Tag Archives: photography

Adding image credits to lecture and research talk slides

Here’s an annotated example of how to include photograph title, copyright status, photographer’s name, and URL on a slide. The most critical parts are the photographer’s name and the URL.

Slide04

You can change the color of the box and the text, of course, and even orient the information vertically if that fits your talk scheme better.

How to find creator’s name

When you find an image via an online search, sometimes (usually!) it’s not clear who made it. But you should figure it out even though it takes time. To track down the name of the photographer or artist, try Jeffrey’s Exif viewer, Tineye Reverse Image Search, and Google Inside Search. If you can’t find the author, find a different image to use. Aim for a talk in which every image has a credit.

Image location

Providing a name is important, but it’s also critical to display where the original image is located. For most images, that means providing the URL on the photographer’s website. I.e., you might initially have found the image on a different site (e.g., Pinterest), but using the image search techniques above you should track down where the photographer houses the original. Similarly, if the original is in a book or magazine article, provide that source information. If you can’t be bothered to track down this information, don’t use the image. Photographers spend tens of thousands of dollars on fancy equipment and spend years accumulating quality shots, so honor that effort.

Be a role model

If you have a room full of impressionable students, please pause once during your lecture (or semester) to comment about why image credits are just like attributions for copied text. Explain that, yes, it does take some time to track down the photographers’ names and image locations but that it’s important to do so. Make it clear that providing image credits is part of the academic honesty policy of your school. Indeed, make sure “add image credits” is part of your syllabus if you require students to make presentations of their own.

Is it OK to post your talk slides online?

If you have used copyrighted photographs or illustrations, the answer is “no”. The answer is the same if you are an academic at a non-profit institution. I.e., although you can claim “fair use” to include copyrighted visuals in a presentation without getting permission from the creators, current United States copyright law does not allow you to publish those images, even if you think that’s part of your job. So if you promise your students “I’ll post these slides online later”, you are legally required to delete the copyrighted images before doing so. Note that this prohibition against publishing other people’s copyrighted work applies even if you post your slides on a content management system like Blackboard, Moodle, or Google Classroom. Sorry, I’m just the messenger here.

Useful reads on using images in slides

  1.  The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons,
  2. Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare,
  3. Washington State University Fair Use Guidelines,
  4. UCLA Drops Copyrighted Videos From Course Web Sites After Legal Threat,
  5. The TEACH Act.
  6. Cite and Attribute Your Sources.

Tumblr tips for photographers

Photographers tend to loathe tumblr and related sites because they operate by using other people’s copyrighted material, gathered into collections to compete for Likes and Reblogs.  So I decided to take tumblr for a spin to see how alarmed I should be. In particular, I was curious how images get loaded onto tumblr pages and whether the company promotes conscientious copyright etiquette.  Screenshot of my site (http://colinpurrington.tumblr.com) is below if you’ve never seen a tumblr site before. [More below the image…]

Colin Purrington's tumblr site

And below is typical upload screen, toggled slightly to show how one can use an image’s URL to post.  There is a separate field on the right-hand side to paste the content source URL.  Because I host my photographs on SmugMug, I paste the photograph’s “gallery” link in the content source box, and that URL is automatically duplicated by tumblr into the “set a click-through link” box.  Now, if anyone ever clicked on one of my images (it might happen!), they would be transported to the photograph in question, but it would be displayed amid other photos in the same gallery (that’s good, because adjacent photographs might also be of interest).

tumblr upload windowSo when posters conscientiously specify source and click-through URLs, that information will then (sometimes) be displayed.  Here’s an example:

tumblr reblogBut the above scenario is rare, and usually your photograph will be displayed without any of the embedded information.  This is where I have the most misgivings about tumblr HQ — they are in a position to dictate that all “themes” (tumblr accounts can be equipped with one of thousands of styles) must show image source/credit, but they do no such thing.  If Tumblr has the look and sound of Myspace, and your credit information is lost in the mess. That’s why you really should watermark all of your images.  For me, I’ve just placed my name on them.  But you could also put source URL on the image itself.  Just do something.

Many photographers stay away from tumblr because they think it will promote image theft, but I think it can go both ways.  When you post your own images on tumblr, it gives a way for people to share your images in a controlled way, albeit imperfect. Doing so could actually drive traffic back to your site, since people these days rarely come out to browse photographers’ web sites. I.e., the same reason photographers are starting to duplicate their galleries onto facebook.  It also gives you insight in how to craft your “using my photographs” paragraph that you might have somewhere on your main photography site.  E.g., if you know the details of tumblr (or Pinterest, or We Heart It, or whatever thefting site is popular tomorrow), you can use the proper language to tell people how they may properly credit your work.  Or, if you don’t want your work used at all, having knowledge of how the sites work will improve your ability to find technical fixes that block that use.

