Recently I have been in multiple discussions with fellow wedding professional friends, who I’ll refer to as Friendors from here on, about using photos from a wedding photographer and the proper way you must go about using those photos.  It is NOT as simple as

  1. The photographer sharing photos with you and posting to your social media, using in an ad or on your website.
  2. Asking the couple to share the link to their wedding photos and posting to your social media, using in an ad or on your website.

And here’s why…

• Once the photographer takes the image, they hold the copyright to that photograph.  The couple getting married DOES NOT own the photo.  Read below why…

• The photographer has a couple sign a wedding contract that may include a model release which allows the photographer to use the images of the couple at their private event to post to social media, use in an ad and on our website.

• Most couples also receive a personal usage license with their digital copies of the photographs to get prints made on their own, make small albums, post on their social media, etc.

Both of those legal clauses DO NOT TRANSFER to other commercial entities.  Meaning, the model release the couple signs and grants to Mary Wyar Photography does not transfer to the florist, venue, wedding coordinator or bridal gown shop.  On the other side, the personal usage license granted to the couple cannot be transferred into a commercial usage license by the couple to give photos to the florist, venue, wedding coordinator or bridal gown shop.

What do to.

If you are a florist, venue, wedding coordinator, bridal gown shop, etc.  the first step would be obtaining a model release from the couple as a clause in your booking contract.  Many examples can be found on the web but, as this as a legal document, spend the money to have your attorney review it.

Now having said that, this does not mean that the photographer hired by the couple is now also hired by you to deliver images.  They are not, and Friendors are not entitled to those images.  Beyond the wedding industry, commercial usage license are priced either individually or in bulk based on the use.  For example, if I am hired to photograph a home by a builder, I would license the photos of the house to the builder but then may also attempt to sell photos taken at that shoot to the faucet company, architect, interior designer, etc…. assuming I have a property release which is equivalent to a model release for a home/building.

Image licensing fees vary from photographer to photographer and depend on the type of use and duration of use.  For example, to license:

• Up to 10 images for use in a small print ad, website, & social media is $65 per image… that price may decrease with every 10 images licensed

• Up to 10 images for website and social media use is $45 per image

• Up to 10 images for only social media use is $25 per image


Now, some might get annoyed that they don’t have any way to show their work but there is a monetary value in professional photography.  The time it takes to make a photo, the grand investment in gear, our monthly fees to use editing software, fees to host images online, pay taxes, pay ourself, etc.  It may seem like wedding photographers make bank, but the expenses going out are comparable to any other service if not more.

My stance on sharing images to Friendors, after they’ve obtained a formal permission from the couple, has varied from year to year.  I have charged, I have not sent at all and I’ve sent images at no cost.  In times where I have shared freely, I have not asked for felt like I needed to be paid after I’ve said my photos can be used… BUT, I will say, from time to time, a gift of product or service would be the considerate thing to do.

I don’t want to make this post about photographer’s not being respected BUT since we are now delivering a digital product, many other businesses have lost sight of the value of that product… even with the increase in social media use which is largely photography based.