Once you have chosen a wedding date and begin selecting vendors, you enter the contracting phase of wedding planning.
Every vendor you work with should produce a contract with services, policies, terms, and payment schedule clearly spelled out. For most wedding vendors, standard procedure is signed contracts and deposits/payments due prior to the date services are rendered.
Vendor contracts conclude on the day of the wedding, with the possible exception of your photographer and videographer. Once the wedding is over your photographer begins to process and edit the images taken. Once delivered, an experienced photographer will include a copyright release outlining how these images can be printed or reproduced. "Why do I need permission to print images of MY wedding,?!" you may ask. Simplest answer, copyright law.
Although your photographer captured private, intimate, and special moments of you and your loved ones on your wedding day, according to copyright law, every pixel captured is the intellectual property of the artist (photographer). It stands to protect visual artists, performers, writers, and musicians from the threat of having their work stolen, mass produced, sold, or used in a way that was not intended. It also gives the artist the right to use their work however they choose as well.
What does this mean for you? Before you contract with a photographer or videographer ask to see a copy of their copyright release form, informing you of your usage rights should you decide to use their service. Discuss your concerns about this or the contract openly. I have worked with clients who wanted to publish their wedding images in publications and clients who did not want their images used for my marketing purposes. Although I am legally within my rights to grant or prohibit usage of the images I shoot, I ultimately want my clients to feel safe with every aspect of my service. At times like this, I may offer a "gentleman's" agreement to honor and respect a request and secure the integrity of my company.
For more info, planning tips, and resources visit www.vibridalguide.com
Quiana L. Adams, Managing Editor
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