Travel Photographers Enlist Copytrack to Fight Image Theft

By Jonathan Appleby
Copytrack.com 2018

Lance and Laura Longwell made it their life mission to travel. Despite both working 9 to 5s they found time to explore the world and in doing so set up TravelAddicts.net, an amazing site full of their adventures and stunning images from all corners of the globe.

However, they soon had issues with image theft as their images were being used without permission. The Travel Addicts turned to Copytrack, the online compensation recovery portal, for help.

Travel Addicts Lance and Laura Longwell
Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts (www.traveladdicts.net)

Now the couple incorporate the Copytrack service into their day-to-day business lives.  In less than a year’s time Copytrack has settled over 50 copyright disputes for the on-the-go duo!

But that’s just the beginning, the travellers are still in the process of resolving more claims with Copytrack. Here’s what Laura had to say to Copytrack about their life, their work, and their experience with Copytrack.

Tell us a bit about the website.

Travel Addicts was born in January 2008. Initially, it was like a lot of early blogs and was essentially a journal in which we updated friends and family on our travels.

Somewhere along the way, we realized thousands of people were reading it. Since then, our focus has been on showing working professionals how to maximize their vacation time. While Europeans are used to long holidays, most North Americans get about 10-15 days of vacation per year, so it’s important to make the most of it. Now we have readers from all over the world who take advantage of the destination information and travel advice we offer.

Photo of a blue dome in Santorini, Greece by Lance Longwell and Laura Longwell for their blog Travel Addicts (www.traveladdicts.net)

A few years ago, I decided to turn our hobby into a business. The decision was actually prompted by our photography. We were contacted by a major European capital city that wanted to use one of my photos as the focus of their tourism campaign. We ended up licensing the photo, and it changed the way we thought our website and our photography.

What place is a favorite from all the places you’ve visited?

This is the most common question we get, and it’s one that we really struggle with because we love every place we go for different reasons. We have a favorite city (Rome) that we both agree on. However, we split on our favorite travel experience.

I would say the South of France, while Lance’s favourite was our trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Yet, there are some countries that we visit over and over again because there is so much to see and do: Mexico, Germany, Ireland, and Slovakia.

Photo of Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland by Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts.

What tips would you give to anyone getting into travel photography?

Think beyond the obvious. There are 10 million photos taken of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero every single day. We all know that shot. There are other photos waiting to be captured. Seek out the unusual and the untold. Try to tell a story.

In our photography, we seek a balance. We need shots that both create a sense of place as well as images that tell a story. For the story, we are always thinking about the caption.

Photo of canal cruise in Bruges, Belgium by Laura Longwell of the Travel Addicts blog (www.traveladdicts.net)

What would be the caption on this shot?

Practice, practice, practice. Nobody becomes an incredible photographer overnight. It involves lots of practice and experimentation. Get your camera out of auto focus and try to experiment.

When did you first notice your images being used without your permission?

It was probably about a year and a half ago that several things happened within a few weeks of each other. First, we noticed that a handful of our photos were being offered up by Google as featured images in search results. Second, a good friend of ours had one of her images taken by a business and turned into billboards. Third, we stumbled on a tour company that was using one of our photos to promote their tours in Africa. Those three things drove our decision to look for a solution that could protect our work.

How did you hear about Copytrack?

We heard about Copytrack from a fellow travel photographer. We didn’t sign up right away and spent a few weeks researching the company and their process for intellectual property protection. Ultimately, I decided that this was the right solution for me.

How do you find using Copytrack?

I appreciate the updates from the Copytrack team on the status of outstanding claims. I’ve been very pleased with the success rate to date of my legal claims and the speed of payment for recovered funds. The portal is quite straightforward and easy to use. And I particularly like the image overlay tool.

And what have the results been like?

I have been very pleased with the results. Copytrack has provided me with sophisticated software to monitor the Internet for illegal image piracy as well as a defined process for legally enforcing our copyrights. Working with Copytrack has become an important step in my business activities.

Learn more about Lance and Laura and their work at Travel Addicts, as well as on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About Copytrack

Copytrack was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and currently employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service helps photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers detect and resolve illegal use of their images on the Internet. Copytrack assists with the image search, and the legal process to help ensure photographers receive money whenever their images are used online.

Copytrack is fully responsible for an out-of-court solution in over 140 countries as well as a legal solution in the areas relevant to copyright law. If the image has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.

Package Your Creations and Gifts in Custom Boxes

Thanks to on-demand digital printing, you have the power to convert your art, photographs, and designs into all types of  marketable gifts, decor items, apparel, and fashion accessories. Plus, you can sell or ship your creations in custom boxes that are just as distinctive as your merchandise.

Custom boxes from buyboxes.com

One of the newest custom box printing services is Buyboxes.com. Operating as an independent company, Buyboxes.com has the full support and resources of its parent company Rand-Whitney. Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Rand-Whitney is the largest independent packaging company in the Northeast. They offer more than 75 years of knowledge and expertise from the world of high-volume packaging.

Some of the benefits of ordering from Buyboxes.com include: zero set-up costs, no minimum order, and quick turnaround.

You can start with a single customized shipping box, mailing box, or gift box. As demand for your products grow, you can order quantities of tens, hundreds, or thousands of boxes as needed.

You can use the online design tool to create your own designs or enlist the support of an experienced team of packaging designers and structural engineers.

Buyboxes.com logo

With the online design tool, you choose a box style, decorate it with your logo, text, custom colors, and artwork. The experts at Buyboxes.com will check your final design, make sure everything looks good, and send you a proof for approval.

Boxes are printed on kraft or white corrugated or white paperboard.

For quality color reproduction on a variety of substrates, the company’s state-of-the-art digital printing system uses 6 colors of UV-curable inks (CMYK plus Light Cyan, Light Magenta, and White) and prints images with a resolution of up to 1000 dpi on media up to 126-inches wide.

An on-site team of skilled packaging engineers and designers can help you with any questions or unique package designs you might need.

“We do way more than just basic box styles,” says Stephanie Shamy of BuyBoxes.com “Our dedicated team of graphic designers can help create eye-catching artwork. We want to help you showcase what makes your products so special.”

Other services include structural design, packaging audits and consults, and kitting and fulfillment. Buyboxes.com can assemble your packaging and pack it with your product to be delivered to distribution centers or directly to your customers.

Project managers with years of retail packaging and marketing experience can provide one-on-one consults when you are ready to take your packaging to the next level.

“We are a group of creative-minded packaging professionals looking to change the way you package what matters to you,” said Shamy. “We have a passion for driving the new, the innovative, and the unexpected into the hands of small businesses, entrepreneurs, and everyday people who want a unique way to package their creations.”

Custom packaging isn’t just for products. You can create attractive, memorable packaging for events and award programs, product prototypes, promotional mailings, weddings, birthdays, and holiday gifts.

Tiny Original Paintings from UGallery Make Unique Holiday Gifts

UGallery, the curated online gallery that delivers original art to your doorstep, is offering a collection of miniature paintings this holiday season. The Ornamental Artwork Collection offers gift givers the opportunity to buy thoughtful, unique, and affordable gifts with the convenience of shopping online.

Tiny paintings in UGallery Ornamental Artwork Collection
Ornamental Artwork Collection – UGallery

The Ornamental Artwork Collections features 350 paintings created by 35 artists. UGallery commissioned the artists to create series of 10 small-scale paintings that exemplify their individual styles. Ready to be mixed-and-matched, each painting is on an identical 4-inch x 4-inch canvas and comes with a small easel for display. The paintings sell for a fixed price of $75.

“In dreaming up this collection, our goal was to offer a very personal, one-of-a-kind holiday gift,” explains Gallery Director Alex Farkas. “We worked closely with each artist to create a series of paintings that are intimate, thoughtful, and long-lasting. It is my hope these charming pieces will become little family heirlooms that remind us of good times and loved ones for years to come.”

