In a nutshell.
A photographer is an artist. Artists create art. The instant a photographer captures an image, they automatically own the copyright to that image—the same as a sculptor, painter, author, or songwriter. These rights are inherent even if a client has hired them to take the image, even if the image is not clearly marked with a copyright, even if the photographer has posted the picture on the Internet, and even if the client has purchased a physical print of the image.
There are several exclusive rights that are automatically applied to works of art. As such, the photographer automatically has the right:
- to produce copies and to sell those copies (including electronic copies)
- to import or export the work
- to create derivative works
- to perform or display the work publicly
- to sell or assign these rights to others
- to transmit or display by radio or video
Often, clients assume that since they have paid the photographer to take the images and the images are of the clients, they own the images. This is not true unless the client and photographer negotiate these terms at some point. The client pays for the service of the photographer, not the copyright.
Please be aware that copyright infringement is illegal. In short, it’s stealing and can also be punishable by law.
- Can I scan my prints and make copies from the scan?
- Will a photo lab make copies for me?
- Can I give the prints to a printing company so they can design an invitation for me?
- Can I scan the print, edit it in a graphics program and then make copies?
- Can I get a screen shot (grab) and then post on the Internet or print the image?
- Can I take a picture of the image to obtain the copyright?
The answers are all the same: Not without the express written permission from the photographer.
Not long ago, I started offering a digital option to all my sessions and events. Initially, it is more expensive, but in the long run the clients don’t have to choose only a few poses and some of these rights are then conveyed to the client. With certain limitations, the client can then reproduce the images as they wish. They can share on Facebook. They can make calendars, t-shirts, invitations and photo books. They can print the pictures to hang on their walls or share with family. My clients have begun to choose this option more often because it includes all of the images from the session or event, and because they have more access to use and share the images. They can have it all and not break any laws in the process.
Copyright. In a nutshell.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co. in 2010 and I am one of the premier San Antonio wedding photographers who is available for local and destination weddings. In addition to wedding photography, I also specialize in high school seniors and family portraits in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I enjoy watching my daughter play softball, hiking, cycling and listening to Elvis!