Be Advised: Photographers send your pictures to others (even w/contract)
Posted: Mar 25, 2009 1:11 PM
Hello all of you excited brides to be! This is a wonderful time of planning and you have so much to look forward to. I know because I was recently married!!! I wanted to share with you what I just learned so that you can make wise decisions regarding your photographs...
I used a professional photographer who couldn't have been nicer and couldn't have taken better pictures... However, there was one catch. When I was getting into my gown before the ceremony she was taking pictures of me in my underwear. She said that my husband would like these. My husband and I had already chosen (in written contract) the option to NOT have our photos published on her website (or anywhere else) so I wasn't concerned.
However, when I asked to pay for the un-retouched digital photos, she said they had all been retouched and she didn't have the originals. I asked if she retouched them. She said, No, she sent them out. I asked to whom. She sent all of our personal wedding photos, I'm sure including the ones of me in my underwear, to a local retoucher who has now seen, not only me in my underwear, but all of our personal, precious photos unbeknownst to me. (And they were simply converted from raw .xmp camera files to .jpg files, possibly color-shifted, but I doubt it, and not majorly retouched, so what was the point??)
Please be aware that this is likely standard practice with many photographers and you may want to know this up front for privacy reasons and perhaps make a special request that only the photos you choose be sent to a retoucher. And ask about the retoucher's background and credentials. You may also want to ask your photographer not to take ANY pictures of you getting dressed. (My husband loves my body, but most importantly loves me. We both could have done without the photos- he was somewhat shocked that she did that.)
Good luck on your big day, choose a photographer well and ask lots of questions!!!
First and foremost, congratulations on your recent wedding. I'm sure you had a great day. I'm sorry you were misinformed concerning the distribution of your wedding photos.
However, when I asked to pay for the un-retouched digital photos, she
said they had all been retouched and she didn't have the originals. ..... (And they were simply converted from raw .xmp camera files to .jpg
files, possibly color-shifted, but I doubt it, and not majorly
retouched, so what was the point??) Please understand that each and every photography studio is different. Personally, I currently retouch all of my clients' photos. Only my actual printing is sent to a professional lab. Meanwhile, other studios may outsource this retouching, printing or even the album design. This work could be done locally or abroad in India. Still other studios have people who sit in dark back rooms retouching images, designing albums all day or print photos.
Next I would like to clear up another concern of yours. A .xmp file is not a file that would be generated by any digital camera as the raw image file. By convention it would be a .raw file. A .raw file contains the image data in the camera manufacturers propietary data format. Unless you have the proper software you most likely would not be able to convert that image from a .raw format to a .jpg file. Finally, there are some photographers who consider light and exposure correction to be the first step in retouching. Significant retouching, including the removal of blemishes, is not typically completed until the image is either ordered or used in the album. Therefore, once the .jpg files are created, some photographers will delete the .raw files to recover disk space and the original files are no longer available.
While it is understandable for potenial clients to ask who does the retouching, please understand that if a photographer does outsource this task, they will most likely decline to provide you with additional information beyond it being professionally done. With so many unqualified people attempting to be wedding photographers, the photographers don't want to lose their source. Next, by revealing their source, this might permit somebody to have Uncle Charlie photograph the wedding and then send the photos to the professional retoucher.
Finally, most photographers don't consider this any of your business to know. For instance, if you need to have a dental appliance made, your DDS takes a mold of your teeth. That mold is sent out to a lab to create that appliance. Days later it is sent to your DDS who checks the fit and make minor adjustments. You trust your DDS to use a professional lab to provide high quality services. The same hold true for professional photographers. You hire us and we are responsible. There has to be some level of trust.
I can certainly understand that you feel your trust has been betrayed in this instance. Personally, I really do not think your photographer intentionally set out to betray your trust. While I do understand the damage has already been done, perhaps you might want to have a discussion with your photographer to explain your feelings so she can be more considerate the next time something like this might occur.
Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer
When meeting with a photographer, it is best to ask plenty of questions, including - "do you retouch our images?" I have never heard of a photographer sending images out to be retouched. I don't know how common this practice is. But if your photographer is familiar with photoshop (seriously, you should ask!) then that is a good indication that he or she will be doing the retouching rather than sending it out to be done by someone else.
Also, I always find out beforehand whether a bride wants me to take photos of her as she's getting dressed, because yes...that usually means I'm taking photos of a girl in her undergarments. You should always make it clear to your photographer what you're comfortable with.
I am surprised your photographer didn't keep the originals of your images. I don't think that is normal at all. Be sure to ask your prospective photographer about this as well...