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People that work, work for a paycheck. If you work in retail, you earn your paycheck. If you work in an office, you earn your paycheck. No matter your job, you earn a paycheck.

Nobody works - for free. Unless you are volunteering your service and I only volunteer for animal rescue. When you book a session with me, I charge a retainer fee for my services. All prints and digitals are purchased separately.

When a photographer works, it includes: all the years of experience, education, equipment, insurance, taxes, props, fees, websites -the list is huge. There are many expenses owning your own small photography business. Photographers take their hobby and passion to form a small business. (Many of us lose our hobby & passion over our business)

Photographers and small businesses can NOT pay bills by giving away work. Have you ever said to a photographer, "Photograph my kid or my pet & you will get exposure!". Exposure does not pay bills. Has another business ever said, "Photography my business and it will get you tons of exposure!" Again, free work and exposure, won't pay website fees, email fees, insurance fees or even my camera maintenance bill.

Also, let me mention, free work is not valued. How many times have you received a free gift with purchase. You value your purchase, you paid for it. But the free gift, you may give it away also. Free is not valued.

All photographic images that I take are copyright protected. From the moment I click the shutter, the image is copyrighted to me. When you get your proof images, you will have some sort of proof watermark on them and there is NO option to download the images. A proof watermark may look different. Each photographer uses their own.

After the images are purchased, you receive an email when you can download and share your images. I always have my regular watermark on images you download. Why do I have to put it on there at all? Two reasons.

1. It is my work and it helps to keep my photography business noticed on social media.

2. In pet photography, fake breeders will steal the images and set up websites with your images. Scammers will use my images (your pets) to scam people.

Your printed images do not have a watermark on them. But all digital images do have a watermark on them. Usually the studio name and in my case my legal business name is "Sandra Ferguson Photography".

If you see a screen shot of an image with this watermark, (or anything that means it is a proof) basically it means "I STOLE THIS IMAGE". It has not been purchased and therefore it is stolen. It means the person sharing the image has stolen it and committed copyright infringement.

Why do photographers have to get so ugly about their work? Because it is "our work". We have not been paid. When our work has been bought and paid - WE WANT OUR WORK SHARED. We give you a link to download the images. ((Screen shots are blurry anyway. Zoom in and see! ))

Put yourself in our shoes, lets say you worked a 40 hour week but your boss said...thanks but you wont get a paycheck this week. How does that make you feel?

Photographers feel the same way when they have given hours of their time but then our images are screen shot, shared on Facebook and never paid for.

The past 6 months have been the worst for copyright infringement. So much so, I have had to start the necessary legal steps to protect my work. It shouldn't have to be like this. I know you don't like the watermarks and neither do I. But I cannot work for free.

Editing a photo, adding a filter, cropping an image, adding text, clipart, printing at Walmart with a watermark, sharing without permission is copyright infringement. STOP DOING IT!

If you have ever hired a professional photographer (family, newborn, or pet photographers), please "respect their work".


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