Wedding Photography and Copyright
Find out who really owns the copyright to your wedding photographs. Copyright can be a bit confusing.
In fact it's so confusing that I’m not even sure most photographers understand it. We quite often see photographers submitting their details to Find a Wedding Photographer with the text ‘Full Copyright given’. Do they really mean that?
The reality is that they probably don’t. Owning full copyright of your wedding images would mean that you could legally sell them to your wedding venue, florist, dress designer etc or even sell them to an advertising agency. Of course if your wedding photographer sees one of his images used, without his permission, as a full page advert in Brides Magazine he will be slightly annoyed and will probably want paying!
The fact is that a professional photographer will always retain copyright of his work unless he signs it over to you in writing. Professionals will instead grant a licence for different uses.
image courtesy of Janis Ratnieks Photography
The question you really need to be asking your wedding photographer is: “do we get a licence to print the photos for personal use”.
Some photographers will provide a disc of images for your own use included in their packages and some might charge extra. In both cases you should not pass on the images to any of your suppliers without clearing it with your photographer first. Make sure that the terms of the licence are clearly set out in a signed contract.
Remember many print labs will check that you have permission to get prints done from a disc. Make sure that your wedding photographer gives you written permission for this with your wedding photographs.
Don’t under any circumstances promise some of your wedding photographs to any of your other wedding suppliers.
If your florist wants to get some photos from your wedding to use in a brochure then they will need to seek a separate licence as the photographer will consider this to be commercial use.
Article submitted by Dan Sharpe
If you are just starting out as photographer or setting up a new wedding photography business and you don’t fully understand the implications of giving away ‘Full Copyright’ then I recommend you read this: