Please, no filters!


It’s completely understandable that there are slip ups with copyright. We do get things wrong. I’d just like to do my best here to explain in the nicest way possible where you can use images you’ve purchased and when and how you can’t. Grab a cuppa and lets educate and inform and give everyone the best shot at having a banging social media without getting into some serious legal trouble.

If someone takes a photo of you. It’s yours yeah? Wrong. Whoever takes the photo owns the photo. (If they’re working for a company, the company owns the photo)

When a low resolution image is sold, it’s usually just to share with friends online. No changes made and us photographers are really grateful if you can tag us too.

So you bought a photo, thankyou for supporting photographers to start with. However it’s really important to know what you’re allowed to do with that photo.

No, unfortunately you can’t change that photo in any way, with filters, cropping or use on a business website.

This is usually down to each photographer, it’s always better to prevent rather than attempt to cure. So if you’re not sure, just drop that photographer a message and ask. There’s no harm in asking.

I’d like to edit the photo in black and white?

Unfortunately no matter how tasteful you would do it, no filter or any adjustment to that photographers image is allowed. You don’t have the rights to do this. The photographer spends time learning how to get the best possible shot in camera and often editing that image too, once they are home. As above, it’s always worth asking If they can adjust something for you and that way you both hopefully get what you want.

My sponsor would like to use the image.

Certain photographers have an upgraded version of that photo, whether it be better quality or with additional business rights. I sell a facebook file for a small amount which is for social media use, I also sell a high resolution file which allows rights to print and then finally I sell a commercial file. With my commercial files I always ask to be contacted prior to purchase so I can be credited & know where my work is going to be and if I need too make any additional adjustments to my work can be the best it can be for both the client and myself. For brand photoshoots all images come with print & useage rights for social media use and website use in the original photographers edit.

The legalities are really clear.
copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. “

So even if it’s a really old image, the copyright still stands.

Recently there have been some new sole editors promoting collages made up of your horse on different backgrounds. Some are really lovely, true art forms. It is a bit worrying that no photographers seem to be credited and I am increasingly seeing my own images being used in them.

Under no circumstances whatever digital product has been purchased does the purchaser have rights to let anyone or themselves change that photographers image.

Again, if you would like this done with your image, ask your photographer if it would be ok. There may be an additional cost which the photographer is well in their rights to do as they own the image and are allowing a new set of rights for the image to be changed. There would be specific guide lines for the usage as there is with all usages.

In short, its always best to ask the photographer what you’re allowed to do with the purchased image. Or if you can do something specific with it.

Us photographers love seeing images bought by you being shared all over social media in their original forms. When you post them, make them a profile picture, tag us in stories. I know I for one, do a little happy dance,  it makes for such a wonderful community online and after long days it’s so nice to hear how everyone got on at competitions. Or just seeing clients enjoying their portrait images and brands using them to create huge engagements and build their vision.

For private shoots, you’ve also chosen that photographer based on their style and the way their images look. If you want an image to look a certain way, simply ask your photographer for adjustments and they will be more than happy to help or advise.


Tick list

-Find out who/what company took & owns the image (ask the account)

-Ask the photographer

-Post the image as sent by them & tag the photographer

-Get some banging engagement from such high quality images!

I hope this was educational, I don’t like being a nag to anyone. I have spent so many years improving my craft and I simply want that to be seen how I have created it.

If you tag me in stories in your images by us, I’ll always share! @marthalilyphotog

It’s an honour to share such beautiful visuals. Keep it going!

Thankyou, Martha x


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Martha is an acclaimed equine photographer based in Shropshire specialising in Equine Portraits and Rural Branding.

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