To Pin or not to Pin? That is the question.

I admit it, I love Pinterest. Part of my daily ritual for the last few months has been to browse my favorite photography sites looking for inspiration. Then a post in one of the photographers groups I belong to made me stop and think.
Pin / Thumb Tack
The photographer in question stated that:

“I cannot support a social media site that does not respect photographers rights.”

Quite frankly I was taken aback. My thoughts went;

Surely she’s misread their Terms of Service. I’m not stealing your photographs, I’m simply looking at and sharing, in a controlled environment which ones I like.

I reasoned, Pintrest couldn’t work if they were violating your rights.

I thought nothing more of it until this week, when on another forum, the subject came up again. This time there was an interesting long and detailed blog attached to the post. You can read the blog post here:
Pin / Thumb Tack

This blog also suggests that Pinterest Etiquette says that you don’t pin your own work. Click here to read the Pinterest Etiquette Guidelines. I read this carefully but can see nothing that says or even suggests you can’t pin your own work. Infact, Pinterest has a page devoted on how to set up your Brand! You can find Brand Best Practices here.

Then I did something I should have done in the first place, I went and read the Terms of Service for myself. (Yes I know we all should read them fully at the time we sign up but how many people actually do?)

Terms of Service

The Terms of Service have actually changed since I originally signed up by the important parts can be found in part 1. ii

“To third parties. Pinterest values and respects the rights of third party creators and content owners, and expects you to do the same. You therefore agree that any User Content that you post to the Service does not and will not violate any law or infringe the rights of any third party, including without limitation any Intellectual Property Rights (defined below), publicity rights or rights of privacy. We reserve the right, but are not obligated, to remove User Content from the Service for any reason, including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or the Pinterest Acceptable Use Policy. It is important that you understand that you are in the best position to know if the materials you post are legally allowed. We therefore ask that you please be careful when deciding whether to make User Content available on our Service, including whether you can pin or re-pin User Content on your boards.”

OK, so the onus is on me as a Pinner. This is good news!

I repopulated my boards using only my own and my daughters works then adding friends work, and finally repining those images with a Creative Commons license, from Yahoo and Flickr. (The amazing photographer Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs has his own boards (with a creative commons license) on Pinterest so I have been quite happily repining his work.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons allows others to use your work with some restricrtions:

Here is an example of a Creative Commons image. You may use it for any non-commercial use as long as you attribute me as the photographer and link back to this website.
A cast of a dinosaur's skull
Creative Commons License
Dino Skull by Lyn Tuckwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

There are six different levels of Creative Commons Licenses. Creative Commons is a different form of copyright allowing the photographer, artist, musician or writer to state what the consumer can do with their creative work and make allowance for how their work can be shared.

So what you say is the flip side of the coin? What about all those photographers who didn’t want their images pinned. Well they have two choices first of all they can take one of two small piece of code available from the Pinterest website telling people that they do not want their images pinned. You can find the code here. Secondly they can report the misuse of their images to Pinterest. If your image has been used without your permission click here for the procedure.

I see both sides of the argument but of all the sites out there, I still think that Pinterest is the most innocuous and the best for positive feedback. Pinners, for the most part, are looking for inspiration and photos that make them feel good. If my photo or artwork fits that slot I’ve only won as long as all the Pinner is doing is sharing.
The problem of course comes when someone abuses the system and, as we all know, people will abuse the system. If someone wants to steal your images they will; Flickr proved that.

I believe the big picture (excuse the pun) being missed here is the huge opportunity for photographers to show their work to people who would otherwise not only not have bought from them anyway but would not have known of the photographers existence.

There is a reason why Pintrest has taken off. In North America one of the fastest growing hobbies is scrap-booking. (Right behind Genealogy and Ornithology /Birdwatching). Pinterest is simply a form of scrapbooking on line. What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below.

Download this Post as a PDF

Oh, and yes you can…

Making a Metadata Template.

A couple of weeks ago I touched briefly on the topic of copyright. One of the things that you can do to help establish your ownership is to embed your copyright information into your images using a Metadata Template.

Metadata Templates can store a whole host of information besides copyright; you can embed your e-mail and website address, keywords and model release information.

Most cameras allow you to enter at least some of your information, directly into the camera. Things like ISO and F stop info is usually automatic but you can add your information afterwards using a Digital Assets Management System. The two most popular are Adobe Bridge and Adobe Lightroom. Here’s how.


Adobe Bridge ships with Photoshop, and six other Adobe stand alone products. It is a useful tool for cataloging you images.

With the new features for editing camera raw added to Lightroom 4 many photographers have abandoned Bridge altogether. (If you are taking advantage of the Adobe Cloud you will have both available to you so it is your choice.)

