I Need Your Help!

Often as an amateur photographer I question my methods of taking photographs. Should I use JPEG, maybe RAW is better, does that work from a low angle, should I put something in the foreground. By questioning myself I hope to improve my skills and get the best photograph I can.

Now as my regular readers will know I have had trouble with my photographs being stolen, you can read about it here https://mikehardisty.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/no-more-cc-images/. Until the beginning of this year I was a supporter of Creative Commons Licensing but that changed after I found many of my photographs being used illegally in breach of my copyright and the terms of the CC License I had allocated.

For a while a used a great big watermark on my photographs but many of you said you didn’t like it and the watermark was just too distracting. So I decided to go with a frame round my photographs like the one you see in the image below.

As always though I continue to question myself, not only in the way that I take my  photographs but also in the way I present them, to you, my readers. Heres the same photograph but this time without the frame…..

…..and this is where I need your help.

What works better for you. Do you like the photograph framed? Or do you prefer to see it without the frame?

I really would like your help with this so please take time to place a short comment at the end of this article, Even if it’s only the words Framed or Not Framed


23 thoughts on “I Need Your Help!

  1. Hi!

    In this particular photograph, the frame doesn’t really distract (the reader’s, my) attention. So…Framed.

    And also generally, I think as long as it’s on your blog or Flickr, it should be framed, watermark splashed across, whatever you want. Maybe change it according to the platform on which the photograph’s shared.

    – P


  2. For me Mike definitely without the frame. Somehow, in my opinion, the frame encloses the sea and makes it feel kind of restricted -shuts it in. Another point – I’m a very amateur photographer but with a bit of knowledge about using GIMP (the equivalent to Photoshop). If I was one of those who was low enough to steal your picture I could easily remove the frame – much more easily than removing a watermark. I would rather see a watermark than a frame anyway. Hope this helps. 🙂


    1. As you say , it’s easy enough to remove the frame, but that’s the whole point. In doing so the person removing the frame knowingly does so, therefore they cannot claim that they did not know the image was copyright. On the other hand I have to prove that they did in fact remove the frame and hadn’t obtained the image from elsewhere on the web. It’s a total nightmare and there’s no easy way round the problem. Watermarks can be removed easily enough as well, just clone it out or crop the image slightly…


    2. It really is a difficult problem Mike – but a good point you made about a thief removing the frame. I never thought of it that way. Maybe someone will invent a bit of technology to solve the problem – but then someone else will eventually find a way around it. It seems to be the way of the world.


  3. I liked it unframed because I thought the impact of the sea came across better. it receded with the frame. Having said that I like frames, and often use them on one of my blogs, but that is partly to manipulate DuoTone (the theme). On my other blogs, I tend to use very thin ones – 10 pixels – on the original image and then reduce the image to around 600 or 800, unless I am using it for a header (1000).

    Regarding a watermark/copyright issue, I think you do what you want. Most of the photo blogs I read use one, and I have done since virtually day one. Not because I think anyone would steal my pix but it is a matter of principle. Some people earn a living out of photography and giving out free photos is taking away from their living. Pretty simple really.

    Incidentally, how did you find your photos on other sites/blogs/whatever and that they were being sold? The one I have always worried about has been my dogblog as he is pretty photogenic but I would have no idea where to start looking for photos of him.


    1. Thank you for your comment. I do like frames and i tend to make the frame colour match one of the colours in the image. Watermarking is easy to do but sometimes I find it just a little distracting. I suppose the ideal answer is not to publish anything to the web and then I wouldn’t need to worry about it.

      As to finding images/photographs that have been used, although not 100% effective you can use Google Image Search. You can download extensions for Chrome or Firefox. Then all you have to do is right-click you image and ask Google to find other instances of it. As Google indexes most sites there’s a fair chance it will pick your image up if it’s being used elsewhere. You could also use Tin Eye which comes as a plugin for most browsers. Works similar to Google.


  4. Mike, for me the unframed is a stand-out. The plain background let’s the colours pop and tones to blend within the frame of the content. And what beautiful content! The subject gets free reign without the surrounding distraction of frame and print.

    As to the thorny issue of copyright I suspect that with photoshop etc stealers will find a way whatever you do . . .


