(Closed) Copyright released DVD of photos??????

posted 4 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 2
537 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I think it means they can print as much as like and do what they wish with the photos. if they were copyrighted I would’ve expected you can print as much as you like but not submit them to competitions, blogs or magazines without consent.  Copyright released makes me think they’re free to do what they wish.

Post # 3
2481 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’d be very surprised if a professional photographer was prepared to assign their copyright to anyone else. You just don’t do it! Normally, you’ll get a license that spells out what can be done with the pictures – printing but non-commercial use, for example. So it is worth finding out exactly what this photographer means. Only if copyright is released then yes, the pictures become yours to do as you wish with. It’s just that this is so rare that I’d be questioning what is actually meant. 

Post # 4
4941 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

californiabride2013:    It is extremely rare, and extremely costly, to obtain a copyright release on an image (and that is a SINGLE inage) from a photographer.   

I think this particular photographer may be quite loose with terminology and perhaps means to say a license release, giving the client permission to print the images for personal use (and perhaps also permission to upload the images to social media).  

If I were in your friend’s shoes I’d move on to another photographer – if this one is so careless with critical terminology (which will appear in the contract) I’d wonder how she views other important aspects of the assignment.  

Post # 5
2566 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

californiabride2013:  My photographer gave me the same, they provided me with a DVD with the 150 images I chose and a copyright release form.  They told me that it’s very rarely asked for but it should be anytime a professional photo is printed.  I’m no expert though.  Hope that helps!

Post # 6
9114 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Releasing the copyright is very rare. Most photographers will retain the copyright rights on a photo forever, because well… they were the ones that took the photo! It is not a “good” thing for photographers to do. My photographer has copyright on all of my photos, however she signed a release (And I did as well) that means I can print as many of my photos wherever I want.

Post # 7
1220 posts
Bumble bee

My daughter’s photographer gave her 2 dvds of over 1000 photos with a copyright release.  Their contract stated it was a shared copyright meaning he can do whatever he wants with the photos and so can she.  I don’t think its that rare anymore.

Post # 8
1725 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - 13th ~ TN

californiabride2013:  It happens a lot with freelance photographers popping up everywhere. It is so your friend can go print her own pictures. It does not mean the photgrapher has given up their right to use the pictures, just allows your friend to print what they give her on the DVD. Even studios, like JCPenny or Sears (before it closed) do this now days. If you look at the package it probably does not include any printed pictures either.

Post # 9
62 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Astra:  You are mistaken on the terminology, not the photographer. A copyright release can be used to release certain copyright protected things, such as printing, sharing to websites, and the likes. A photographer can create a copyright release for certain things, but still retain ownership of the copyright. Having a copyright release does not mean that the client has permission to do whatever the want with it. “Print Release” is a form of copyright release, which enables the client to print freely. People hear the term “Copyright Release” and automatically think the photographer is signing over the entire copyright, which is not correct at all.

A well written copyright release will include the things that the client still cannot do, but all it really has to do to be legal, is dictate what the client has your permission (as the copyright holder) to do.


So to answer the OP’s question, typically a copyright release allows the client permission to print, distribute (for free to friends and family), and to share on websites/social media. However, very rarely do copyright releases allow the client to edit, sell, enter the photos in the contests, or anything of that manor. Your friend will need to check with the photographer on which copyright protected permissions she is being granted prior to signing a contract with them.

Post # 10
6582 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

californiabride2013:  The wording automatically sends my red flag up that this photographers is probably a newbie or less expereinced. No TRUE professional wedding photographer gives up their copyright without a hefty fee. I’m sure you’ll have tons of people who come here saying “well my photog is a pro and we own our copyright”. Okay, fair enough, but unfortunately anyone can call themselves a pro.

Copyright Release : This means the photographers is giving up ALL rights to the photos. They are no longer the owner and have no rights to the photos for display, marketing, print or web ads, etc. It also means the client, who is now the owner, is free to do whatever they wish – print them, edit them, sell them for profit, etc. This is the main reason there is a *hefty* fee for someone to purchase the copyright, because the photographer is losing the ability to generate future income by no longer owning the images.

Print Release : This means the photographer is granting the client persmission to make unlimited prints. However, the client is not permitted to edit/alter images, and can not use them for commercial reasons or to make money.

Post # 11
4941 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

californiabride2013:   Here is a paragraph taken from a photography site which I hope explains the matter in addition to what   starfish0116:   added above, which is also an excellent explanation.   

