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Copyright Laws and Social Media Etiquette: Things Models/Clients might not know

***Note- As a retired model turned photographer, I write this blog from the models perspective. As a photographer, it would be 1000 times harsher and sound just down right mean, because these things below happen almost daily to us.


So, you get your images back and really want to share them on social media!!




Step 1: Hold Up, wait a minute and think about it. (This is mostly for pinup). Did you want to get your images published? Some publications have rules on images being shared on social media before hand, some and more and more, do not care. But still think it through. Those pubs that don’t care still want some exclusive content and you might have a better chance of getting featured.



Step 2: The Social Crop Issue: Instagram is the worst; it will not let you post full size images. Best way around this is to get an app that resizes images for Instagram, like Square Fit. This will add a boarder around the image to make it fit social media size without changing the image. Why not just crop it? Simple, it changes the over all look of the image and takes away from the appearance.



Step 3: Don’t even touch that add filter slide bar. Just leave it be!! This is not something you do to professional images taken by a photographer. Most photographers have this listed in their release and on their web sites. BUT,WHY!!!!!!!! Because when you do this you devalue the vision of the photographer and the time, effort and vision they put into creating the image. Plus Instagram Filter are jut horrible and degrade quality of images. If it is a selfie or your own cell phone image, filter away.


I’m going to do it anyway!! Well…………..be prepared for the photographer to refuse to work with you going forward. Hopefully the photographer would advise someone unknowingly doing this in private first. If this person continues insisting adding filters, photographers can and some will take legal action. This filter step also applied to Face-tune!! Just don’t do it to photographer’s images. Again selfies, well they are fare game.


Step 4: Credit and or Tag the artist/Photographer. But why they are my photo’s? It is just a respect thing. Being 100% honest here, as a photographer when looking for a model call and people reply, I scope out their social media, not so much to see what they look like, but to make sure they are crediting the artist to. 9 times out of 10, it tells me so much about the models level of professionalism. As they say, nothing is free, so a free shoot offered by a photographer should always be credited. Don’t forget the make up and hair artist either.




Step 5: If images are offered in social media size with watermark, use these images. Never download and post high res images!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But they are my images, I can do what I want. True true, you can post those images, but trust me when I saw images are pirated daily, by posting high res images, you are just giving away something you paid for, plus Facebook destroys quality of High Res images. Due yourself a favor and post web size images only, they just look better on social media platforms, and you don’t have to worry about others stealing your thunder. (Note, I have had images stolen and used to make a profit with out me knowing.)


Step 6: Never use images to market a brand or company directly. Tagging what you are wearing is fine, but don’t use the images to make a sales add. Unless………… You have purchased the images with commercial rates, most photographers only offer personal use rights (including, yours truly). So make sure if you plan to use the images for anything other to discuss rights ahead of time. Again, if the photographer feels you are gaining any kind of monetary gain from the image, legal action can be taken.



Step 7: ARE YOU DONE RANTING YET!!!!!!!!!! If you have made it this far and thinking well this is all a bunch of BS, I bought the photos, so I can do what ever I want with them. Okay, learning moment, what you bought was the session time and rights to use the images as presented on social media or print in a personal use manor only. You do not own the copyright!! The photographer does unless you have received commercial rights, hence why commercial rates are so expensive. I could write a 40 page blog on copyright laws, but I’m sure by now you are tired of reading.


Just follow the above rules and it will be smooth sailing. Being social media aware makes you look professional, respectful and if you are an aspiring model, could be what makes or breaks you in this industry.


~Kimmi, GCPU Photographer




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