How to choose the right wedding photographer
PART 5 - What it means to have the copyright to your images!
Now we move briefly on to copyright and who owns the rights to the work produced by a photographer on your wedding day. They are, after all, pictures of you and your friends and family, so it might seem logical to think that the copyright automatically is with you or the people in the photographs. However, this is simply not the case as the photographer that takes the images, or studio that you hire, do. This is often a hotly contested topic for some, and often exacerbated by mixed information floating about, so let's break it down.
Regarding the intellectual property of the images taken on your wedding day, and its ownership, you should be provided with a contract outlining such things beforehand. This is so you do know what is what. Most photographers or studios, will retain all rights to their images as standard and this is true if there is a contract or not, and there is nothing odd about this.
Let me explain.
The image that is taken, and the edited image that is produced is, in essence, a product created by them. It is the image that a professional might use to advertise and grow their business. After all - you found them somehow and I am willing to bet it was on the strength of the images you saw, so it is only right that you, as the client, expect and understand that the images from your wedding day may well be used in this way. Although many people often do, and have little issue with this, sometimes they think that they are the ones that give the photographer permission to use the images, whereas it is actually the other way around. And this is where problems can occur, and I want to stress that this is normally no one's fault. But the onus is on the photographer to make this clear and not just take it for granted that it is known. That is why we at Lucria Creative outline all this in our contract.
To once again give an analogy, we often buy products of all kinds but we do not buy the blueprints or the schematics or expect them to come bundled with the item. We are after the finished product, and this is as true of a games console as it is a kettle any other product we buy! Likewise, think of the secret recipe to Cola. It does not come on the side of the can or bottle for anyone to copy. Coca-Cola as a company guard their intellectual property with passion, and likewise, a photographer should be expected to do the same. This is also true of all sort of art. An artist would not give away the right to an original piece or let people make copies without the appropriate licence in place. And let me remind you, photography is also art and a true photographer will treat their images as such. If you find that your photographer thinks like this then at least you know they value their own work - and that can only be a good thing when it comes to the quality of your finished images. If they truly value what they do, then they will not just give away all rights. So instead of worrying about this, it is something you can take comfort in.
So where does that leave you and your rights, because as some people point out, these are not just random products or unrelated works of art, they are personal to you as they include images of you and your loved ones, and after all didn't you pay for them?
With any wedding photography package you buy, you are in fact buying a service and a product. You are not buying the overall copyright to what is produced by the service you have paid for, or the image rights to what make up the product. In fact, it is the photographer that grants you rights to use the images, In the form of digital copies or printed products such as a wedding album, and there are often restrictions.
If you feel this might be a problem for you then simply talk to the photographer about it so that you feel comfortable and in the know from the off. If you feel sensitive to your image being used for marketing or other such things then it is worth having that conversation before you part with any money. And make sure you read your contract fully and are happy with what is included.
Regarding your contract, you should be granted rights to use the images, but this is for personal use only. Nothing more should ever be needed. The photography studio grant you these rights knowing that they have given you the package that meets your needs, and that if ever in the future, you need anything more, then you can come back to the studio.
By way of example, the high resolution digital negatives provided by us at Lucria Creative for our wedding photography are perfect for printing up to a 10x8. This is normally more than ample for most people's needs and if they wish to make an extra print of a certain image, providing that it is for personal use, then this is included as standard in the licence we grant and is detailed within our contract. We also gift the whole artistic edit image collection to everyone that books with us as a first year anniversary present, and it is these that you can use to make any prints such as these from. ? You already have the end product that was included in your chosen package - whatever mix of digital and print you opted for at the time. And of course the means to order more via our online gallery or direct through our studio are available. But after a year, just like with the digital negatives included within the package from the start, we believe that you should have them - so that is what we do by gifting them to you at this time. So we actually only retain full printing rights for 12 months after your wedding day, whereas many photography studios will keep these for an unspecified period of time, if not forever.
We choose to work this way for many reasons, those largely being that we value our photography and we are justifiably proud of our art. We also want to be able to offer you the best possible service while still remaining a profitable and viable business. It is a business at the end of the day, as much as we love it, and we believe in transparency and honesty. We know getting prints through us and our lab will be the best way to do our art justice. But we also understand that people do not want to be tied to the studio forever, and they may want to make some prints in their own time and at a later date. If anything above and beyond this is needed then we are on hand to help through our dedicated suppliers. Just as with the fact that not all photographers are equal, the same is true of print labs and their printing process. When in the past we did not adopt this way of working, we have often seen inferior printed products of our work when not done by us, such as a canvas or large scale print turn out below par and, in many cases, often simply bad, and that is obviously something we do not wish to see.
And that is what it boils down to, a mixture of pride in our work and making sure we do our images justice every step of the way and giving you, as the customer, what you want and need.
There is so much that can be said on this matter that the best advice I can give you on this, is to read your contract and if you have any need for further clarification then just talk to your photographer before you sign anything. It is good to know exactly what you are getting. We retain all the rights on the images because they are of course our artwork, and most, if not all, top, quality professional photographers will do the same. Our customers can come back to us for larger prints and framed items or extra books, but we want to also make sure that they can use the images for personal use as well as for basic prints and digital files in the ways that they might need. So of course, this once again ties in with the last post regarding RAW files and digital negatives, and making sure customers get what they require by being a full service photography studio and being able to fulfil such tasks. But not all photographers follow the same guidelines, so just make sure you are in the know.
And thats all for this 5 part series on how to choose the right wedding photographer for you
Just remember that your wedding photographs are the memories you’ll cherish when the flowers have faded, the honeymoon is a distant memory and friends and relatives have returned home. So choose the best you possibly can.
So we hope we have been able to help in your search and debunking some of the worry and myth that you so ofen find.
If you would like more information on our wedding photography then don't hesitate to get in contact.
You can find out more at www.lucria-creative.com
And for even more information and answers to any question you might have, then you can check out our frequently asked questions page here.