I just shot a wedding that I was hired for, and I brought my friend who is also a photographer to second shoot for me. I'm fine with a second shooter using the images they take at my wedding for their portfolio and for their business.

My friend just posted a picture on her photography's business's Facebook page from the wedding I brought her to. That doesn't bug me, but the thing I feel a little annoyed about is she didn't mention anything about that she was second shooting for me. She actually made it sound like it was her wedding that she shot. Nothing about that she was working with another photographer's business at all. She said something like "Just a quick shot from a wedding I did recently. Congratulations to the happy couple (then says my client's first names). They were wonderful to work with....". You get the idea.

Should I be concerned about the effect on my business? Is this normal behavior with second shooters? How can I safeguard against this in the future if its a problem?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like a good discussion. First off, look at your contract, if it isn't in that, then you have learned a valuable lesson. Second - keep it professional(contract) and you don't have to worry about it. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jun 7, 2012 at 18:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Make sure and take a look here and note: most of the time the arrangements for seconds shooters don't involve letting them use the pictures afterward. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Jun 7, 2012 at 19:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to edit this a little to make it fit our format better, right now its very discussion orientated, which isn't allowed. But there's a good question in here. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Jun 7, 2012 at 19:50

3 Answers 3


It certainly is common for this to happen if ground rules are not established. The first thing I would recommend is having at least a simple signed contract between you and your hired help. Make sure that you both know what is and is not allowed with all images that are taken while on the clock, and add that to the contract.

Part of the reason that this is more common is that many second shooters may be inexperienced in the business aspects of event photography. They do not realize what holding a reputation as a business requires and all that goes into it. Many are looking to build a portfolio and experience at more or less your expense. This is in contrast to more experienced second shooters that mostly look at it as a favor to another professional, or mutual gain by sharing in the profits.

I would be concerned with what you said was happening with the images. If you post the images on your company page, then the second shooter does the same with no disclaimer, what happens if a bride sees both displays of the image? You both could be marked as untrustworthy just due to the confusion.

My experience is that it is most common to not allow any usage of the photos by the second shooter. This might seem like a poor deal for the second shooter just starting out and trying to build a portfolio, but it's just how it works! If they want to build a portfolio, second shooting might not be a great idea. They might be better off building a portfolio from actual weddings that they undertake. The second shooting experience might just be good to get the knowledge and less so to gain the images. They also could consider second shooting for free and be allowed to use images under an arrangement prior to the event.

One option to safeguard against this beyond a contract, is to provide your own memory cards to second shooters. That way at the end of the night, you collect the memory cards and know that the images are 1.safe with you 2.unable to be posted without authorization.


First off, when I worked as a second shooter, part of my contract was signing over the copyright of those images to XYZ Photography Company. I didn't ask about using images for portfolio usage, but I'm sure the owner would have agreed under other conditions (like watermarks or clearly labeled copyright notices).

I was recently approached about photographing a wedding on my own and this was something I hadn't yet done. Naturally, the bride's mom asked for some sample images of weddings I had photographed. Knowing that I no longer had any rights to the images I shot while working for XYZ Photography Company, I visited their blog and searched for posts tagged with my name (the owner tagged posts with the photogs' names). I copied links to those posts and then specified which images I had taken. I was able to determine which photos were ones that I had taken becaue I post processed most of the weddings. I suppose if one never gets a chance to see all of the images from a wedding, he/she wouldn't really know which shots were theirs. But I definitely mentioned that I shot those image while working at XYZ Photography Company. Not only did it show that I was honest, but XYZ Photography Company has a good reputation on its own, and now my reputation is associated with theirs.

In a similar experience I had with a graphic designer friend, I had taken some photos of her casually one day. I never sent her the image with explicit instructions on how to use the image. Rather, she saved the image from an album on Facebook and posted it to her graphic design portfolio in her "About" section. I felt much like you do; a little bothered that I didn't get any credit for the image. I wasn't quite sure how to approach it at first, but a mutual friend (who is also a graphic designer) helped me through the process and suggested some tips for finessing my message. I've pasted (below) the message I sent to her. Hopefully this helps you figure out your situation!

Hey Person-to-remain-unnamed,

Your website is coming along nicely!! I really like it. I was checking it out this afternoon and saw that you used one my photos in your "about" section. I'm really flattered that you used it! :) Because as you know, I've really been trying to make an effort to get my name out there and whatnot. However, I was wondering if it was possible for you to add a small photo credit blurb or if I could provide you with a watermarked version so that viewers have a way of finding the rest of my work. Let me know! :) Thanks!!



My contract clearly states that no images may be used at all by any photographer working for me. One of my friend paid $20000 in liability claim due to second shooter posting pics. Not worth the hassle. Just don't allow it. You can post on your Facebook and they can link into that photo with credit to them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is not a place to personally advertise your own site. If you wish to link to your site from here, the appropriate place to put that information is in your profile, not as a signature in your answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Jun 15, 2013 at 3:22

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