Saturday, February 26, 2011

Respecting Images of Our Clients

The debate over offering unwatermarked images to bloggers has continued in many different places online. Some are furious that bloggers are making money off of unwatermarked work, while others could care less about where their work ends up and how much credit they receive for it. Regardless of where you stand as a blogger or as a photographer, this post is for the consideration of the clients who hired you, for the guests who attended the private event, and for the other hired creatives that produced original work at that private event.

Since moving to the Northeast, I've had many more clients seeking a higher level of privacy with their wedding images. By watermarking my images (putting my logo or copyright statement directly on the image itself) and refusing to provide unwatermarked work to bloggers for content use, I reduce the chance that someone is going to take that photo and use it elsewhere online without permission, while also increasing the chance that brand management tools will be able to find it for me on the web so that I can resolve any improper or unapproved image use. Notice I did not say PREVENT, just reduce. Obviously, ignorant people and those who mean to do harm will do whatever they want and when we find them we will kick their ass ask them to cease and desist. I usually have to send at least two emails each year to some company whose website designer grabbed my work, cropped my logo out, and plastered it on their commercial site without my permission. Because my watermark was there- the web designer KNOWINGLY did something wrong. If the image has no mark, it's easier to assume it's free content that can easily be used to populate someone else's website.

So, even if you do not care about receiving credit for your own work- at least consider respecting your clients' likeness and the likeness of the original work created by the other event professionals, which can be grabbed easily and used elsewhere without permission when there are no deterrents in place, such as a watermark.

See also:
Why You Need to Watermark Your Work

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and low-cost solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.


  1. I totally agree! Love your blog, thank you!

  2. I also agree...most photogs think that as long as you are paid well, they allow people to do whatever they want with UNwatermarked or High Res Images. But really has has to do with copyright and respecting the work.

  3. thanks for this.. as great as digital everything is it's also frustrating how images can appear anywhere without us knowing even with anti copy widgets on our blogs. Thanks for putting it in a polite yet intellectual way so I can share this with other photographers and others


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