And You Are???? .....

Type A Images is a portrait and wedding photography company based in Wisconsin but available for any place your little heart desires! If you are interested in booking your event or session, hit me up on email!

Type A Images has been featured on The Rock and Roll Bride blog, The Offbeat Bride Blog, WeddingWire's Brides Choice for 2010 and 2011, and The Knot Best Of Weddings for 2011. Type A also offers a hospice photography program called Kindred Spirits through the Beloit Regional Hospice, which was featured as WPPI's Photolanthropy of the Month for September 2010.


Makin' Copies. | Milwaukee Wedding Photographer.

Since Pellegrino Turri invented carbon paper in the early 1800's, "making copies" has been a standard. I can imagine that when the early cavemen started banging out pictures of their pals on cave walls....their pals wanted to know how to copy those pictures and bring them with them on the know, to show their other caveman pals.

So, makin' copies and showing off art created FOR us is not new. However, in this age of viral overload, Facebook, and instant gratification...never has the issue of copyright and the right (or wrong) way to copy someone else's work been such a hot topic of conversation.

It's not very often that I DON'T get asked about "copyright". Normally the first question I get from brides and grooms inquiring about my services is "do I get copyright to the pictures?"

So, I thought for this week's blog I'd cover this hot topic of copyright and what it entails for your comissioned images.

1. "Do I get the copyright to the pictures?"
In a You don't. Now, there are plenty of photographers out there signing over "copyright" to brides and grooms, and I'm willing to bet there's plenty of photographers out there who don't know exactly what they're doing. What I grant to you following the wedding is "Right to Print" for your personal use. This is different than copyright. Copyright comes into effect the moment I create the image, and it remains with me as the creator of that image. So, by copying the image without expressed permission from the creator, you are violating copyright.

2. But I want all my Facebook pals to see the pictures right away!
Believe me, I get that time is of the essence. We live in a time of "I want it NOWWW Daddy!" (said in my best Veruca Salt tone). This is why I get your blog up ASAP and link to it so pals can get a sneak peek very quickly. This is why I do allow my brides and grooms to post their images on Facebook when they receive their disk. What is not cool is:
- Copying an image off of the website or blog without permission, cropping out the logo, and messing with the integrity of the picture. If I didn't say "go ahead", you've just infringed on my copyright.
- Printing pictures from Facebook. (Please please please do not do this. Saving a few bucks is not worth having pictures that look like complete grainy garbage)

I always try to work with my couples to make sure they have access to share and show off their pictures. I fully support it, because it's good for me to get them out there too! But, when they are taken without permission, that's just not cool.

If you're ever in doubt, if the picture is right-click protected and has a big ole watermark on it...the artist probably doesn't want you copying it.

3. Stand back, Stand back.....
So, recently a photo pal of mine had an image that she took of a bride and groom in a lake...embracing....a beautifully orchestrated image. A guest of the wedding stood behind her and snapped the SAME image this friend had just posed and created. This guest then posted that image on the internet, with no indication that she had not posed or really created this image. She had just shot behind the original artist.

While things like ideas, themes, or concepts cannot be copyrighted, once they are put into action and onto film (or digital art, as it were), they are copyrightable....and stealing that idea and passing it off as your own is copyright infringement.

Now, to the average person...this may seem like a lot of whining over nothing. They're wedding pictures! The same poses have been regurgitated over and over until they're stale. Whatever the case may be though, if the professional is setting up a scene they have in their head...and they take the picture...that concept is now a copyrighted piece of art.

It's partly for this reason why I discourage and often do not allow guests to come along during formals with the bride and groom. Not only is it distracting, but I do not want my concepts and picture ideas to be copied and passed off as someone else's work. In such a saturated market, our ideas and concepts are how we, as photographers, set ourselves apart and market our style.

4. Walgreens...Walmart...all you Wals.....take Note!

I've often seen where images I did not grant reprint rights for were printed anyway by Walmart or Walgreens (or similar big box stores). If you do not have a signed reprint right form in your hand when you walk into that store, and they make copies for you anyway, they just violated my copyright. Get the form. It's easy! : )

Now, I realize a lot of this may scream "Grumpy, Crabby Photographer!" .....and believe me, a few years ago I probably would have thought so too! Again, without the bride and groom these images would not exist. I acknowledge that. I'm very liberal with how I allow clients to use my pictures. But, if the practice gets makes it harder for professionals to allow use. The give and inch and they take a mile issue.

So how can you make sure you get the best use out of your pictures and not violate the artist's copyright?

First...if you're in doubt, simply ASK. It's a new era, and many photographers are willing to sell reprint rights or sign over personal reprint rights with guidelines. By asking you are letting the photographer know that you respect their rights to their work and to how their work is presented.

Second...follow the guidelines your photographer gives you. Reprint rights are normally only given to the paying client.....not to everyone and their mother. They usually include personal reprint use and maybe some online use. So, before you use your wedding picture for your own business or something similar, make sure you understand your given reprint rights and what they entail.

Third....discourage guests at your wedding from shooting over the professional's shoulder, especially during formal set-ups. Again, not only is this in your best interest so the professional has your undivided attention, but it will serve to avoid any possible copyright issues.

Fourth....we're really not a bunch of curmudgeonly old grumps. But many of us are insanely proud of our work, and we want that shown in the best light possible...and in it's intended state. So cropping, Photoshopping, or otherwise "messing with" an image your pro took for you is really not kosher.

Working together with your chosen photographer and keeping the lines of communication open, you can share your images legally and make sure everyone, in the end, is a happy camper!

1 Peanut Gallery.:

LilyBear Photography said...

so true......... i hate the over the shoulder shooter......

and i think you stated this very well......people that respect the craft will respect the post :)

Blog Archive

So You're EnGAYged Professional Photographer Member of the DWFWeddings, Wedding Venues2011 Bride's Choice Awards | Best Wedding Photographers, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Cakes, Wedding Florists, Wedding Planners & More