I joined the Cookeville Camera Club three years ago and it opened up a whole new world for me. I had purchased a new camera and didn’t understand what it could do, but the club had a class that helped immensely. Most of the class participants had DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras and I didn’t, but the members were very eager and willing to help me with my particular low-end camera. There continues to be an attitude of helping other members improve their photography, whether it be lighting, composition, or editing. This has been invaluable to me as the owner-designer of a small web design company.
My husband and I have recently started a plant nursery and I do all the printed material which includes pictures of what a buyer can expect their newly purchased plant to look like. Oh, it is so tempting to copy some of the wonderful pictures I see of plants on some of the nursery sites! But, you know what? That would be stealing someone else’s property, something they have spent time and effort on. Maybe they have spent a lot of time and money over the years to get to that level of photography expertise. Many of the photos are copyrighted and it is downright illegal to copy them and use them, especially if you are going to use them for commercial purposes. Even though it might not be illegal to copy pictures that aren’t copyrighted, it certainly is not ethical. In short, if you want to use a picture that is on the internet, ask for permission to do so.
Now this brings me to my present problem of obtaining the photos I need. Since most of our plants are young, or even dormant, it is not possible for me to take great pictures in February or before our plants are blooming. One avenue to explore is to purchase stock photos. As a web designer I am very familiar with that and use stock photos for newsletters and occasionally for websites. There are a number of agencies online that sell stock photography (as well as videos and illustrative content). These stock images are graphic content that has been submitted by photographers and artists whose work has been judged to be of professional quality. You might think that this is an expensive way to go, but it isn’t. It gets more expensive though if you are going to use them for magazines, billboards, and such. For my use, I have never paid over $2.00 for a photo.
Unfortunately, I can’t find many stock photos that I can use for the nursery business. One reason is that I want to be sure that the picture is an accurate representation of a particular variety of plant and I can’t know that without knowing the scientific name, and the stock photos don’t give the scientific name of plants.
Well, this leads me back to square one. You might see me around town this spring when the dogwoods, forsythias, and saucer magnolias bloom. I will be looking for great plants that people have in their yards and I will ask for their permission before photographing their pride and joys. And what a great way to meet people!