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Wedding Photography Copyright

A question came up recently about copyright and a couple’s wedding photography.  I thought it would be useful to write a short post clearing up confusion that clearly exists around the subject.

From the outset, you need to understand that a wedding photographer always retains the copyright to the images they produce and it would be highly unusual for the photographer to give up that copyright in any circumstances.  This is industry standard and usually the only wedding photographers who would give away their copyright are rank amateurs or inexperienced photographers who may not understand the consequences.

Normally, the terms around copyright are outlined in the wedding photography contract but even where no contract exists UK Intellectual Property Law states that the moment a photographer clicks the shutter of his camera he owns the copyright to that image.

Kislingbury Wedding Photography Northampronshire

Think of it a bit like some music you purchase.  You don’t own the copyright to that music, but you do have the right to listen to it when you like and play it to others (within certain legal requirements.) Buying that CD or MP3 doesn’t give you ownership of the music itself. It’s the same with wedding photography.

So if the wedding photographer retains the copyright to the wedding photography he produces where does that leave you as the couple? This is where a “License of Use” comes in which is an agreement that allows you use of the wedding photos, the terms of which will be specified in the individual wedding photography contract itself.

My license of use will allow you to use your wedding photography in any way you wish, except commercially. So, in other words, you can print them, share them with others, share across social media, give copies to friends and family, etc.  What you cannot do is sell them for commercial gain, provide them to someone for commercial use, edit or re-edit them, etc.  So as you can see it’s very rare a couple actually need to obtain the copyright to their wedding photography.

Charlene David Holy Ghost Luton Wedding

The other question that sometimes arises is how I can use your wedding photography. Again this will be outlined in the wedding photography contract, usually under a Model Release Clause.  In my contract, I state that I will only use your images for promotional and marketing purposes on my website and across social media. Again this is an industry standard and shouldn’t cause you any concern. But of course, if there are certain images you don’t wish to be used then I am always happy to reach a solution on this I’m certainly not in the business of wanting to upset anyone!

Hopefully that explains the copyright of wedding photography but if you do have any more questions about it, then please do not hesitate to contact me via my contact page or give me a call on 07920 42144.

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