Debate | Should Visitors be Allowed to Photograph Artwork in Galleries, Museums and Art Shows?

This weekend I received the following email from a reader, and artist and studio owner:

Hi Jason,

Love your Red dot blog!

Here’s a topic that I would love to see addressed:

Ours seems to be the age of phone cameras, selfies, and instant gratification, and I wondered how artists/exhibitors/galleries should handle this. We have a studio/gallery that has some public hours. We do have a sign posted that photographs of the art are not allowed because of copyright issues. Yet I am often confronted with visitors sneaking photos of everything they like, or just expecting that they can, and feeling indignant when they can’t. Also students come in working on projects, needing the photo of the art for their essay. Just this afternoon I allowed a high schooler to take photos of two of my entertainment scenes related to his jazz playing…but then I was left wondering just what his project was, and if my art is just going to be part of some visual mash-up.

I am happy to email medium files of art to interested collectors, but that is a time-consuming follow-up process. And many visitors just want it now, at their own convenience, and don’t even want the formality of giving an email address to get an image.

I also notice that in public spaces such as libraries, museums, people expect to snap away. What if you are a contemporary artist in a museum show – do you have to resign yourself to allowing everyone take high resolution photos of your art? They don’t have enough staff to police anyway in most smaller museums.

How does Xanadu handle this? Other exhibitors in arts festivals etc?

I’m in a quandary because photos from receptions, with people with the art, do seem to be helpful for publicity, but then where do you draw the line? Hard to say you can photograph the people, but not the art straight on. How do we balance access, the public’s enthusiasm and involvement with protecting our art from being used without recompense?

Love to hear your and Barney’s thoughts,

Karen

 

My response

Thank you for the email Karen. I’ve taken the approach that people in my gallery taking photos are helping me market the gallery, primarily to themselves, but sometimes to others through social media. I don’t really see this as a copyright issue. Even though smartphone cameras are hi-res, the likelihood that someone is going to get an image that would be high enough quality for reproductions without using a tripod and professional lighting is pretty low. It’s also likely that only a very, very small percentage of people visiting your gallery would even have the desire to violate your copyright. So what you are doing by having a strict no photography policy is irritating the vast majority of visitors to your gallery in order to protect yourself from a very small risk. Though only you can make the calculation, I’ve decided it’s just not worth the cost in terms of policing a policy like this, especially when you will end up being one of only a very small number of venues to do so.

We try to use photography in the gallery as a sales opportunity. When someone starts taking photos or asks if they can, we are very accommodating, even encouraging. We also offer to email them a photo of the piece they are interested in, letting them know that the email will include the size, price and artist name.

I would encourage you to rethink the policy and turn it from a negative into a positive.

Let me know if there is some other consideration that I’m not seeing.

 

What Do You Think?

So what do you think – should people be allowed to take photos of art in galleries or other venues? Have you ever had an image misappropriated by a viewer? How do you handle this issue when showing your work?

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64 Comments

  1. I am always happy to let people take photos of my work. They could grab it off my website without my permission, if I didn’t let them anyway. No one is going to reproduce from such photos and if they want to steal your ideas, well they can anyway. Make it positive and think that even if they cannot afford to buy now, if they use it as their screensaver for long enough, they might in the future!! Having said that, I do think it is polite to ask and if they just snap I do usually say something.

  2. I let people take photos. If they really wanted good photos (to copy my work). Better images are already available online. So in a sense I’m happy they are taking their own lower quality photos… as I don’t think these are the people I dhiukd worry about.

    And in some cases, I’ve made a sale because someone has shown their iPhone photo to someone else, who then became interested in my work.

    So snap away!

  3. When I see People trying to take a picture of my work I ask if they like it and introduce myself. Sometimes they ask if I would be in the photo. It is nice to know that others enjoy your work even if they are not buying.

  4. I don’t think a photo of any of my art is going to detract from a sale. I agree, Jason, that it’s free PR.
    The people who buy art are not the photo takers. They want the real thing. Also how can anyone enforce that without discouraging people from enjoying the exhibition?
    If anyone wants to try to copy a piece of art from an iPhoto image , I wish them luck. The artist spent years of practice to get to this point, it won’t be replicated from a iPhone snap.

  5. I have had a number of guests take photos of my work during Open Studios and later make a sale when they email me their picture to ask if that particular painting is still available. I have also had decorators/designers take photos of my work to share with clients who later make purchases.

