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Brides posting photos on facebook


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I've shot a few weddings and a few other events, but it's not my full-time profession right now. While I think

about how many more weddings I want to shoot, I ran across a situation with one of my past brides that I though

others might have dealt with.


I shoot all digital and provide the bride a DVD of photos which they are entitled to print, share with family,

put on websites, etc.. Basically, I give them rights to use them as they see fit but I still retain my

copyright. The only thing I don't want them doing is re-selling/licensing them to another party (ex. advertising

for one of their florist, caterer, etc.)


Recently, I had a bride post some photos up on her Facebook page. My initial reaction was - great! I'm happy

that she enjoyed the photos enough to share them with her friends. I'm all for digital sharing. However, I've

read more and more about how many of these websites license photos and I'm concerned about how to handle this

going forward. Facebook, for instance, seems to grab license to do anything with photos uploaded to their

website including relicensing to third parties. I'm uncomfortable with the thought of Facebook selling one of my

photos to someone else.


Am I best off making some web-ready, low res images with a watermark for brides to upload? Any comments, ideas,

or experiences?

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> Am I best off making some web-ready, low res images with a watermark for brides to upload? Any comments, ideas, or experiences?


Yes. Make them very softly watermarked to discourage FB from using them.


I'm sure that there will be a wild media party when FB tries to sell their users' photos - I dont' think that it has happened yet - but putting a noticeable (but subtle) watermark will probably prevent this from happening. Make sure you explain to the client why they need to use those images for FB.

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I think trying to fight brides using your images on facebook or myspace will be a PR nightmare for any wedding photographer.


I understand your concern, but for many young brides, facebook and the like are very important means of communication between friends and family. Attempting to cut that off is going to be a mess.

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Josh - I agree completely. My goal is not to prevent brides from using FB (or sites like it.) I encourage the use of social sites. I'm a web developer by profession, so it's in my nature to like them. :)


Just wondering what others thought/felt about the situation and how they've gone about protecting their image rights. Any idea if Facebook strips out metadata? In addition to a subtle watermark and low res image, any benefit to putting a 3rd party licensing statement in there somwehere?

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Facebook's Terms of Service are ridiculous. Basically, they own everything their users upload. BUT, since your contract with your client states that they don't have the right to license your images to third parties, one might argue that Facebook can't own the images because your client, their user, doesn't have the legal right to transfer any rights. Follow? SO, if Facebook tried to sell your image, you could legally stop them and Facebook wouldn't be able to do anything except make the user take the images down.


If you're really concerned, just make sure your images are all registered with the Copyright Office.


But you should give your client lo-res images with a discreet but legible watermark anyway, so people who see it don't have to ask who took the photo.

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I don't think it is something to be worried about. I can't see facebook going out and selling images of a member who uploaded her bridal photos. Not that yours are not good enough to be featured somewhere but realistically there are millions of images uploaded and them picking one of yours out of this is unlikely. Needle in a haystack. I think the referrals that you receive from friends of the client who saw them on FB or Myspace will outweigh the off chance that one of the images will be sold.

The gains will outweigh the losses I am sure.


Just my $.02...but I could be wrong.

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Who cares ? Why would you even be worried about it. You gave the client disc with all the pictures so she posted them to facebook. That's a risk you take when giving them everything on disc. I dont think your going to stop them with the low res images with watermark, so your going to give them 2 sets of discs then ? The low res disc and the high res disc for prints ? They will just use the non-water marked ones. The other comment was right I dont think out of millions and millions of pictures uploaded there not going to track down yours and steal them !


Why are you checking your clients facebook page away ?

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First off, Facebook has billions upon billions of photos; it's the world's largest photo sharing site. So worrying about them going off and trying to make a profit on pictures their users have uploaded is a baseless fear of a nonexistant threat.


Second, a LOT of my clients have come to me because of the photos they've seen on the Facebook pages of brides/grooms who I've shot. I see Facebook as an immensely valuable marketing tool, not a threat to my image copyrights.

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I'm not particularly worried about facebook making a profit on my photos, but their terms of use seem broad

enough to cover future partnerships or business deals that could have impact - and who knows what that could be.

Now, the chances of them ending up using one of my photos are slim for sure based on volume and quality, but I

feel it's still something to pay attention to. I don't want to stop individuals from posting them, just take

reasonable precautions. Following some of the things that have made recent news with Flickr (the Creative Commons

issues, stock photography partnerships, and other sites using flickr photo feeds for commercial use) has these

types of image re-use on the brain. Companies getting photos for free (be it mine or others) does not bode well

for the photography business in general. I'm curious what other people's take on it is.


Agreed - the advertising potential is huge, which is why I think I'll be providing a tastefully watermarked image

sized specifically for Facebook use. As I've stated - I'm pro social sites and advertising/word of mouth is one

of the major reasons why. I'll likely ask them to use the watermarked image and explain the situation.

Hopefully, the people I photograph will be happy enough with the photos that putting up a watermarked (or more

likely "signed") image is not an inconvenience.

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What Joseph said...


If you client doesn't own the copyrights to the images then they can not legally transfer the copyright to someone else - in this case Facebook when they upload images.


I wouldn't worry about it, plus it is free advertising. If you book a few weddings from Facebook, and if Facebook sells some of your images, think of it as money well spent on advertising.

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Just for the sake of argument. I had a shot of a wedding dress that was the POW on photo.net. About a year later - someone alerted me that a girl in the UK was making and selling Wedding Cards to brides and using my dress shot. She had a website and everything so I checked it out. Yes - she had stolen my image and was using it (among other shots and who knows where she got those) to make money. I emailed her and got her to stop but sounds to me like people need to provide images that are low res and watermarked for specific purposes of posting on the internet.


Having said that - it really is not something you can control. Once you turn over the DVD it's all over.


It sure is a whole new world.

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I did a very late senior portrait session for a girl at a local high school this past May. Since I didn't have a website my

proofing was to supply her with a cd with watermarked files for her to choose the enlargements from the package she

purchased. She promptly posted several on her myspace page and I got three more of her friends booked in the next week

and a half. I continue to do my senior portrait proofing that way and I encourage them to post the photos. I also add a few

extra prints in their package if they refer friends to me. Sounds like good free advertising to me!

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When I give a bride a CD I limit the size of photo she can reproduce (usually 5X7) - this can be done in light room - I also metatag each photo with my copyright - also done in lightroom - that way if it gets uploaded it is and then redown loaded it is render useless - I do like the suggestion of giving a bride a set of photos specifically to upload on to sites with my watermark on the photo... and request she put my website with it...
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I think you should be very positive about it. In fact, if your brides aren't posting them to a social networking

site, something is very wrong there. My last 3 brides had their engagement and wedding photos up on the Myspaces

quickly after they were presented to them. Some even copied them from my blog to post on their Myspace. Eagerness

to share your work is a very good thing for you. Floating back down to reality, Facebook doesnt care about your

well-executed photos. And what if they DO sell them? I'm sure the buyers would have never sought you out

personally to buy them directly.... so as they say.."what you dont know won't hurt you" Be excited that your

bride was excited!


On an aside.... You think people out there look at watermarks as a suggestion that they may steal the photos? I

wonder if people take offense to that suggestion (however true)

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  • 4 months later...

<p>Funny, I actually encourage my clients to use Facebook, etc with their pictures. I've gotten a TON of referrals off other people seing my work.</p>

<p>This is an age of new technology, and honestly battling a large enterprise like Facebook or Myspace over some small-time photographer's photos is a losing battle. I say work with it!</p>

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