Rights to Your Photos -- Who Has Them?

When hiring a professional wedding photographer, ask a very important question. Who has the rights to my photos?

Does the photographer? Do you? Do you both? Does any hired assistant? Does my family? Of all the pictures being taken at my Edmonton wedding, who can do what with them?

In many cases, this is not a simple question to answer.

As of November of last year in Alberta, the law technically changed and now states, that whomever takes a photo, has the rights to that photo. Meaning, your picture and where it shows up, belongs to the person who is responsible for the photo being taken and not you the client... with one exception.

If an agreement verbal or written is come to prior to or anytime thereafter, a photographer can release the rights to anyone else. Meaning, if you request it, you can get in writing a rights release and exclusive rights to the photos and if you'd like, or a limit to what any photographer can do with your pictures should you be fine to share those rights.

As a wedding couple, this might be something to consider, especially if you're not interested in sharing your private wedding and special day with strangers, in promotions or on the internet. Ask your photographer what their policy is.

Most photographers will want to use the photos to improve their portfolio. They may take the best pictures from their events and use them to obtain new work. That's common. But, it can be shocking to find out that your photos have been given or sold to someone without your permission. That all of a sudden your pictures are showing up on sites you knew nothing about -- with companies that were not a part of your day.

If you're one of those private type couples and if your photographer refuses to supply the rights to you and limit the avenues and places where they can be distributed, walk away. It's not worth a potential problem down the road, regardless of how talented you might believe this photographer to be.

If you're all about showing off your big day. Sit back and watch. You might find that your photographer isn't just hoping to be paid by you the couple, but anyone else that might find a use for your pretty faces.

Here at Equinox Sound and Entertainment Inc. we've introduced a new policy that all clients will be given an agreement which states, you the client have rights to your photos to produce and copy them as you see fit. We, your photographers (and assistants), will also keep our rights to the photos for internal promotional purposes; however you the client have an option to limit further sale and production of your photos to other entities.

We believe you have that right and your special day doesn't need to be a walking billboard if you'd rather it not be.