Image Rights: What You're Really Looking For

Unfortunately a lot of mis-information is spread around wedding forums and other sites. Brides are told to make sure their photographer is selling them the copyright to their images, but they really need the printing rights.

I offer my brides and grooms printing or reproduction rights to their wedding images, because I think it's really important for my couples to be able to make prints 5, 10, 50 years from now. They might not have my contact information at that point, and honestly, I probably won't still have their images. I only guarantee them for two years. 

I include printing rights as part of my regular collection. As the artist and creator of the images, the photographer always retains the copyright.

And a model release is included in my contract, which allows me to use the photos here on my blog and for other marketing. If you feel uncomfortable with this, just ask and we'll discuss what marketing methods will be used with your photos. Most of the time, us photographers just want to be able to post the images on our blog, add a favorite image to our website portfolio, and print a sample album from your wedding to show other prospective brides and grooms. There's nothing wrong with that!

So don't be turned off when I tell you that I don't sell the copyright to my images. What you really want is the high resolution files with printing or reproduction rights.

Some photographers prefer to offer their clients products, like an album and canvas prints, instead of image files. While this is not the method I use, it certainly guarantees that those images won't sit on the DVD unused. 

When the photographer delivers an album, the bride and groom can enjoy their beautiful images without any more work on their part.

However, sharing those images with friends and family can be a little more difficult since not everyone can come look at the album in your living room. High resolution files are a great addition to a wedding collection, because the images can be shared easily with friends and family so everyone can print and enjoy the wedding images.

Let's cover another misconception quickly. A professional photographer should never give a client RAW files. I'm not really sure where this misconception comes from. Basically, a photographer who gave RAW files would only be completing half of the service, because a RAW file is unfinished. You would need Photoshop or another editing software to even open a RAW file! 

So even though some wedding forums might advocate asking your photographer for RAW files, it's best to trust the professional to select the best photos, edit them, and present you with a beautiful and finished set of images.

If you have any questions about photography or image rights, please don't hesitate to contact me!