Whether your clients are using their photos for personal use or corporate advertising, when it comes down to it, they all want to be able to do what they want with the photos! As a Virginia Beach photographer, I take pride in giving my clients all the digital images to their session because (quite honestly) that’s what I would want! I want to be able to deliver an amazing gallery to my clients, and let them have all the photos to enjoy – not have to pick and choose a favorite few. The question of copyright vs print release comes up quite often, but in the end, most clients just want to be able to print their pictures through a print release. This is awesome! It is a shame to spend so much money on custom photography and not have anything to show for it other than a digital gallery or CD of images! I definitely WANT you to print your pictures!

So let’s de-mystify this a little bit and break down what the real difference is between copyright vs print release (and if it even matters!). That way, you can get back to enjoying those beautiful images!


Copyright vs Print Release

What is a Copyright Release

A copyright is owned by the person who created the work. According to Rachel Brenk (a pretty kick awesome lawyer over at The Law Tog), when you give clients a copyright release “this document releases the copyright from the photographer to the client.  At the moment of transfer the copyright no longer belongs to the Photographer, he/she no longer owns the photograph.” At this point, the photographer is not legally allowed to use the image anymore unless they ask permission of the client.


What is a Print Release

With a print release, the photographer is giving the client permission to use the images for their own personal use (personal use being the key term here). If you want to print out 37 – 8×10 images from your wedding and send them all to great aunt Margie – go ahead! What a print release prohibits you from doing is using the photos for commercial reasons (i.e. making money off the photos).


copyright vs print release


What What Can/Can’t I Do With A Print Release from Fresh Look Photography?

With a Print Release You Can

  • Print Your Images – Unlimited – to 8×10 prints (so wallets, 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, etc)
  • Share them online (please tag us, we love seeing your photos just as much as you do!)
  • Enjoy – I want you to love your photos and see them all the time

But You Can’t

  • Edit the Images – including adding filters or posting a photo of the screen – it degrades the quality and makes it look like poop (for realz!)
  • Submit them for publication or personal gain (without photographer’s permission)
  • Sell the images
  • Take Credit for the Images

(thanks so much Katie Nesbitt for helping out with these bullet points!)

I hope that clears things up a bit! If you are ever not sure what is meant, just ask your photographer! I would much rather have someone ask for specifics if they are struggling!

If you are a photographer in need of business mentoring, I would love to help you out in your photographic journey! Fresh Look Photography offers private mentoring to help with any aspect of running your business, and we’d love to chat with you! Feel free to drop a comment below or click the { Contact Me } button and we will get rocking and rolling!