Licensing for wedding photos, to protect photographer, but allow freedom to clients?

2018-02-22 08:41:34

We're looking at booking a professional photographer for our wedding, but I am a little unhappy with assigning complete control of photos from our own wedding to a photographer.

The contract she offered allows her to retain copyright, and only grants us a license to print as-is. That is, if we want to turn a photo sepia, or black and white, or crop it, etc, we must obtain her written permission first.

Her reasoning, which I understand but still dislike, is that any modifications we make could reflect badly on her as a professional.

This makes me feel quite unconformable, especially because I am the type of person who would likely make use of these photos over coming years and for the rest of our lives.

So my questions are:

Is it reasonable to ask for copyright, or at least a non-exclusive license to the photos if we are paying for the service? (We are not asking a lower price, and her price is about the same as most other photographers here in Australia)

Is there

  • My personal opinion on this is that, while I understand the photographer's position, your wedding album is not her portfolio, even if you want something hideous it's your right as the one paying for the job - I wouldn't agree to her terms.

    I believe, that for a full price job the service provider can't put his/her own interest above the client's.

    You can work out something about how credit is given (or not given) and you can offer to pay extra or you can both agree that you'll be better served by someone else.

    I'm a small business owner myself (but not a professional photographer) and I know that there's a delicate balance between what is good for the service provider and what is good for the customer - and if I do something that's good for me but bad for the customer I will lose that customer.

    By the way - for my wedding (that was shot on film) I've got the negatives + high res digital copies + the right to do whatever I want with the images without giving credit. this was all n

    2018-02-22 08:43:06
  • The photographer is not asking for the copyright; she's informing you that she holds it. There are a few backwards jurisdictions (and until last year, Canada was one of them) where the copyright would naturally belong to the commissioner of photographic work and a clause in a contract was the only way for a photographer to retain copyright, but in most of the world, "work for hire" (or similar provisions in law) will not kick in unless there is something substantially resembling an employer/employee relationship, and the creator of the work holds copyright absent a contract stating otherwise.

    A license granting reproduction rights is extraordinary as it is¹; a license to create derivative works (modifying the image) is almost unheard of in the industry. At least among actual professionals (as opposed to weekend warriors who don't depend on photography for their income). A photographer's "look" is part of their brand and marketing, and only those who don't care about their brand and

    2018-02-22 08:50:59
  • There was actually a really good discussion on this in chat last week. Personally, I do event photography as a side business and view customer choice as paramount, but I do also understand the quality concern. For my top level package, I still maintain copyright but also grant a non-exclusive complete license to the work since I view my work at the most expensive level as that of a contractor.

    That said, it may be very hard to find other photographers who are both willing to allow this model and of high quality. I personally got in to doing photography on the side because I didn't like the existing model and have a bit of an ethical problem with the idea of controlling the work that someone pays me a fair market rate for my time and equipment and while I'm in favor of packaging more limited rights in exchange for a discount, I still think that there should be a price point to be able to have the right to treat the images as something you purchased, at least with declaration being

    2018-02-22 09:06:12
  • I will answer your questions as you proposed them:

    Is it reasonable to ask for copyright, or at least a non-exclusive

    license to the photos if we are paying for the service? (We are not

    asking a lower price, and her price is about the same as most other

    photographers here in Australia)

    It is reasonable to ask for whatever you want, but to expect to pay for that additional service as well. I would expect to pay a very significant amount more for what you are asking for, in the 25-100% or more range.

    Is there some sort of licensing agreement that protects her from being

    hurt by any non-professional modifications we make, but also

    recognizes her as the original photographer?

    It isn't about licensing, it is about the photographers name and brand being displayed to potential clients alongside work that was not wholly created by them.

    If we were to offer to pay more for her services, in return for

    copyright or a non-exclusive license, how much more than the ask

    2018-02-22 09:20:45
  • Disclaimer: Yes it's perfectly fine to ask for such terms at an agreed price in a legally binding contract. It's up to the photographer to agree to relinquish said rights and allow additional usage terms.

    However, consider the following scenarios in light of the non-agreeable photographers (I am one):

    Would you commission a studio to engineer, mix and master your music, only to go and add your own EQing, compression and other filters to your own taste then release the music to find that the producer absolutely hates what you've done to it?

    Would you commission a graphic artist to produce a poster, only to go and add your own elements, change colours and rearrange things before using it?

    Would you commission a painter to paint your portrait, only to go and paint over some bits because you think it could be better?

    Would these artists producing work for you enjoy that you've gone and changed their work after the fact?

    I highly doubt it.

    Would they have worked with you to produce

    2018-02-22 09:24:45
  • My two cents: trust the professional.

    She knows what she's doing, and she knows what happens when people touch the pictures (the horror, the horror!).

    If you'd like to have creative control about the pictures, ask a family member or friend that likes photography to take pictures too. Then you can play with these ;)

    2018-02-22 09:29:54
  • Conversely, I'm currently looking to hire a photographer (also in Australia). Privacy is important to me. I don't wish any extra rights over the photos, but I am not willing to have them used for the photographer's portfolio or have them displayed in any other way.

    I have asked for all files to be deleted once I have received the final versions.

    Your collective thoughts?

    2018-02-22 09:42:04
  • I don't know where you live but I live in VA. I am a photographer. Im not trying to be rude but you do know that in most states (if not all of them) the photographer OWNS COPY RIGHT REGUARDLESS because the law states that the client has no rights to the photos unless the photographer gives WRITTEN DOCUMENTED CONSENT to said client?? You need to do some research lol. Stan has the correct idea. You can ask for it all you want but the answer is up to the photographer (or any photographer you will meet most likely) that you would have to pay twice as much for the copy right. I start out $250 for a simple baby photo shoot. If a parent wants a print package, $50 package of 12 photos. If they want an album, $100. If they want rights to reprint, $150. If they want full copy right, $200 for full copy right of EDITS ONLY (covers from 20-35 shots). Prices vary but you should expect to pay a lot more if you want copy right.

    2018-02-22 10:00:41