To watermark or not... that is the question!

One of the first questions you should ask yourself when posting your photographies online (in your blog, flickr, facebook or whatever) is if your going to put some mark on it stating that you ARE the owner of it, that YOU are the artist behind the picture... or not. One method which has proven to be valid is the use of a watermark on the picture. Like this:

There are several discussions about this topic on the net (here and here) and as always, there are pro & contras. I personally even have had some bad comments about putting it on some of my pictures as "it would destroy the image".
After beeing active some years in this Web 2.0 world (where everything and everybody thinks that all content is for free) and beeing a professional photographer (i.e. somebody who earns money for producing pcitures) I gotta say: if you put your pictures online in order to just give them as a gift to the world... well, just leave them without a mark. Also, if you´re such a prominent photographer that your pictures are immediately going to be id´d as yours or you have a service like Picscout running... well, just leave them without a mark.
BUT... if you are aware that it is almost impossible to block the unlimited use of your pictures (or whatever content) all over the world by whoever wants to do it... then you should think about an efficient way to mark it. If the user really wants to use it in a "clean" way... well, then he should contact you.

That is my opinion on that matter. And by the way, as an advice for the ones who will follow this advice: when choosing a watermark... don´t you just use a symbol... I know, it´s fancy to have an own logo... but, if you don´t put more information on the mark (for example YOUR NAME or URL) how the hell is anybody going to know you are the artist behind that great picture? How is he going to contact you?
And trust me: it takes a looooong time till your logo is so widespread that everybody could recognize it :-)

logoBy the way: TinyEye is a great tool for scanning the web and finding your own pictures. Give it a try!

Polylooks schließt zum 31.12.2010

Soeben kam die Mail mit der Kündigung des Lizenzvertrages mit Polylooks, die Online-Bildagentur der Telekom. Gerade mal 18 Monate lang hat sie dann überlebt...
Genaue Angaben zu den Gründen sind noch nicht bekannt, aber ich wage mal zu behaupten, dass trotz starken finanziellen Backgrounds (immerhin reden wir hier von der Telekom!) Polylooks es nicht geschafft hat genügend Marktanteile zu erobern, die eine weitere Existenz hätten unterstützen können. Somit reiht sich Polylooks, gemäß dem Motto "another ones bites the dust", zu der größer werdenden Liste an gescheiterten microstock-Agenturen, wie hier an den durchgestrichenen Namen zu entnehmen ist.

Schade... bei der ersten Kontaktaufnahme damals (Mai 2009) klang das Ganze sehr verheissungsvoll... aber irgendwie hatte ich ständig das Gefühl, dass zu wenig Marketing betrieben wurde... ich meine, bei dem vorhandenen Kundenportfolio der TELEKOM hätte man durchaus mehr draus machen können, oder?! Jedenfalls habe ich nie Werbung gesehen...

Und hier noch die offizielle Meldung.

Why you should never work for free as a photographer

How many times have you been asked for giving your work for free? With the promise "hey, you´ll get a lot of exposure!"? Well, let me tell you that with EXPOSURE you cannot pay BILLS. It´s as simple as that. I´ve been contacted several times by media/content producers asking me to give them my work for FREE. I would then be mentioned somewhere in the text below, "so people/readers would get to know my name and then they would search for me and buy my pictures..." WTF? How many time have you seen a great picture or an imagery which really impressed you and have you taken out a pencil in order to note the name of the photographer? Because "´cause of technical reasons we cannot publish your fully homepage, but we´ll post your surname!". What if your surname is SMITH?
Photographers, specially the young generation, should take advice about this strange (perverse!) behaviour which has penetrated wide areas of the media producers minds: never, ever give your work away for free! Learn to valuate your work, learn to valuate the advantages the OTHER ones are going to get from your work.

Here is a good post of John Harrington in the Black Star Rising Blog about this topic and here is another rant at Lighting Essentials. But if you wanna see a fantastic rant about artists giving their work for free watch this video of Harlan Ellison:

So, keep in mind: the world is only going to valuate your work as far as you´re going to valuate it yourself.

Should I even stay in the photography business

Interesting post from Beate Chellete in the Black Star Rising Blog talking about the actual state of the photography business and the state of mind a photographer should have IF he wants to stay in business:

Well, as far as the state of mind concerns I totally back her up... but things are getting hard, specially when working through stock agencies. You can read the opinion of the veteran Jim Pickerell about this topic here in his post "Why full-time stock-photographers are an endangered species".
As far as I am concerned I really think that the times of only relaying on your stock portfolio as your only income source are gone... but, this should be seen as a wake-up call for diversifying your income sources as a photographer and engaging in other venues related to imagery. There are sooo many different fields where you can still be creative, passionate about your love to photography and images... and still beeing able pay your bills. It´s all about looking out for them and not letting your head down only because a door seems to be closing... if it does, look for another one. Be flexible, be curious, be active... and open your eyes and mind!


Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

With such blue sky... I cannot just walk by without taking a picture of this ferris wheel! This one was at the "DOM" festival which takes place in Hamburg every year. This is a good example of the use of a polarizing filter... blue gets bluer :-)

Autumn coming...

Autumn coming..., ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

While walking through the Wutachschlucht in the Black Forrest in Germany (11 km!!) you could see how the autumn is coming close... wonderfull light and colours! Autumn is in my eyes one of the best seasons of the year to go out and take some nature pictures! Try it... go out... keep your eyes open... and shoot, shoot, shoot! :-)


Sunflower, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Well, after spending a week with fantastic weather in the region called Black Forrest in Germany, I´ll be heading back to Hamburg on Sunday. I´ve taken lots of pictures and visited some cities over there (Konstanz, Freiburg) and even made the 11 km walk through the Wutach-Schlucht... kind of the "German Grand Canyon" :-). Pictures will be coming soon!

You may find the region here:

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I am cute :-)

I am cute, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Little duckling taking a sun-bath in an ocean of flowers... cute as can be :-)

Nasca Lines: The Hummingbird

Nasca lines: the hummingbird, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

This is one of the symbols (know as the Nasca Lines) carved in the sand of the desert of San Jose, department of Ica in Peru. It is assumed that this ancient drawings were made by the Nasca culture around 100 and 600 AD. Allthough known by habitants and diverse travellers through many years, they became officially "discovered" in 1941 by Paul Kosok. The german Maria Reiche spent her whole life trying to figure out what the meaning of this symbols were. Until now, there is no certain explanation for their existence. Some believe it was an astronomical calender others believe it was a religious cult. Allthough some of this drawings can been seen by standing on a watch-tower, the best way to admire them is by flying over them. This Picture was taken from a plane at 500 meters altitude.

You may find it here:

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Temple of Demeter, Naxos

Temple of Demeter, Naxos, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Ever been to the greek islands (Cyclades)? No? Well, gotta do it :-)... beautiful places, great nature and sometimes & somewhere always some interesting remains of the ancient greek culture. This one was taken in the island of Naxos.
I spent two weeks there drinving and walking around. Weather was fantastic and the food... hmmm... terrific :-)

More to come!

You may find it here:

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Uros reed-boat in the Titicaca Lake

Uros boat in the titicaca sea, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

A picture of one of the tipical reed-boats of the Uros People with the Titicaca lake (Peru) in the background. It really was an impressive trip! More pictures of this trip to come!

You may find it here:

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Where the hell is Matt?

I know, this video went around the internet world 2 years ago and is kind of "old"... but I still love it! It gives me just a warm und fuzzy feeling about how easy it actually is to share happyness and enjoy life!

So, check it out and smile... just smile :-)


Sunset at St. Peter-Ording

Sunset at St. Peter-Ording, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Just walking along the beach and thinking about how beautiful and calm nature is. Sometimes, a break from the stressy life in the city can be really helpful to find inspiration :-)

Looking for this great location? You may find it here:

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Freedom, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Paraglider infront of an amazing sunset in southamerica. Very warm colors and a bit of motion blur in the ocean. Had to sit 2 hours on the hill in order to catch him flying just infront of the sun... hope you like it :-)

Two little Llama-Babies

Two little Llama-Babies, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Driving around in the sierra of Peru I had to stop and take a picture of this cute dudes :-)

On the road again...

On the road again..., ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Lonesome llama standing in the middle of the road... don´t even think about passing by without paying your tax! :-)

Splash-serie: green apple

Splash-serie: green apple, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Try this out: get yourself a glasbowl, fill it with water and drop some fruits in it... but get yourself a towel, after this session my studio looked like a swimming-pool :-)

Highkey Experiments

Highkey girl looking at you, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Sometimes you can get real nice effects when playing with selective Highlights and Shadows!

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Playing with liquids... nice! :-)

Sunset at St. Peter-Ording

Sunset at St. Peter-Ording, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

A beautiful sunset in St.-Peter-Ording, north of Germany... hmmm, summer :-)

Two little Llama-Babies in Peru

Two little Llama-Babies in Peru, ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point

Still testing connection Flickr & Blogger...

The Cathedral in Cusco, Peru

The Cathedral in Cusco, Peru
Ursprünglich hochgeladen von Latin-Point
Testing the connection between Flickr and Blogger :-)