After The Final Exposure

Steps every photographer should take before they die


Grave surrounded by grass and wild flowers © Simon Whaley

They say old photographers never die, they simply go out of focus. However, the fact remains that our final exposure will arrive one day, so what have you done in preparation? What will happen to your images when you die? Thanks to copyright laws, our photos can continue to live and (potentially) earn an income for another 70 years after our demise. This afterlife needs a little preparation before we compose our final frame.

It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of the UK population does not have a will, and a 2021 Gallup survey found that only 46% of Americans have one. And of those forward-thinking citizens who have sorted their last will and testament, who knows how many have made specific mention of their photographs in their final instructions.

This isn’t something that only full-time professional photographers need to worry about. Anyone who takes photos is creating material that has an intellectual property right attached to it. Rights that can be exploited during our lifetime, and after it.

Gravestone surrounded by bluebells © Simon Whaley



Simon Whaley - Author | Writer | Photographer
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Bestselling author, writer and photographer. UK travel writer. Lives in the glorious Welsh Borders. Contact: