For PhotographersFilters, Effects and other DisastersHow I approach this topic with clients

So you’re a nice photographer, you maybe follow all your clients on Instagram to keep up with them and also make your brand more personal. Then it happens, something every professional photographer hopes never happens to them, a thing I dread most about this digital age! There is an (ugly) filter on your image and it’s shared with the world wide web!

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In all honesty, most clients don’t understand the amount of work that we as lifestyle photographers put into the end product. Besides the fact that we may spend a few hours photographing them and another few editing their images, we also have invested massive amounts of money in our gear, we have researched our photography style for days on end.

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We’ve spent years getting to this point in our career where we are able to charge a client the price we do. We are not amateurs, we haven’t been doing this for a few weeks. It really saddens me to see my work defiled in this manner. But this happens! I need to get used to it.

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I’ve learned to deal with this inwardly (to a point). I have had the awkward conversations with previous clients and they refuse to do anything about it, they argue that they paid for their photos and that they can do whatever they want with it. And at this point I hate to be the guy that knowledge bombs anybody! But, South African Law stipulates that the client holds copyright unless written over to the photographer.

All my Terms & Conditions and contracts waives this particular ownership back to me (have a lawyer help you set this up in your contracts, it saves you on so many levels). So my clients (unfortunately for them, because they all ticked yes on that little I agree to the T&C’s button) does not have the legal right to alter my photos, yet they still do it.

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As I’ve said earlier, I’ve learned to deal with this and turn a blind eye, it still hurts and sucks. To some extent you think that the client didn’t like your photos in the first place and now they want to bedazzle it with some added glitter & glam to make it prettier.

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How do I turn the blind eye you ask? Simple! When they tag me in these cool edited photos I immediately remove it, I don’t want potential new clients seeing that ugliness and have them thinking it’s my work. If my watermark is on with they’re cool effects I either have the awkward conversation with them and ask them to remove the photo (because that represents my brand) or I’ll report it (on Instagram you can claim intellectual property over images if you feel the client is in violation, report the photo and fill out the copyright – intellectual property form).

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My final viewpoint on this is to learn to love people for who they are, don’t take your job too seriously :) In today’s life people have their preferences how they like things and they want to express their creativeness in some way for all to see. It’s just unfortunate that they take our piece of art to make their piece of ‘art’.

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