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I was at a friends wedding and I was taking pictures while a photographer was there. I uploaded my pictures and put my own edit on them. Now she is asking me for credit for the pose and styling. Do I have to? Or not?

  • A lot depends on what legal jurisdiction (country, state, etc.) you were in at the time and the specific contents of the contract between the photographer and your friends who got married. To a lessor degree it might depend on whether the wedding was held in a public place accessible by anyone or a private place where only invited guests were allowed (again, depending on the laws in effect for the jurisdiction you were in). – Michael C Jun 19 '15 at 2:41
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I'm not a lawyer, but it seems unlikely that the photographer has a strong legal claim in the absence of special circumstances — just like the bride's hairdresser probably also can't demand credit. However, some of those circumstances may be part of the photographer's contract with your friend, and you may be placing your friend in awkward position by (even unknowingly) breaking them.

That said, this is a perfectly reasonable request as a matter of courtesy, never mind the law. Those things — posing and styling — do take skill, talent, effort. It doesn't take much to add credit to a caption, and maybe a link to the photographer's website.

  • If there's a clause like that in the contract, the OP wouldn't be bound by it because he's not party to the contract. If anything, the OP's friend would be required to police the guests, which would be pretty unreasonable given the ubiquity of gadgets that take pictures. (But I do agree that if there was such a clause, the aftermath could be awkward.) – Blrfl Jun 19 '15 at 13:30
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    The OP might not be bound by it, but the friend might be — and then, like I said, in an awkward situation. She or he may have indeed been supposed to ask guests to not take photos, or not take photos with interchangeable lens cameras, or etc. That may seem unreasonable, but who ever said anything about weddings was reasonable? – mattdm Jun 19 '15 at 13:32
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    If the wedding were held at a private venue that was only accessible by invited guests, attendance by a guest might be construed as implied consent to the hosts requirements regarding photos: who is allowed to take them (and who is not), who owns the rights to the photos taken, who can publish them (posting on the internet is publishing in the legal sense), etc. This could include requiring credit be given to stylists/designers/etc., just as fashion shoots published in magazines are generally required to credit those folks that contribute to the contents of the final image. – Michael C Jun 21 '15 at 19:16
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So let's take a look at some stories from Uncle Bob and Susan, some totally unrelated fictional characters, to illustrate some common things, that also got mentioned in the comments.

Uncle Bob in Paris

Last year Uncle Bob visited Paris. He also climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower (kind of mandatory if you are there) It's about 300m tall. He tried to save a few bucks by taking the stairs to the first platform. Uncle Bob isn't in his 20s anymore, but he made it. It was a relieve that the rest of the way up can only be made via escalator.

Later, back on the ground, after sunset the Tower was illuminated beautifully. Uncle Bob sure took a photo of that. Because he made the ascend himself, he realised that it was a bit of work to climb up there and install several hundred light bulbs, connected with cables and all. It was understandable that he had to give credit to the artist of the illumination if he wanted to share his image. You actually need permission to do so.

Susan's endeavour in wedding photography

Susan tries to make a living with photography. She started to work as a wedding photographer. To build her portfolio and win new clients she asks people to give credit to her and gives a little discount on her rates. She takes lessons in how to work with people, pose them in front of the camera and make them smile in the right moment. The psychological aspects of photography.

The aftermath of the wedding: Susan

Susan worked hard to get the pictures that the client wants. The stylist she hired did an awesome job and the lessons she took in how to pose people really paid of in some great image of the couple. There were a lot of people at the wedding. among them was Uncle Bob, who also took images with his camera. A few days after the wedding, Uncle Bob posts his images from the wedding. Everybody likes them. They do get a lot of exposure, but lack any credit to Susan. that's not what Susan had in mind when trying to make more people aware of her business. She writes an email to Uncle Bob...

The aftermath of the wedding: Uncle Bob

The wedding was great. Everybody had fun. The couple looked amazing. It was a bit hard for Uncle Bob to get some images, because there was this "professional" photographer bit.. lady. She made a big fuzz about how to pose the couple. But Uncle Bob managed to snap some nice moments, too. He edited them to his liking and shared them with the other guests. He opens his email program to find...

