Photography copyright: simplified | Amarillo TX Photographer

Portrait and wedding photographers like me receive a lot of criticism from well-established photographers. Here's why: my approach to pricing my photography sessions is different than that of older photographers. I am what is referred to as a "shoot and burn" photographer. I shoot your wedding, I edit the photos, I burn them to a disc and you can print the photos wherever you like and as much as you like. Why wouldn't a client want that option? That's why the more established photographers aren't happy with us shoot and burners. 

They charge a very low sitting fee for their services but they retain all of the copy rights to your images and then charge a 500-1000% mark up on prints. You end up paying an arm and a leg to get prints of those precious memories. 

With photographers like me, we share copy right privileges. But what exactly does that mean?

As far as my contract states, it means that I, the photographer and creator of the image, own the image. I have the right to use the photograph as I wish: in advertisements, selling prints, selling stock images, on social media, and in any way that promotes my business. And you, the client, while you don't own the image, have the right to reproduce the photo as many times as you like in whatever capacity. You can have prints made for grandma, your friends, your husband, whoever. 

Here's what you can't do with shared copyright privileges (according to my contract. Other photographers are different): You can't sell the images as prints, stock photos, or in any other capacity. You can't use the image in a commercial fashion. You can't re-edit the image. I cringe when I see clients taking my artwork and posting it on Instagram with some crazy filter. That is a reflection upon me and I like to have control over how potential customers see my work. It's also illegal to do so. 

Also, if you aren't the paying client (for example, you are a bridesmaid) it violates my copyright for you to take a photo that I posted of you on Facebook and use it as a profile picture with the watermark cut out. When I see 100+ people liking that photo of you, I think of all the lost business I could have had if they knew I took that photo. 

So that's the way my copy right terms go for my portrait and wedding photography. Commercial photography is a whole other ball game for a different time. 

Thanks for taking the time to read!


Kayla SmithComment