Digital Rights (As A Photographer)
Digital Rights (As A Photographer)
Your Digital Rights (As A Photographer) - You may not have thought about your digital rights before, but as a professional wedding photographer, it is definitely within your interests too because those photographs that you’ve captured are yours! Fighting for digital rights as a photographer of any kind would seem to be an uphill battle these days. Let’s face it; the rights of photographers have been badly battered. So, in today’s article we’re going to look into this topic a little further and talk about the ways in which you can fight back as the author and creator of those photographic stories.
What Are Digital Rights? - Before we get into any ‘fighting back’ business, it’d be a good idea for us to tell you more about digital rights in photography terms and what they are. Technically speaking of course. So, the definition of digital rights within photography is having the right/ freedom to use all photographic materials which have been produced while using the images in an acceptable and appropriate manner. As a user of the photographs, you’ll also have the right to privacy and the freedom of personal expression. In simpler terms, if you have the digital rights to an image or set of images, what you say goes. You can use it as you please, but if you don’t, you’ll need permission to use such images in any of your promoting materials as an example. Many wedding photographers have their own website or have an account on social media for potential customers to find their business easily. If said photographer does not have the rights to share these images publicly (even if they’ve taken the images themselves) legally they are not allowed to unless they have permission from the other party. In this case, the other party would be your clients.
Fight For Your Digital Rights! - First came Google, when it won the case to publish images in its search results without paying anything and nowadays, everything ends up online, but logically it is a question of how this will do you a good turn in terms of your digital rights. Sure, it’s good exposure to have your photographic materials online and many in the photo industry still view the Web as their saviour. The question is, how can that be so? Come on, an image posted on the home page of a site that receives one million hits per week is not licensed at the same price as an image on the cover of a weekly magazine that has one million readers. Why is that? What makes publishers believe that images online are worth less than those in print? What makes photographers and photo agencies agree? Not having the digital rights to an image that you’ve taken or a set of images can be a real money drainer (depending on the kind of industry you’re in). Feel like you’re missing out on a pretty penny? You wouldn’t be the first!
That’s just one of the issues at hand here. What about being unable to use your own photographs because you haven’t been given the permission to use the images from your client in your advertising materials? Sure, we can see it from their side. Not everyone wants their images out there in the open, but being able to use maybe just one or two in particular from a wedding gig would be truly beneficial for promotional purposes. At the end of the day, it is the photographer’s work and without the photographer, those images would not exist. Therefore, as long as their use is strictly professional, photographers should be allowed to use their own images to benefit their business. We should treat Web usage as a full-blown license of its own. Stop expecting someone else to show you the way. Google is taking your rights away, yet you turn a blind eye. If you’re with an agency, tell your agency to stop giving away your rights to your images. If they don’t, leave them. This is your problem, now. Not someone else’s in the future. It’s not going to go away; it’s only going to get worse and you need to take what is yours!
What Do Clients Think? - You may be a little startled to know that many people think that because they’re hiring a photographer to photograph their wedding, the photographs which you take as their photographer automatically become their property. Sorry, but that’s not the case and this is the biggest wedding photography copyright myth that we’ve ever heard of. Copyright of a photograph belongs to the person who took the photograph, except for employed photographers where the copyright belongs to his or her employer, unless there’s a contract between them that says otherwise. In practical terms this means that your wedding photographer will own your photos unless they give the copyright to you.
It’s highly unusual for photographers to give the copyright of their photos away. If they choose to give their clients the digital rights over the images, they wouldn’t have the right to copy the photos, use them on their website(s), use them in their advertising or share them on their social media without an agreement being made between themselves and the client at hand. If they give you the copyright to the client, that client should expect to pay a much higher price for it! If you’re a soon to be Bride or Groom and you’re reading this article as you search the internet for your perfect photographer, you shouldn’t worry at all that a photographer owns the copyright of your wedding photographs as it is normal practice and in most cases your photographer will let you print and share your photos.