Google Plus is a great place to share amazing photos and meet noteworthy people from all over the world. While photo sharing can be a fun thing to do on Social Media, it can also get you into deep trouble with other photographers and license holders. In this tutorial I will show you how to properly share photos on Google Plus that will help create a better user experience for everyone.
Best Practices For Sharing Photos on Google Plus
When uploading your photos
1. Write A Description
When uploading your own photos on Google+ be sure to write a description about your experience. You can also use hashtags to describe your photo with words such as #beachphotos, #nightphotos, or anything else pertinent to your image. Just don’t over do it.
2. Geotag your photos
Geotagging is easy. Let others know where you took your photo.
3. Add A Watermark
Optionally add a watermark to your images so that people will see that you are the copyright owner of this image in case it goes viral.
4. Toot your horn
Make sure that you clearly communicate that you took the photo. Sometimes just saying “Photo by me” will do the trick. However talking about your photo and experience will get you much more social interactions.
When uploading other people’s Photos.
Directly uploading other people’s photos is generally frowned upon once people realize that you didn’t really take those photos. You should take great care that you are not infringing on someone else’s copyright or intellectual property when engaging in this practice. When in doubt use your own photos or licensed images that you paid for and/or have permission to use.
When Re-sharing other people’s photos
Re-sharing other people’s photos is the best way to show a Photographer or Artist that you appreciate their hard work.
If you insist upon uploading another person’s photos without permission
1. Preserve the artist’s watermark.
By removing or cropping a watermark and then uploading the image as your own could end up costing you or your business much more money than what it cost to buy the photo for special use.
2. Place a link to the author’s photo or bio
By placing a link to the original author’s photo or bio, you are giving credit to the original image author. Who knows? You may even make a friend instead of an enemy. Doing this will not protect you from copyright infringement.
3. Do not resell other people’s photos
I personally saw someone do this on Google Plus. They downloaded another Photographer’s image, cropped the watermark, then put the image up for sale on their own website. Doing something like this can be very foolish and get you into a very costly lawsuit. With the advancements in image search technology it’s very easy to track down copyright violators. It’s not worth it.
4. Give the Photographer credit
Give the Photographer some credit for their hard work. Since you don’t have permission to use their intellectual property you should at least place a link back or mention who created the image.
To watermark or to not watermark your images?
I personally believe that watermarking your images is a great idea although it can reduce the aesthetic value of your photos. There are caveats that go with adding and not adding a watermark. The choice is yours so choose wisely.
Things that you should NOT do
1. Posting images with links to irrelevant content for the sole purpose of abusing the Google+ 1 system can get your profile or page red flagged for abuse. Personally I think there are better ways to get people to like your content across social media.
2. Post other people’s photos or intellectual property without having the proper license or permission.
3. Don’t take credit for other people’s hard work. I have seen people do this on Google Plus and it’s just flat out wrong. You don’t gotta infringe on people’s copyright to make friends on Google+.
4. Making memes without having the proper content license or permission from the Photographer can be a serious issue. When in doubt use a Royalty Free or a Creative Commons image license to create memes. Online Meme Generators are probably the best place to do this.
What About Fair Use?
Fair use is generally used to criticize, parody or comment upon copyrighted works. Fair use can also be used for educational purposes without commercial intent. For more information about Fair Use Laws please visit the following resources.
- Fair Use Laws (Stanford University)
- Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images (Social Media Examiner)
- The Best Ways To Be Sure You’re Using Online Photos Legally (Lifehacker.com)
For examples of copyright violations on Google Plus see +Copyright Violation
It’s always a good idea to protect your work by watermarking your images and stating that you took the photo when uploading to Google Plus or other social media platforms. If you must share someone else’s work without their permission, you should at the very least link back to their source images. Although you won’t be immune from copyright infringement you can at least show that you are not intentionally trying to violate copyright laws. If you are unsure about copyright infringement, please contact a copyright attorney for legal counsel.
All photos in this tutorial are public domain or are licensed stock photos from GenStockPhoto.com. Special thanks to +Karl Louis for input and inspiration for writing this post.
This is an incomplete work. I invite improvements.