  6. As a photographer and artist my view may be somewhat biased. I think most create art to share a vision. Others photographing it (if they do so reasonably well) promotes the reason we create in the first place. I think the fear is that the unauthorized reproduction may somehow diminish the sale of the work or infringe on some copyright work protecting the commercial distribution of the work. However, in my 75 years I’m pressed to find a single incident in which that happened.
    I can see restricting the use of tripods, strobes, etc. as that might either damage art in the gallery or interfere with others viewing the art.

  7. Yes I allow photos as well for all the same reasons. And yes it can turn into a sale for those folks who like to think things over. Plus there is a bit of wall space between paintings and that can help them visualize how things might look in their homes or offices. Taking a photo of art on our walls shows more dimension than our cropped website photos.

  8. We live in a very fast changing world. What ever they do with their photos, they will always be a poor substitute for an authenticated print from the artist. Let them snap away, enjoy the free marketing & keep producing fresh artwork…

  9. Hey, Richard Prince blew up screenshots of Instagram photos, added his own comment and sold each for $90,000 and the judge said he could because it was “transformative” so I don’t think we need to worry about what anyone does with any photo they take in a gallery. Let them even bring in a professional camera if they want….I would even suggest that photographers simply do the same as Prince, just don’t use pretty women as your genre. Oh, wait. We’re not Prince. And probably pretty women is the only genre that would sell for $90,000. Even better, take a good photo of a famous painting in a museum (just rig up something under your jacket), add a couple of made-up comments underneath and you’re good to go!

  10. I’ve done a complete reversal on this and now I agree with you Jason. The only thing that is a bit hurtful is when they assume and dont ask. In my area their are swarms of artists that never intend buying, they just want to copy your ideas, but I’ve taken the stance that trying to stop it is like the Dutch boy putting his finger in the dyke breech and just evokes bad feelings.

    Luckily my new work is extemely difficult to cooy or get a good image and it wouldn’t be as beautiful anyway. Lets hope the snappers will eventually rediscover the image under piles of digital files in their smart phone and decide to buy:)

  11. We have a small community gallery and this issue came up for discussion a few years ago. It was interesting how divided the artists were on the subject. We decided that photos were not only OK they were welcomed. So many weigh into the decision to purchase. Sometimes they send them to a spouse for on the spot approval and sometimes the younger crowd in particular snap it, place it in an app on their phone and get an instant feedback of what it will look like above their very own fireplace. That means more purchases. The risk of violating copyright in such a small, public space is so tiny trying to mitigate it with a No Photos policy would create a bigger risk of decreased sales. Bring on the photos! And, I love the idea to ask for an email with the offer to send a photo with artist name, size of painting and medium and price is brilliant. Thanks.

  12. I agree, I encourage them to take photos! I can’t figure out why some artists get upset over it, I figure why not? after all they can go on our websites and see pics of our work anyway, so what is the point of annoying them by saying no photos?

  13. I like to photograph work that inspires me. I’m redoing my website and intend to write a blog which will include photos from shows and artists I think are interesting. I will give credit and attribution and think this can only be good for the art. It’s a form of conversation. In this digital age nothing is private and copyright is difficult to control. I think an attitude of generosity and trust will be much more productive than one of fearfulness and secrecy. Just my 2cents worth.

  14. As a serious shutterbug as well as a painter, I can tell you that a well-handled camera can most certainly take a frameable-quality image, especially if there’s no glazing to deal with. The “race-to-the-bottom” pricing has led people to expect “couture”-quality at China-made prices, and if they can’t get what they want at China prices, they’ll DIY with their smartphones and Photoshop. And some of them have no compunctions about uploading those images as their own.

  15. I am always very gracious and accomodating to people who wish to take photos and I also try and offer to email them a portfolio sheet (picture of the work along with my name, contact info, size and price.) I like potential buyers to walk away with a visual reminder of the piece(s) they are interested in and as others have said, if their intent is to copy me they can easily find images elsewhere, Facebook, website or Google search. In the end, my objective is to sell art and letting people take pictures make them feel as if they can reference and consider a particular piece, leading to familiarity and sales.

  16. A quick story beside the point. About 4 years ago now, i was at work on a painting and posted a “work in progress” photo. All fine and good, the people who were interested saw it, and somehow either through sharing or just surfing, that image ended up in pinterest. So I worked through the painting- it changed dramatically before being painted over completely. Imagine my surprise when in a bout of curiosity I googled my name. There at the top of the list was the photo with the website address as the pinterest account. I asked to have the photo removed since it was a progress shot and the pintging was subsequently destroyed. By the time the photo had reached the pinterest account it no longer carried my information as the source.
    To this day, I am very leary of pinterest activities and have noted in some of my image searches that it seems most search engines default to pinterest.

