Dear Client, Stop Cropping My Photos on Facebook!

Dear Client, Stop Cropping My Photos on Facebook!

Guest Writer, Matt Kennedy is an International Wedding Photographer and has been shooting weddings for 7 years throughout North America, Mexico and Italy. He is well known for his Sparkler Shots and Marketing techniques and is always willing to share and raise the bar for the industry.

If there’s one thing the average Facebook user doesn't seem to execute properly it’s cropping their images. Cropping is such an integral part to the composition of a finished image, and when so much time and consideration has gone in to a shot being polished and complete, it kills me to see images destroyed by poor cropping. We all know that Facebook can bring a lot of referrals in, so you want to make sure that your images are presented in the most attractive way possible.

Now it’s not just the innocent bystanders fault… it’s Facebook, it’s mobile devices, it’s web browser windows, and it’s a lot to think about! We’re not just dealing with prints and frames anymore, we’re dealing with various shapes and sizes of viewing windows and we want to maximize the compatibility of our images with these things so our images are seen in their best light.

First we need to understand our clients' process for choosing images to showcase in such coveted positions as the Facebook cover photo and profile photo. Usually it comes down to them getting amazing images of themselves (or their cats) and then they will click on the cover image of their profile page and select “Change Cover” and then “Upload Photo.” This is what they’re used to doing for the most part... and most people haven’t noticed the option of “Use as Profile Picture” or “Use as Cover Photo”. This means the client has to have the image on their computer or mobile device in order to upload it. Then when they upload it they are able to re-position the photo, but I’m not sure that they always do. This is why we need to prepare them some images that they will not have to crop. Also, images that you post to your business page cannot be used directly as cover images for some reason (thanks Facebook). The client has to download the image from there, or get it from the images you sent them, and upload it themselves.

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Here’s where you come in as the professional and the curator of your work. It is your job to give your client the best service possible, and I believe that one facet of that is making their life easy when it comes to printing and sharing their photos. Remember that it is in your best interest to put in a little extra effort so that you see the referral return because your work is showcased for everyone to see. So here are my top 5 tips for the Facebook Cover image and profile picture.

Choose some photos that will look good as facebook cover images and crop them in the aspect ratio of 1700W x 630H and export at 72DPI.

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Ensure that nothing important is in the lower left corner of the image because the profile picture window will interfere with it.
HINT: If the main focus of the shot is in the lower left, mirror the image so that it’s on the right. Clients most likely won’t know how to do this themselves, so you’re a hero!

Choose some close up shots that you think would make for a good profile picture and crop them to a square.
HINT: Usually close up shots work best for profile pictures as they are used as small thumbnails throughout Facebook and other websites that use Facebook login, so their faces will be recognizable even when small.

For weddings, choose at least 1 cover image of each of the following to maximize the chances of people using your photos as their cover image:
Bridesmaids with bride
Groomsmen with groom
Whole wedding party
Bride’s Immediate family
Groom’s Immediate family
Bride and groom together

Share the images with the couple in a separate collection (if using PASS) and let them know that you've chosen a few that you think would be great fits for them just to make their lives easier, but that they can use other images if they want as well. By you giving your input, you are now giving them service they didn't expect and putting the thought in their heads that this is what they should do with your photos anyways.

I have found great success with this system of sharing images, and many times have had the whole wedding party and many guests using my images the day after the wedding as their cover and profile photos. I hope this helps you get some more referrals and most of all helps your clients have a great experience with you as a photographer.

If you’d like more information about this or other topics, or if you just want to say Hi feel free to message me via Facebook or my website.

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I never do portrait photography but once a friend asked me for one! She was incredibly happy with the result (Shooting, Postproduction) But I was FREAKIN' PISSED OFF when she posted it on Facebok: CROPPED WITH AN INSTAGRMISHI FILTER THAT BLOWED UP EVERY DETAIL IN THE PHOTO!!!! ........ and that was my first and last Portrait ever :P

They like their filters don't they! ha..what a pain! I'm sure you could still rock some portraits though!

They always do that. My cousin hires me for portraits and this time they went too far, demanding all the photos before I processed them and then posted her own fucked up versions with stupid white vignettes and crazy processing.

I have no idea why you agreed to release unedited images to an individual, but I wouldn't even do that for my own mother! Now when I do commercial print work for publications, some larger clients ask for the RAW file because they have people who know what they are doing and are going to be manipulating the image in several ways for their own purposes, which is the terms for most larger ad campaigns. And it's not like my name is anywhere to be found on the final print anyway.

Alexandra Giamanco's picture

That's why us pro's use terms and conditions forms and write precisely what the client can and cannot do!

That's what I was thinking.

