Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Hey Folks, I gotta get down off my nice guy toolbox for a minute and discuss something that is really hurting me these days..  If you see any sort of watermark composed of diagonal lines across an image, in my galleries or elsewhere, it means that I did NOT sell the pictures to that or any person:

That image will look like this when someone screen captures the image an posts it in Facebook:
 Please don't do this to me. I know you all have braved the cold and snow this season, but so have I, for all of the rides! No photographer you see at any show this year deserves to have their pictures stolen, and yes, screen capturing photos is not legal.

What I do when I run across this behavior is to:
1. Report each image to Facebook, and I have a direct phone relationship on the subject (sad, eh!)
2. Take a screen capture of the Facebook gallery of each captured image in the gallery, as proof, as Facebook will take them down.
3. Send a bill to the person who stole them for $120, which is the price of a single-rider show disc, for each gallery I see represented. (After all, that's what they would have paid purchase what they took. Any eventual legal action would be filed for five times that, which is what copyright law provides for.)
4. Showcase the person who stole them in the very top line of the show that was stolen. I leave it up there until payment is received..

I ask that if you see this type of watermark in any Facebook gallery, please report it to the photographer who took the pictures!

C'mon folks!!

Here is what it may look like if the images are purchased fairly and squarely:


  1. Thanks for posting this! I do some equestrian photography as a side business, and people have NO IDEA just how much expense, time and work goes into getting the photos ready for purchase. I believe they think that it's just a matter of shooting with your $100 point-and-shoot and then posting to a free web site (which is clearly NOT the case). They have no idea that most of us have invested thousands of dollars in equipment and spend many many hours not only shooting but then editing and posting the photos for viewing/selling. Many people also do not understand that most photographers are professionals who probably have a degree in a related field but also have spent years studying and learning under others how to create quality images. I think if we help educate our customers a little more, they might be less likely to take without paying for the service we provide.

  2. Thank you from me too! I also do equine photography and have found many of my photos that haven't been purchased floating around on Myspace as well. I give them a nice chance to remove it and purchase it fairly from my website, but if the problem is still there it gets to the ugly side of things.

  3. I applaud you for bringing this up. It has always really bothered me when I see water-marked photos in "friends'" galleries on facebook or anywhere else. You deserve to be paid for your images, you and all the other photographers are out there ALL DAY in the elements trying to capture the best moments of each competitors ride. I proudly display your pictures of our horses in my office and in my home. We need to encourage our young people to be responsible not only in their riding, but morally also. I am sure the people stealing these pictures don't consider it as such. Very sad. Thank you! Joni Isaacson, Lazy J Farm

  4. I must comment here about the subject of "encouraging our young people to be responsible.." At this moment the stream of evidence on this has pretty much come to a halt, as the word has gotten out on the subject. But as far as I'm concerned, out of the just under three dozen juniors that I have gathered evidence on, only ONE set of parents has held their child's feet to the fire and made them pay me for what they took. Most of them seem to think its no big deal, no harm done now that the images have been taken down. Here's the candy wrapper back sir! I remember stealing one of those orange wax pan-pipes from the candy store after church when I was a kid. My mother's reaction I will never forget. Thanks Mom!

  5. Mark,
    Been there..people were doing it when I covered some of the local schooling shows. They would show up in on line forums etc too. It takes an enormous amount of time to cover a show, edit, post on line etc...especially at the level of events you cover with such a large number of riders/horses. Good for you. People must remember that this is a business..not a charity.
    Even though I know how much you enjoy your work..people can not expect to have it for free.

  6. The previous comment reminded me of one time when a friend sent me a link to a forum and told me I had better go check it out....there was a photo I had taken at one of the low level local schooling shows around here, thumbnail size with a watermark on it, and the person was COMPLAINING about how they would have posted a better shot, but I had SOME NERVE just putting up that low resolution watermarked image! Some nerve? That was the day I took photos of icicles hanging off horses noses and I was dressed like the stay puft marshmallow person, had only a chair, myself, and the food and drink I had with me for 9 hours....yeah, I have some nerve all right. She got an earful on copyright law and stealing....hang in there Mark...see you @ the show!