Planning a wedding is stressful enough, there is so much to think about and organize; when I got married some of our major considerations was do we get married in Auckland, or Christchurch, or do we have a destination wedding? Which venue suits us the best, what photographer do we use?!?! Like us, you want everything to be perfect, and to have every detail of your day captured perfectly. There have been cases where a couple has hired a professional, only to find out afterwards, that they need to pay extra to have any sort of useage licence for their images. Thus brings up one of the main concerns from all Brides-to-be "who owns copyright to my photos, and can I have all rights to them?". It has come to my attention the importance of clients understanding Copyright issues as it is not very well understood. I wanted to share the truth from a photographers perspective, but please keep in mind I am not talking about every photographer out there, they all have different ways of running their business, and I am not a lawyer, this is purely from my own experiences and some of the other fellow photographers I know.
In the eyes of the New Zealand law the person who commissions the photographer is the first owner of the images. This goes for any type of photoshoot, not just Weddings, however, if you are hiring a seasoned professional more often than not it is written within their contracts that they retain Copyright to the images. It will be very difficult to find an experienced photographer who will give away 100% rights to any images, unless you pay a fairly hefty sum for them. It is not all doom and gloom, before you start thinking that your photographer is going to start selling your images to everyone and exploit your images this is rarely ever the case.
In most cases your photographer does NOT want to on-sell, or exploit your precious memories. If a photographer is wanting to use images for publishing in any other medium other than Social Media or their website portfolio (and sometimes advertising/promotional material), often they will have a stylized shoot with other wedding vendors for this purpose; ask your photographer if you unsure of what they might be used for.
Usually a photographer retains Copyright so the client cannot sell the images for profit, or to other companies, or so images cannot be published into any other media without written permission that is not within their contract.
Most photographers will give you 'a license of use' this allows you as the client to use the images for personal use. Usually you will be able to print the images for yourself, or your friends and family, share on social media and email, also printing any albums, or making a digital album is also often allowed. Most photographers will also have a clause that you do not change or manipulate the images in any form. This is your photographers brand, you hired them for their style of photography, any manipulation can have a effect on the photographers brand perception, it can lose them business, reputation and credibility.
Every photographers copyright terms and will vary so always read your contract thoroughly before signing anything, I cannot stress this enough. You don't want any nasty surprises in the future when it comes to one of the important parts of your day - the photos! If in doubt always ask your photographer in regards to anything you are not sure about.
If you have any further questions please leave me a comment or send me an email.
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Image courtesy of Mary Vican - Flickr