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Copyright Versus Print Release

October 2, 2017

For Clients


When I have brides and grooms asking me if they get “full rights” to their pictures, I always find myself explaining the difference in copyright versus print release.

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I recently heard a story about a bride was getting quotes for her wedding day that were ranging anywhere from $20,000 – $40,000. She was blown away and couldn’t figure out why people were quoting her such a high price for one day of wedding photography.

Turns out, it was all in her wording. She was asking for the copyright versus print release.

When a true copyright is purchased, the photographer no longer owns any right to the image. They may not reproduce the image in anyway, shape, or form. They cannot display the image in anyway that makes it public, and a host of other things.

Most professional photographers, including myself, will have it in their contract that they remain the copyright owner of the images. We do this to prevent clients from editing our work, selling our pictures, using the images for advertising, and other non-personal uses. Images being used for personal reasons are inherently less expensive because they are not to be meant to turn a profit for another person.

When I have a client wanting a full copyright, I always take the time to explain to them the difference between a copyright versus print release.

With each of my clients, I offer a print release. This is usually what people mean when they ask for a copyright. They want to know that they will have access to their images after their session or wedding day. They want to be able to download them, put them on social media, and print them. A print release does all of this. A print release will give the client the ability to have the images for personal use.

Some people do want a copyright versus print release though. Those people are typically celebrities or other wise among the rich and/or famous. They want to be able to sell the images to magazines, or don’t want the photographer building their brand off images of them. This is because they don’t want to look like they are “endorsing” the photographer. In those instances, those clients expect a quote that is close to five times the price of a collection with a simple print release.

So, if you are asking for the copyrights to your pictures, you might be getting a higher quote than what you’d like to pay! Try asking your photographer for a print release instead!

If you want to read more advice from a wedding blogger, click here! 

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