IP TITBIT: Before you take that Wedding Shoot

Lots of trends come and go. Dress trends, hairstyles trends, fashion trends and even Twitter trends simply appear and disappear one random morning with another taking their place.

Yet, one major trend has existed right from the day it became an innovation and today it still remains the “thing” despite the existence of mobile phones with awesome cameras. This is the photo-shoot trend.
During birthdays, convocations, matriculations, burials, engagements, and wedding events, there’s always a phone call to a photographer for a photo-shoot to keep memories of these events.

Interestingly many people do not consider the Intellectual Property implications of a simple photo-shoot until unforeseen events comes up and they realize they are on the wrong side of the copyright law. Imagine waking up to see your wedding shoot pictures on the cover of an ad without your permission, your curves have been highly edited and you look ridiculous and worse, this personal picture has been distributed all over the internet. Or you want a picture without your photographer’s signature or watermark on it and he refuses claiming he owns them. You are shocked because you are the model and you paid for those pictures.

Here are five Copyright matters you need to understand and settle in your agreement with your photographer before you take that wedding shoot.

  1. Assignment of copyright– Copyright law gives the photographer full right to ownership of your photos and control over how they are used. Surprising right? If you do not want this, clearly specify in your agreement that copyright should be assigned to you by the photographer for service rendered or work done.
  2. Reproduction Clause – Copyright vested in your photographer means he has the right to reproduce and publish your photos. Based on this he/she can use them on their website and freely use them in their advertising or share them on their social media channels. If you’re uncomfortable with this, your agreement should state that the photographer is not allowed to use your photograph in any form including reproducing for commercial and personal use without prior consent. This may however cost more.
  3. Alteration Consent – Despite being the picture model, the photographer is protected from having his work distorted or treated in a way that is prejudicial to his honour or reputation. This means you cannot edit, amend or alter the pictures without permission from your photographer.
  4. Watermark/Signature – Unless prior specified and agreed to the contrary, the photographer enjoys the right to watermark his pictures of you with his brand name or logo. You cannot erase or edit out this watermark yourself as you’ll be infringing on his Copyright but can specify a non-watermark agreement in your contract before the shoot.
  5. What then did I pay for? – Your payment to your photographer simply gives you a license to use them for personal and private use. Commercial use of the pictures is strictly for the photographer.

Note that you can make a contrary agreement with your photographer but may be required to pay more. But these are the rules in the absence of a clear contract.

5 thoughts on “IP TITBIT: Before you take that Wedding Shoot”

  1. Legit? All that money you paid can’t stop the photographer from not watermarking or using said pictures for commercial purposes. Interesting.

  2. Babatunde Aderayo

    It amazing my photographer get a lot of commercial benefits from my pictures in the absence of an agreement, anyways, I’m learned.

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