A photographer’s greatest plea: Think before you filter.September 19, 2016
I see you over there, applying a Ludwig filter to your next Instagram post. Can I bug you for a minute?
Before we dig in, I have to tell you: This post has been sitting in my “drafts” folder for months. It’s a topic I’ve been dancing around, but it needed time to simmer.
As photographers, we LOVE when clients and their friends & family share our work. For me, it’s the greatest compliment, because my business continues to blossom based solely on word-of-mouth. By sharing your images (with a photo credit, of course), you are making huge waves for small business owners like me! So please: Share away! But before you do, please be mindful.
We live in the great Instagram Filter Era. This period is hallmarked by selfie sticks, constant documentation of our lives, and real intense photo filters. Here is our greatest plea:
Next time you share someone else’s work on social media (i.e. photos taken by a professional or anyone other than you), please resist the urge to apply edits or filters to your images. It’s tempting, I know! These little bells & whistles practically beg us to apply a B&W “Moon” filter or bump the saturation into the stratosphere. Before you do, take a moment to remember the hours & hours of time put into these creations. When you invest your hard-earned pennies in professional photography, you’re investing in every step of the creative process: From pre-session prep, to the actual taking of photographs, to thoughtfully choosing & editing the final selection. When we deliver images, they are a final product. We have the skills & know-how to bring your images to their full potential (that’s a huge part of what you’re paying for!). This is a delicate process that completely unravels when you apply filters to your images! Please trust us to work our magic using our own personal editing toolkit.
Our names are attached to our work, so when you apply a super-saturated Instagram filter to your professional images, you’re not only creating a false advertisement for that photographer, you’re also violating copyright (and we don’t want to wade into those legal waters!). Trust me, I know it’s tempting. Social media practically BEGS us to edit, tweak, and crop our photos. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to do so. Instagram doesn’t know that your wedding photos are professionally-edited and copyright-protected, so it’s still going to present a tantalizing buffet of filter options. Resist the urge, friends!
I deliver clean, timeless images with creamy, natural skin tones, so if someone posted them with a contrasty orange filter, those photos are no longer my own (and I’d get a brutal sinking feeling in my gut). In order to avoid sticky copyright issues, please share your photos just as we’ve prepared them.
I’m not trying to squash your creative flow. By all means, go to town with your own personal photos! Add filters, crop as you please, and have fun! But please, oh please, be mindful of others’ work. And remember: We love when you share our photos. If you’re unsure of best practices for sharing, please ask!
With grace & gratitude,