Client FAQ

<Still under construction!>

If you are looking to hire ANY photographer, these are the important things that you should know as the client to ensure you both walk away happy from the experience!

1. Price

Let’s start here.  There are photographers on sites such as craigslist or even in your circle of family or friends who are happy to shoot a wedding for $200.  The buyer should be extremely beware!  You do usually get what you pay for.  While some of these photographers may be offering low prices to build their portfolio, make sure they know what they are doing.  Do not hire someone who only has one camera, with a pop-up flash, to shoot your wedding.

While I understand the high price of the professionals can seem excessive, and sometimes it is, you are paying for their higher level of experience and equipment.  In addition, every hour spent shooting means several hours on preparing the images afterwards.  This article (and this one – and this one) is a great illustration of why photographers charge their rates.

Please find someone who can fit your budget but who you won’t regret hiring, especially with inexpensive photographers.

2. Photo Rights

Typically, even though you pay for your photos, you do NOT own the copyright to them.  Learn how to read the fine print!  If you want to make copies, share photos on Facebook, or anything like this, you must know whether you have the right to do that.  If you don’t, you may be infringing on the photographers copyright and you could be fined or sued.   (Disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer or copyright expert.  This is what I’ve learned from online sources, and I’ll list some for you at the end.)

Sit with the photographer and ask for explanations of the different kinds of copyright and license agreements that they will consider.

Unless you want to buy all prints through the photographer, you probably want a personal use limited copyright license or usage agreement.  This should allow you to copy photos for family and put them online, but probably will restrict you from modifying or selling the images in any way.  Note that there may be requirements to give the photographer a credit/link if you do share them online.

The Creative Commons system has a fairly simple set of licenses which you could ask for from the photographer, or use as a starting point to know what you can and can’t do with your photos.  Examples are whether you can or can’t modify the images (for example, photoshop part of the image with another one), whether you can sell them for profit, or whether there are no restrictions at all.  This video will help explain it.

Note that while creative commons licenses would allow ANYONE to re-use the image, understanding the basics of it will allow you to better know the options in personal license agreements where the photographer allows only YOU to re-use the image.  This site has more information about copyright and how it works.

Also, when you sign a model release for a photographer, you are giving up any rights to control what they do with the photos.  They can use your image as promotional material or other uses without requesting permission or even notifying you.  Make sure you understand all documents before you sign them.

Be honest about what you want to do with your images – most stores will not copy photos that appear to be professional without permission from the photographer, and you do not want to pay damages for infringing on the photographer’s rights.

I am happy to sit and discuss all options to copyright and license agreements, and come to an understanding with you before our sessions.


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