Picture this!-- Part IV of the mom blog series
By Jennifer Satterwhite on July 12, 2007
Originally the topic of this part of the series was going to just focus on posting images on your mom blog. I was going to cover just the basics of "do you" or "don't you" include pictures, but from the comments I have received, I feel it is important to cover the "why's" and "why not's" of posting images of your children and/or your family. It is not just a matter of who sees your pictures. You should also think about how to protect your images as well.
One of the most common questions after whether or not to use real names is whether or not to post images of your children. As with every other aspect of your blog, this is going to have to fall into doing what you feel works best for you and your family. However, there are some issues I will bring up that you should think about. First, when your school (if you have school age children) ask if you give permission for them to use your child's image or likeness for publicity or promotion, do you think about it before agreeing? They may use your child's photo on a website, newspaper or national publication. Yes, blogging is an entirely different game, but you have to remember that your child is not living in a bubble. There are many bloggers who choose to completely leave images of their family off of their blog. Karen of the blog A Deaf Mom Shares Her World chooses to limit images by using back shots or far way images. It is where her current comfort level lies. Then we have bloggers like Liz of This Full House has no hesitation in posting family pictures.
Something important to remember about posting images is that whether or not to post is not just an issue of security. As more than one mom blogger found out the hard way, some people will take images of your children off of your site to use in ways that can be offensive, inappropriate or just in ways that they are not intended to be used. Tracey of Sweetney went through this and let me tell you, it was a hellish experience for her and her family. Hellish because she felt violated by having someone use images of her child on another site without her permission or approval.
There are two ways in which you can deal with this type of problem. Well, actually three ways. One being avoid all pictures. Short of that, I have two other ways to handle photo issues and people taking your photos from your site. First, host them on sites like Flickr and set the privacy to that of friends and family only. That way you know who you have approved to see your family pictures and who you are allowing access to your family.
Now, if you are not worried about who sees your images, but perhaps who may take them and use them as their own. It does happen. The Sarcastic Journalist had some of her pregnancy photos taken from her site and put on a message board where someone claimed them as their own. There are ways to prevent this. You can watermark them. Put your name, url or some other identifying item into your picture. One that cannot be cropped out. (I know that Wordpress has this option as a feature. I am not positive about others, but I know photo editing programs can let you do this.) This way, no one can claim your picture as their own.
Personally, I use pictures. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Or at least a blog entry or two!
Thanks for all of your input and comments. By popular demand (also known as a topic that came up more than once in comments) the next post will focus on Boundaries--those between you and your readers and between you and your children.
~Jenn is going to go take candid snapshots that will later be Googled and embarrass her children before their prom!~
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