Understanding Copyright

Understanding Copyright & Printing Rights

The photography industry has changed immensely with the evolution of digital technology. Most evident of these changes to the portrait customer, is how they receive their photos and what they are and aren’t allowed to do with them. Adding to the confusion is the difference in practices from photographer to photographer. Based on a photographer or studio’s business model, you may or may not be able to post your photos to the internet, you may or may not receive photos with watermarks, you may only have the option of ordering prints through the photographer/studio, etc.

From the consumer’s point of view, it’s understandably confusing.

A little history. The film days are considered highly more simplified from the customer’s standpoint. Most studios had a business model which incorporated profits in the form of print sales. For instance, walking into a studio in 1980 one would pay a reasonable priced rate for the “sitting fee” but be required to place a $250+ print order.  This way, the photographer/studio was ensured to make the profits necessary to keep their business afloat. It was practically unheard of for the photographer/studio to forfeit the negatives, for doing so would jeopardize their print sales and therefore their livelihood.

Fast forward 33 years, and things are quite different. The variety in modern day photographer’s business models has lead to a multitude of different policies and finished products being delivered to the modern day portraiture client, depending on the photographer/studio they choose. This also makes deciphering value from one photographer to another considerably more challenging than in previous decades.

The best advice when shopping for your next photographer/studio, is to have a strong understanding of what it is you want.

I can charge one comprehensive fee inclusive of sitting fee, image editing, and digital delivery, and I also offer affordable professional prints and products for purchase. However, for those customers that don’t care to print through my resources I offer a Print Release – specifically an unlimited non-commercial use license. This means the client, his assigns, and/or heirs are allowed to print, reproduce, and distribute their images in physical form however they see fit or desire for personal use. 

What is a print release? A print release is a document that allows portraiture customers to legally have their photos printed by a lab other than that of the photographer/studio. Prices of print releases vary from photographer to photographer. For instance, if a photographer/studio is charging a sitting fee of $1,500 they may include the print release free of charge. However, if a photographer/studio is only charging $49 for a sitting fee their print release could cost hundreds of dollars. Whereas some studios, particularly big box and franchise, don’t offer print releases at all.

So let’s break down what yolandagraphy offers:

Comprehensive Photography Fee with Digital Delivery: This includes a completely custom session with all of your digital files at high res without watermarks. You’re free to upload them online, email them to Grandma, or any other form of internet publication that may interest you.

Print Prices: Fulfilled by White House Custom Color Labs: 4X6s are $1, 5X7s are $2.50. 8X10s are $10. We also offer a multitude of other print sizes from wallets, to 11X14s and bigger, including canvas prints.

Photo Products: I can also custom build and order other products via other professional labs, such as Acrylic prints, Metal prints, Canvas prints, and custom cards and letter press items (pricing varies).

My Print Release allows you to print your photos through whomever you like, whether it be Costco, Target, Shutterfly, or any other retailer.