Adobe Bridge

  1. Open Bridge

    Adobe Bridge desktop icon

  2. Navigate to the Tools Menu.

    Tools Menu

  3. Select Create Metadata Template.

    Select Create Metadata Template from the drop down menu.

  4. You should now have a template that looks similar to this.

    Create Metadata Template

  5. Fill in as much, (or as little) of your information as you want but the important lines are when you scroll down to copyright.

    Fill in your copyright information.

  6. Note:

    The copyright sign © is made by holding down the Alt key and then typing the numbers 184. For years, and in many tutorials, you will see Alt (or Cmd on a Mac) + 169 which now gives the ® sign.

  7. Make sure that the information you want to save has the check box marked

    Only items with checked / ticked boxes will be saved.

  8. Click the Save button.

    Click Save.

Now your template is ready to go.

Attaching your Metadata Template to a file in Bridge.

To attach your new Metadata Template to a document you just:

  1. Select the Image/s

  2. Select your image

  3. Go back to theTools Menu and navigate down to Append Template

  4. Append Metadata

  5. Select your template.

  6. Select your template.

  7. Done!

Adobe Lightroom

The procedure in Lightroom is very similar.

  1. Open your version of Lightroom. (You can download a trial version of Lightroom 4 here.)

    Open your version of Lightroom.

  2. Select your catalogue

  3. Select your catalogue.

  4. Select the Metadata menu.

  5. Select the Metadata menu

  6. Select Metadata Presets from the drop down menu.

  7. Select Metadata Presets from the drop down menu.

  8. Fill in your template.

  9. Fill in your template.

  10. Don’t forget to make sure the check/tick boxes are marked for the information you want to embed, then click Done.

  11. Click Done.

Having saved your template it will then be available for you to use on other images. You can attach templates as you import your images from your camera or you can pick individual images as you please.

Camera Raw Images.

The first time you try to append a template to any camera raw images you will get the following dialogue box.

Saving Metadata to a camera raw image.

What this is basically saying is that if your images are in the Camera Raw format the Metadata Template will be saved in a separate file and not embedded into the Camera Raw file.

You can download a PDF version of this tutorial here. Click to open or Right Click on the link to download.

For complete tutorials on both Bridge and Lightroom I suggest you check out

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Copyright for Photographers.

One of the members of a photography group I belong to came up with a question on Copyright. There are so many variables to this question that it is mind blowing. (Or at least it blows my mind.)

As a rule of thumb, your images are yours from the moment of inception but to make sure you protect your rights there are a few things you need to do to protect your images.(In case you need to prove that it is your image.)

First you need to make sure of what the law is where you live.

Copyright laws for photographers are different in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US.

For example:

  • In Australia photographers can choose to assign their rights.
  • In Canada it is the person who commissions the work who owns it, (but only if they pay for it – see Section A.1.7 of the Copyright Act).
  • In the UK the photographer owns the work with exceptions.
  • In the USA the photographer usually owns the work.

In fact in all cases there seems to be exceptions to the rules and in each country the rules are slightly or vastly different.


Copyright for Australian Photographers Government site.


A copy of the Copyright Act for Canadians can be found at The Department of Justice Website.

If you’re in Canada and you don’t feel like reading the whole Act “General Copyright information for Photographs” can be found at the Professional Photographers of Canada web site.

The Business Development Center will send you free copyright information by e-mail one chapter per day.

United Kingdom

(England, Scotland and Wales) is the place to start for information in the UK.


Copyright registration information for photographers from the Government Website can be found here.

If you are in the USA, also check out the Copyright information at the American Society of Media Photographers Copyright-overview on their Business Resources page. These are starting points but always consult a legal professional in your area of the world to make sure of your rights.

How else can I protect my images?

The least you can do when publishing your images is to add a signature with a copyright mark. You can also watermark your images. If you are using Photoshop go into Bridge and make a Meta Data Template with your information to embed into your photograph or image.

To make a Metadata Template:

  1. Open Adobe Bridge
  2. Open the Tools menu
  3. Navigate to Create Metadata Template
  4. Meta Data Template

  5. Give the Template a name, e.g. your name – 2012
  6. Fill in as much or as little information as you want (scroll down the template for all the options)
  7. Save the template

Once created you can embed this information into your images by again going to the Tools menu and then going to Append Metadata.

None of this means that at some point your images won’t be used by someone else without your knowledge, especially if you publish to the web. (But that’s another blog.)


None of the above is intended as legal advice.

This website its associates and employees do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of information presented here or on the linked sites and it is the individuals responsibility to check out the validity of any information that they use. Please consult a Lawyer/Solicitor in your country of residence for information as it pertains to you and your situation.