  5. I also like the unframed photo. Even though the framed one is well matched. I often wonder if my photos are being stolen because I don’t mark them. I photograph as a hobby and felt if someone really wanted it they would find a way around the markings. Thanks for your information on how to track down stolen images. I will try that. I enjoy your photography framed or not.



  6. Hi! I think the unframed looks best. And when it comes to the watermarking, why not try to make a nice signature on you photos. Then people will know that it belongs to you, and it still looks nicer than a watermark.


  7. Not sure what equipment you’re using Mike, but in my D700’s menu settings there’s a Copyright field. I filled it in with Photos With Finesse and now it’s embedded into EXIF. Every time someone posts one of my photos to Facebook, PHOTOS WITH FINESSE pops up right at the beginning of the description. Kind of neat. I like your frames. You always choose complementary ones to the images, but you can make discrete watermarks. You may not like them, but with so many people stealing work these days they’re a necessary evil. I finally figured out how to make mine more discrete in my online galleries. (I use Breezebrowser Pro for generation.) This is an example of the old: http://photoswithfinesse.com/Images/Luscious%20Land%20&%20Sea/2012%20january_0166.htm and this is an example of the new: http://photoswithfinesse.com/Images/Exciting_Events/CalgaryBMX/bmx%20racing_0008.htm. Now I just have to regenerate and repost all the remaining galleries. <> I also do them manually for my blog images with Photoshop Elements. Discrete, but there nonetheless. http://photoswithfinesse.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/jeffbwilkie_0014.jpg. I do them in a handwriting or script font and centre them because I find it harder for the photoshoppers to remove. It’s really easy to clone or crop something out of blank spaces – e.g. oceans, or sea grasses in the bottom left or right.


    1. I always fill in the File info which gets written to the EXIF before I save the image. I have a template which asserts my copyright and contact details. I then add TAGS and a description appropriate to each image. It takes a little longer but is well worth doing in my opinion. I’ll have a look at Breezebrowser to see if I could use it.


  8. Hiyah Mike. On the whole, I prefer them un-framed, however, you always use a colour which compliments the photo itself and that in itself does not distract (in my view) from the photograph itself. As it’s been mentioned, a frame is so much better than a watermark.

    All the best Mike.


  9. Hi Mike, when I see your framed pictures I know its your work – it works like your trademark ( I know its yours anyways without the frame because of your style). You are an exceptionally talented and technical photographer! So the frame works for me. This issue of stealing images is endless. On wordpress I use my copyright below the picture, and always post the picture FROM Flickr. I NEVER post a picture directly on wordpress because they don’t provide right-click protection. I also don’t post my premium picture on any platform that does not have right-click protect. Flickr is not full proof, but better than most, and a ALWAYS link views to my Flicker site. In fact, Flicker is more and more becoming the embassy of my social media platform compared to wordpress. I also like the comment above regarding embedding your copyright in you file EXIF … I’m going to try that.


  10. I like the frame and the way it captures the information about the location of the photo and the photographer. I think of it this way – I’d mat and frame the photo if I was going to put it on the wall. Why, then, would I object to a mat and frame if I am viewing it on my computer!?


  11. Unframed. I think the frame and your name in large print makes things look too commercial for my tastes. I think it’s a good idea to put them up in low resolution so that they can’t be used by others without your permission. I think the slimey people who would steal images will always find a way to steal them, and if that is a huge concern then I wouldn’t post all images on line. I appreciate and respect your work as a photographer.


  12. I think the frame works well and being you’ve already had incidents of others wrongfully using your photos, I think the frame is best. The frame kind of finishes it. I do agree with the fact that it looks kind of commercial, but I like it.
    Insofar as your question on RAW or JPEG. I am not a professional, but I will still put my 2 cents in. I always go with RAW. You can’t ruin your picture when you work with RAW and it’s like going a clean canvas of sorts. JPEGs are already processed to a degree so there is only so much you can “fix” with a JPEG. Personally, I always go with RAW. 😀


  13. hi mike, i like your frames, it has been said before, but i can recognize your work from the frame! stealing images will always be a problem, i use a small images with low resolution, so other than reposting the photo it isn’t worth much. like you I have all the exif data filled in. short of going off line i am not sure how to prevent theft. take care


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