A couple weeks ago I went through a situation where I had not one but two different people steal my images and use them as their own. The first was a website that used my images to drive traffic to their site and gain re-pins on their Pinterst. The other was a local photographer who stole my images and submitted them to a feature social media account for publish. In both circumstances, my images were taken without my permission, and neither of the images weren’t tagged or credited to me or my business. I think it is important to take the time to really talk about this and understand that whether you are taking images off the internet, taking a chocolate bar from a convenience store, plagiarizing words from another article, all are stealing! So today I am here to clear things up and explain why and how to properly give credit so we can all be team players.
In both of my circumstances if credit was given to myself and the other vendors involved in the photos/shoot then this wouldn’t even be an issue. Applying photo credit to the posts would show that these people didn’t take the images and they were giving credit where credit was due. Posting photos without credit or the owners acknowledgment is not only unethical but also illegal.
If you didn’t personally take the image, it doesn’t belong to you. Even if your work or product is in the photo, you don’t own the image and need to credit the owner of the image aka the photographer. Using a photographers image without permission is copy write infringement. By crediting vendors it is a good way to share exposure and also to appreciate the other vendors for their hard work. In all honesty the last thing you would want to see is your account being reported an upset fellow vendor.
At weddings there are usually so many different vendors and companies. By taking the time to tag all the vendors involved in bring the magic together on a wedding day you are not only building relationships and a community but also opening up the doors to gain followers and cross promote each other. There is also some talk about whether its enough to just tag the image itself with all the vendors involved or if the caption should have each vendor listed. In my opinion I believe that you should list all the vendors with clickable links in the caption. I think this is important as most people wont take the time to click the image to see the vendor links. Also sometimes tags can overlap and be hard to see the full names of the companies. By having them all listed its easy to find and fast for your followers to see.
No matter how big or small the details are on a wedding day every single one of them should get some credit. From the cake to the entertainment, and the styling to the lighting, if you can see it the in the image it is important to acknowledge them. This also goes for then you reshare images from another account. It can be as simple as including a short note like “picture via @paisleyphotography” or “repost from @creativeedgeflowers” is enough to thank the original owners and prevent any hard feelings. It is also proper etiquette that if you find something you would like to repost to shoot them an email or DM and just ask if it is OK to reshare. 99% of the time I will say yes as long as proper credit is given. If you are then given permission to use the image, it should also go without saying that you do not alter that image. A general rule is NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER USE A FILTER and don’t edit the photo to your “taste.” As a photographer we work really hard to get the colors right, the exposure perfect and maintain a “look” to our images that we are proud of. By you applying filters, cropping the photo or changing the image in any way you are now taking all the hard work we did and throwing it out the window. It would be like me taking your novel or essay you have worked weeks on and changing the font color, and removing the middle two chapters. You wouldn’t like that too much and doing this would disrespect your work and time. Same goes for changing our images on your site or feed.
The best part about crediting is the cross promotion and getting your name in front of new companies, vendors, and potential clients. It creates opportunities for future collaborations in styled shoots, contests and giveaways, as well as real weddings. Never underestimate the power of giving credits!
Now if you are a client wondering if all of these rules pertain to you, take a deep breath and don’t stress as the rules are less strict for you. We as photographers love it when clients tag and credit us in posts. That way we can see the photos you love, but it also helps spread our name to your family and friends. We get a lot of our work from word of mouth referrals, so crediting us in your post is an amazing thing for us as a small business! You also do not need to ask beforehand to share the images on your social media. We actually encourage it as long as you as well don’t add filters or edit them in any way. Moral of the story clients please, please, please feel free to share away.
So to recap here are the steps you should be taking when posting an image to your Facebook or Instagram:
- Make sure it is OK to share the image. Send a quick message, DM or email BEFORE you post.
- Tag the Photographer in the Actual Image
- Mention the Photographer in the caption (with a clickable link to their socials)
On a website or blog, similar rules apply:
- First ask the photographer if you can use the image
- Make sure there is photo credit for each image on that page that is a clickable link to their website
No one wants to be asked to have images removed from their feed (especially if the algorithm is in their favor that day) so by taking the time to give credit you will save yourself a giant head ache and potentially save the hurt feelings by the photographer & other vendors.
If your looking for a Wedding Photographer and are in the Calgary, Cochrane, Canmore or Banff area get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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