Dixie Stockwell's picture

Question about clients editing the photos I gave them.

I had a shoot the other day for a lovely couple, and I took the photos, edited them, and sent them to them (also saying that if they want anything changed, to ask me). I was happy with how they came out, and I personally don't like over editing, I like things to look clean, but real. I understand that for high fashion photography or glamour, faces must look flawless, and I will do that...for that kind of photography.

My client took the photos I sent them (and left me a wonderful review saying she loved my pictures and how I edited them), but she edited the pictures she posted on her page.

I feel a little irked about it because now people will think that her edits are my work (and I honestly don't like the editing done on them). And I also feel a bit upset because they're my images and I asked if she wanted anything changed and she never said she did.

How do you guys deal with situations like this?

(First is my image, second is her edit.)

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William Howell's picture

The second photo of the female subject is not good.

Rob Waller's picture

Hi Dixie, I agree it is annoying, but I don't think there's anything you can do. You've got the wonderful review to use on your site so I think you just let it go and move on. I have a regular client that pays good money for me to photograph her for her marketing collaterals. Once I deliver the images, she takes pictures of them "on her computer screen" with her Samsung phone with the beauty filter turned on to Max, and then posts them to s/media... each to their own.

Legally, you probably have the right to stop this. In the real world, forget it - the PR would be awful. Anyway the difference is relatively minor - you're already exposing for unusually pale skin tones and she's pushed this an edge further. You could ask her to mark the picture as being edited by her.

Phil Wright's picture

Did you get them to sign any paperwork before you handed the images over? Maybe just request that she adds a note to the image saying that she has edited them after you sent them over.

They are still legally your images, unless you signed paperwork stating otherwise.

Dixie Stockwell's picture

I had them both sign paperwork that states that I am allowed to take, edit, and post her pictures however I please.

Dixie Stockwell's picture

Honestly, it was a free shoot to help build up my portfolio. So I know it's not worth fighting, but I was curious about what to do in the future when it is a paying client.

Siddhartha De's picture

Hi Dixie,

Send your client an unedited pic without your watermark, tell her that it's obvious she edited the photo you sent her, and it's wrong to post it as your work. Ask her to do whatever post-processing she wants to do on the unedited pic. She definitely went overboard on the skin smoothening in the second pic.

For future clients, I don't really know what advice to give you, except for the same thing I've said above. I've never had this happen to me, so I guess it's quite rare. Hopefully you won't have this happen to you again.


Dixie Stockwell's picture

Hey Sid.

Thanks for the suggestion! I did give her unwatermarked images (because who wants my watermark on their couples pictures!?). So I'm also confused about why she didn't use the ones I sent her. I never send watermarked images unless it's part of our agreement (like I have done for some Etsy shops).

Siddhartha De's picture

Hi Dixie,

Ok. I guess there's not much you can do about it now, so I suggest you forget about it. As I said earlier, this hasn't happened in my experience, so hopefully it won't happen again to you.

One meets all sorts of clients/people in this business. I shot a wedding once where the makeup artist went through the images of the bridal makeup session on the LCD screen of one of my cameras (I was shooting with 2 bodies, so I didn't notice). She found a picture she liked, took a snapshot of it right off the LCD screen with her phone and then posted it on social media with a link to her own salon for her own publicity. All without my knowledge. I didn't realise until much later. There wasn't much I could do because technically I was shooting HER work, which I might have used later for my own publicity, although this arrangement was explicitly understood.

So you just tell yourself that you learn from these experiences, hope it doesn't happen again, and move on.