Problem w/ using pictures on my site.

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by jane_jones|1, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. So I am just starting out in commercial photography. I have very reasonable prices b/c of this and I post abt. 30 pictures from each wedding on my site and use some in my ads. I am very laid back at this point b/c I am starting out. My clients get a disc included, and I don't lock the pictures posted on my site. I get all of the wedding party to sign a simple release to post their pictures on my site. And I give a copy right release w/ the disc that says they make as many copies as they want but if they use them on the internet they have to "photo by Summerford Photography" etc.
    Now I have a bride who’s wedding is coming up telling me she doesn't want her first or last name used at all and she wants to choose the pictures I post from her wedding, (like none involving alcohol). My question to you all is who owns her pictures. Can she tell me I can't use them on my site or I can only use certain ones. I have met a few photographers that don't even get releases. From what I see most other photographers say they own the images so they can do what they want not the other way around.... So can someone tell me how this works. I have never had a problem until now. I don't want to be rude to my client but she is being a bit of a pain. I am definitely adding a clause on my site under prices that says if they do not allow me to use their pictures any way I want on my site then it will cost them extra.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Of course you own the copyrights. But that has nothing to do with what you and your client agree to, contractually, when it comes to use of the images. If she wants the terms of hiring you to include what she's asked for, and you refuse ... then, no deal. If you both agree, then there you have it. It's not mysterious, really. If you can afford to introduce that bit of friction (or to characterize this as her being difficult), and pay the price in the form of possible on-line chatter about you, or in the form of her not being a willing (or constructive) reference when you seek other business, then that's your call.

    What's more important: having the ability to use her name and photos of her wedding party using alchohol ... or not having the gig at all, not having her as a references (or worse, using her as a reference, and having her say what she considers to be the unflattering truth about your requirements of your customers)? Do you really need to drop her name as you showcase a shot or two from her wedding? Are you really sure that you'll be missing out (in terms of advertising value) more than the value of your income from the wedding and all references she might provide ... if you don't show her party with a martini or champagne glass in hand?

    Also: You're using your name in a public forum. One that is indexed within minutes, usually, by Google. Be careful what you say about your prospective clients in such a visible venue.
     
  3. Kelli,
    First, do remember that clients know how to use Google, too, and stuff said here can be viewed by the public. In short, careful what you say. Better to keep questions as generic as possible.
    That said, for a client to ask that you not use last names is, in my opinion, entirely reasonable. I almost never use last names any more, unless I'm doing a news shoot. I don't see anything unreasonable about asking that you NOT post pictures of the bride with a beer can in her hand (or whatever it was she asked). Same would go for (1) bride throwing up in corner of reception hall, or (2) best man passionately necking with #3 bridesmaid or (3) fight between MOB and her ex-husband, etc., etc.
    Also, it's absolutely best to make every effort to keep clients happy. "Have the right to do X" does not necessarily mean "SHOULD do X." If you retain copyright (most of us do, I think) you might have the legal right to do what you want with the pics, but the bride also has the right to get angry at you and write bad things about you on Angie's List or elsewhere.
    What's the old saying? "Discretion is the better part of valor." OK, that's actually Falstaff rationalizing his cowardice. But it's become a cliché (like the chestnuts from Iago and Polonius) because it's got a good bit of truth in it.
    Good luck,
    Will
     
  4. Hi Guys,
    Thanks for the advice, I never said I was not willing to work w/ my clients. I am sorry you got that impression. I understand them maybe not wanting to use there names at all, Most of my clients are super excited to share there pictures w/ the world but I can see others being scared with it being the digital age and all. I also never said I would post pictures of them drinking or whatever other unsavory thing you said. Honestly your answers make me look like a monster or something. I was not worried about a client viewing this until some of your replies made me look bad. I just wanted to know the legal answer to my question, next time I will leave out the back story. And I should have added that the client booked over a month ago and is just now starting to tell me all this other stuff w/ her event very close at hand, that is a bit of a pain.
     
