It’s Not Cool to Crop || And Other Digital File Faux Pas


If you’re anything like me, when your Akron lifestyle photographer gives you the digital images from your session, the first thing you do is share them on social media. I’m talking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, anywhere you can share them, you do! And why wouldn’t you? We’re living in a digital world. It’s all about sharing and showing off how beautiful your family is. We love getting those likes and loves, the comments on how amazing your outfit is. All of it. I’m just as guilty as you are in that department.

BUT, did you know there are actually rules on how to share your digital images from a professional photographer? I’m sure it was there in the fine print of your contract, but just to be safe, let’s go over these six rules real quick in this post. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, and then you can get back to managing all those notifications you’re getting from your social media followers.



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Rule One: It’s NOT Cool to Crop!

For real though, do NOT crop those images you get from your photographer. I promise the composition of the image that the professional gave you is the number one way to display that image. Under US Copyright Law, it’s actually illegal to modify another artist’s work. That includes cropping it. I am sure if you ask nicely, your photographer wouldn’t mind if you use the image as your profile photo, and I know that involves changing the crop on it, but it is not permanent, and links back to the original image. When in doubt, ALWAYS ask the photographer. Some of us are super lenient, and some of us are much more strict.


Rule Two: Forget Filters!

Seriously, this is the number one way to make your photographer cringe. I know these things are trendy, and you want to add high contrast, and color washes to your images, because, hey, everyone else is. But what you’re actually doing is completely negating the hours your photographer spent editing your images to not only be consistent, but to also match her/his brand. You hired this professional not just because you liked the composition (posing) of their images, but because their editing was in a style that caught your eye. So please, don’t insult your ‘tog by doing this. Also, refer to rule number one, and US Copyright Law, it’s also illegal.


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Rule Three: Tag that ‘Tog


We love that you love your images! We love seeing all the comments on your photos just as much as you do. The only thing we ask, is that you give credit where it is due, and tag us in your posts. It’s as simple as tagging out business at the end of your post, or if you’re feeling super generous, write a sentence or two about how great your experience was with us. Not crediting your images is right up there with quoting Shakespeare on a college paper and not citing your source. It’s illegal, and while it won’t get you kicked out of college, it is bad form. The nice thing is, this only takes a few seconds to do, and then you’re back to scrolling through your feed.


Rule Four: Size is Important – no matter what anyone says.

So, as an Akron photographer, when I deliver my digital files, I always make sure to let my clients know they should download them twice. Once in High Resolution – which is great for printing images through a lab, and then again in Web-Sized Files. What’s the difference, well, when you take a full resolution image and upload it to social media, it compresses the image to make it friendly for viewers. What this means is, it takes that 8MB image, that has a pixel resolution of 300, and squishes it down to being a fraction of its actual digital file size. A web-sized file is much smaller (maybe 1.5MB) and the resolution is perfect for social media sharing (72 ppi). When an image is compressed, it squishes not just the file size, but the sharpness of your image as well. So the quality of the work your photographer has sent you is now compromised. You know what I’m talking about. When you look at an image and it’s soft and fuzzy, or super pixelated, it is not the correct file size, and no one likes that. John Cena does not approve.


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Rule Five: Print Rights are NOT Copyrights!

This one is a big one. Even some photographers mix this up. When you get a digital file from a photographer, unless they expressly tell you they are giving you copyright, what you are getting with that image is a print release. What does that mean? That means you can print the crap out of that file, put it on your walls in frame, on a I’m with Stupid T-shirt, a mug for grandma, a christmas ornament or card, or anything else that is for self use. This includes sharing on social media. What it doesn’t include is using that image for profit or advertising. You can not use your image to advertise a business (unless it’s a commercial session, and the contract allows), or to profit in any way. You also, as stated above, are not allowed to edit the image if you are not given the copyright. So make sure if you want that image in black and white, send a quick email to your photographer, and the can do that for you.


Rule Six: Taking a Screenshot is Stealing.

This is a big obvious no-no. And something I see all the time, and makes me want to cry, shout, and pull out my hair. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT take a screenshot of an image and save it. Period. There is not buts to this. This is stealing, and it is wrong. Ask your friend to send you the digital file of the image you want, or reach out to the original artist. I know it’s so easy to do this, and the temptation is real, but pull up your big girl panties and make the adult decision here. Okay, end rant. I promise.

So now that we got those 6 quick rules for social media photography etiquette out of the way, you can head back to scrolling through social media knowing the images you just shared were done so correctly. Remember my mantra, “When in doubt, ask your photographer”. I promise no question is a stupid question, and we really appreciate that you are considering the time and effort we put into your session.


Interested in learning more about my Akron lifestyle photography sessions and the packages I offer? Let’s chat! I can’t wait to hear all about what you have in mind for your photos.

Here’s how you can get in touch with me:

Love Gwaltney
GRA Photography
Your Akron Family Photographer
Phone:  (234) 334-7684
Email: [email protected]
Located in Akron, Ohio

  1. Kirsten

    June 4th, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Thankful for you Cleveland Wedding photographers for this knowledge!! Sharing now!

  2. Brittany

    June 5th, 2018 at 4:19 am

    Thanks for sharing this knowledge with Cleveland! I’m sure all the wedding photographers in the area appreciate you taking the time to educate clients!

  3. Rachelle

    June 6th, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    I’m always thankful when wedding photographers explain things like this! Cleveland is lucky to have you!

  4. krystal

    June 11th, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Such a great read with important information! I hope all your clients in Cleveland read this and appreciate how knowledgeable you are! Such a talented wedding and boudoir photographer!

  5. Nina Bashaw

    June 12th, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    These are great tips for all your Cleveland clients for when they want to share their wedding photos that you took as their hired photographers!

  6. Laura

    June 12th, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Love that you shared these. Smartest wedding photographer in all of Cleveland!! Especially No. 6!!! Must share this post. 😉

  7. Christie

    June 14th, 2018 at 1:21 am

    Totally agree!! Thse are all such great points and so important for your Cleveland Wedding clients to read! Photographers should all post something like this on their blogs!

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