From photo.net –

“It is important to avoid confusing copyright and license in your contract. If you plan to retain copyright for yourself, and you want to grant a personal-use license to your clients, then any mention of “copyright” should be for the purpose of establishing or reinforcing the fact that you, as photographer, retain copyright; and any time you discuss what the client may do, you are talking about a “license.”

Your title (“copyright release”) worries me, because you’re not “releasing” your copyright (at least, I hope you’re not). Instead, you’re licensing your images, while retaining your copyright.”



  • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by  Astra. Reason: typographical error
Post # 12
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I used to do professional photography of models for portfolios.  I used to be much cooler than I am now.

Anyway, I did deal with this stuff all the time.  In the wedding photographer society many but not all professional wedding photographers are of the opinion they should be very careful about the copyright of their images.  And IF the bride wants any prints in the future many wedding photographers like to make it so brides MUST go back to them and pay whatever they charge for extras.  Wedding photographers do this so they can get more money because its legally impossible for the bride to get the images printed anywhere else.  It’s about money more than anything else.  Everything always comes down to money dosen’t it?


Some freelance photographers are out there who do not wish to retain control over the images.  I used to be pretty busy with photography and I didn’t want to deal with people coming back to me for reprints.  Keep in mind for professionals reprints can be quite a lot of money.  The price range varies greatly from $20 – $250 and more each print depending on size.  And remember for some  $20 is a lot of money and thats what some freelancers charge per print.  


For me as a photographer I didn’t deal with CD’s for a very long time because I was taught the old school ways of retaining the copyrights, etc.  But, over time I bent to what customers wanted.  And printing photos was a pain and I didn’t want to deal with it after the inital package was handed to the client.  It got to the point I didn’t mind putting images on a CD and did not care if they posted them on facebook or did digital enhancements to them.  Another words once the client walked away with the images the images where theirs to do with as they wished.  I had other things to worry about and other jobs to do.

I would put a pre discussed amount of images on a CD.  No, it would not be anything like 50 – 500 images.  In the photography society many photographers feel its bad business to simply give a client that many images on a CD.  Digital photography has changed everything.  Many wedding prographers will only show the client the best of the best and will refuse to burn anything ‘less than’ on a CD.  Other photographers simply don’t care.  Its as simple as that.  

Controlling prices…

Some photographers feel the prices should be kept on the higher end not just for themselves but for all photographers everywhere.  The thought process is that if prices are kept high brides can’t go to another photographer asking $500 – thousands of dollars less for the same service and have hundreds of images on a CD thrown into a package deal copyright free!  It the thought process of ‘protecting your own.’

There are many photographers out there trying to make some fast money.  They are not interested in keeping copyrights.  They honestly don’t care.  These photographers understand the social media outlet and the digital age and have no interest in keeping the rights to your images.  These photograhers don’t care if they only give you the best images.  They simply want to give you what your paid for regardless of if the images are fantastic.  The thought processes have changed.  Those photographers who want to retain rights are doing things the ‘old school’ way hoping to get every penny out of brides they can.  It is what it is.

Wedding photography is a big business.  This is the way its been done for a long long time.  I think its sad that brides have to worry about posting images on facebook.  The truth is facebook is here and people want to use it.  Wedding photographers have been very slow to change where this is concerned.

OP…  Talk to the wedding photographer who says he will give you copyright for the CD images.  You may in fact be reading it right.  He may just be interested in the inital package and after that does not care what happens to the images.  This is the stance many freelancers are taking now.

Post # 13
216 posts
Helper bee

Just ask the photographer to clarify what you are getting for the price.  It shounds like you are receiving all the images on a disk and that they are high resolution ( suitable for printing ) .  

This is something that it doesn’t hurt to double check and make sure you understand what you are getting.  


Post # 14
2945 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

californiabride2013:  I really wouldn’t go running just because the copy write release is included.  It’s included in my photography package, and I don’t think I would work with a photographer that would not include it as at least an option, even if it meant that I had to pay extra money.  I don’t want to have to go back to them every time I want to print a photo, or use it on my facebook.  

Maybe they are a new photographer, but if you like their style and pictures, why should that deter you?

You hear so many horror stories of people getting contacted by their photographer for putting photos on Facebook, or not being able to print them for a photo book because they don’t have the releases.  Or even worse, having to pay out the nose each time they want to print a new copy of thier photo.   I much rather have a photographer who will release.

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