#NoFilter is more than a hashtag – a kind request from your photographer

What do you say when you have taken a beautiful shot and share it on Instagram? „#NoFilter needed” or something along these lines, I presume. In this way you are telling everyone that the scene was beautiful the way it was and no enhancements were necessary. Job well done 😉 On another occasion, you add a filter to make your snap even more special. So let’s chat filters today and what they have to do with professional photography.

The Generation of Social Media

Just like me (and you, Reader) most of my clients are young, modern, social media savvy families. Mums who love pinning their Pinterest ideas for nursery, sharing their cute baby photos on Facebook, or looking for #babyinspo or #homeinspo on Instagram. I also have a personal account on Instagram where I (very infrequently) share snippest of our life. Phone snaps, I should add as I hardly every use camera for our own memories. Some time ago I reflected on the things that I, as a photgrapher mum should or should not be doing, and limiting the use of my camera with my kids oddly was one of the things that I needed to change. Have a read of my blog post here.

Although I don’t like being too active on Instagram I like the fact I can have a virtual family album with at least some of our memories. I am glad that my friends and family can see them and keep up with us, no matter how far away they are. I usually share my phone snaps and because they sometimes need a little ‚wow’ factor, I do add an occasional dose of filter. And I’m sure you do that too. That keeps your feed interesting, beautiful and just ‚you’.

However there is a situation when adding a filer, no matter how pretty, how vintage, how cute is simply not a good idea. Or in fact, a very bad ideas as you can upset and get in some trouble.

‚Filter’ is just a fancy word for ‚editing’.

Exactly that. Filters are just many editing steps saved as a quick one button action which changes the appearance of an image. They are sometimes called ‚presets’ in more professional context but generally filters are editing tools.

When you are booking a professional photo shoot, editing is part of the service that you are paying for.

You may have noticed that photographers can be often identified easily, as they develop their own editing style. A signature creative process that appeals to their client base and makes them stand out from other creatives. There are so many styles and shooting approaches, catering for all sorts of tastes. When you book a photographer, hopefully you book them because you love their work and just like the way their images look (i.e. you like the way they created and EDITED the image).Or in social media terms, you like the filters they use 🙂

So, #NoFilter please.

Imagine a situation like this.

You book me for a photo shoot. We find a lovely spot, we spend a couple of hours together, then I spend good few hours editing your images, giving them the final touch in line with my style. I edit the greens to look the way I feel looks best, I make your child’s face nice and bright, their skin naturally pink and warm and the colours vibrant and true to real colours. You get a set of nice colourful vibrant images that I am proud of and that you love too.

photographer near me

You can’t wait to share it on Instagram or Facebook to show your friends and sing my praises for the grand job I did for you. Then, as you are just about to share the image, Instagram prompts you with a set of filters. You have a little play, click one by one and .. OMG! They look amazing.

That super saturated contrast,

or this cool green tint,

or the muted magenta glow,

or that vintage cyan fade,

or that exaggerated vignette and blue face,

or that warm green glow with the added ‚oomph’

You choose one, click next, share with everyone but now you are loving the photo even more. You added your personal stamp on it and of course you still love your photographer so you add a tag of my business and say: „I am so in love with these images from Aga Kowalska Photography” or something along these lines. You spend the rest of the day in high spirits thinking what great favour you just did for me and now all your friends will love the photos too and will book a photo shoot with me.

But, what has actually just happended?

– Unless you purchased the copyrights from the photographer (i.e. written permision to edit) you have just breached copyrights.You edited someone’s work without permission – that’s illegal. You can read about UK Copyrights here.

– You have created your own version of Aga Kowalska’s photograph and passed as your own. It is neither yours or mine now. It’s like you went to a museum and drew a moustache on any random painting. Can you imagine what would happen next? Can you recall the story that was all over the news about an elderly amateur enthusiast who gave a fresco of Jesus her personal touch? It was both hilarious and so sad. You can read the article here.  She applied her own filter on another artist’s work.

– You are misrepresenting me and misleading my potential customers, claiming that this is the type of edit they can expect when they book me. Please don’t. 🙂

Kind request

If you are looking for a specific editing style, it is best to employ a photographer who can do a professional edit for you, the type that you love and you feel most attracted to.

Even in Exeter there are probably around 100 photographers and surely there is one that will match your expectations.

When you have booked them, told them about your ideas and picked up your digitals, please keep them the way they are. And if you are happy with them, of course don’t forget to share and tag your photographer 🙂 I guarantee, they will be eternally grateful.


And remember, No filter please 🙂