Who Owns The Rights to Your Wedding Photos? Hint: It’s Not You

When you book your wedding photographer, you will need to sign a contract. Part of the contract will include a clause about copyrights, and another clause will be about permission to share your photos. Both are VERY important.

Let’s start with sharing your photos. All photographers will have a clause asking if you would be ok with your photographer sharing your photos on social media, on their website, in their marketing materials, or with other blogs such as yours truly. For example, all the couples featured in our Featured Love Story galleries have signed that release with their photographer.

But it’s TOTALLY ok for you to say no, and photographers understand. I did not give permission. Not because I was trying to be mean, but because my husband and I are very private and wanted to maintain that sense of privacy.

In addition, that contract will discuss copyright and will spell out exactly what you have the right to do, and what you DON’T have the right to do, with your photos.

The post below is written by Hannah Servidio of  Hannah Nicole Photography to explain photo copywrites  and why they are so important…



Photo copyrights…No one really understands them but everyone needs them.

The technical definition of Copyright is the rights given to creators for their literary and artistic work. In simple terms, whoever pushes the shutter owns the image.

I know it sounds crazy because you’re probably thinking “But that’s ME in that photo! How can they own ME?!”

Well obviously we can’t own you personally, but the reason copyrights are given to photographers for their photos is that Photographers spend years perfecting their style and hours perfecting each image. That photo is their trademark AND their brand.

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

When you put that Instagram filter on a wedding photo, you are actually infringing on the Copyright.

Don’t get me wrong I love me some Valencia filter on the ‘Gram but the reality is your photographer just spent a lot of time (which you paid them to do) perfecting every pixel of that image and putting a filter over it is offensive.

Besides the hurting of someone’s feelings, when you put that image up and your friends ask who did your photos, and you name your photographer in your comment, your photographer will not be happy with that. Its false advertising and not the brand that the photographer wants to be seen.

Other things that infringe on Copyright include scanning and printing photos. Seriously. While that should go without saying I’m just going to leave that there.

Printing rights are something a lot of photographers give their clients and that is different from Copyright.

That would be a whole other blog post but in brief ‘printing rights’ is just that. You have the right to print the photos. NOT edit them! NOT sell them! Simply just print them and hang, frame, or show them off.

Sometimes when you go to a drugstore to print your digital files the worker will ask to see your print release. This is to protect your photographer from having clients take the photos and print without their knowledge.

I know this all seems very one-sided toward the photographer but unfortunately, this is the photographers’ living.

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post. Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.


Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Hannah Nicole Photography

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