I know that I signed up for the post a day/ week but I must admit that I have been pretty busy of late and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that is on my “to do list” and my days have been starting well before 6 am and finishing long after 8 pm. I have had to re-learn to prioritise what I do and then re-prioritize again at the end of the day and unfortunately my writing or posting images to my blog have suffered immensely. So I sat down and reflected on how I had got to where I am now and where I am going to in the future and this is what I realised.
Quite some time ago I decided that I need to catch up to the digital age and start to post photos somewhere on the net, I chose Flickr because it certainly looked like fun and I could hopefully learn as well from other people on the site. But after about 18 months on Flickr, I was informed that some of my images were being downloaded and then sold on ebay. I did send an email asking the the gentlemen to stop and that I would pursue legal action for breach of copyright. I am unsure if he did or not because legal action is expensive for starters. Now I am no expert on Copyright but here in Australia if you take a photo and do nothing with it, it is covered by copyright automatically for 50 years, but if I was to have that photo published, it is covered for 70 years automatically, now here’s the funny, or even strange thing, this includes things like you doodling on a piece of paper. Its actually covered by copyright. So I decided to stop using Flickr because it was so easy to download your hard work and people actually believe that because its on a photo sharing website such as Flickr, its free game. So I moved away from it completely.
I went looking for another site and I found Smugmug.com and that’s where I originally developed the “Thief Images” idea and they were pretty good but if I needed to enhance my site, I need to learn to use HTML. I am a photographer not a web guru. I weighed up was it really worth it being with Smugmug who are US based and wanting to target the Australian market specifically I once again started to look for another photo site that was more of a website builder than a photo sharing site. Don’t get me wrong, if I was based in the US I would have stayed with smugmug, They did what I wanted but cost about $240 a year to use. Its not that expensive at all and they offered a lot of products that could be sold such as mugs and calendars plus framed prints etc.
I then started to search for Australian based photo websites and I come across Redbubble.com. They were Australian, operated in a large variety of countries and did all of the work for me, including shipping. Redbubble have come a long way since I started with them and they make it really easy for people to buy your artwork regardless if its paintings, T-shirts or framed photographic prints. So I set up thiefimages.redbubble.com and run with it but after awhile work got in the way of it all. Once again I had been away for about 12 months overseas and when I came home I decided that I needed a really professional look to thiefimages because its a business and not a hobby so I once again started looking once more for a suitable site.
After a long search on the net and asking many other photographers I found a site called Photomerchant.net and had a really long look at them, tried the 14 day free trial and signed up. They offer what my business needed and also give you the opportunity of looking after the printing yourself or having their preferred Pro lab do the lot, deciding on ensuring that the product that I sent to the client was of a high standard I went with using a pro print lab myself which then sparked another search on the net, then visiting them and making sure that they lived up to their claims. After all of the searching and ensuring that the product that reaches the client is of a high standard, I reached a decision point, Do I just shut down my redbubble site or just leave it sit idle for awhile. In the end it sat idle because life got in the way yet again.
Now you may be wondering what the hell made you keep two websites up and running, the work load on one is enough I assure you but redbubble has a community of artists that I also relate to. I get to comment on other peoples work and that for can also keep you be inspired to get out and take those photos, it helps make that decision to get out of bed early on a winters day to get that shot at dawn.
On making the decision to keep redbubble as well as Thief images.com, and realising that a massive clean out and reorganize was required for both sites to give them a fresh clean look. So for the last couple of weeks I have been post processing a large amount of images that I have had sitting in my archives which I needed to deal with. I also decided that I needed to upgrade my galleries on Redbubble and Thief Images to what I thought was above an acceptable standard. Slowly over the last three or so weeks I have been deleting the images from Redbubble and then uploading fresh images and completely reorganizing the site. It has been slow and some times painful but has proved worthwhile. Whilst I have been doing that I also entered two competitions and much to my amazement I won. The prizes for one of the comps was bragging rights and the other was a $20 voucher so I was happy that I had won. The main reason that I entered was to gauge if I was on the right track with my photography and my to ensure my business was headed in the direction that I wanted it to go. Seems I am because since the clean out and recent uploads of fresh work I have sold two pieces.
All that is left is to sort out the thiefimages.com website, get the host (photomerchant.net) to set up digital downloading and everything in the Thief Images world will be a happy again. After that picking up the camera that is slowly collecting dust and get out and do what I love to do, shoot landscapes, candid portraits and street scenes. In the end I hope to be able to be living up to the motto of Thief images and that is “Stealing those precious moments in life” that we all see and only some recognize as special, and present to the world to see and hopefully appreciate.
Oh and if you’re wondering how I came up with the name Thief Images. My last name is Crook and when I get asked to spell my last name, I simply say “Crook as in thief”. No problems with spelling my last name after that.