By now we have all seen those Facebook pages dedicated to editing a photo for someone. Some of them with hysterical results and some with the desired effect. Know what ones I’m talking about? Did you know those are illegal to use unless you took the photo yourself. Let’s chat about this for a moment.
You just had your session and were sent the files. Since they are shared on social media, many photographers use what is called a watermark on social media files. It may have a logo or just their name but it is their way to market themselves and claim their artwork.
There seems to be confusion between a copyright and a print release so we are going to touch on that also. A copyright belongs to the person who takes the picture and more often than not, is not included in a traditional photo session (family, wedding, senior, newborn, etc) The only time those are even a possibility is for commercial use and they cost a lot. Like thousands per image. Because once the copyright is turned over, the artist can no longer produce the photograph, edit it or display it publicly. So to photographers, copyright is a huge deal.
It is a violation of copyright to edit a photographers work in any way. This includes cropping it, putting a filter on it; any alteration done by you is a violation. Most won’t say anything because we want you to come back and be repeat customers, but it hurts our photographer feelings. We spend lots of time editing your photos until they are perfect and then to see an Instagram filter slapped on it is pretty insulting.
If your photographer offers a print release with your session all that means is that you can print your photos at any lab you want. Not that you can alter them in any way that you want. If you don’t like a particular edit, talk to the photographer and they can help you out.