We all live in a digital age; including the digital negatives for our clients is very important to us.
(We also believe that physical albums are important because they get your images out of your computer and onto paper where they can be enjoyed by your family as time marches on; this is why we highly recommend purchasing one of our beautiful albums! Creating the first heirloom of your married life is a big task, but one we are honored to help you complete.)
So what do we include and how can you use your files? Read on to learn more.
Copyright vs. personal usage rights
Many wedding magazines and message boards will implore you to obtain the “copyright” to your wedding images. While you could purchase the copyright from us, what you technically want is “personal usage rights”. (Purchasing the actual copyright would be very expensive, as it would allow you claim the images as if you had created them. Even large companies usually don’t purchase the copyright; they purchase commercial usage rights, which would still be overkill for wedding photography.)
Personal usage rights allow you all the things you’ll want to do with your images, but primarily you will be able to archive your files to future-proof them. We have recommendations for how to do this safely, but this essentially protects you in case a meteor strikes the Pogo Photo HQ (and all of our online backups). Or in case of the zombie apocalypse. (Though if that happens you’ll probably want your album.)
What can’t you do with personal usage rights? Basically you can’t act as if you photographed your own wedding, which would be somewhat difficult to do (though we thought about trying it!). This means you can’t resell the images without prior written consent from us, but you wouldn’t be doing that anyway.
Third party retouching or editing is not allowed; while we appreciate that your Uncle Bob is really great with Photoshop, we ask that he please stick to editing his own photographs. We have spent years developing our personal style and our copyright requires that you refrain from altering the images in their final form. (That being said, if you have retouching requests we are always open to talking about them.)
Drink your coffee: the Legal Details
There are a lot of fun legal details regarding Title 17 of the US Copyright Office (the entirety of which can be read here). We have it boiled down to layman’s terms, as we aren’t lawyers and know that many of our clients aren’t either. (If you are lawyers, hello! We welcome any comments to this page. Our lawyer says hello too.)
As of 1976, US Copyright law states that the creator of a photograph or work of art owns the copyright upon creation, regardless of whether it is officially registered. Infringing upon our copyright is not only illegal, but also just mean; we’ve spent countless hours mastering our craft, and appreciate that our clients respect our abilities and our policies. By releasing personal usage rights, we are granting you the right to use your images for, yep, personal use. Personal use does not include any commercial use; if we photograph your rings, and you happen to be a jeweler, you may not use the ring photos as a promo for your jewelry company without our approval in writing, as that does not constitute personal use. Entering your wedding photos in a contest with any publication may seem like personal use, but we still need a heads up (and most publishers, whether online or in print, will require this regardless).
Any other usage? We ask that you be considerate of our growing small business and please check with us about anything not covered here.
Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? or The Newest Online Thing?
The state of the internet and the “terms of service” for each new company are constantly changing. We provide you with a folder of Facebook-ready files on your USB drive, complete with our [tiny] watermark in the corner to protect our copyright and to abide by Facebook’s TOS. Instagram? Absolutely, but please remember to skip the cropping, skip the filters, and tag our account in the description and/or in the image. We fully encourage you to pin your favorite blog post photos from our website to Pinterest; the way Pinterest works best is if the image being pinned is from a “source”, which in this case is our blog. (If you upload the images yourself, *you* become the source, which is inaccurate and doesn’t help your fellow Pinners track down the photographer.) If you have a specific image you’d like to pin, just ask: we’d be happy to host it for you.
Posting somewhere else? Let us know! :-)