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copyright of images and usage

saqibzulsaqibzul Member
edited August 2012 in wedding photography
Please confirm if my understand is correct, i.e. All images I take atwedding/parties etc. are copyright to me (photographer). I can give them to clients or second shooters for printing/posting and stuff, but I still own the original rights. Also can I use them on my site without the written consent of the client.
In light of this, can someone share a wedding photography contract that has this and other important stuff stipulated. I have seen a few online, but just trust this site more.



  • TrevTrev Moderator
    First up, I live in the State of Queensland, in Australia, checked by 2 lawyers, and this pertains to that state's laws, but I have this in part of my contract:

    DIGITAL COPYRIGHTS / ARTISTIC PROPERTY / EXHIBITION / MODEL RELEASE: The Bride & Groom have permission to make an unlimited number of copies and/or reprints of any images, or to reproduce the images for any NON-COMMERCIAL purpose, for personal use and distribution at no additional charge. The Photographer as a free and independent contractor retains Copyright to all images taken. The Bride & Groom grants to The Photographer its legal representatives and assigns, the irrevocable and unrestricted right to use and publish photographs of the parties or in which the parties or their family may be included, for editorial, trade, advertising and any other purpose and in any manner and medium; to alter the same without restriction; and to copyright the same.
  • Thanks Trev! Anyone from the US with a response will be appreciated.

  • Hi Saqib:

    You cannot use the photos on your site or anywhere else without permission from those pictured in the photos. So even if the client says yes, if a beautiful cousin or an adorable niece is in a photo you must get their permission (or parents for minors). Simply taking the photos of your client(s) does not automatically give you permission to use them in your portfolio, print or internet. So, yes, having it in a signed contract is a good idea.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    You do need a model release for people in the photographs that you post on your site. That's the ideal.

    However, it would be a monumental task to get everyone's signature that you photograph at a wedding .. even if you just limit it to the bridal party.

    My contract has a model release for the couple .. and that gets me through when I use the images in my books. The publisher insists on those.

    I've only had two occasions where someone asked me to remove a photo from Facebook or my wedding blog - http://oneperfectmoment.com - so it does happen. I do immediately remove the photos and apologize.

    To be safe, I will NEVER post a photo of someone that isn't flattering. It doesn't do my business any favors if a client or friend or family of a client feels that I embarrassed them.

    What I am trying to get to here, is that you will most likely have very little trouble from anyone if the photo is flattering. But ... that isn't a legal safeguard. So the best would be to have a proper model release.
  • Jennifer and Neil, Thank you for your great feedback.
    Neil, You have been the main catalyst in using on-camera flash and my move into wedding photography. :) thank you for that!

    Since this topic is with regards to my first paid shoot, and writing my first contract, would it possible to share the contract template you use. It may be a bit off topic, but just want to get all the help i can. I am interested in everything except the pricing part.

    If you prefer to send it directly, please send to saqibz@hotmail.com

    Appreciate everyone's help on this.
  • Hi Saqibzul:

    I think you were asking the question of Neil -- for a contract template. But in case you also meant me I wanted to respond. I do not use contracts. I don't shoot weddings, just family portraits and high school seniors, etc...... I just ask clients individually after a shoot, via email (so it's in writing) if I can use their photos on website, portfolio, etc.... But I'd recommend getting model release forms signed at the time of the shoot. It saves time and is more efficient. You can find such forms on the 'net via a Google or Yahoo search. Or try photo.net. (But with weddings you'll want a full contract and this would be one part of it). Release should just say you have received permission to use the photos in your print portfolio and website, social media (Facebook), displays, marketing materials, ads, business cards, etc.... Say 'including but not limited to...' in case you want to use in a manner not specified in release form. Make sure it says 'without compensation' so there's no misunderstanding about payment. Also it should say 'in perpetuity' so you can use them forever. In reality though if anyone asked me later not to use a photo I would not use it and you can even tell them that. But saying 'in perpetuity' protects you, especially if they happen to change their minds just after you've spent $500 on marketing postcards!
  • I don't know if any professional photographer would reveal their contract template. These contracts are often customized by the photographer's attorney for use specifically for that photographer. The contacts may also contain proprietary business information that the photographer may not want to share.

    However, if you are just looking for something to use initially, you could try these sources for low-cost templates.



    If you continue to get requests for professional work, you owe it to yourself to get an attorney to get contracts tailored to your business and your jurisdiction.
  • Jennifer and Stephen! thank you for your evaluable feedback. This was very helpful.

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