  17. The other day, someone took a picture of a piece of my art and said to me that a particular painting of mine was great and since she couldn’t afford the original, that creating and framing a print for herself was just what she was going to do.
    My jaw dropped.
    A gallery owner told me about a trip to China where he saw an image of a painting
    ( taken from either the net or an iPhone…the artist was never acknowledged) that was blown up on a large screen and 20 people were there, in a competition, attempting to copy it.
    All the copies would be sold at various prices depending on the quality of the reproduction.
    My jaw dropped.
    Sooooo even though I personally am saddened when people feel that a life’s work can be reduced to telephone or tablet images, it’s unstoppable.
    If a painting was part of a group show, rarely do I see anyone taking the name of who does what….. therefore…. the free publicity angle is moot.
    This may be great for a gallery, but unless the artist is acknowledged, it’s just one of hundreds of images on someone’s phone.
    I remember hearing that there is a native tribe ( can’t remember which one )that felt when a photograph was taken of a sacred object, that some of the energy was taken away.

    1. That is a sad reality Lynda and it troubles me as well. I seem to be among the few though as I was at a show the other day and saw a tourist snapping a picture of a painting head on with her I-phone. I was not involved in that show and it was not my painting so I stood there powerless to intervene. There was also no Gallery staff there, and no signs to indicate that it was not allowed, so in this age of technology, I guess there really is no way to prevent it. In my home gallery if someone is polite enough to ask, I do ask that they take it on a slight angle and preferably with me standing in it. Most people who do this in galleries though, are really innocently naive and do not understand the whole issue of copyright.

  18. Hello Jason and everyone else who might be reading this,
    I am all for a gallery using photographs to push their artists, but I am totally against any Tom, Dick and Harry or their female equivalents shooting away at an artists work, because I had an experience back in the days before mobiles and computers, when a gallery allowed a “photographer” to take some pictures of my paintings.
    To cut a long story short, 2 of my paintings were turned into B/W posters by this “photographer” and were consequently sold outside Underground stations and in big markets all over London.
    Did I ever get a penny for my two posters which sold in considerable quantities according to one of the “sales people” outside Brixton Station? – NO.
    What we did find out, however, was, that this “photographer” was being looked for by the police as he had also copied a whole series of photographs of Jazz musicians which were then officially sold by the Poster chain Athena’s.
    We never did find out whether the police had any luck in finding this seemingly very elusive man, though we did meet a number of other artists he had ripped off with the same kind of “strategy”.
    Fast forward 35 years to 2017 with breaches of copyright left right and center, counterfeit “goodies” from CDs to fashion to perfumes and everything else worthwhile for making a quick buck.
    With today’s technology the genie is out of the bottle, and the only way to partially control your copyright is by physically stopping people who’s intentions are not clear… at least one should not be seen to give an open invitation to people who rip off artist.
    If they “love” the artists work so much, let them buy postcards, catalogues, books, calendars or any other merchandise by the artist. Not that it will stop every “thief”, but at least it will not look like a free ride ….
    I rest my case.

  19. I’m also fine with it – it can be a great sales tool! And when someone “pins” my work, I find it flattering as well.
    Once though I had a heart painting that was dedicated to joining people together and created for children’s’ benefits and some guy put up a blog dedicated to his broken heart and betrayal in his love life and found that piece on the internet and used it without permission. Since his mission totally corrupted the meaning of my piece, I wrote him and politely told him I held the copyright and to please take it down along with my name (he did credit me as the artist). He was so sorry, didn’t know anything about copyrights and it was fine. More of a funny story than harm done. Oh and I once found a psychiatrist who was taking my and others’ art from the internet to “give weird psychobabble interpretations.” He also took these down on request. But mostly, it’s been all good!

  20. As a longtime printer, I’ll add a perspective for Karen to consider. Getting a quality print of artwork by taking a photograph, even with a tripod and professional lighting, is no small task

    Even if your selfie-snappers were so ambitious as to crop one of those photos and get a reproduction made, a tiny few of those illicit reproductions would look like anything but a shoddy knock-off. Such prints would ultimately still serve the purpose of leaving the viewer in want of the real thing.

