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Wedding photography: Hints and tips for your wedding day - part 5

How to choose the right wedding photographer  

PART 5 - What it means to have the copyright to your images!

Wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, groom, Coventry, Warwickshire. how to choose the right wedding photographer

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.

wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, Coventry, Warwickshire, choosing the right wedding photographer

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. 

Wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, groom, Coventry, Warwickshire, finding the right wedding photographer for you

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.

Wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, groom, Coventry, Warwickshire, how to find the right wedding photographer

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.



Wedding photography: Hints and tips for your wedding day - part 4

How to choose the right wedding photographer 

PART 4 - RAW files and digital negatives - do you need them?

Wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, groom, Coventry, Warwickshire

Here we discuss RAW files and digital negatives and give you all the information you need to know. So to start with, do you need these RAW files? And are they an imperative part of a wedding photography package?

Well it all depends on your wants and needs of course, and these are differebnt for everyone. For the large part I would say that it is unneeded. But to begin with let us start with actually breaking down what a RAW file is so you can see why this might be the case. 

wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, Coventry, Warwickshire, finding the right wedding photographer

A RAW file is simply a file as seen by the camera's sensor. This sensor determines the size and amount of data included in the file it produces, and the file is free of any computer alterations internally from the camera. It is, in essence, a totally raw and unfiltered file with layers and layers of unfiltered data. However, the data is largely hidden to the viewer at the first instance and can only be coaxed out by professional dedicated software and by someone with the skill and time to use it.

Often people think of a RAW file as a digital negative, meaning a digital version or equivalent of a analog film negative (but digital) and this is a good starting point. However, a digital negative can mean many things and each photographer may well give a different interpretation of what this phrase actually means, so be sure to ask for a concise breakdown as not all digital negatives are made equal. Also, it is often the case that the names RAW files and digital negatives are interchangeable, but this does not mean that they are exclusively the same thing, so it is worth being in the know. 

Sticking with the analog analogy for a moment, I will explain why people use this. With film photography, the roll of film would be sent away to a lab for processing and printing or done in-house at a photographer's studio. then printed in the darkroom, where adjustments would be made at the time of the print process. The image could be made darker or lighter depending on preference. Likewise, adjustments to things like contrast, hue and saturation could also be altered. And the same and more is true with a modern RAW file. You use dedicated computer software in place of a darkroom with its equipment and chemicals that are needed. The computer and the software is what we use to read the file and apply those same edits before exporting to a more readily known file, such as a jpeg which is for printing or viewing/sharing digitally.  

Wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, groom, Coventry, Warwickshire, how to find the right wedding photographer

So now that you know what a RAW file is and what it is used for, we go back to the original question, do you actually need them when it comes to your wedding photography? 

My thought is that you don’t! And it comes down to a few reasons. 

Number one: is the simple reason that you are paying a professional wedding photographer to do a job for you. So let them! They not only take the photos, but they will edit them as well, giving you a finished product you can be proud of, so why would you ever need these files?

We talked before in the previous parts of ‘How to choose the right wedding photographer’ about what you should be getting for your money, and a finished product should be it. After all would you go to a restaurant, take your own food, go there and cook it? Surely not! That is the whole reason for going to a restaurant - you are going to pay your money, and other people are going to do their jobs, giving you the desired outcome. It should be no different with your wedding photography. I know it is not exactly the same thing, but I think the analogy works just the same in getting the main point across.

Number 2: The actual Raw files are pretty much, for most people at least, next to useless, unless you have the right computer software and know how to make the relevant edits. They also take up a lot of hard drive space and can take up a lot of your time to make the relevant edits. Not to mention that you don’t even use the RAW files to make prints, so if this is what you want them for, it is simply overkill.

Some people like the idea of making a few edits here and there, but there is no need to have the RAW files if you just want to apply a few Instagram style filters or do some basic edits for fun. You'd also need to make sure that your photographers are happy with you doing this (more on why this is important in the copyright information in the following blog piece), then a jpeg is fine, although I can not see why this would even be needed if your photographers have done their job in the first place. Why would you need to make any edits yourself if the job is already done? 

If you do decide that you want the RAW files or digital negatives, just make sure you know what you are asking for and what you are getting in return. Many photographers will either point blank refuse to give RAW files or will offer them at an extra cost. 

We at Lucria take the second approach when it comes to our wedding photography packages. It is important to us that you get everything you need. So this is why we do make them available. But so far, 100% of the time, after anyone has enquired about the RAW files and we have explained that they can have them, but because of the size of the files, they warrant that we supply them on a separate external hard drive with an associated cost. As well as explaining all I have written above about the nature of the files and how to use them, people have seen that they really are not needed. 

But the option should be there for people. We would not presume to tell someone what they can and cannot have in this regard. We just hope to give them all the relevant information and options to make their choice with.

Wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, groom, Coventry, Warwickshire, how to find the rignt wedding photographer,

When we have the RAW files conversation with our clients, we also go on to explain that with each package we include the digital negative of the original images and what is meant by this. This is important and the main reason that the RAW files are simply not needed. With our wedding packages you get all the original images and the artistic edits from your wedding day, so nothing is missed out. We only envisage you ever needing the artistic edits, but should you ever want to see and have copies of the originals, these come as standard. 

Edits can still be made using files like this, but not to the same degree and without the need for dedicated professional software such as is needed with RAW files. So it is these high resolution files, that we at Lucria Creative call a digital negative. And this is the difference between this and the RAW file, and why no one has yet opted or needed for the RAW files. People see that they get everything they actually need included in their chosen package and the reason that the RAW files are not included, is simply a cost saving to them. But remember, if you are going through another photography studio, they may term a digital negative to be something different, so it is wise to clarify. 

I still have this conversation with many fellow photographers, whom still feel that they would never, under any circumstances, include RAW files or digital negatives of any kind. But times have moved on. It is not exactly the same as giving away your negatives (which a photographer would never do). We still have a copy of the RAW files after all. We live in a digital age, so we can make a digital copy should it be needed.

And that is all there is to RAW files. There really is no big mystery but it seems to still be a big divider of opinion among professionals and customers alike. People are so often told that they need the RAW files which is rarely the case. And just to add, when a 'shoot and burner' gives you all the images on a disk, these will most likely not be edited or edited to a high standard and they certainly won't be RAW files. They might not even be high enough resolution files that you can do much with. So if you might be thinking that this is the best option as you can save money on your initial photographer because of the belief that this way, you get all that you need, and believe me when I saythat many people do think this and nearly always come to regret it. So please think long and hard if this is an option for you. And I hope this blog post goes someway to explaining the mystery that still clings to RAW files and clarifying why there is a high chance you will not ever need them. It is not worth the extra cost or consideration if you have all you need in your package such as we offer at Lucria Creative, and if you do, then your chosen studio should be able to supply it for you. So just ask.

Wayne Hudson, Imagery by hudson, lucria creative, photography, photographer, wedding, bride, groom, Coventry, Warwickshire, finding the right wedding photography for you

For our next, and last part of this blog series we will be briefly touching on copyright and ownership rights. This can be found here in part 5.

Or if you have happened to tune in to this series further down the line, and would like the rest of the inforamtion on how to choose the right wedding photographer then just click here to find out all you need to know.