The collection furthers UGallery’s mission of opening up access to the art world through its online platform. With its affordable price point, the Ornamental Artwork Collection allows art lovers to begin, share, or expand their collections and purchase artwork by artists whose work may sell for thousands.

“At UGallery, we’ve always believed original art should be universally accessible. This collection offers art buyers the opportunity to take home or gift paintings from artists that typically sell their work at much higher prices,” says Farkas.

Founded in 2006, UGallery represents 500 emerging artists from around the world. With free shipping and free returns, UGallery makes it easier than ever to experience to joys of owning original art.

 

Guide Advises Photographers How to License Their Images for Social Media

To help photographers get fair compensation for photos used across social media platforms, PhotoShelter has released an educational guide, Licensing Your Photos For Social Media. The free guide was produced in partnership with the portrait photography community, Pursuit of Portraits.

cover of PhotoShelter guide on licensing social media

The guide can be downloaded free here: http://bit.ly/2ysZG3A

In the guide, you’ll get a firsthand look at the ever-evolving business side of social media, with insights from influential photographers, photographer representatives, design agencies and brands.

“Photos are the cornerstone of social media success and photographers must be nimble, understand the opportunity each platform provides, and know how to push for the fees they deserve,” says PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman. “This guide is meant to get photographers thinking about just that.”

The guide includes
– Examples of how creative influencers are leveraging large followings to make money
– Contract-negotiation tips from a photographer representative
– Social media-specific licensing language to consider including in contracts
– Insights into what design agencies and brands look for when hiring photographers for social media content

Comments throughout the guide make it clear that photographers must continue to adapt to the ever-evolving social-media landscape. Social-media platforms are continuing to develop features for monetization and photographers can offer but ancillary services in addition to photography.

Licensing Your Photos For Social Media is the latest in PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes more than 60 educational guides on topics such as photo contests, email marketing, publishing photo books, and mapping out a photo business plan.

The PhotoShelter platform gives professional photographers an easy way to store images, create beautiful websites, deliver work, and sell or license photos.

Pursuit of Portraits is a global creative community that unites portrait photographers and enthusiasts of all skill levels and backgrounds, facilitates collaboration, and fosters supportive relationships within this creative community.

Brand Storytelling Agency Opens Creative Studio for Visuals

Pace, a large, independently owned brand storytelling agency, has opened a 2,900 sq. ft. studio space for video, photography, editing, collaboration, and creative innovation. Adjacent to the agency’s office in Greensboro, North Carolina, the studio space is called “The Outskirts.”

The expansive, airy studio is an inspiring environment for all types of teams to collaborate and create compelling work for the national and global brands Pace serves. The studio includes:

–Ideation and innovation labs to explore virtual and augmented reality, 360-degree video, and multi-dimensional animation
–a client collaboration lounge and social bar
–Edit bays and stop-motion and retouching labs
–a 25-foot cyclorama (cyc) wall for photo and video shoots

With the new studio, Pace is prepared to meet the growing demand for new forms of digital media.  In addition to custom photography services, Pace can support live-stream interviews and presentations, cinemagraphs and loop videos, broadcast-quality video finishing and editing, stop-motion videos, 360-degree video capture and editing, set design, newsroom editing and publishing, social content, and more.

“The Outskirts is a resource for any and all clients,” said Jason Whiting, president of Pace. “Pace can develop visual storytelling with amazing quality that delivers on a diverse set of creative needs, channels, and price points across digital, broadcast, social media, and events.”

Visual storytelling is becoming an increasingly important element of brand communications. According to a 2017 study published by Google, one in three adults between the ages of 18 and 54 view video from mobile devices and that number is growing. AdWeek reported that 47 percent of brands publish four branded videos each month.

According to Pace executives , the name The Outskirts is an “invitation for thinkers and dreamers to mine great ideas from the furthest reaches of their imagination.”

“Creative ideas are born and nurtured in space like this,” said Cinnamon Pritchard, VP Executive Creative Director.”The Outskirts is going to be a garden for great ideas —to shape them, grow them, and send them out into the world.”

