I’m often conflicted when it comes to putting my best images online because it is so easy for people to copy them, breaching my copyright. This is an issue in reverse when I like a photograph and would like to bookmark it in some way without breaching other people’s copyright – and without having a million links.
ViewBug has neatly solved this issue for me in the way it operates an Award system. In addition to having a ‘Like’ button, ViewBug offers members the opportunity to award the photographs of other ViewBug members by giving them a Peer Award for excellence in composition, subject matter, skill, etc. Each time a Peer Award is given, ViewBug adds the photograph to an Inspiration page on the awarder’s page. When a photograph is awarded, the awardee gains points which can be can be used toward various benefits on the site.
This process adds two pages to my ViewBug profile. A page showing all of the photographs I have awarded, called “Inspiration” and a page of my photographs which have been awarded by other members of ViewBug.
Scrolling down my Inspiration page, which is really just a series of links back to the original works, therefore not breaching copyright, I see an array of wonderful and varied work by photographers from all around the world. Many of the works I have awarded are nature photographs, but I also see a range of portraits and architecture photographs. Strong colour and lines seem to attract my attention, although I do have black and white photography among them.
The page showing my own images awarded by others gives me inspiration in a different way. I can see which photographs resonate with other people, and due to the award system, why each photograph appealed to the awarder. Often the results are surprising. Photographs I hesitate in uploading may gain awards, while others don’t get so much attention.
One of my most often awarded photographs is a macro photograph of a daisy in my back yard. It is a simple photograph, and I have used Lightroom to slightly darken the background (which was already dark). It isn’t cropped. I almost didn’t load it because it felt more like a snapshot. Yet for some reason, others respond to it.
At the moment I am selecting a range of images to print and frame for sale at local markets. My ViewBug Peer Awards page gives me a good idea of which of my images to print.