  5. First, if you take the photo, you own the copyright under most circumstances. If you assign the copyright, then you no longer own it, and then you have only those rights to the photo that you explicitly reserve to yourself at the time you assign the copyright.
    Search these forums for discussion of copyright versus license -- you'll find lots of discussion on this point. But one thing you should consider doing is to provide a limited license to reproduce and post your photographs, rather than providing the client with the full copyright. In most instances, wedding photographers gain nothing by assigning copyright when a limited license to reproduce provides the client everything the client wants.
    If you retain the copyright, then you have the right to use the photo for "editorial" purposes. In most cases this includes posting a set of your images from an event to your web site, so long as you do not use any of those images to imply that people featured in them personally endorse you or your services. (If you have already assigned the copyright, then, again, you have only those rights you explicitly reserved to yourself, which may mean you have no right to post the image at all.)
    But take a broader view for a moment. What effect will it have on your relationship with your client if you tell her you are not willing to consider her wishes and will post photos at your own discretion? Ask yourself whether that "freedom" is worth the damage it will do to your relationship with a client -- particularly in an industry so influenced by word-of-mouth references.
    If you post photographs of a bride that she believes are unflattering, what do you imagine she will do in response? What will she tell her friends? How many more of her friends will she be likely to tell about how you treated her?
    By contrast, what do you think it might do to your relationship if you tell her that you are primarily interested in making her happy? How would she feel if you lead with that, and then gently explain the value, to you, of being able to show your work to other prospective clients, and then reemphasize that you'll ensure that no photos she doesn't like appear anywhere public?
    You might also say something like, "Besides, any photo that doesn't flatter you, doesn't flatter me. So you and I are interested in the same thing: displaying only the photos that show off how astoundingly gorgeous you are on your wedding day. See what I mean? Other brides will want photos that make them look as lovely as you look on my site. So, first, I want you to know you can trust me to be careful about choosing photos, and second, you can trust me not to post any that you don't want on display."
    This one won't be the wedding you post in full on your site -- you'll just post highlights from it. And actually, that also means you might not need to use her name: you can include a few great shots from her collection in your highlights gallery, but keep her full collection hidden and password-protected so that only she and her family can see them.
    You might consider adjusting the tone of your warning. Saying "it will cost you extra" sounds less friendly and service-minded than "prices assume a signed contract, signed model release, and paid retainer."
     
  6. I am very laid back at this point b/c I am starting out​
    I am curious as to when it becomes serious for you?
     
  7. I didn't see your reply to the other responses until I posted. I infer from your reply and a bit of your original post that:
    1. you have not yet shot the wedding; and
    2. you do have a signed contract with the bride.
    I can't tell whether your contract includes a promise to assign copyright -- is that wording (i.e., the word "copyright") in the contract? Or does the contract just say something about clients being allowed to copy, print, and post with photo credit?
    Also, does your signed contract include the model release clause you reference (i.e., "I get all of the wedding party to sign a simple release to post their pictures on my site.") in your original post? Or do you typically do this when everyone is together on the wedding day?
     
  8. I have a bride who’s wedding is coming up telling me she doesn't want her first or last name used at all and she wants to choose the pictures I post from her wedding, (like none involving alcohol​
    That is a direct quote from you Kelli - not something that Matt or William made up or read into your question. Will was simply stating thing that HE would not put on a public / open site.
    Your comment - "she's being a bit of a pain" - plus the last sentence - "to use their pictures any way I want on my site then it will cost them extra." also confuses me...
    If I'm a future husband / groom - and I come across this - I'd be a little concerned.
    Legally - since that's what you want - You own the copyright to your images - period - unless you assign that copyright to your client. That means you typically have the right to use the images as representations of your ability and work, both in print and on line.
    However, most photographers (myself included) will say that if a client objects to having their photos used for promotional purposes, we will abide by that request and charge them additional for that promise. The good will that is created is worth far more than any use of an image.
    I've had 2 situations where the client has asked me not to use their images - in one case the client did it up front before the contract was signed - the second did it after the shoot and photos were published on my site. In both cases I honored their requests.
    You get enough business and photos and one or two telling you not to show their images isn't going to be a killer.
    Dave
     
  9. WOW!!
    What’s with all the attacking? I rarely ever post on here but read a lot. I should have known better b/c I have seen a lot of other people get attacked or taken out of context on this site constantly. And ironically it is usually by men…hmmm. I thought the woman on the babycenter boards were bad.
    I am not even going to try and defend myself or answer any more questions b/c there will be no end to this.
    Thanks for the few shards of real advice I got.
     
  10. Kelli--I am female, and I don't think anyone here has attacked you, either being female or not being female. I also don't think you need to defend yourself, because there have been no attacks.
    Matt's questions to you are rhetorical and designed to make his points. Neither his or William Porter's answers make you look bad or like a monster, and while there is a simple answer to the legal question of your using your copyrighted images, the other part of the issue, which is the part illustrated by Matt's rhetorical questions, is also very important to know (from people with a lot of business experience), which is why almost everyone who answered addressed the same thing in different ways.
    David Hass gave you the answers to your questions very simply. Perhaps you can answer Ian's questions, as he seems to sincerely want to help you and is asking for more information.
     
  11. Kelli: You need much better-tuned radar about this sort of thing. Nobody is "attacking" you. You're hearing sober, honest responses to your own words and comments based on your own tone. You got the reactions you did because nobody wants to see you describing your own customers as being a pain, and nobody wants to see you hurt your own business by choosing less than ideal words to describe why you'd charge more when someone doesn't want to be part of your marketing.

    If you're interpreting that feedback (provided here by people who are taking their own time to respond honestly to what you wrote) as an attack, then you're going to perceive a lot of other interactions - with your peers and your customers alike - out of context, too. Read your first post as if you were someone else, and digest it in the only context available (which is that provided by your own words). You got your question answered immediately (it's all about the contract you write), and you got straightforward advice about communication. Don't kill the messenger, OK?
     
