M4Photo – The end of the road.

Fractured Highway

I have finally finally reached the end of the road with my event photo journey and it is with the heaviest of heavy hearts that I’ll be saying goodbye to M4Photo.  I have thoroughly enjoyed making some lasting memories for many people and it has been a long and very heard decision, but the time to close has come, from both an economical and from a legislation point of view, to let it go.

With the advances in mobile phone and iPad cameras and low cost DSLR cameras, people have more and more access to capturing their own images for next to no cost.  People simply want to share those images online and fewer and fewer people want to pay for prints, quality is just of interest any longer for most parents.  With the rising costs of insurance and other business critical expenses, I find that the few clubs that I support are no longer buying enough images and it’s becoming a financial burden and too costly for the hobby business that it was designed to be.

Furthermore, with current changes to legislation (most notably GDPR), more and more clubs and schools are banning cameras from their venues.  Under GDPR, photographs are now being classed as Personal Data and therefore their use and storage is now also becoming more problematic with permissions being required and validation of those permissions for each image.  Something that is not overly easy when you don’t know the club or school members and therefore find it near impossible to marry permission slips to specific individual images.

In addition, it is now very difficult under GDPR to sell digital images to a parent where the image contains their child and another child.  This makes the nature of my photography very hard to deal with.  In acro gymnastics, children are usually paired with other family’s children.  In archery, there is always another person of child in the image, in team sports there is always one on one action, the list goes on and on.

Many photographers who rely on image sales to pay their mortgage and put food on the table, will have to battle around these burdensome regulations, or simply ignore them and apply the “Legitimate Business Use” rules.  For many of us non-profit making traders who are looking to simply capture memories for people and to cover our costs of doing-so, these regulations are one more thing to worry about.

Yes, I could have applied the “Legitimate Business Interest” rule and many professional photographers will do just that.  M4Photo has always been run professionally and with protection and privacy in mind.  But in the case of M4Photo, it’s just not worth me running the potential risk of the heavy fines and the personal time trying to stay one step of the regulations and ensuring compliance.  I’ll therefore be putting my time to use elsewhere.

A sad, sad day!!!