Photos are meant for many purposes, but one of them is to make people happy. Even if your photo is screwed beyond recognition, why not be happy for them instead of being pissed off with them?

Then again, if they did major editing that you don't like to be associated with you, then they shouldn't say that it's your work...

Alexandra Giamanco's picture

I cannot be happy when someone is trashing my work! We don't just "point and shoot", we are businesses, and have an image/brand to protect. If someone sees that image trashed by a customer, and the customer tells them who took it, they won't be impressed! My agreements are discussed and signed long before I click the shutter, and terms are set and respected by my clients, and everyone is happy.

Regan Shorter's picture

I always just include a social media agreement in my contracts and have a cute reminder slip added when they get their photos! Just let them know it's a great time to use the hashtag #nofilter :)

Antonio Carrasco's picture

It's not so much cropping that bugs me--it's when I see someone has added instagram filters on top of my photos...NO LIKE!!!!

I hear ya! and Instagram crops to square...we just can't win ;) Unless every person used squareready and cared about our cropping :)

And that's why you don't give the rights to your photos to clients. Re-edit my photos, you break the law.

Antonio Carrasco's picture

LOL, yeah. Good luck explaining the details of copyright to some dummy off Model Mayhem. You can literally see their eyes glaze over and their mind wander to a far away land. It is hard enough trying get them to understand that just because they appear in a photograph doesn't make that photograph their property.

And the worst part is that when you do find someone editing your photos or putting instagram filters on them, if you confront that person, it almost always some young, dumb kid that acts like you are being such a jerk for asking them not to photoshop your pics. It can be really frustrating being made to feel like the bad guy for trying to protect your work.

"Hey I don't mean to sound like a b!tch! But you know that instagram filter you just threw on my picture? It's illegal (remember that paper thing you claimed to read and signed for me?!)! And I'd hate to have to tell my lawyer - that would be a super bummer for you! So thanks for understanding and taking the image down!"
^Break it down reaaaaalllll simple for them, they'll get it eventually. haha

Unfortunately, sending a cease and desist (or threatening to) when someone thinks they know better than you (which they don't) could easily turn into a lot of trash talking from that person on the social networks where they're already jacking up your work and making it look bad.

If you're working for the general public, it's just better to charge them a little more, sell them the rights and give them non-watermarked images.

Alexandra Giamanco's picture

Mention penalties as in "money" they will have to pay if they don't respect your terms. "Money" always wakes these people up. "Collections" etc.

i agree with you, have been in this situation rescently, got so
pissed, i deliver some images with a watermark/copyright to a client to
be use, for social website like facebook, the person just use some
crappy photo filter on facebook in public to make change in my work, i
was mad, cos this make me look very bad, i tell her frankly, she
understand and remove it, but in some ways, you are the one who look
bad, even though you the one doing the right thing, now am very prudent,
about selecting my clients and also, gonna make sure to make them sign
agreement, terms and conditions, maybe explain to them the uses before the shoot, don't wanna go through that again

Even without rights released, if they alter the image enough, the courts will allow for "artistic rendering" which does not break copyright law. But to be fair, an instagram filter would not be enough of a modification. Also, who would pay good money for an image without at least a limited copyright release? You need that much just to make your own prints or have business cards made.

Alexandra Giamanco's picture

Something you should specify in your terms and conditions agreement. There are many templates available on PPA, or ASMP etc, so they are not hard to find. If they want to add filters to their photos, then they should take their own photos. OR, discuss this with you before the shoot, so the expectations are clearly set on both sides.

Matt your advise here is off the charts. I will begin to put it into practice immediately! Going to make a Lighroom export preset right now! Thank you!

Great Frank!

Awesome tips, Matt! I'll definitely be doing this for my clients!

Thanks Mary! Great to hear :)

I don't understand why do you write "export at 72dpi".
Since, the DPI for screen display is define by the kind of screen of the user and the density of its pixels, it does not make any sense to specify it during the export for a facebook usage.
It's relevant only for printing, isn't it ?

You're right, it's doesn't make a difference for the file size for online use...but as far as online display goes, 72DPI is the standard I believe. Not a huge deal either way.

From how I understand it, you could write 2389570348975y3 dpi and it would change a damn thing.

DPI is only used when it goes out to a printer...

72dip will make the file much smaller and easier to upload. Anything over 72dip that your going to be using for the internet is a waste of space and time, bottom line.

That's absolutely not true, the DIMENSIONS of the file are what matter! I can have a file that's 1000x1000 and if it's 300dpi it's just as compressible and small as if it's 72dpi. DPI = dots per inch. It only applies to displaying an image (not in this scenario cause the code handles the sizing of the image) and how big to print something.

False. The only determining factors for a JPEG are pixel dimensions (which is NOT impacted by dpi) and compression settings.