  21. I don’t think there’s any really good way to stop people from taking photos, unless you follow everyone around the whole time. Besides, they can steal good images online any day of the week. I’m in an art group on Facebook where people have seen their art reproduced without their knowledge or permission, on mugs, shirts, posters, calendars and even on other’s websites. I don’t see how you can stop it in this age of instant digital everything. And smart phone cameras are pretty darn good. So you might as well get used to it and let people snap away, and use it to your advantage.

  22. I very strongly disagree with the idea that it’s OK as a promotional tool to allow anybody wants to photograph someone else’s artistic creation to be allowed to do so. And then to send the image of the artists work to someone when requested without actual down payment will guarantee of purchase, he’s also as appalling to me. Being in the business of selling other sport work it’s not the same as being the artist whose work is unique and in my case is always copyright protected, and original. Selling others work does not require exposing it to theft, fraud, and acquisition use which is not permission is granted. I respect the gallery owner will not allow photographs And it is a way of securing ones finest Original Artists. I always finds those who do not have particular extraordinary talent who don’t mind people for their work or others’ work In galleries and othervsettings. My work must be watermarked it on the Internet and identified with copyright protection clearly marked. The images must be very small but always identified. This is normal for anything that is considered intellectual property with protect intellectual property rights. I am alarmed that a gallery would not protect its artists most valuable property.

  23. I agree with allowing a photo. I am a fiber artist and I actually had someone tell me they couldn’t afford my piece but was going to make ‘one like it’. I knew all the work and fabic choices I made putting it together and knew it wouldn’t be easy. I later saw the finished piece and I was right. It didn’t look anything like my original piece and I am sure she got a big mega dose of appreciation of the work I put into my art. Might not help me, but in the future she might buy someone else’s work instead of trying to copy it.

  24. I agree whole heartedly.. let them snap away.. why do artist do art if they don’t want people to look at it, take an interest in it admire it enough to talk about it and show it to their friends. The more people they show the better.

  25. I encourage people who want photos to “put themselves in the picture” by standing in the frame and I take the photo for them. I also explain that the artist owns the copyright to the image. They have a nice memory of my gallery and not a complete image of the work . I have even had people come back and buy a work because someone else admired the shot of them with the work and asked if they owned it…great outcome for everyone.

    1. This is exactly what I do, it gives me a chance to visit with the people and to explain the concept of copyright and why it is needed. So far people have been happy to have a photo of themselves in front of their favorite paintings. I can also ask what drew them to the painting, etc.

  26. I am an artist & a gallery owner for nearly 18 years. We do not allow photography in the gallery as I feel it protects the artist’s integrity to do so. An artist spends hours, weeks or months on a piece of art. Why should someone with a smartphone be able to come in & put it on social media or download it onto a tee shirt? I don’t agree that this is free advertising for the gallery. We allow a photo if we are pretty sure that the photo is just to show a spouse or friend a piece of art that they think they might be interested in. This issue deals with respect for an artist’s work, not reproduction. I also think it’s a losing battle, but for now, I’m standing my ground!

  27. I personally think, as an artist, that it is similar to posting work online. Yes, someone can steal or reproduce but I believe as an artist that we are all very unique and the likelyhood of someone reproducing something to the standard and manner we work is extremely unlikely. Yes there are rip-offs but it is never 100% the same. Only I can do what I do kind of thing.

  28. I took work to a printer yesterday and was pleased she asked me to sign a release form that verified I was the artist and it was okay for them to reproduce it. When I asked her to keep a digital image of the five pieces so I could reorder she told me their files automatically delete after a few days. They carried copyright protection to an extreme but I do appreciate that. Some businesses will reproduce anything with no questions asked. Copyright is not in their thought process.
    It is impossible to make a distinction between casual interest and what you suspect is another artist that wants to copy your idea or technique … some people have “artist” in their whole persona. I freely offer instruction on technique on Facebook because I like to teach. Still, no one has my individual eye and I’m not concerned about it. Don’t you do the same thing giving workshops? Others want to show an image to their spouse for possible purchase, or ask their hobbyist aunt to paint the same thing for them. The latter is not a buyer anyway and good luck to Aunt Edna.
    Some photos are simply an admiration shot people share on social media … yes, that is free advertising. I’ve asked people to mention me by name along with the image, and many do. We can be obsessive about copyright but litigation is expensive and you have no idea how much you “lost.” We’re not like a retailer that builds in pricing to cover shoplifting losses.
    We’ve seen some pretty big names in art that have had their work bootlegged. You seldom read about any follow up settlement. Usually, their attorney sends a cease and desist letter but that rarely stops them … that’s how they operate. Writers have it worse and plagiarism is rampant, and common.
    Better, keep a watchful eye on the offending party and keep creating new work.

