I think this has happened to every portrait photographer at one time or another – you have an amazing session, every image is beautiful and you’re so super proud, you want to show the world. Then your clients tell you they don’t want anything sharing on social media.
As the photographer, of course, you will always own the copyright of the images you have taken.
But your clients also have the right to privacy – and this wins over your right to publish the images.
It’s disappointing but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world – here are some options you may want to consider if you are finding it difficult to keep your portfolio fresh and interesting due to permission issues.
- When chatting to parents in your initial consultation mention how, as a small business, you generate most of your work through word of mouth and when people see your images online. Let them know you publish images on your blog, your website and your social media channels and if they could have a think about where they are happy to have their images posted before they sign the model release form on the day of the session. This lets them know they have options – some people are just unhappy to have images on Facebook but are more than happy to have them on your website where they feel there is more control over sharing.
- Your model release form is a document that will need to be signed at your clients’ session if you want to be able to publish their images. Point out the different platforms you might want to use the images on so that your clients can make an informed decision – the chances are they won’t say no to everything. We recommend Harmony & Blue for all of your photography contract requirements – use code BP1524 and get £24 off your purchase!
- Let clients know you will be taking some shots where their child won’t be identifiable and these may be chosen for your portfolio. Using the phrase ‘chosen for’ is much more special than ‘please can I USE your images’ – no one wants to feel used! So we are talking detail shots here, little feet, tiny hands etc.
- Offer an incentive. Let clients know you are running a reward scheme if you were to choose their image for your portfolio and that if you use it on Facebook (or whichever platform you are struggling with permissions for) then you send the parents a print of that image as a thank you. This small gesture can be enough to persuade parents to allow use of the image.
- Generate awareness. You can go one step further with hint number 4 above and offer a bigger incentive related to how much reach the image gets. You can let parents know that if their image gets 50+ likes or reactions on FB you will send them a mounted print or 100+ reactions, a framed print. It’s down to you to decide what the awareness is worth and how much you are willing to pay for it.
We do hope these hints will help you overcome this common obstacle for portrait photographers and we’d love to hear how they work for you – just comment below.