S Photography Blog All About Photo Copyrights You (As A Client) Need To KnowCopyrights. Most of us have heard about them somehow in regard to photography. Maybe you have heard one of the following sentences:


” Make sure to get the copyrights to your images!”

” Photographers won’t give you ownership of your images.”

” You may own your wedding day, but you don’t own your wedding images.”


Don’t be alarmed. This is not going to be an article about how photographers are always in the clear, or even how you can “own” your images. It is going to clarify what copyrights are, what is normally offered in a wedding/portrait package, and what print/sharing rights are.


When a photographer takes a photo, it automatically becomes their property. They own the copyrights. That means they own the image. Giving up a photographer’s copyrights to a client is foregoing any future claim that they took the images. It prevents them from using them as they wish because they no longer own the photos. Think of it as a baker selling a cake or secret recipe and letting you tell everyone that YOU made it. If you read my other posts, you will see I love a baker analogy. The buyer can produce the recipe and make money from it without the original baker being involved. When it comes to copyrights, most photographers will not release them, and if they do, it will be a significantly higher cost.

If you’re worried about where they may show your images, ask them. Most photographers may use your amazing images in an online ad, to share on their social media pages, to use on their website portfolio, or to possibly submit to a publication feature.


Print/Usage Rights.

What copyright doesn’t mean: you will never get prints or have a digital copy of the image. Most photographers will include print and usage rights. That normally means you’re allowed to print the images up to a certain size, share them on social media, and possibly submit them for features (but first check with your photographer). All of this should be done while crediting the photographer (particularly if it’s on social media or a feature submission). Print and usage rights are what 99% of the population wants, but may get it confused with copyrights.


A Photographer’s Wedding/Portrait Package.

For weddings, a photographer will either include digital images in their wedding packages, or they won’t. Be sure to check if you aren’t certain, but normally if digital images are not written in the package and there is not an overarching asterisk that indicates they’re included, then they most likely won’t be.

Two likely options for packages:

  1. Wedding Package that includes digital images
  2. Wedding Package that possibly includes physical products, but not digital images

If you’re opting for a photographer with a package that does not include digital images, they will likely be available for purchase (with print/usage rights) from the photographer. If digital images are already included in your package, then you most likely will be given those print/usage rights.

Portrait packages are much the same. A lot of photographers will also charge a portrait session fee, then allow the client to choose what items/images they want from an a la carte pricing list. If your photographer doesn’t provide you with packages, but instead says a single price, they’re informing you of the portrait session fee (that may or may not include digital images – check with your photographer). That means you’ll have an a la carte list of products (including digital images) to choose from. Those digital images normally come with print/usage rights.


Wrap it Up.

All in all, owning the actual copyrights to your images does not give you much of a benefit aside from preventing the photographer from using them to help promote their business. And let’s be honest, how would photographers advertise if they didn’t have examples of their work? If you have a concern about privacy, just ask your photographer. I’m sure any professional photographer would be willing to accommodate.


Are you getting married and want to have amazing images? Do you also want a fun time with your photographer? Shoot me a message so we can go on an adventure together! 

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