One question that arises quite a bit is the difference between Copyright Release and Print Release, so I thought I’d provide a bit of support on this and advise on just what you will be entitled to with the images from your own shoot.
“Copyright is owned by the person who creates the work”, so in this case, it’s me, the photographer. As soon as the shutter is depressed and an image is formed, that image becomes mine. I am the ‘author’, even though you, the client, are the subject. Having the copyright gives me the exclusive rights to choose how and where the images is displayed or distributed. It also means only I am legally allowed to amend that work to create an image that reflects my photographer and how I want my images to appear.
All photographers, especially those with direct clients, do not want to be in a situation where their images are altered or cropped in anyway that then misrepresent my brand or my name. It’s a bit like choosing that you want to own a Rolls Royce, then having bought it you paint spots on it and glue the cardboard shape of a Range Rover to the sides – no longer are you looking at a lovely Rolls Royce on your drive, but some bizarre concoction that no-one truly recognises.
On the other hand, a print release means that I am giving permission to you, my client, to reproduce any image I have provided them, but for personal use only. So those digital files I provide you (dependent on the type & size of digital file provided) could be used to create your own album, or to create your own lovely canvas. Maybe you want coasters or key rings to give to their family or friends, again this is fine as it’s personal use only. You would also free to put them on Social Media too. Whatever your choice, so long as they are solely for personal use only.
However, what you can’t do is use those images in any kind of commercial way. So, if you wanted to sell one of the horses that we featured in any of the images, you couldn’t use that image. If you want to attract a sponsor then you can’t use these images. You also couldn’t send that image to a magazine to be used in some kind of feature either. Essentially because the image is still mine, then the image isn’t your’s to gain from or promote in this way.
All is not lost though. What you can do in those circumstances is contact me to discuss your individual requirements and discuss whether I will sell the copyright to that image they wish to use in a commercial way. I work with you to come to a solution that helps you and yet still protects me.
I hope this simple explanation has helped to gain some understanding the difference…