ex client is requesting digital photo files.. do I give them or not?


New Member
Hi there

We've designed and produced many promotional posters for a retail outlet for 8 years or so now.
We've hired photographers and directed shoots. We've retouched many pics for use.

The client has been very honorable in the past and paid on time, every time.

For whatever reason (maybe price, but we are sure it's not a service/quality of work issue), the client has decided to 'go elsewhere' .

They are requesting we supply all the photography.

We don't want to fallout with the client, but it's really tough to keep cool whilst handing over work we have done, only for someone else to use re-purpose.

We have over the years encountered this on a couple of occasions and have given in under the theory 'never burn your bridges'. (Don't fall out cos they may come back at some stage).

We just wondered what you, the good people on here thought about this issue, as we are sure it's a common problem.

BTW: No T&C's or agreements where set.

What do you think?

Thank you
Cloud Nine Design
I would guess that it depends on what they were paying you to do - if they wanted you to come and take photos for them and they pay for that, then I'd imagine they could then expect to then get the photos too.

If you were putting together a poster and came and took pictures of your own accord in order to produce the design you wanted then I would suppose it becomes more up to you - I don't see what harm it would do in allowing them use them though.
I would provide them.

No t&cs - big lesson.

Having been a client for years I would expect them to be provided (usually in my t&cs or the contracts) - if they were not (very rare) I would never deal with them again.
This is a tricky one! Because you have no contract there is nothing to say that they didn't pay for the shoot through your fees and so have a legal entitlement to the photos produced. Do you have a contract with the photographer? It may be that their Ts&Cs state that they have sold the photographs to the company that contracted them (you) or it may even say that they as the creator, hold the copyright and that you may not sell the photographs as a job lot.

There are three ways you can proceed:

Tell them to get stuffed and find an excuse not to release the images.

If the photos are specific to their business, then there's no point holding them back. I would however request a nominal release fee for each picture (a few £ per picture).

If the photos are not specific to their business, then offer to sell them limited copyright on the understanding that the images still belong to you and you will use them as you see fit in future. Or sell the complete copyright to them for a fee that reflects your investment and possible loss of income by selling the images.