  29. About 20 years ago I was working in a gallery with another artist at an Art Expo in NYC when a chap walked up with a T-shirt and on the shirt was a print of one of the paintings we were selling which was on our web site. He had a big grin and our mouths were open in shock. He loved the work and had used an image from our web site to print on the T-shirt. It wasn’t a wonderful Hi-Res image at all but a small 72 dpi worked. He was a walking talking advertisement for the artist.
    Let it go. It’s not worth the negative energy. We lost nothing by his making the shirt and he was excited to meet and talk to the artist.

  30. Interesting discussion. I can see both sides. I have to admit, seeing someone with a T-shirt with my work on it would be off-putting. The co-op gallery I’m with has had folks snap a photo to show a family member but they usually ask for permission.

  31. I get it. I created the art I should receive any gains from my efforts. But I have found that I don’t want to share the emotional space of art-making with people who are callous enough to take what is not really theirs. Hi end photogs or casual snapshotters, I just don’t want to have to constantly worry about this issue. To chase down these people–online or otherwise is a complete waste of my valuable art-making time. I agree with the no tripod idea though. Good luck to us all and keep making your art better.

  32. I am an artist, and also teach at my local technical college. One of the assignments my Art Appreciation students have is to go to three different venues where they can see original art in person. My college covers three of SC’s poorest counties – one has no gallery or art studio in the entire county. Ensuring they see art IN PERSON I consider to be vital part of their education. Most have never seen original art, never met an artist, and never been in a museum. My instructions require them to ASK in advance if photography is permitted (I want to be sure they know permission is not a given!). They are required to include photos if possible, and explain which work is their favorite, and why. They are also to include the museum/gallery information – where it is, hours, parking, etc. so their classmates can find it also. In this context photographs of the work are part of the learning process, for the student and for the entire class who will read their posts. By requiring them to choose a favorite, they have to look at the art itself more carefully. By including the contact info, hopefully more students will see a photo, and wish to go see the art in person. I agree with you that the odds of anyone “stealing” a work via smartphone photos is very slim. Having photos shared on social media is actually pretty good marketing for the artist and the venue – “look what I saw today – isn’t it great????”.

  33. I suggest that if you see someone aiming their iPhone at one of your paintings, you approach them with the friendly offer to take the pic when them in front of the painting. That way you’re in control of the angle (Don’t take it straight on.), and the art will be partially covered by the “art lover’s” body, rendering it difficult to get a reproducible image. Another idea is to take the image with your own phone and ask if you can email or text it to them. That opens the opportunity to communicate with them outside of the venue.

  34. I feel two ways about this. On the one hand, I have gone to galleries and museums and taken photos of stuff myself to share with friends about what I saw. A couple times I took photos of things that gave me ideas. But my experience of those photos was not that I wanted to copy the things. I put them in my “inspirations” file.

    I guess there are indeed people who take a photo with their phone and print it out, but those would not have been our customers anyhow. And no matter how good a phone camera might be, hardly anyone has a color printer that uses pigments instead of dyes or prints on 100% cotton, etc. So in a few years, it will be toast.

    Online it is way easier to squelch copyright violations with DMCA takedown notices and Google image search. I do it occasionally because duplicate content can interfere with your Google ranking. I don’t ask people “nicely” because too often I’ve gotten very hostile and defensive replies. I just send them boilerplate, and if they don’t take it down, I send it to their webhost and Google, end of story.

    Honestly, I wish my biggest problem artwise was people taking photos of my publicly displayed art.

  35. I visited a gallery just down the street from you on the corner and although I was not taking pictures, had my phone in hand (for text messages from people in the area I was with). The person in charge saw me carrying my phone and asked that I put the phone away while visiting his gallery! I was quite frankly, ticked off that he would say this to me and made a point of very quickly walking past a few pieces of art and then walking out. He made me feel I was somehow doing something wrong and disrespectful or deceitful. I lost my respect for that place and will never go back into that gallery.

