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./~ Give it away, give it away, give it away now ./~ *

* I've been an RHCP fan since "True men don't kill coyotes", a song scandously left off their Greatest Hits Album.

Don's been recommending that photographers give away some of their images via istockphoto or similar for a while now as a cheap marketing ploy. It's been four years since I've shot anything seriously, but back in the day, I can remember the hullabaloo over paying for an ad in one of the high-end photo annuals or similar, as a way of getting your name out (and yes, I did it too). Photographers would consider the $2000+ they dropped on an ad to be a good investment, as it got their image and style out in front of art directors nationwide.

Which is, of course, exactly what istockphoto does for a photographer. Except it's free.

"But wait," you say, "I can't give my images away for free!"

We've all had times when an art director has walked into our studio with a photo annual tucked under his arm, bookmarked to the page of some poor slob who's shelled out major bucks to get his images in front of said art director, only to have his work shown as an example or starting point for what the A.D. wanted for his shoot with another photographer.

Congratulations, you've just spent two grand so someone else can take a photo based on what you just shot.

How expensive is that ad now? And how cheap does giving away a half dozen images seem compared to paying two grand to give your creative ideas to another photographer?

Whether you like it or not, putting your photos out in national distribution is in effect, giving them away. Your ideas are now out there to allow others to rip you off be inspired by your art. Whether it's an expensive printed ad or a free photo is up to you.

“./~ Give it away, give it away, give it away now ./~ *”