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Who owns the copyright of my wedding photographs

A question often asked is who owns the copyright of my wedding photographs.

It’s fairly straight forward it’s the photographer who takes the photograph that actually owns the copyright. As a professional photographer who supplies every couple with their wedding photographs on a USB drive (I used to supply them on disk) I grant the rights

to my customers to get prints done for personal use. I do not transfer the copyright to my customers as I would then have to ask their permission to use their photographs for my own publicity which would be totally impractical.

The USB drives supplied by Shah Photography are branded with our logo and contacts details so if a drive was given to a printer who was being super correct they could contact us to make sure it’s ok for them to make the prints from the digital files. Many photographers get hung up about people using images they have been paid to take; I really don’t understand this and I have to say that to me it sends the wrong signals out to potential customers.

Unfortunately there are always going to be the idiots in any industry who spoil things for the professionals. The view I take, forget about the legal side, is that I have been paid by my customer to photograph their wedding and sometimes the only requirement is for the digital files to be supplied. I want my customers, their family and friends to enjoy the photographs that I have gone to so much effort to capture and process. I have been paid to do this; I have to say that the money is not my motivation what matters to me most is that my work is admired and enjoyed by my customers and brides to be.

Do I have to ask for permission from my customer to use their photographs for publicity? No, I own the copyright so am not restricted in how I may use the images. In practice, if a couple asked for the images not to be used for publicity then I would respect my customer’s wishes. I think a little thought for others goes a long way.

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