A Basic Guide to Professional Photo Restrictions

It’s hard to imagine how much time and effort goes into capturing a single image. Photographers pour their lifeblood into each photo they take, so it makes sense that the photos you receive are part of their life’s work in some way.  The images they hand you are a direct representation of them and their brand – so it’s important to be mindful with what you do with them after you receive them.

The following restrictions will help ensure the confidentiality, creditability, and professionalism of these pictures.

Copyright (and how it’s a restriction)

professional photo restrictions

The digital images that your photographer provides you with have a copyright. This means the photographer has the option to use those photos to market their work and services anytime in the future. But, most photographers (the ones who value their business and relationships with clients) – will adhere to any sharing restrictions you put on your photos. 

If this is something that worries you (having your pictures shared for marketing purposes) – you need to talk with the photographer about it prior to booking or paying.  You do not want to be in a situation where the photographer refuses to adhere by your requests (believe me there are photographers out there who don’t).

Restrictions on image type

professional photo restrictions

Maybe you’ve asked (or thought about asking) a photographer for the originals (negatives, RAW files, etc.). These are the original images prior to be edited.  Well, unfortunately, you won’t find a creditable photographer willing to send you the original files.  Your photographer owns the original files and will refuse to sell them.
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If for some reason you find a great photographer that will send you the RAW files – you’re looking at hundreds of dollars an image (sometimes thousands in the commercial market).

Related article: 6 Tips For Looking Amazing In Pictures (and Feeling Even Better)

professional photo restrictions

Also, from a size/transfer/storage perspective – a RAW file is roughly 5x larger than a normal edited file.  Sending hundreds of raw images of a wedding (for instance) would become a major issue in terms of storage, transferring files that large, and you downloading them.

Example would be:

  • 1 RAW image = 50MB – 100 RAW images = 5GB – 1000 Images=50GB
  • 1 JPG image = 8MB – 100 JPG images = 800MB – 1000 JPG images= 8GB

See the difference? I hope that aspect makes sense.  If not, leave your questions in the comments below the article!

Image altering and how it can be a major restriction

While we appreciate your business and welcome the sharing of our photos on social media platforms, we ask that you keep all content “as is” as this not only upholds copyright laws but also preserves the integrity of what was originally captured in-camera

What constitutes image altering?

  • Adding filters or editing photos in Photoshop
  • Removing our logo or studio name
  • Color correcting or including transitions from color to black and white
  • Clipping people or objects out of the original shot

Let’s discuss how we feel about this…

When do we expect a client to abide by the “do not alter” rule?

We do expect others to adhere to the rule when it’s a branded/styled shoot where the images being shared have our watermark on them.  The worst (and what I have scouted for the most over the last year or so) – is having a client “blame” a platform (like Instagram) for cropping out a watermark.  This is a no-no – and your photographer should have made images for different platforms (specifically).

The reason we expect this is because our work directly represents us as a brand and what we’re capable of.  If you’re sharing something of ours to others – we want them to see exactly what we offer – not an altered version of what someone else thinks looks better or good.

Your photographer will feel and expect the same from you.  Again, if you have any further questions or would like to go into further detail/discussion on this matter – leave them below and I would love to discuss!

We hope we’ve shed just a little light on the subject…

We know this is a brief guide on professional photo restrictions, but we plan on expanding on it in the future.  You can help us expand on the said topics (or other topics that you may have questions about) by leaving those questions/concerns below!

If you’d like to learn a little more about us, you can find that here.  Learn what drives us everyday to do what we do and why we’re so passionate about it!

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Until next time, take care and be safe out there!