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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Wedding Photography Copyright Revisited

Years ago I touched on the ‘tradition’ of wedding photographers retaining copyright (and the negatives/files), prompting some discussion across a few other sites.

When it came to planning our own recent wedding, there was no way we were going to pay someone and then have them exclusively own the images of such a personal event. I thought perhaps attitudes had changed throughout the industry by now, but at a wedding fair one photographer actually laughed in my face at the idea that we’d get the files etc.

Luckily, some photographers have recognised the changing requirements & expectations of their customers. We ended up hiring Edward from Foster Hargreaves, who kindly agreed to an unusual deal involving us just receiving all of the unedited files (as we’re comfortable with photo editing).

So if you’re persistent, find the right photographer, ask the right questions, and pay a decent amount, you don’t have to go along with any restrictive nonsense. And certainly steer clear of anyone who ridicules your concerns.


I read the title to this article and panicked for a moment, then remembered what Edward and I decided upon as the backbone of the business - customer service. You would think it would catch on more as a concept?

Hope you guys had a wonderful day, I'm really looking forward to seeing the shots. Sorry I couldn't be there with Edward to shoot the day, but as it happens little George decided to appear on time, so we were knee deep in nappies instead!

Karl Randay, 25th Oct, 10:23am

Photographs are art. If I bought a painting, I would not expect to own the copyright to it.

It can be arranged, but is not automatic.

LordManley, 25th Oct, 11:31am

Talk to some people who are about to hire a wedding photographer and you'll find they naively assume that they're paying someone to produce photos for them to own, not paying to become licensees. They don't read the small print or consider intellectual property issues until they run into them later, at which point some feel quite upset or confused.

I'm not saying photographers shouldn't assert their rights or be paid fairly, merely that it's an issue that needs to be considered and discussed more.

Matt Round, 25th Oct, 12:25pm

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