I had a friend who is a professional wedding photographer offer to do our wedding pictures as a gift.... When we finally got them 6 months later we were told they were available by her putting them all over her FB and her blog and not even bother to tell us. We had a VERY private under 30 person wedding and were not comfortable with them on the internet. We requested for her to take them down and she did.... 7 more months go by i see they are back up and she is flaunting them on her FB. We never signed a contract with her and they were her gift to us... but can she legally disregard our privacy and put them on her Blog and FB or do we have legal rights to make her take them down?

The wedding was NOT in a public location, and she was given far greater access to everything and everyone because she was treated as our professional photographer.
i know i know big mistake on my part, friends never work out.... i have offered money but sadly she Looooooves the pictures and wants to show them off.

To be honest i don't think she thought my wedding was going to be very nice and that is why she never bothered with a contract and after the fact realized it was "pintrest perfect" and wanted to capitalize on it.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Jurisdiction is everything - where are you? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2015 at 11:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect that a VERY nice letter explaining your position and feelings may be as effective as anything else. [In Germany she would be in deep trouble. In ...] \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2015 at 14:25

4 Answers 4


She took the photos. She owns them. She gave you a copy of them, but they're still her photos. If she were to use them for commercial purposes (your image in advertising) you might have more of a lever to stop her, but basically, she can do this. Whether she should over your objections is an ethical but not a legal question.

This is why things like this should always have a written contract that spells out usage, even if there's no money involved. She may have seen this as a way to build a portfolio to build her wedding photography business around and offered you a free shoot and images in return for that opportunity, so she may well have always had a different view of this deal than you did -- that's a very common practice for new photographers breaking into the business.

Since there's no legal contract, she's not in violation of the contract, so she's within her rights.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Even though the photographer owns the copyright, if she is using the images commercially (i.e. to promote a business) then she needs permission of the identifiable individuals in each photo that she uses commercially. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 30, 2015 at 2:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ that's an avenue worth pursuing, but as I understand it, it's much less clear if she's using them for her own work vs. licensing them for commercial to another company. then again, IANAL, so it's worth talking to a lawyer who knows this stuff better than I. \$\endgroup\$
    – chuqui
    Jan 30, 2015 at 2:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Essentially the main thing about commercial use is viewpoint... If you assign opinion to someone (that they endorse a product, service or viewpoint) then you have an issue then it requires a release. So if the use is to say that the people in the picture endorse the photographers work then that would be a different use to look at my lovely work. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2015 at 12:21

Like pretty much any legal question, this depends of course on the jurisdiction.

In many European countries, the photographer would be violating your rights by publishing pictures of you without your consent (Droit à l'image, Bildnisrecht).

However, in the common law legal tradition of the UK and the USA, these rights are generally not recognized.


Legal Disclaimer

The following is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice for any particular situation. If you have a specific concern you should consult with an attorney familiar with the relevant issues in the jurisdiction in question.

Assuming you are in the U.S.

If she is using them to promote her photography business in any way, whether it is advertising or not, it is considered commercial usage and she needs written permission from every identifiable individual in each photo that she uses.

The lone exception to this is for usage in a portfolio.

Based on previous case law, even portfolio usage would probably be limited by most courts to a few demonstrative shots and not the entire album from the wedding. And in most judicial jurisdictions in the U.S. if there is any solicitation for business included in the image or the caption it is considered to go further than portfolio usage and enter the realm of commercial usage. Civil law regarding copyright and proper usage of intellectual property is highly complex and different precedents set in different judicial districts in the U.S. make it difficult to accurately predict the outcome of a matter should it go before a court. The only way to know for sure in such matters is to obtain legal counsel and put the case in front of a judge.

  • \$\begingroup\$ i am not a lawyer, but this answer doesn't compute whith what i read elsewere...which is as long as it is not portraying the subject in a way that is harmfull to the character moral standing even most product photograpy doesn't require a licence though Stock agencies, or commercial shoots, require one as a pre-emptive measure. So as she took the pics, they are hers to do as she pleases. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2016 at 0:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Reed It is highly dependent on a number of variables. If a court sees the use of the photos as soliciting business and the use of images of the OP as implying an endorsement by the OP of the photography business of the owner of the photographs then a release is required for usage. How a court will view the same circumstances can vary greatly from one judicial district to the next. There is a lot of precedence and case law that supports the position taken above, but as the last sentence states, with civil law there is only one way to know for sure: take it to court. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Nov 25, 2016 at 2:03

As chuqui has noted, you probably have no legal recourse in this situation; as you're discovering, a contract is just as much to protect you as it is to protect the photographer.

However, that doesn't mean that you can't come to some kind of compromise with the photographer which fits both your desire to keep the photos private and her desire to advertise her work. Have you tried something along the lines of "I'm happy for you to put some of the photos up, but I'd prefer not to have all of them up? Could we agree on a set of ten or so photos which you can put up?" - from the tone of your message, it seems like you're only negotiating position is the nuclear option of "no photos anywhere, ever".


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.