This article is shared with permission from Laura Zander of Add to Heart Photography of Kitsap County in my home state of Washington. She has perfectly stated what I often tell clients at their session, so please take a moment to read the following options that you have in sharing the images from your session.
I know that my clients will want to share their session images, after all that is one of the biggest reasons for having professional photographs taken. But did you know that photographs (both digital and printed) are protected by United States Copyright law? Unauthorized copying or duplication of images (including scanning photographs) is in violation of this law and affects a photographer’s ability to continue to produce high-quality work. When you have your photos professionally taken, the photographer still retains copyrights to these images and therefore, under no circumstances can you use the images for profit, commercial use, in competitions or for professional display (altered or not). But there are many ways to share your photos that do not violate this copyright.
Often photographers will post session sneak peeks or favorites on their blog. This is the quickest and easiest way to share your session images – just post a link to the photographer’s blog post in your email, Facebook, Twitter, or even your very own blog. Don’t forget to leave a comment as its always wonderful for a photographer to see their client not only visiting their blog but leaving some great feedback. Its also a good idea to check out their blog often for great information and even special offers they are running that may not always be advertised elsewhere.
Tagging on Facebook
Why not ask your photographer if they will post some of your session images to Facebook? Most photographers have Facebook pages and would be more than happy to upload and tag you in your session photos. You first need to “friend them” on Facebook and then the Photographer will be able to tag you in the photos. Once you are tagged, those images will automatically show up on your Wall for your own friends to see. Usually the images will be watermarked with the photographers logo or name. Its important to not crop out watermarks as that could be considered copyright infringement. If you want an image cropped a certain way for any reason, just ask your photographer to do that for you.
I’ve also had clients upload the watermarked version of their images to their Facebook page and tag me in them, that works fine too! As long as you are using the web-resolution watermarked images (including a link to my website or blog is awesome too) and then don’t forget to tag me in the image so I can see the ones you post, I always love to see your favorites!
If you have an online gallery for proofing your session photos, then why not email the link to your “inner circle”? Its another great way to share with friends and family. Make it easy on yourself and let them know if they want to place an order, how they should go about doing that so you won’t be bombarded with email requests. Sometimes they need to order directly through the photographer, or sometimes they can order right through the gallery.
When you place your session order don’t forget to include a few gift prints. Giving prints to a few special family members or friends is always a great way to share your photographs. Your photographer will likely sell prints a la carte, so think about a set of wallets or a 5″ x 7″ print of your favorite photograph as these are both popular choices.
Buying the Digital Files
Many photographers will offer the digital files at an additional cost, or may even include them as part of their package. You could still run into trouble making personal prints unless you have “Permission to Print”. This is generally something from the photographer allowing you to make prints from the digital files for your own personal use. Their may still be restrictions about distributing the files (either by email or online), so be sure to read their policies.
I want you to be able to share your session photos and try to make it easy for you to do so. If you have any questions, please put them in the comments or send me an email and I’ll post the answer here for everyone.