For today’s blog post I want to touch on a popular topic, contracts. Contracts are often a 1 size fits all type of thing. I am working on a new version for smaller weddings and honeymoon sessions etc. since as of right now I would have to say the majority of my work are small intimate weddings and pre-wedding or honeymoon photography sessions. (I still do love big weddings though) So after the basics of the where, the when, the what’s included aspects. We have some of the more complicated aspects.
Now part of all photography contracts is the issue of use and copyright, and it is often something that is misunderstood I find. So lets see if we can go through it more and make it more clear. First about copyright, the copyright is owned by whoever takes the image. As the client, you are given the full personal use to the images. Same thing if say Vogue pays a photographer to photograph a model in a gorgeous Chanel dress, the magazine is given the right of the use but the photographer still owns the copyright to the image. Personal use means if you want to print your photographs, post them on social media (a mention is fab though not required) that is all within your right. If for some reason Vogue wanted to buy your photographs, then they would have to come to me. If you have a supplier asking for photographs, again with your permission I can give them the appropriate version but they have to ask the photographer vs the couple. If your mother wants to print a photograph from a file you give her that is perfect! If she wanted to sell copies to all the people in the neighborhood, this wouldn’t be allowed.
Now as far as how the photographer can use the images. There is sometimes confusion as most photography contracts list every possible option under the sun.
Sometimes I think people forget that it’s not always just people photographers take images of so there are many different possibilities!
Use for other purposes and sale of images is actually simple. If your mother asks for an album of your wedding photographs, I have the right (with permission) to sell her these photographs. If a magazine or newspaper would want to buy your images, I would have the right to sell the images, but of course this has to be with your expressed permission. I wouldn’t be able to without a model release. (and honestly is something that has never came up, but just being used as an example) If a famous rockstar photobombs your session and it’s not your legal right to sell the image, but then again if your face is in the image I can’t sell it either without your consent. Simple isn’t it?
Now there are other images that are taken throughout the day, maybe of a dress, of shoes, of the venue, of the sea, these photographs do not have people in them and do not require a model release. So they would be within my right to sell, but if it’s a gorgeous photograph of the sea that is included in your collection, the right to sell is only for the photographer, not the client. Makes sense explained out I hope which is a little harder to do in a contract.
I have explained more about use and such in this post HERE.
Artistic License is something I recently added into my contract, which was recommended by, fellow photographers. As you may or may not have noticed, I have my own personal artistic style of photography. The photographs I deliver will be in this same style. It does evolve over time but oddly even when I do make changes everyone tells me they know it’s my work. I guess it’s true that you can see the artist in photographs. So if you like my work, we’re good to go. I do go through with couples to see if they are colour only types or if they love black and white. What they love and hate in photographs. And often will influence how I process the images. With digital and film you have basically raw materials to craft your art from. Knowing the subjects in the image and personal flare combine to create the final image.
Contracts have to have so much in them to protect everyone these days as crazy things happen. I have heard of people being stuck on trains, strikes, 2 broken cameras in the same day, someone recently fell in a lake by mistake. Thankfully these things have never happened to me, but you know legal contracts, they are there for all those just incase types of things that sometimes are beyond our control. (who knows what is in the various online ones in tiny font and 15 pages say! Has anyone ever actually read the itunes one? I’d love to hear in the comments if you have and if it is interesting!)
Know that I WANT to make it to your wedding. I arrive early and do various things in the days leading up to make sure I’m well rested and feel good for the day. Like most wedding photographers I have showed up to weddings not feeling so good, because it’s just one of those things, I can’t miss a wedding!
I do have various contacts I would use if I had to try to find a replacement. Hopefully this would never happen. I love my couples, I am always equally excited for their day as them!
Meals! I know some couples are surprised to see this in a contract; it’s common sense isn’t it? But often the catering companies forget us poor photographers. (even when reminded) I generally eat while you’re eating so not to miss anything. It does happen that I have to miss eating all together sometimes, but if I have a choice a snack would be good! (it’s always the best meals this happens at too!)
Delivery times, I get asked all the time about delivery time scales for images. Sometimes 3 or 4 times. Weddings seem to increase short term memory loss! Just to warn you! I hand edit every single image. Right now there is just me, for everything that needs to be done. I do not outsource this important aspect of the process. Now depending on how many images there are and my travel schedule this can be from a few weeks to a few months. Sometimes it happens there are a lot of weddings around the same time. So I do follow the first come first served principle. But I do try my hardest to get a sneak peek out as soon as I can and if there is special image you would like sooner, I do my best to honour these requests. I’m human, I get colds, I have 2 kids, I travel for 99% of my work. So sometimes, I admit I do get behind. Take heart in knowing if there was a magic wand to put more hours in the day, I would! I really do take my time and put a lot of love and dedication into your photographs. Sometimes it’s easy and I sail through a session quickly, other times I have to fix hair, dresses, remove tourists from the background, swap heads so everyone is smiling for a group shot. This is one of those trade offs about hiring an artist vs someone who just snaps and burns to a disk!
There are photographers that just burn all the images to an USB and send it. You will get every blink, every bad image and they just do not select the best or edit. This is beyond totally different from my work!
I am careful to only take on a select number of photography sessions and weddings each year to try to avoid a long wait and to give my couples the best possible service.
Remember I am here for any questions. I am your friend throughout the process. And I love nothing more than documenting your memories and creating gorgeous art together.