The importance of crediting photos

August 23, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

We've had the chance to work with a LOT of models over the years. We love doing it. Many of these models have become dear, if not lifelong friends. And we've loved watching them develop and grow over the years, both in their modeling and as people.

 

But we've also gone through a fair amount of stress at times. While most have been drama free, a handful make up for them ... and then some.  We'll spare the details here. But yikes. 

 

One of the biggest issues we deal with on a regular basis, even with some of our favorite models, is their failing to properly credit photos we've taken of them when they repost them to their Facebook page or other social media. For a great blog post on how serious this can be for a photographer, you should definitely read: "What Happens When a Supermodel Violates Your Copyright" by Rachel Scroggins. She gives an example of how a photo she'd taken of a supermodel she works with was posted to the model's Instagram, uncredited, and quickly went viral. The photographer has now had to deal with multiple magazines reprinting the photo without permission (or payment) etc. and having to prove to them that it really was her photo that they published. 

 

So here are some quick guidelines for working with us (and just about any other photographer on the planet) when it comes to sharing our work.

 

1. Determine whether or not the work can be shared. Generally speaking, if you are shooting TFP then you will be getting some pics from the shoot and it is OK to share them in some fashion. We make it possible for you to download the images from our site (which has a license agreement as part of the download process).  But you should ALWAYS discuss usage explicitly with any photographer you shoot with. What can you do with the photos and what can the photographer do? If you never discuss it, you can't assume that it is OK to share at will. And it definitely never gives you the right to sell the photos or have them published without involving the photographer in the transaction.

 

2. If you share photos, credit the photographer. This rule has two parts. First, always state, at the time you post the photo, in the description of the photo, who shot it and who holds the copyright on the photo. Second, don't cut off watermarks. If the photographer went to the trouble of putting a watermark on the photo, leave it there. It is not your decision whether to remove it.  If you want to use the image for a Facebook profile pic and need it cropped differently, contact the photographer, tell them how you want to use it and see if they can give you a copy cropped to the right dimensions with their watermark intact. They will love you for it. 

 

3. Link the photo to the photographer wherever possible. There are multiple benefits to you and to the photographer from providing good links on the photos you post. Chances are that if you post a link to the photographer, the photographer is more likely to post links to you. That improves site traffic to both of your pages, and helps you get found on search queries online. It also means that you stand a better chance of getting published. If someone who wants to use the image in their publication sees the image AND knows how to contact the photographer for permission, they are more likely to publish you. 

 

4. Share high quality images. Never do screen captures of the photos posted on the photographer's website or in a client gallery. Why would you want a low quality version of your image posted anywhere when you can get a high quality version formatted specifically for posting on social media? We are always shocked and appalled when we discover screen captures of our photos posted on our models' Facebook pages (often with borders around the image where they didn't crop their screen capture very well). 

 

Unfortunately, we have worked with many models over the years who we enjoyed shooting with, who we got fantastic images with, and who we would otherwise have loved to shoot with again ... but who failed to follow basic etiquette by violating one or more of the guidelines above when they posted photos from the shoot. On numerous occasions we've had to contact them to discuss the matter, which we never like to do. We also notice how models treat the other photographers they work with and avoid working with models who we can see don't respect these standards. 

 

On the other hand, models who credit our photos, post links, help us by only posting quality copies of our images, etc., are much more likely to get additional shoots from us and referrals to our other photographer friends. 


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