  36. Agree with you fully, Jason. Because many of my paintings are quite large, people like to take photos of one another standing in front of them, and have a lot of fun doing it, like posing for example in front of the 7 ft fish in a painting called the Arrival of Jonah at Nineveh. It’s an intentionally comical painting, and I imagine there are odd photos of him in several places. There was one t I me though when someone had their child pose in front of a painting whilst leaning into the canvas. I was horrified of course, but it only happened once in my career. And for a mili-second I might add. 🙂

  37. I’ve allowed people to take photographs when I’m showing at a festival. On multiple occasions, I’ve had the same people contact me months later telling me they’ve been using the image as their screen saver. Frankly, I felt honored! They then went on to purchase the painting they had photographed previously. I have taken the approach that if the have the image, it’s free advertising and I think the risk that they steal my work is small.

  38. There’s a Facebook page called “Who Stole My Images” that is absolutely chilling. Artists going broke, because Chinese and Philippine companies stole their work off the internet, their website, or in some cases Amazon. It’s almost impossible to police. The world has no ethics. I’ve come to decide that if your work is good, trendy, and gets published, it’s not a matter of IF it gets stolen, but when… Not sure how true this is for fine art but it’s definitely an issue in the field of graphic art.

  39. I have visited galleries from New York to LA, and it is a rare gallery that has not let me photograph the pieces. I am an artist, but also a teacher. This is my way of bringing the galleries to my students and hopefully creating future art enthusiasts and buyers. And, yes, I always label and credit the artists. Also, as an artist who is trying to establish a presence, I am not bothered by others taking photos of my work. I created it to be shared with the world, and I’m flattered by the connection they feel to my work. If you’re creating work that people want to photograph then you’re doing something right.

  40. I agree about letting people take photos…
    They can just as easily take photos off a website, pinterest or fb…
    I try and attend as many exhibitions in my city (Durban, SA) as possible – especially opening night – and always take photos – the sole purpose is to promote art and the artist and encourage as many people to visit the exhibition… Generosity begets generosity…
    I have people copying my work all the time – and whilst I don’t particularly like it – it challenges me to paint better…

  41. Very well said. It’s a form of free marketing for the artist. But on another note, I feel like you won’t be able to devour in the art’s beauty as much if you’re too busy taking photographs. Not to mention how conscious you are taking that perfect shot.

  42. As a jeweler, I say no to photos. It’s a challenge when I do shows to keep people from shooting items in my case. If I see it happening on the sly, despite my sign requesting they ask first I quickly photobomb them by sticking my hand in their shots. I have had several instances of finding my designs showing up in other ‘jewelers’ cases. My sister confronted one of them and they basically told them theirs was the ‘poor mans’ version and she’s been cagey around me ever since. So no to photos in the Girl Meets Joy Jewelry art fair booths. I have a little sign that says if they would like to take a photo to please be polite and just ask. Otherwise it’s the hand photobomb if I catch it in the act.

  43. I agree with Jason that allowing photos is good marketing. Visitors to our gallery have typically asked for permission to take pictures and in most cases have indicated that they want to share the pictures with a spouse or friend as they plan to decorate or redecorate a room. Some of them also purchase a piece as well as taking photos and they often come back and purchase something else. The benefit outweighs the deficits — and, yes, they could also download pictures of art from my/our websites if they wanted to.

  44. As usual, Jason, your thoughts are spot on! Free advertising!

    I do like the ideas of having the artist be in the picture with the potential customer, not allowing tripods and not taking a frontal, squared photo; however, I personally am always off-put with signs that say “No Photographs allowed.”

  45. I used to work in a gallery and we had a problem with people taking photos simply because they are usually low quality and the photographer would leave out the credit to the artist, so they’d end up with unattributed images of artwork they’d liked. We’d often find these images later on social media, and though they’d have a comment about how much the work was loved, they’d not even name the artist or the gallery! Not free advertising at all! So instead, if we caught someone taking photos, we’d point out that images were available on our website anyway, which were professionally photographed with all information included, and use that as a chance to get them to sign up for emails too.
    Otherwise, I’d simply point out that issue to them and make sure they were photographing the name card so that artist would get credit, and ask them to tag us in any photos uploaded to social media.

  46. The students in my art classes often ask if they may photograph a particular painting or drawing and I always say yes. I know that occasionally something not positive may happen as a result but the chances of this are small and the trade-off seems to be to just
    let people enjoy your art in whatever manner they may. Most people are honest and have good intentions. Certainly some of the galleries I’ve visited frown on photographs being taken and some don’t seem to mind. I guess it all depends upon your personal expectations.

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