What the problem is

Uncle Bob does not want to give credit for his photo to somebody else. He would be photographing the couple no matter if they were styled or not. But he doesn't realise that styling and pose are part of the image. Back in Paris, he took that Image of the Eiffel Tower because of the lighting. It's not like he would call the officials (he has some relationships) to turn the lighting off, so he could take an image of the Tower that he could share without the permission. He was aware of that work, because he climbed the tower before. But he didn't do the styling or posing at the wedding, he merely pushed the button. Why should he give credit?

Susan didn't think this through entirely. She cannot force other guests of the wedding to give credit to her, but sure enough, they enjoy taking pictures of what partly is her work.


Switching back to regular answer mode, this is related to the question.

How to solve this

Do you know the implications of asking for your rights? Is this a legal matter already? Do you have to fend yourself? You only really need this juristic information for a fight, be it in court or outside of it. Is the photographer threatening you?

From your question, all I can see is that she is asking you. She's not suing you. She's not asking you to take the photos down. I don't really understand what the problem is. You could simply give her the credit that she is asking for. How about something like this as an image description?

Oh, look at those two! Are they looking happy together or what? Thanks to [link to photographer's website] for that funny pose as well. What a great wedding.

After all, it is called social media for a reason. Insisting on rights and legal aspects of something is not necessarily very social. I mean what do you do if somebody in the bus asks you for your seat? Do you think about if there's a way they could enforce it by law or if you have the constitutional right to stay on that seat? (I'm exaggerating to make the point clear)

I'm not saying either one of you is right or wrong. I just wonder if you can't figure out a solution by talking to each other.

  • Comment only: I sympathise with Susan completely and if all she is wanting is an acknowledgement with the photos then I hope that Uncle Bob has enough decency and sense to comply in a suitably laid back way. | AND | I consider that in the case of the Eiffel Tower the French Courts are morons (in the formal sense of the term), SNET are being typical commercial despicable money grubbers (after full consideration of financial aspects) and deserve formal contempt. If they had any nouse they should decorate the tower in a new paint scheme which is different from the current one but which .... – Russell McMahon Jun 21 '15 at 9:26
  • does not detract from the tower's classic image AND THEN have it declared an original visual creation so that ALL photos of the tower are then under their greedy control. They should also patent the concept and start applying it to everything interesting and visible. What an opportunity. || In NZ they would not be laughed out of court - they'd never get into court. If they choose to visually decorate something in public view it's free to be viewed publicly. Hopefully in NZ theyd not be allowed to desecrate something so important with banal flimflam, as they have done. <curmudgeon_mode=0> – Russell McMahon Jun 21 '15 at 9:29
  • @RussellMcMahon I agree. This is a bit sad, considering the ideological basis which this country was built upon and is now proud of ironically was the Age of Enlightenment. I wonder what debate (outrage?) this practice would have coursed among thinkers of that time. – null Jun 21 '15 at 10:03
  • My attitudes to them took a bit of setback when they, so long ago that rational people forget :-), decided to test Nukes "in our (distantish) backyard and then sent teams of (incompetent but deadly) top level approved terrorists to sink a protest ship in the harbour a few miles line of sight from where I write this. And then used their trade muscle to ride rough shod over the criminal justice system. That rankled for far longer than it should have but, perhaps surprisingly, Rwanda healed me, when the French waded in on the side of the oppressed when nobody else would. (Regardless of why) .... – Russell McMahon Jun 21 '15 at 10:54
  • .... AND it was the higher government powers that sent the saboteurs, after all. SO staus quo restored even though the memories are probably there for life. RW event was '85, Rwanda was '94 so both now long ago. And I again can empathise with the people of a country that express a love of freedom in so many ways - but tolerate the crass commercialisation of a national (and international) treasure. I'd have expected the government to have enacted legislation as required, or, at the least, ... – Russell McMahon Jun 21 '15 at 11:07
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Uncle Bob goes to a movie theater. And take a video footage of the movie...

The only diference of this situation and the one you are describing is that you did not took the pictures of the photographer's cameras screen.

Probably this is not a matter of legal jurisdiccion. It is a matter of ethics.

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    This situation is different in many ways, not just in legal jurisdiction but in ethics and social expectations as well. – mattdm Jun 20 '15 at 19:48

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