Free photos, and why I’m making them available

Any photographer offering free photos should have a good reason for doing so. The art – or science, if you prefer – of photography is one which takes a long time and a lot of effort to perfect; my own learning curve started twenty eight years ago, when I first entered the basement darkroom of my school in the first year I was there. Since then, I’ve tried to take photos for myself and I chose to spurn a commercial aspect for many years. However, an immense amount of time and effort has gone into achieving the technical and creative level I’m at now, which I don’t want to disregard or give away for free. (Collaborative photography aside.)

An increasing level of skill and an increasing recognition of my photos from other people – not just loyal family and friends – has given me the confidence I need to make more of an effort on the commercial side of things. I wrote recently that I am now taking bookings for wedding photography, based on wonderful praise from several people over photos I’ve shot in the past year or so. Before that, I wrote about how I now take the less creative shots as well as the ones which challenge and interest me, in order to fill out an archive of photos which potential clients will be able to use. The next step for me is to gain a wider audience for my work; not just through through Flickr, Facebook or my own website, but also further afield.

In order to better organize my large archive of photos and present them to potential audiences, I’ve changed the licensing conditions for many of my photos on Flickr. A wide selection of the images – with the exception of portraits – are now available to use in standard blog size (500px) for free under the terms of use detailed on the archive page here at Permanent Tourist. This may seem like a bold move, but the watermark I now include in every image published online serves as an advert for my website. That means that anyone using one of my photos under the licensing terms is sharing my website address with their audience.

All of my photos offered at Flickr under this attribution license are also available to order on a royalty-free basis; that means a potential client pays a one-off fee and may then use the unwatermarked version of the image for any purpose, as long as they don’t sell the photo on. Such is the case for a nighttime shot of Blausee I took a few years ago, which is now featured on the website of the electrician who installed the lighting system. I’ve also sold a shot from Edinburgh recently, which will be used by a web agency there for a commercial project.

The search function I’ve added to the photography archive section of the website will be distributed across the website soon, so that visitors to any page will be able to search for photos from that page. There is a wide range of photos already available under these terms; check out details on the Archive page here at Permanent Tourist for full details of the terms of use, and please do let me know if you’re interested in licensing any of my photos from Switzerland, England, Wales, Scotland, France, Germany or Italy.

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