The Etiquette of Sharing Skydiving Photos

Posted by Mark Kirschenbaum on

Let me start with saying I love when people share my photos. I get gratification out of seeing my work as your profile picture, featured on your Instagram account, or even passed around Chive. I shoot because I enjoy capturing people's pure smiles in freefall.

Regrettably, the truth is, most Skydiving Photographers make little to no money off of event photography. Personally, I spend 5-8 hours ingesting, editing, watermarking, and posting a weekend's worth of photos. At the bigger events, we get reimbursed for travel and a small daily rate. In the past, we used to make money from selling prints or a boogie video. Those days are long gone.

The sad truth is, at most events, we lose money and spend lot of time editing after the event is over. 

Chazi Blacksher Photos Trunk
Photo: Chazi Blacksher

For me, the only hint of a fiscal reward is from Hypoxic's brand awareness. This exists only from the small logo at the bottom of our photos. Sadly, most photographers are backed into the same predicament. Therefore, we as photographers, request you never crop off a photographer's logo. It's so easy to preserve this logo, and in most cases, it only takes a single click to share it correctly.

I'm aware most people don't realize it's in bad taste to crop off a logo, edit a photo, or print out what you don't own. This is why I put this resource together, to teach what is proper when dealing with professional photographer's artwork. Please follow it when sharing photographer's works and share it with friends when you notice they're not following these simple guidelines. 

How to Share a Photographer's work

Most photographers have their "share" requests in the text of their post so take a quick read. Everyone is different, so when in doubt, contact them. Quick rule of thumb: If your only method to get a photo is to take a screengrab of it, you're probably going against their wishes. In this industry, images posted on Facebook or Instagram generally have a lenient sharing policy as long as they are unaltered. How to keep an image unaltered is the meat of this article, but first here are some unwritten rules.  

Photo: Eddie Paiva
Photo: Eddie Paiva

Screenshots off of a Photographer's Site

Never screenshot a photo off of a photographer's site. Take a second to read their disclaimer and most will state you are STEALING their copyright. 


If you wish to share please use the "share" button. Please do NOT copy screen to take photos as this would be stealing

At the end of the day, the image is their copyright. Please respect this fact. 

Photos or Videos of Monitors at Events

We know you are excited to share, but please don't take photos of someone's screen or the TV at an event. Let him or her share their hard earned creation. They'll do it quick. They want it out there as much as you do, but let them do it the right way. 

Poor representation of a great Gustavo Cabana photo.

Please NEVER, EVER do this.

Photos of Prints

As Tom Sanders points out, please refrain from posting a cellphone photo of shot published in print. We're proud of our work and glad you appreciate it enough to share. Please hold tight and let us post the digital image in all it's glory. We invested a lot in the equipment and training to capture your dream shot, we request you just let us control how it's shared. 

Printing Works Found Online

Not only is tasteless, but it is also illegal to print out someone's copyright without explicit permission. Although social media sites now store images in high enough resolution to print, it does not mean it's legal to do so.

Take this example of a skydiver who took an image off of Facebook and had it printed without permission. Just because it was easy for this person to print out the image, doesn't make it ethical or legal. 

Hashtags and Tags

It's generally good mojo to tag the photographer or use his or her hashtag when sharing their work. If they have a caption, include that with the share. 

It's generally bad mojo to drop their hashtags. Even if it conflicts with your sponsorships, all vendors will understand. If in doubt, ask. 

Facebook Profile Pictures

Facebook easily allows you to set that awesome boogie photo as your profile picture. It however, requires you set it to a 1x1 square aspect ratio. How do you not crop out a logo when setting a photographer's photo as your profile picture?

Julie Kleinwort takes a screengrab of me
Photo: Julie Kleinwort. 

The answer is you have to do it on your computer. We know it's time consuming, but please take a moment and do the right thing.

How to not crop out a logo when placing a photo as your profile picture

All you do is click "Skip Cropping" in the lower left corner and the photo will be 'cropped' when it's seen, but unaltered once it's clicked. You may ask what's the big deal? Well, when someone goes to share this awesome photo, it will continue to be the full, unaltered version. 

Facebook Cover Photo

Thankfully, now Facebook no longer crops cover photos, so share away.

Posting To Instagram

How to properly repost a photographer's photos on instagram

Instagram no longer requires Square photos. Simply click on the maintain aspect ratio button and you're sorted. 

However, on vertical or super wide photos this can occur:

Notice how our logo is missing even with the maintain ratio button checked? Unfortunately, you'll need to spend a moment and either ask the photographer for a different ratio OR use a program such as PicFit to add side bars.

Using PicFit to add white bars

Resulting to:

How to repost a photographer photo on instagram

Applying Filters or Cropping Maintaining the Logo

Please don't do it and say no to alterations. Think of a photo as a piece of artwork. You wouldn't add crayon to a Van Gogh, so please don't alter our work. 

Companies / Making Money off of Our Work

Yes, we're all small mom & pop businesses in this sport. Yes, you are my friend and we've shared beers together. However, please contact us before using our works in your social media or print. Think of a photographer as a bipolar cat, you never know what kind of mood they're in, so it's always best to just approach with caution and ask for permisson.

If you're a business in the industry, it's best to setup an agreement with your favorite photographers. Perhaps work out a sponsorship with the individual in return for use of their photos. Trading equipment for a free rein on high end photos is a drop in the bucket from your marketing budget. 

Overview / TLDR

Please be a responsible skydiver and show us that you appreciate our hard work by following these simple guidelines. These are general "rules of thumb" for most photographers we've encountered during our travels. With that said, every photographer's wishes are different. When in doubt, simply, just ask. 

  • If you didn't take the photo you have no rights to modify or print the photography's copyrighted artwork.
  • Never remove the watermark, crop, or apply filters to the image.
  • Use restraint at events and records. Never take photos or videos of a photographer's work without explicit permission.
  • You can preserve the photographer's artwork by following the steps above when reposting to IG or Facebook. Even when setting your profile picture!

Blue Skies,

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