The Pace creative agency develops integrated experiences for a diverse client base that includes some of the world’s most iconic brands. It has more than 370 employees and offices in: Dallas and San Antonio, Texas; Greensboro, North Carolina; New York City; and Bentonville, Arkansas.

Contena Can Help You Build Your Freelance Writing Business

It is possible to earn a decent living as an independent writer. But only if you approach it more like a freelance writing business than a sideline gig.

It’s not enough to simply enjoy writing. You also need to know what type of writing is currently in demand and have expertise in topics other than writing.

Then, of course, you need connections to clients who will pay good money for above-average content from writers who don’t need much training to get started.

Without a business-like approach to finding a few good, steady clients, you can quickly find yourself doing nothing but low-paying jobs for difficult clients. Or, you could spend more time seeking work than working for pay.

 

illustration of freelance writer at keyboard
Copyright: greyjj / 123RF Stock Photo

One company that can help you get up to speed on the business of freelance writing  is Contena. This subscription-based platform offers online training and coaching plus a steady stream of inks to job openings for independent writers.

Contena Academy

The six modules in Contena’s online academy explain strategies for building a steady income, creating writing samples, building a portfolio, crafting article pitches, and landing  the best clients. Many freelance writers spend months learning these skills the hard way — through a lot of painful trial and error.

Contena Scout

The Scout service helps you find the best available writing jobs by category, pay, and other criteria. Listings include part-time, full-time, and temporary writing assignments in fields such as education, real estate, business, health, and marketing.  Recent job postings included health news writers, web copywriters, science content editors, social studies curriculum writers, and tech and gadget reviewers.

Contena Scout screen grab

Contena Submissions

If you prefer coming up with your own ideas for articles, you can pitch story ideas to publishers listed on Contena’s Submissions section. This section lists companies that pay for submitted articles.

Contena Alerts

Contena Alerts will notify you about jobs that arise in your area of expertise. If you apply quickly and provide writing samples that reflect your knowledge, you can increased your odds of winning that job.

Contena Coaching

One challenge of working independently is that you don’t have supervisors encouraging you to continuously update and improve your skills. If a freelance client is unhappy with the quality of your work, they simply hire someone else. If you subscribe to the Platinum level service, your Contena coach will review your pitches and writing samples and provide constructive feedback for refinement. Your coach can also work with you on effective marketing materials.

Like Online Dating: You’re Seeking Good Matches

Freelance writers build successful businesses by developing lasting relationships with a few wonderful clients who pay them well for a defined amount of work each month. So, subscribing to Contena can be like joining an online dating service.

Contena can help you identify good matches for your specific writing skills. But it’s up to you to build the long-term professional relationships that can help your writing business grow. If you connect with clients that will pay you thousands of dollars each year (and provide word-of-mouth referrals), you won’t need to subscribe to Contena for long.

And once you build a steady, predictable income from a few good clients, you will feel more comfortable devoting a few hours a week on personal writing projects that might never pay off. If you are just starting out as an independent writer, you will soon learn that time is your most precious resource.

If you squander too much time chasing low-paying jobs, the amount of income you can earn each year will be limited. So be smart. Consider getting some training and coaching before you start pursuing the best prospects for your business.

For more information about Contena, click here.

Pixels.com Offers Alternative to Traditional Art Licensing

If you would like to sell more of your designs, art, or photographs, now is a great time to check out everything that’s possible through Pixels.com. Their “set-your-own-price” alternative to traditional art licensing gives you greater control over how much you can earn from the sale of your images.

Pixels.com is global print-on-demand marketplace that allows design enthusiasts to choose which images they would like to have printed on more than 25 different products, including framed prints, metal prints, wood prints, greeting cards, T-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, duvet covers, men’s apparel, women’s apparel, throw pillows, shower curtains, beach towels, smartphone cases, and more.

Custom tote bag with starfish image by Katherine Young
Tote bag printed with image by Katherine Young-Beck

Pixels handles all the details associated with printing, matting, framing, packaging, shipping, insuring, and customer service. Orders placed through Pixels.com go to one of 14 production facilities in 5 countries around the world. This makes it easy to print and ship your products to customers anywhere in the world. For example, if a buyer in Germany orders a product decorated with one of your images, the product will be printed and shipping a facility in The Netherlands.

