Copyright vs. Print Release

July 1, 2017

I sometimes have clients ask me if they receive the “copyright release” with their sessions, so I thought I’d address it here.

When you opt for a package that includes digital images from your session or wedding day, you receive a selection of images and you can choose which ones you want to print as you choose.  (You also have the option to print through me, as I do have products that are only available through professionals, but its’s not required.)  

So when a client requests the copyright to their images, most of the time, they are actually just looking for a print release! 

Now, to get technical for a moment.

A copyright is owned by the person who creates the work.  So from the moment I take an image, it legally belongs to me as the photographer, unless I sign it away.  I have the exclusive rights to determine how the images should be displayed and/or distributed.  I am also the only person who can alter my work.  Since the image is associated with my name, I want to have complete control of how they look so that they represent the style that I am hired for.  Images covered in filters, text or bad crops can misrepresent my brand.

A print release gives someone permission to reproduce my images for their own personal use.  You can make the images into print, canvases, albums, etc.  However, you are prohibited from using them for commercial reasons.  For example, if you were approached by an editor to buy one of the images I took, you can’t as they are not yours to sell.

Here it is in short.

With a print release you CAN post them on social media and print them in any way that you wish.

You CANNOT edit the images in any way, such as using Instagram filters, claim the work as your own or sell them.

Crediting me.

I love that you love the images I took and that you want to show them off!  A simple link to my website is wonderful when you’re sharing your images!

Lab recommendations.

Different print labs have different quality.  I always recommend mpix to my clients!  They have great quality for good prices.

Downloading your print release.

If you decide to go somewhere other than mpix, you might need to take the print release with you.  You can download that here.

Products available through me.

I offer lots of products that aren’t available in mainstream labs.  For more information, please contact me!

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