Why I’m Making My Photos Available Under Creative Commons

I have a database of 15,000+ photos. That should explain it. Creative commons are an outlet.

On one fine evening, when watching the Sun set, and sipping my extra strong filter coffee, I got to thinking of how many heartening photos I have clicked, similar to the one I was just about to click.

Many of those photos are really, really good. Well, I’m one of those rare, few people who gloat over their own photographs and pat their own backs when they get a good shot. So, yes, many of my photographs are, genuinely good, and not just in my eyes.

The next part is the sad part. The only place where most of these photos exist is on my 1TB hard disk, in raw format.

I figured that it is hardly likely that I will be able to sell all of those photos in my entire lifetime. Plus, I will also be adding more to this figure going forward. But to leave them lying on my hard disk is an utter waste of time, effort and beauty.

Let the World See It

So, the next best option is to make these photos available to the world at large. Not everyone may buy my photos, but if it makes someone happy to use my photo as a wallpaper somewhere, then let them. It doesn’t take a dime away from me.

My photos (most of them – save the ones that are on Getty Images) are now uploaded under Creative Commons on flickr. It’s a work I have only just started. Uploading so many photos is a mammoth effort by itself, as it turns out, but even then, it feels more worth my while than watching Suns sets, clicking photos, and knowing that nothing will ever come out of those photos. And if someone actually wants to buy my photos for some work like a decent chap, they are always welcome to do so over Getty or 500px.

Dropped the Watermark

It makes photos look ugly. It takes away the beauty of the composition of the photograph itself. I want the focus to be on the photography, not on my name. If people love the photos, they will automatically pay attention to the photographer 🙂

These photos are going to be available for free for personal use. If you want to use it for commercial purposes, you need to buy it (and you should not mind doing that, because if you do want to use it for commercial purposes, you most likely have a business that will cover the costs). And if once in a while someone steals my photos, well, I’ll leave them to their karma. And they can do that anyway, even with watermarking.

Do’s and don’ts for my Creative Commons photos:

You are free to: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

When you share, you must give: Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Use it only for: NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

Use it only as-is: NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

Some Sample Uses of the Photos

A blog post on your personal blog describing your trip somewhere

An educational website which does not sell anything

As your desktop wallpaper

Sample Uses for Commercial Purpose

As described by Trey Ratcliff on his website,

‘Commercial Use’ regarding the use of images online or offline is defined very broadly. The determination of commercial or non-commercial use is based on the contextual use of the image. The determination is NOT based on the tax-filing status of the entity using the image nor on whether or not a financial transaction takes place.

Some examples of commercial uses, from the same source:

* A marketing campaign for a commercial entity
* A fund-raising campaign for a not-for profit entity
* A background image for a website about furniture
* License to create an individual print for use in a private home

All in all, I hope sharing my photos will be a virtuous circle which will help me add some more beauty to the world, and also get some love back in return!

PS: Since all photo sharing platforms have their limitations, I have a limited number of photographs available on Flickr & 500px. Please drop me an email on [email protected] if you would like to use any other photograph of mine for a CC purpose.