Whether you have a tumblr account or not, you’re going to find your stuff on tumblr if you search for it (find it by tineye.com, or search tumblr for your name). Just contact the tumblr user and ask them to adjust the settings so that the image is specified by a URL and that it has the click-through destination you prefer — they can change those in under a minute, and some of them like this woman specifically ask for corrections:

yourdailyintake tumblr text

Of course, that only works if you can contact the owner of the tumblr account, and I’d estimate only 1% of pages have contact information (don’t ask me why).  If you have a tumblr account and “follow” them, then you can send Fan Mail. Or if you don’t want to deal with the violator of your copyright, just shoot a take-down request to support@tumblr.com (details) and they’ll pull the image within hours (I’ve found).

Don’t migrate Flickr photos to SmugMug

Flickr to SmugMug photo migration[UPDATE 2011-12-23: read the comments for good news.]

I few months ago I migrated my 10,000+ Flickr photographs to SmugMug, and deeply regret it.  So I’m sharing the problems just in case my pain can help others:

  1. Filenames are lost.  The SmugMug migrator program is called Smugglr, and it transfers the “original” size in Flickr, which has a name like “4506134808_20b673be79_o.jpg” instead of whatever it was prior to uploading into Flickr (e.g., “Charles_Darwin_with_a_younger_woman_1860.jpg”).  This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you ever want to download the file from SmugMug onto your hard drive, the file is hard to find if your desktop has other files with “_o.jpg” at the end.  Similarly, if you have clients/friends who download your photographs, they don’t benefit from a useful filename.  Also, Google will probably never rank “4506134808_20b673be79_o.jpg” high in an image search even if the image is awesome, and even if you have great caption and keywords.  I’m not sure how Google computes rankings, but I suspect there are algorithms that compare filename data to keywords and search terms.  All of this is not Smugglr’s fault, though — I’m sure the programmer would have used the original filename if Flickr had made it available.  By the way, there is no way to change a filename within SmugMug, short of downloading the image, renaming it, and then replacing original (seems like it would take SmugMug all of a day to batch-enable that procedure…).
  2. Images transferred from Flickr are probably lower quality than your originals.  Flickr restricts size and filetype, so if your camera was producing huge TIFF or RAW files all those years, Flickr constrained your uploads to 10mb/file and required them to be JPGs, GIFs, or PNGs (all fine for internet viewing, of course).  So Smugglr will send over to SmugMug a file that is not as good as the original file that is hopefully still lurking in your Aperture or Lightroom library.   If people find an image of yours on SmugMug and want to buy a $200 wall mural, you’ll be sad if they used a small JPG. Again, not a Smugglr problem, but a problem nonetheless, and one that I didn’t think about deeply enough at the time.
  3. Images are duplicated in a messy way.  You might have an image that showed up in 3 different albums in Flickr, and because Smugglr will transfer each album in its entirety, you end up with 3 copies in 3 different SmugMug galleries.  If you change settings on 1 of those versions, those changes are not linked to the others.  So you really need to go and find the duplicates and potentially delete them.  Endlessly annoying.  There is no easy way to find these duplicates.
  4. In the Smugglr transfer, all my keyword phrases were squished into single keywords with no spaces.  E.g., “United States” became “unitedstates.”  You can batch fix this in SmugMug, but it’s a pain and the “replace” action needs to done for each gallery, and for each phrase.  Terribly annoying.
  5. Smugglr added a number and an alphanumeric as keywords to each photograph.  E.g., “82170932 b7c0b70ea8.” There’s a batch way to remove numbers, but, again, only one gallery at a time.  There’s is no way to automatically remove alphanumerics, so if you have 10,000 images, that’s 10,000 clicks (actually, more). I’ve been informed another SmugMug user that there is a way to prevent these numbers from being added, but I don’t think the settings would be apparent to any newbie thinking about migrating their photos (e.g., I still don’t understand how to do it!).
  6. Photo descriptions in Flickr are not transferred.  So if you had elaborate thoughts about an image, you’d need to go back to the Flickr page and copy and paste over to SmugMug version.  If you have less than 100 photos, that might be an OK use of your day.  But if you have tens of thousands, that’s not a good use of your year.
  7. The less obvious problem is that once you have all the albums converted to galleries on SmugMug, you’ll probably want to organize them in Categories and Sub-categories.  If you are used to the drag-n-drop simplicity of Flickr, you’ll quickly become sad with the equivalent actions on SmugMug, which seem trapped in code amber from the early 1990s. So if you have hundreds of galleries, creating categories and then finding the galleries to add to those categories is laborious and frustrating.  And if you ever want to alter those categories and their resident galleries in the future…you’ll be daydreaming about Flickr’s Organizer, which is almost fun to use.

So, after months of discovering the problems above, I think I’m going to delete my 10,000+ SmugMug photographs and slowly re-upload from the originals in my Aperture library. I could “replace” each photo individually, but that process doesn’t fix the keyword problem.

Anyway, hope the above might help somebody, and if you are wondering why my photo site is empty, that’s why. I’m still a fan of SmugMug, but not a fan of migrating photos there.