What if, instead of worrying about everyone with a cell phone camera in front of your art, you encouraged taking photos and sharing?
Don’t dismiss this right away. Let me explain.
On two occasions I have witnessed audiences embrace a speaker or situation that encouraged photography.
Here’s how those went down.
Situation #1: Mari Smith at Infusioncon 2013
Before Facebook expert Mari Smith got on stage at the Infusionsoft conference last spring, the “star” speaker preceding her interrupted his speech twice to tell someone to turn off his camera.
The second interruption came with a threat and was uncomfortable for everyone in the audience. I immediately disliked this guy.
Then Mari got on stage and said something like, Okay, everyone, turn on your cameras! This was followed by her endorsement to share photos and video anywhere and everywhere.
This put us at ease. We had a collective giggle because her approach was exactly the opposite of her predecessor. It was generous and engaging.
She undoubtedly received a ton of free publicity because of it.
Situation #2: The Symphony
Before the Boulder Symphony Orchestra performed The William Tell Overture, the president welcomed everyone and pulled out his cell phone.
Here it comes, I thought. So I made sure mine was muted.
But that’s not what he wanted. Instead of the usual “Please mute your phones” warning, he asked us to take photos throughout the night. The first person to post a photo to their Facebook page got free tickets to the next concert.
After intermission, he gave us an update on the photo-posting contest and mentioned the winner’s name. Then he encouraged more photography and posting and mentioned prizes for future winners.
The symphony was taking advantage of the fact that most people in the audience had a phone camera, and many of those people knew how to share images to Facebook immediately.
I get that you want to protect your copyright, and I couldn’t be more supportive of that.
I understand that you are concerned when people photograph your work and then share it without attribution. Or when they copy it out of “admiration.” Those violations are unacceptable.
But how could you take advantage of the fact that everyone walks around with a camera in her purse or his back pocket?
How could you benefit from people wanting to remember your work?
How could you encourage sharing of cell phone photography and video?
Tell us your ideas in a comment – and then do it!