Photo Attorney

Jun 15, 2007

Alert - Photographer Blamed for Showing Pics from Event

Wedding photographers often post images from the ceremony and reception online for guests, relatives, and friends to view and purchase photos. Usually, these don't attract much attention for other lurkers unless they include famous people and/or embarrassing moments. For one wedding photographer, she grabbed both and is getting heat for it - undeservedly so.

Brady Quinn is the first round pick, rookie quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, and former Notre Dame football star. His sister, Laura, married A.J. Hawk, a football player for the Green Bay Packers, last summer. During a party/reception for the wedding party in March, Brady Quinn and others dressed as the Village People and danced.

The photographer, of course, documented the performance. After posting the wedding photos online, the photo of Quinn in his Village People outfit was stolen and circulated throughout the Internet.

A.J. Hawk blamed the photographer. According to the Athens News (a well-written article and analysis), he said,
Yeah, that was just a bad decision on the photographers we chose. It's been an issue a little bit. We had no idea what happened. Some photos got put up without our permission, and I just feel bad for Brady and other people that were at the wedding, because it was just something that the D.J. had set up, I don't know, some 'Village People' thing that they did, and some pictures got out and it's tough. I guess you've got to watch every single thing you do because everything's public now.
(Citation omitted, emphasis added.)

According to the Athens News' article, the photographer's response was to remove the photos, hire an attorney, and put this statement on the website:
We are deeply concerned with the recent press involving A.J. & Laura Hawk's wedding photos that are circulating the internet. Although we had authorization to display these photos pursuant to an agreement, they were stolen from our site and copied without our permission. We respect the privacy of all of our clients and have taken extreme measures to protect our work. Out of respect for the family, we have temporarily removed the wedding photos until this matter is resolved.


Legally, the photographer had every right to post the photos. Since she had permission to be on the premises and was allowed to shoot, she can post the photos as long as they aren't used commercially, such as for advertising and endorsement. Putting photos from an event on the web is usually considered an editorial use, not requiring a model release for the people in the photos. But the bride or groom can't give a model release for wedding guests, anyway.

While photographers may sometimes want to use discretion in selecting photos to post online, most guests would enjoy being reminded of the good time at the reception. You might expect tough football players to have thicker skin.

Thanks to Tim Mulholland for submitting this alert topic.

Take my advice; get professional help.
PhotoAttorney®

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