AMB Photography & Design | Grand Blanc Michigan Wedding and Family Photographer | Copyright Information

Understanding Copyright and Your Photographs-Education is key!

"A copyright is a legal device that gives the creator of a literary, artistic, musical, or other creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work. Copyright owners have the right to control the reproduction of their work, including the right to receive payment for that reproduction. An author may grant or sell those rights to others, including publishers or recording companies. Violation of a copyright is called infringement.

Copyright is a property right. Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, the owner of the “work” is generally the photographer or, in certain situations, the employer of the photographer. Even if a person hires a photographer to take pictures of a wedding, for example, the photographer will own the copyright in the photographs unless the copyright in the photographs is transferred, in writing and signed by the copyright owner, to another person. The subject of the photograph generally has nothing to do with the ownership of the copyright in the photograph. If the photographer is no longer living, the rights in the photograph are determined by the photographer’s will or passed as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession."


When the copyright has been violated, the author can choose to then pursue legal action and the offender can be held liable and even be fined.


So, what are the rules regarding the photos I receive from my photographer?

These are some examples of someone violating copyright in photography.(Things you may not do to photographs)

  • Scan them - for any reason
  • Copy them
  • Reprint them
  • Crop watermarks out of the photos and re-post them on the web
  • Edit them - in any way
  • Take pictures of your printed professional photos (especially with your cell phone) and post them on the web
  • Taking a screenshot of the photographer's website      

But, I paid for them shouldn't I be able to do what I want?

The answer to this, is quite simply, a big fat NO.  When you buy a musician's album you don't own the songs do you?

The photos may be of you and your family, but you do not own them. The photos belong to the photographer, who owns the copyright. Most photographers like to have control over their work and would not like to see it altered or changed in any way. Photos to a photographer are like a work of art. You wouldn't change Picaso's paintings if you bought them would you? Your photographer works extremely hard to give you the best photographs he/she knows how and takes great pride in creating those beautiful images.

So, you bought a disc or digital downloads with printing rights..what is this?

Your photographer has given you the permission to use the photos they took for  your personal use only.

You CAN:

  • Make prints for personal use
  • Make greeting cards for personal use
  • Make photo books or photo gifts for personal use
  • Upload the images in the WEB folder onto the web to share with your family and friends (however please do not remove the watermark)


  • Enter any of the photos into contests without the photographers consent
  • Post non watermarked images to the web (without photographer's logo)
  • Alter the photo in anyway by editing, cropping or adding your own effects with programs or apps


Copy right is one of many main reasons why your photographer will have you to sign a contract.

Signing a contract explains copy right, will protect you and your images, and also the photographers artistic work.


*Thank you to Rachel Brenke Photography, LLC  for letting me be able to share this information with others!

for more copyright information visit her website/blog here