GDPR – What It Means For Photos

What Is GDPR?

Now before we start, I should say that I am NOT an expert. I’ve never studied Law, I’ve not even watched a single episode of CSI, Law & Order, or Suits. This is just my understanding of the rules, so if you are an expert, please feel free to DM me any corrections.

So let’s get into it!

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in 2018, and it’s focus is to give people more power and knowledge about what happens with their information.

You may have spotted around the same time, companies went from saying “Tick this box if you DON’T want us to contact you” to “Tick this box if you DO want us to contact you”. This subtle change means you have more power about what companies do with your information.

What's This Got To Do With Photos?

Before 2018, a lot of photographers would assume they could share your photos on their social media or website, if you didn’t want them to share the images you would have to contact them to say it was not OK.

Now, under GDPR, photographers can’t assume it’s OK to share images, we need your consent.

Why Wouldn't I Share Their Photos?

There are lots of reasons people may ask me not to share their photos, these might include:

  • Their job has strict rules about photos of employees on social media
  • Their children are adopted/fostered
  • Witness protection
  • Or simply, ‘cos they don’t want to.

OK, So Why Would Someone Say I Can Share Their Photos?

You fell in love with my work because you could see real examples. If I only shared styled shoots, it wouldn’t be the same as showing you a real wedding.

Clients who don’t mind me sharing images understand it’s so that I can keep my business going with fresh, authentic examples, but there is no pressure to say I can share images.

How I Run Lotus Photography

There are lots of different ways photographers have worked with GDPR for their own businesses, but this is how I do ‘cos it’s what works for me. It doesn’t mean it’s the “best way”, just the simplest.

  • I ask when you book, and nearer to your shoot, if I can share your images. This isn’t to persuade you to say yes, instead, it’s because your circumstances can change and I want to double-check it’s a “yes” before I share anything.
  • All or nothing. I’ve had clients say “You can share images, but none of XYZ”. I’ll be honest, if I had 40 weddings give me different “you can but…” I would be so confused, and it leaves way too much room for potential mistakes. To keep it simple I ask can I share all or none. Obviously, I don’t share any that could give away your home address or things like that, but I try to keep it as simple as possible.
  • Facebook/Instagram/TikTok/Competitions. I know photographers who ask yes or no for each platform, and again, I know I would get confused so I’ve opted again for an all-or-nothing approach.

"Do I Get A Discount If I Say Yes?"

Nope.

I get asked this question A LOT, and the answer is still…nope. As I mentioned earlier, there are very understandable reasons why someone would want to keep their photos private. If I was to give a discount to everyone who said yes, I’d effectively be charging extra to everyone who used their legal right to say no.

"Can I Change My Mind?"

Yes.

They’re your images, so of course you can change your mind.

My only advice is if you are unsure, start by saying “no”, and when you are ready, then change it to a “yes”. It’s much easier that way round, compared to me sharing images, maybe entering a competition, and then having to go through and delete all the images.

"If I Say No, Can I Still Share On My Personal Social Media?"

Of course!

You know who has access to your social media, and you know which images you want to share, so yes, even if you say that I can’t share, that doesn’t stop you from sharing them.

"My Wedding Venue/Supplier Says I HAVE To Share My Photos With Them"

This question does pop up now and then, and I think it comes down to a lot of confusion about the rules.

Under GDPR, your venue and your suppliers can not tell you you have to share your professional photos with them. Even if they put it in their contract, it has to be your decision, and you have to opt-in rather than opt-out.

To add to that, most photographers (myself included) retain the copyright of our images. This means that even if you have said under GDPR it’s OK, they still have to ask the photographer if they can use the images, it’s a whole copyright usage thing.

Each photographer is different, but as a rule of thumb, if the couple is happy for me to share photos, as long as the venue/supplier asks me, I’m usually happy to share with them too. Although I do admit that I cull which ones I give suppliers, you might love the photo of Great Aunty Bunty rocking her dance moves, but your cake maker doesn’t need to see that one.

Have Any Questions?

As I said, I’m not an expert, but hopefully, this little blog has given you a bit more information.

Do feel free to email me if you have any questions, or check out the official GDPR webpage.

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