After saving some cash, you decide to take the vacation of a lifetime with a couple close friends to escape the demands life tends to bring upon us. First stop: the Grand Canyon. The view is absolutely breath-taking, so you snap a few pics with your iPhone 5 and share them on Instagram so your other friends and family can experience the view with you. Your pictures are dear to you and actually quite good, so you start contemplating possibly submitting them for a photography contest you heard about before packing up and heading west.
A few days later, you check your Instagram newsfeed and to your horror, your photo has been demoralized with stupid cheesy life quotes across the picture and, even worse, someone else is claiming it’s hers! How dare she! Now your original photo has been taken over by another user, and ends up in a Facebook ad.
What can you do to keep this from happening again?
Watermark your photos
No one wants to use a photo with your name plastered across it, so start doing just that if you don’t want your pics to be used as a canvas for other users to plaster their ideas about life and claiming them as their own. Also, if you’re a photographer, make your watermark a link to your personal website to guide followers to your work and make some money off of it.
Don’t post your livelihood online
If you’re a self-employed artist who makes money from selling beautiful photographs, don’t post pictures of your work on social networking sites where you run the risk of having your photographs stolen. Let’s face it: none of us can ever be too sure how our photos are being used after we make them public. There’s no reason why you should want to make someone else rich if he uses your photo in an advertisement if you get absolutely nothing out of the deal.
It’s almost impossible to use a broken photo, so tile your photos. Post segments of your photos so that when they’re put all together, it creates a whole picture. Not too many users out there would want to go through the trouble of sifting through your posts just to find each piece of a larger photo. That’s time consuming and there are other photos out there that are in one piece that can be used.
Report a theft
If someone on Instagram is stealing your pictures and you don’t appreciate it, report the perpetrator. Instagram gives users the option to flag an image for review if your image ends up on someone else’s page, but the site encourages you to post a comment asking for removal on the person’s account first.
The truth of the matter is, once something is posted online it’s very hard to control what happens to the content, so make sure you don’t post anything you would be ashamed of if it were to go viral. Lastly, take it as a compliment if your photo is being reused by others. Copying is the greatest flattery. And don’t forget to keep your account safe from hackers!