Did you know that all of my photography session collections include digital images? As part of the process of working with me, each client gets to choose the ones they love from an online proofing gallery. Along with the images, I also provide a print release that allows my client to create prints of the images. Sometimes, print releases are confused with copyright releases, and it's important for both clients and photographers to understand the difference between the two.
**Please note that I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on tv. For actual legal advice, please contact a professional.**
Copyright release removes the copyright ownership from the photographer to the client. When I photos at a session, I own the copyright to them because I created them. Copyright gives me the right to use the images however I want, such as printing, publishing, posting online, or selling prints. If I were to give a client a copyright release, it would mean I no longer own the image and the client could do whatever they want with the image and I would not have the right to do anything with the photos (like using in my portfolio or blog).
A print release gives my client permission to reproduce the images for their personal use only, such as to create prints or post the photos online. The term personal is the key, as this type of release does not allow for commercial use or allow the client to edit or modify the image in any way, which would be a violation of copyright. This is the type of release that I include when a client purchases digital images from me, because it allows my clients to use their images while still respecting my rights as the photographer. It's kind of like when you buy music- you are allowed to listen to it as much as you want (your personal use), but you can't edit it, sell it, or say that you created it, because the artist owns the copyright to it.
So why is it importance for photographers to retain copyright of their images? If I were to shoot a session and deliver digital images to my client with a copyright release- I would no longer be able to legally use those photos in any form and could not use them as examples of my work to potential clients. Instead, I provide a print release with my digital images which allows my clients to use their photos and respects the rights of the photographer and their business.
Do you have a question about image rights or another topic? Contact me or leave a comment below!