I’ve been getting quite a few inquiries lately where clients have asked about obtaining the copyright to their images. Most of the time I feel like it’s just a misunderstanding of the difference between the copyright and the print release. With every package I offer, the client gets the print release of the images. So here’s a little breakdown of the meaning of each to help clarify:
Copyright: Owned by the person who creates the work. Essentially I am the “author” of the image, just like a writer is an “author” of a book. This means that I obtain the right to determine how the image is best displayed such as color and cropping. I make sure that the image is in line with my editing style that the client has hired me for. This is why in my contract it states that the image cannot be altered in any way, because a bad filter or crop can misrepresent me and my business.
Print Release: Right to reproduce images for the client’s personal use. The key here is personal use. You can have prints, albums, canvases, even t-shirts made with your images for you and your family and friends. You cannot, however, use them for commercial gain. For example, if The Knot contact you saying they want to use one of your wedding photos for their magazine, you do not have the right to give it to them since it is not yours to sell.
In summary, with a print release…
~ Post on social media
~ Print unlimited amounts in any form
~ Share with family and friends so they can do the above as well
~ Edit the images in any way (no cropping and NO Instagram filters, etc.)
~ Claim the work as your own
~ Use them for commercial gain