(Closed) Is it copyright infringement to retouch your own photos?

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

1. From the information you gave here, I would say it is not self promotion. As long as ALL you are doing is helping retouch photos. (If you’re retouching, and then telling them to check out your website or they are paying you, then it is self-promotion. Doing it for free is not.)

2. Yes. I would definitely ask permission. However, I know that a lot of my friends probably wouldn’t give a crap, so I am not speaking for all brides.

3. n/a. I’m pretty sure the photographer I chose would be OK with it if I wanted to photoshop/alter my own photos.

4. No.

Post # 4
Member
1798 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I made a few minor changes to my photos. They were really things that the photographer should have taken care of himself (such as my mom’s bra showing in one photo). I really never thought twice about it and didn’t realize it was a problem until I came on this board. Photographers insisting that clients can’t edit their own photos reminds me of DRM on iTunes songs. People are going to do it anyway because it’s accessible and unenforceable. How would a photographer even know that I edited photos for my own personal use? 

Post # 5
Member
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

1.  Do you believe that offering this type of free help is self promotion?  Should I post this to the classifieds or the regular board? It was super nice of you to offer, but the post you made might have been better suited for Classifieds. A lot of times brides will ask for help and then you can always offer to help in a PM.

2. As a bride, would you always ask your photographer 1st for permission to retouch/alter your own photos or check your contract to see if you are “allowed” to do this? Yes. Photographers put out a product, and an expensive one at that, so they are very protective of their images because their name is attached. Most of the time it is in your contract that you are not allowed to alter the product.

3. Does this make you upset that you may not have your photographer’s permission to alter/retouch your own photos? And you may be forced into being charged by them to alter the photos? This is why you should shop around for your photographer. If you want umpteen images that you exclusively own the copyright to you really need to investigate your vendor. One of the first questions that should be asked when booking a photographer is about the “extra charges”.

4. If you didn’t get permission, would you be willing to alter/retouch your own photos knowing this may be a copyright infringement?  IE – would you be willing to take the risk that your photographer won’t sue you? No. At the end of the day, it is against the law and if caught they have the right to demand compensation or take me to court. No. I made sure that it wouldn’t be against my contract to have alterations done after I was given the product because retouching is not a service my vendor provided. I am paying for the full license to my images and am paying another professional to do touch ups and editing.

Post # 6
Member
1629 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

1. I think it sort of is a fine line, I didn’t care when I saw it on that section but if you want the topic to stay on your services and not surrounding issues then I’d take it to classifieds, but that is really up to you

2. 100% I would ask and check the contract. I signed a contract which is me making a legal promise to my photographer–if I want my photographer to honor promises made to me, I have to honor the promises made to my photographer. Plus, it isn’t hard to check on this…

3. Well, I’m allowed to retouch my OWN photos! But the ones that a professional takes are legally not my own–they are the photographer’s work and I’m paying for his time/skill to take them…which is why I need to then pay anew to get prints. I do however understand the total frustration to getting back photos and seeing that there are problems that a little photoshop could easily fix–my first remedy would be to call the photographer, which I did do for e-pics and she happily fixed it free of charge on details that she should have done upfront. If however I really wanted say a person removed or something that really changed the photo, I’d understand if she asked for additional payment

4. Absolutely not.  It is breaking the law.  It violates the contractual promises I made.  If my photographer saw it, and sued me, I would 100% be in the wrong according to the courts.  I don’t really fear that I’d get caught–that isn’t the issue. I also don’t download music/movie illegally even though I’m sure I would never get caught.  I get the temptation though, because some things are so small and you just really want to alter them…but really if they are things the photographer SHOULD have been doing, a good photographer will fix it.

Post # 7
Member
5296 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

@efitzger:

1.  Do you believe that offering this type of free help is self promotion?  Should I post this to the classifieds or the regular board?

Yes, I think it’s a form of self-promotion – Bees cannot post their own blogs on the main boards as that is self-promotion. I think because it is conceivable that in the near future you might use the photos you edit here to build your portfolio to gain paying clients, it is self-promotion.

