When You Hire a Photographer, Who Owns the Pictures?

Feb 22, 2021 | OKC Photographer, Dallas Photography, Oklahoma Photography, Oklahoma Photoshoot

When you are planning for a family photoshoot or are looking for a wedding photographer OKC you will likely ask yourself many questions like “when should our photoshoot be?” or “what should we wear?”. One question that you may not think to ask is, “When you hire a photographer who owns the pictures?”

Who Owns the Copyright of a Photograph?

Photos are considered intellectual property because they are the results of the photographer’s creativity. That means that the photographer is the copyright owner unless a contract says otherwise. In some cases, the photographer’s employer may be the owner.

Photographer copyright gives a photographer the ability to use the photos in a variety of ways, including photo reproduction, derivative works, distribution, and display. However, they must have a release form from their client in order to publish or sell the photos. Many professionals choose to keep the photographer rights to photos so they can add them to their portfolio to help grow their business.

When you hire a photographer who owns the pictures mostly depends on the situation. In most circumstances, the photographer is still the owner. However, clients may own the copyright if a “work for hire” contract is in place. These contracts require very specific circumstances, for example, if the photos are contributions to a collective work or are for test materials.

If you hire a photographer and want to own the copyright, you are responsible for handling the copyright transfer release. If you want to publish or sell the photos, you are also responsible for the publication release.


Licensing Photos

Usually, photographers do not technically sell their photos. Instead, professionals license out permission to use their photos. Licensing photos gives clients the right to share the images online and in-person. This allows clients to share the images and promotes the photographer to potential new clients. Depending on the licensing agreement, the licensed photos may be for free rein use or may only be for use in specific ways.

Clients can not give licensed photos to a third party in order for those photos to be used to promote that third party. For example, wedding clients can not let their florist or venue use photos from their wedding for promotional purposes without permission from their wedding photographer OKC. Photographers may give permission as long as they are asked before and are properly credited.

Photographer Rights to Photos

Photographer copyright is extremely important because it helps protect photographers from their work being stolen and used without permission. Taking and copying a photo for distribution or even not correctly crediting a photographer affects their ability to distribute their images and make an income from their hard work.

Photographers want you to share and enjoy your photos that capture happy memories, as long as you properly license the images and credit them for their work. In most situations, who owns the copyright of a photograph should not affect your ability to use your photos. Contact myheartcreative to book our Oklahoma photography services for your next photoshoot.


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