  12. Opps - just re-read my post - meant to say that we would "NOT" charge them extra for their requesting that we don't post / use their images....
    gotta get more caffeine
     
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Sigh also.
    I was going to ask a question of the OP in regard to where she works - because that fact has an intrinsic relationship to copyright and it should not be assumed that she would necessarily own the copyright.
    WW
     
  14. Kelli is a U.S. photographer, so U.S. copyright laws apply.
     
  15. Here is a woman adding a <sigh>.
    I don't shoot weddings, but if I had a client who wished to keep certain (or any) images or information from display on my web site, I'd be very happy to comply, whatever my rights as a copyright owner are. (In fact, I do this very thing as an editor; I do this very thing in my editorial work, in which you will never know, from my web site, the works by other authors that I have edited.) I am far more interested in displaying goodwill toward my client than displaying photos (or listing specific editorial work) on my site. There is a twofold reason for this. One, I like to make people content by respecting their requests in such situations. Two, doing so makes referrals by the client to other clients far more likely.
     
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Kelli is a U.S. photographer, so U.S. copyright laws apply." . . . Thank you.
    Kelli: Given the situation, even though USA laws apply, I suggest the best course of action is to post only the images the bride wants you to post: that doesn't seem it will hurt your business as you describe you are layed back about it all anyway - and it makes a client happy - which is a good reason to do so.
    "I am far more interested in displaying goodwill toward my client than displaying photos" is good advice IMO.
    WW
     
  17. "I have met a few photographers that don't even get releases. From what I see most other photographers say they own the images so they can do what they want not the other way around...." Kelli

    I would suggest that you network with "real" local pros and join PPA and/or WPPI to get a better perspective on this. Participating on this forum is a bit of a "give & take" relationship and you've gotten some good information at very little cost to you...... The snarky comment directed at the males on the forum was particularly ill-advised.
     
  18. Well the only way you will have a legal answer is to go and talk to a lawyer and have him review your contract.
    Your client is not being a pain, she has legitimate concerns, but you sure are not doing yourself a favor with the wording in your first post.
     
  19. Hi Kelli
    just for your information, I googled your name and it came up with photo.net as No 1 search result. When I clicked on that, it came up with your bio and this, unmissable on the same page:
    So there is a warning for all posters here that what you write may well appear at the top of the page with a Google search.
     
  20. Obviously Kelli is more concerned about having people baby her rather than give her direct and honest advice. I reread this thread 2x and no one was attacking her. One of the reasons I love PN is that people here give you give and honest advice, which is not always what you want to hear. It's a shame that some people are so arrogant.
     
  21. Now I have a bride who’s wedding is coming up telling me she doesn't want her first or last name used at all and she wants to choose the pictures I post from her wedding, (like none involving alcohol). My question to you all is who owns her pictures. Can she tell me I can't use them on my site or I can only use certain ones.​
    She is paying you so she can dictate precisely what you can and can't do. If you don't like it you can decline the business. If she doesn't get what she wants from you she can go elsewhere.
    Well the only way you will have a legal answer is to go and talk to a lawyer and have him review your contract.​
    Or just read the contract yourself. I'm sure it's not written in some special code which only a lawyer can decipher.
     
  22. No they are only partly written in code, the courts(legal) definitions of a number of words and phrases can be quite different than the normally accepted ones.
     
  23. This forum really is IMO a "give & take" relationship. Posting a question, getting lots of helpful information/feedback and then abandoning the thread without any acknowledgment or sign of appreciation seems to me to be heavy on the "take" side: http://www.photo.net/wedding-photography-forum/00Tgb3?start=0
     
  24. She is paying you so she can dictate precisely what you can and can't do. If you don't like it you can decline the business. If she doesn't get what she wants from you she can go elsewhere.​
    Perhaps. Perhaps not. Here is another strategy for dealing with these type of situations --
    If a client wants to limit your use of images, you could suggest that they would need to sign a separate NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) which would limit both their usage of images and your usage of images. Basically, if you can't blog them, they can't post them up on FB. If they post them up, then you are free to blog them. Goes both ways. Also, don't forget about all those guests with cameras who will be posting up images. And then suggest you are not interested in blogging photos of the B&G drinking, except, perhaps, the toast.
    BTW, I got this idea from another photographer. Thought I would share it.
     
  25. @Douglas -
    That is very similar to the photographer saying up front that she will charge extra if the client doesn't allow her to post the photos on her website / blog.
    While that strategy may work for a couple of clients - long term it is a recipe for potential clients to go elsewhere and find a photographer that will give them what they want at a price they want to pay.
    Dave
     
  26. @David --
    Just passing along a strategy that works for a well established photographer. Its called negotiation. YMMV.
     
  27. Owning the copyright does not automatically imply that you can do whatever you want with the images. If a client prefers you do not post them, they have a right to ask that. A copyright means others cannot do what they want with your images without your express permission. Again, it doesn't mean you can do whatever you want if your clients do not agree.
     

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