2. As a bride, would you always ask your photographer 1st for permission to retouch/alter your own photos or check your contract to see if you are “allowed” to do this? No. I did not want to have to have my photos edited or pay someone else to do so. Every photographer that I talked to (about 1/2 dozen) kept the full copyright on their photos. Not one would have allowed me to edit them myself.

3. Does this make you upset that you may not have your photographer’s permission to alter/retouch your own photos? And you may be forced into being charged by them to alter the photos?

No. I get that that’s their livelihood and they wouldn’t want an amateur shopping their photos and letting people believe that’s the pro’s work. That’s why I spent a lot of time looking at photog’s photos to see that I liked their style and they edited well – especially that it looks realisitic and not obviously manipulated. I may not be happy with some things about my photos, but there is nothing there editing-wise that I would feel I need to pay them to change. 

4. If you didn’t get permission, would you be willing to alter/retouch your own photos knowing this may be a copyright infringement?  IE – would you be willing to take the risk that your photographer won’t sue you? 

Possibly, if it were for my own use – like my own photobook and were something obvious that is easy to fix – like a giant spot of dirt on my dress. Adding/removing people or drastically altering the content or style of the photo? No. If it were something going online or out of my own home? No. 

Post # 8
Member
2951 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

i asked my photographer to please NOT retouch any of my photos. I didnt really like her editing style. I told her I would do it myself and she was totally fine with it. She use to run a big photography business and now just does it on the side. I dont say anything about who edited them when ppl look at the pics though. I just tell them she was our photographer. So assume eitherway! haha

Post # 10
Member
26 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m not married yet, but I’m planning and researching photographers now!

1.  I’m not sure. I know you were being nice, but I do think it’s complicated. 

2. Yes. I think it’s unethical to cheat your vendors, and willfully not checking if you’re aware there may be an issue is, to me, just a form of intentional ignorance. 

3. Nope. I’ve seen the horrible edits that friends have done to their photos. Fine if it’s for their personal enjoyment, but as soon as they’re posted to Facebook, shown to friends, etc, that’s still attached to the photographer’s name.

4. Definitely not. And honestly, that has little to do with being sued. I want to have a photographer that I really get along with and could be friendly with, and I couldn’t imagine how awkward/insulting it would be if I did that. 

Post # 11
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

The reason why this shouldn’t be posted here IMO is because it’s against the rules to promote.  Right now you are not in business, or at least you claim not to be.  What is to stop a photographer or vendor from joining, pretending to be some hobbyist, and offer free engagement sessions or free wedding photography.  I know this is not allowed, so why would free retouching be?  If this was allowed it would open a big can of worms (I do card boxes for free, I do XZY for free).  Everyone and their brother would be joining and doing this to build a customer base, get their name out there, and perhaps upsell something every now and then.

It’s one thing to maybe PM someone that may have a retouching question and offer your service, but brings it to an entire new level posting the offer, along with sample before and after images,etc,etc.  This is in fact promoting a service.

Weddingbee was nice enough to offer a class. section for posts like this, I am not sure why you wouldn’t use it.  If you want to do free work, you will probably get more than you can handle there.

I would like to hear Bakerella’s position.

 

Post # 12
Member
10851 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@USER876: The OP and I have discussed it and agreed that if she would like to, she can post in the Classifieds rather than here on the boards. Typically when posts come up offering services (free or otherwise), they are deleted off the boards and the OP is asked to post in the classifieds. We get a lot of them every day! Most of the time members don’t realize it’s not allowed here on the forum boards and it’s an honest mistake, much like when people post links to their blogs.

Post # 13
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

@bakerella:  Thanks for the prompt reply and clarification.  I know the OP thinks all of us are coming down on her, but in fact were just looking out for her.  I often see people posting like this, and it gets deleted or the user gets banned, but regardless you never hear from them again.  Good for her and other bee’s that this service is being offered.  The class. section will def reach more users.

Post # 14
Member
5399 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@USER876: I think it’s good that there was a mutual agreement made regarding where the post should be, especially since the OP was truly just trying to be helpful. I think most people who read that thread could agree that it did get a little ugly. I know I was disappointed to see how some of the commenters were treating each other and even the OP.

Post # 15
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

@Lillindy:  I don’t disagree with you.  Kudo’s to the mods for working this out in a reasonable manner.

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