The Pixels site, which attracts 5 million unique visitors per month, typically receives a surge or orders in November and December from holiday gift givers.

You Set Your Own Prices

Unlike licensing deals in which the publisher sets the price and dictates the amount of royalties you will receive, Pixels.com lets you set the price for the products made with your images.

As a seller, you will see a base price that covers production and fulfillment costs for each item. The amount you add as the mark-up will be the selling price. When the product sells, you earn 100 percent of the markup amount.

You can also choose which of your images you will permit to be printed on which products. For example, a high-resolution nature photograph that looks spectacular as a large metal print might not look the same on a beach towel or duvet cover.

Pixels.com was founded by Sean Broihier, the self-taught programming whiz who started the Fine Art America platform in 2006. Pixels.com complements the Fine Art America site by appealing to a broader base of customers who may be interested in photo merchandise, fashion apparel and accessories, and home decor items.

Sean Broihier was one of the first e-commerce entrepreneurs to enable all living artists to sell their artwork online. He said the “set-your-own-business-model” has been a big driver of the growth of the platform: “It has always been my opinion that artists should be able to set their prices as high or as low as they want to.” If an art publisher chooses to sell a canvas print for $50 and offers artists a 10% royalty, the artists shouldn’t have to decide whether or not they are willing to accept $5 for the sale of their art on the prints.

Multiple Options for Sales and Marketing

Over the past 11  years, Broihier has really listened to the concerns of artists and photographers who sell their work on the site. So he has continuously developed tools that enable you to adapt to all the different ways that art is now discovered, promoted, and purchased.

For example, here are just a few of your options. You can:

  • Sell Pixel’s print-on-demand products through your own Shopify store.
  • Sell print-on-demand products through your own branded storefront hosted by Pixels.com
  • License individual images and set your own terms for royalty-free and rights-managed licenses.
  • License images for streaming to digital displays.
  • Connect directly with buyers who express interest in buying one of your originals.
  • Print sample products for display at art fairs or in your studio. You can also print sell sheets that show potential buyers how your art will look of various products and explain how they can order them.
  • Publish news releases, blog posts, e-newsletters, and e-mail marketing programs through Pixels.com.
  • Run automated marketing campaigns on Facebook and Twitter

You can even use an iPad app as a sales tool. If a potential buyer of your art wants to preview how it might look on their walls, your can use the augmented reality interface on the Pixels.com iPad app.

The Pixels app takes the guesswork out of buying art online. After the customer the size of the print and how it will be matted and framed, the buyer can view an actual-size preview on their own walls. They can even see what the finished product will look like from different angles within the room.

Everything the viewer sees is perfectly to scale. For instance, a 24 x 36 inch canvas print will appear on the wall at exactly 24 x 36 inches. As the individual walks around the room, the app uses the iPad’s video camera and a unique tracking algorithm to keep the image perfectly positioned in the desired location on the wall.

Pixels.com also has deals with retailers such as Deck the Walls, The Great Frame Up, and the Framing and Art Center to sell artwork at more than 150 retail locations in the U.S. and Canada.  Plus, Pixels.com has special programs available for large-volume buyers in the hospitality and design fields.

Special Features

If you want to see the types of art that buyers purchase through the Pixels.com each day, you can see it. Pixels.com also publishes real-time comments and reviews from customers who are (and aren’t) totally satisfied with the ordered products.

You can also join online communities of like-minded artists.  The site includes more than 1900 groups dedicated to topics such as office decor, self-promotion, historical buildings, the Adirondacks, orchids, and photographs edited to look like paintings.    

If you would rather spend your time creating more art than worrying about how to get it reproduced, promoted, and sold, Pixels.com can help.

The site was set up to power sales everywhere artwork is bought and sold: “It doesn’t matter if you want to hang your artwork, carry it, wear it, license it, or stream it.” Millions of buyers all over the world decorate their homes and accessorize their lives with Pixels products