You may hear these words used similarly but they couldn’t be more different. Do you know if you need a wedding photographer copyright or a print release for your big day?
To begin with, here’s a little breakdown of the what they mean and how different these kind of rights are.
Firstly, copyright is a property right. It is a legal device that gives the creator of any creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work. Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, the owner of a photograph is the one who takes it. As the owner of the photograph, I can use them in publications, on my blog or on my website. Wedding photographer copyrights aren’t actually what the typical couple needs.
Example of a wedding photographer copyright need: You’re a famous couple and you want to make sure that People magazine gets the exclusive first look into your wedding. To protect yourself from your photographer leaking them to every tabloid, you buy the copyrights to the images so that you have control over where they end up.
In your contract, we create a model release which gives your permission for your photographer to share your images. You are signing the right for fair usage online, this is at no additional cost and standard in your contract.
If you are worried about your privacy, or the privacy of your guests, we can adjust your model release to fit what makes you comfortable. I am happy to accommodate modified releases. This is an easy, and cheaper fix, than selling you the copyright.
Model release example: My husband is in law enforcement and we don’t want our faces on social media. We altar your model release to allow for only the sharing of detail images or close ups/backs of heads.
A print release is a formal document that you receive with your gallery that allows you to download, print and share your images at your will. This letter acknowledges the copyright but releases you from needed my permission every time you want to do something with your photos.
In your contract, I give you the high-resolution edited digital files (perfectly acceptable for printing a very large sizes). With your print release, you can go anywhere to print your images at a cost that’s comfortable for you. You also have access to our professional print lab straight through your gallery and can order from there as well. The choice is yours!!
In our print release, we also have a social media clause stating that you may share your photos on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. The one thing that the print release doesn’t let you do is altar or edit the images. You are investing a lot into your wedding photography experience and that includes hiring someone that edits in a way you like. For my style I use bold, clear, crisp colors and edit in a natural way that will stand the test of time. You wouldn’t just go slapping a cheap Instagram filter on a work of art!
Print release example: I just delivered your wedding images and you want to print ALL OF THEM. You can!! Because you have a print release. You download your images, upload them to your favorite print shop, and boom. You have your photos!
I hope that this post has helped you understand the differences between a wedding photographer copyright and print release. Now you can make an informed decision on which is best for you! For more tips and tricks as you navigate planning for great wedding photography visit my blog!