same image from the same supplier and promote it as a bunch of people implacably opposed to coal mining in any form. The big thing about these RF sales is that they’re non-exclusive — the good guys can use them just as readily as the bad guys.

You can see the images and the story here, and there is also a lesson to be learned for all photographers — there is always a market for photographs of people and groups of people against a white background.

Backgrounds are very important. They should not detract from the subject. Hence the popularity of plain white backgrounds — the Dorling Kindersley effect, as we call it. If you haven’t got a plain white background to hand, try opening up your lens to f1.2.

The other lesson to be learned is when you look at the (otherwise bizarre) pricing structure offered by the agency which sold the pictures, one thing is eminently sensible: the bigger the pixel dimensions of the picture, the more pricing options the buyer has. So it always makes sense to upload the biggest files you can.

Lesson over for today.

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