Lately I've been struck by an interesting phenomenon that came to light when I uploaded a recent sunset photo. I got over 120 Likes and 13 shares for that same photo. I got lots of great comments about the photo but then here's where the fun started. A few people made comments about being glad that the photo had been shared and that they were going to make it their screen saver or cover photo. Normally I've been flattered when someone has shared one of my photos. Lots more people get to see my work but the troubling thing is that it's not bringing me any business. No one is buying my images. Facebook is a wonderful social media platform but it doesn't really foster ecommerce when people can simply share someone's photos and then steal them and use them however they want. I have also found that there's no way to stop people from sharing your photos unless you restrict who can see them but even then photos can be shared by people on the good list.
The one thing that I can do to ensure that my high quality work stays where I want it to be and that's to make sure that any image that I upload in only 72dpi at 720 px wide max. That way anyone who wants to steal it will only get a low quality version and not be able to use it as a screen saver or to expect to print it and hang it on their wall.
Sometimes I ask myself why am I posting photos on Facebook. Then I wonder about the other photographers that I know and I suspect that ego drives most of us along with the will to show our friends what we've been up to in the photo world. The downside to showing your work on social media is people are reluctant to buy anything when they can just open a photographers page and view or share their work onto their computer. If they want to view the image they just open a file on their computer and bam, instant gratification.
Tell me what you think. How can I increase my buying customers and decrease the stealing?
Here's the photo in question. 72dpi of course.