Who Owns the Wedding Photos?

Lincolnshire wedding photographerWhat a simple question! As a client, by paying the photographer as the agreement states, you should automatically have full rights to your photographs yes? And should you choose, to use them anyhow you want yes?

Well, you are missing one tiny important detail. The photographer took the photos, and those pictures are what he will display in his portfolio to attract other customers. If you are not able to see shots of other people’s weddings, of course you wouldn’t have hired him or her in the very first place.

Being a Lincolnshire wedding photographer, you are constantly faced with questions like these: who actually owns the photographs? Who owns the copyrights to those beautiful and amazing shots?

My Work, My Life

When someone creates a piece of work, say, a piece of music or in this case, wedding photographs, they own the copyrights to that work. Under the UK Copyright Service Fact-Sheet, “the photographer owns the copyright on any pictures he or she has taken”. There are two exceptions however:

  1. If the photographer works as an employee in a company and has been instructed to take the photographs, the company (or studio in this case) owns the photographs.
  2. If there is an agreement that gives another person or party the copyright.

Copyrights are highly important to photographers because they are put in place to protect their work and intellectual property so they don’t get stolen for any reason. Many times, your photographer will use those pictures alongside their logo on them. Whether they use the logo or not, they have absolute control over how the pictures should be used.

A good look at professional Lincolnshire wedding photographer Sharon’s portfolio at http://www.symplyphotography.co.uk/ will give you a good understanding of how photographers need to protect their work.


Well, not necessarily. The pictures are your wedding pictures and it just right if you intend to put them up on your social media sites and rake in some “awws” and likes.

But to make use of the pictures, you have to seek permission from the photographer or better still the copyright owner. You should know too, that the copyright owner can decline your request. These are part of the things you discuss during an interview with your photographer; this is where a contract comes in.

You are paying for a service and you are to sign a contract. So, you have the right to negotiate the contract.

You should be aware that copyright laws are simply by default. Your wedding photographer can sell the copyright to the pictures to you. This is done when both parties reach an agreement.

Generally, the licensing or copyright sections of contract will make you understand if:

  1. The photographer will or can sell (or give under certain conditions) the copyright to you, granting you the rights to use the images as you wish.
  2. If he or she can or will give you limited access to use the images, so that you can reproduce for your own personal use but not sell or publish.
  3. If he or she does not intend to give you rights to the photographs without express permission.

Many photographers include the options for albums in their packages, ensuring that they do the printing themselves. You get to choose the pictures you want in the albums of course.

If you do intend to print other copies, you contact them first.

It is rare to find photographers who in any case would not include at least an option for you to buy the copyrights or use them. As a Lincolnshire wedding photographer, you have to be flexible. Regardless, copyright issues are subject to negotiation and agreement. So, ensure that you and your photographer fully understand the agreement. Always.