Washington, DC asked in Consumer Law for Maryland

Q: How can I obtain the rights to my photographs from a photographer free of watermarks?

Recently, I had family photos taken by a photographer. Prior to the on site shoot the photographer and I discussed, through text message, watermarks on the photos as well as the use of the photos. He stated the final product would not have the watermark and we could use the photos at our discretion. Once the photos were received they all included a watermark and I was verbally asked to not post/share the photos. When the removal of the watermark was brought to his attention he refused to honor the agreement without additional compensation and ultimately reduced the number of photographs being received. How can I hold this photographer accountable and receive the photos watermark free?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You have a contract, I hope, which is written. The terms of payment are or should be stated, as well as what you are paying for exactly and what the photographer is to provide for that payment. Without reviewing the terms of the contract, it is impossible to advise you. As a general matter, photographers only release watermark-free and full sized photographs once you have selected the photos you want and pay for the photos. You do not get free photos. The whole point of the watermark and reduced-sized image is to allow the customer to review the photos before deciding to pay for them, while at the same time protecting the photographer's product and right to be paid for the work.

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