When "Happily" isn't "Forever After"

Interracial couple holding hands a the wedding altar

Imagine coming home after your special honeymoon. You and your new spouse, so much in love, are driving on the interstate watching the billboards pass. Suddenly, you see your wedding photo posted larger-than-life for all to see. Your first response is joy. But spying the caption, you read, “When Happily isn’t Forever After, call your divorce law team at 800-555-OVER.” Immediately, your joy turns to anger… anger directed at your wedding photographer who sold your images as stock photos!

Wedding reception welcome sign and cake

Perhaps that is a bit unlikely, but it is possible. When a stock photo is sold and a model release form is signed, that image can be used for anything the buyer decides, regardless of the model’s wishes. So it is the photographer’s duty to inform their subjects of that possibility.

Country wedding bride and groom wedding rings silver bands

Sure, every couple wants to share their special wedding day with family and friends. Photos are placed on social media for those loved ones who couldn’t attend the ceremony. Though a joyous event, it can also be a private event that they don’t wish the world to see.

But don’t despair. There are many stock photographic opportunities at a wedding that don’t reveal the couples’ faces. Bouquets, corsages, dresses, tuxedos, rings, flower petals… all of these can make powerful stock images that define that sacred day.

Country wedding bridesmaids in cowboy boots

So don’t be upset when your couple doesn't want their faces in your stock portfolio. Look for other images that you can use; images that can just as powerfully speak, “Happily Ever After!”

Interracial couple holding hands a the wedding altar

Photo credits: William Wise.

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August 26, 2019


Good article and reminders for all photographers and models alike! When a model signs a release form it clearly states on the form that the model renounces the right to inspect the finished result whether in its original or modified state and the intended use of the photo! It is good to highlight these facts which are already on the form....your article might just inspire me to write a blog about how a model's photo can be modified as this is the kind of work I specialise in....good blog!

August 24, 2019


wow, great writing!  great photos, educative and informative as usual. Thanks.

August 23, 2019


Thank you both for reading and commenting! William 

August 23, 2019


You have brought up a very important point.  Being clear in the upsides - as well as the potential downsides - is crucial in establishing trust between a photographer and model(s).  Thank you for your post.

August 23, 2019


nice blog... thanks for sharing.

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