Giving out wedding photo negatives to a friend.

nita1950November 13, 2004

I posted a message on the "photography" forum about giving out photo negatives and CD's. I am not allowed to post the same message here. Please read it and respond. I am afraid that it might get overlooked and I need some advice right away. My hubby was the photographer for a friend's wedding and an issue has surfaced.

I think that I posted it on the wrong forum.

I hope that it is okay to do this. I don't want to get into any trouble on the forum.


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I looked at your post and at the two replies to it. As a wedding coordinator, I would go with the information in the reply from Herb. The CD is the same as negatives and your husband owns the copyright to the photos. If he chooses to lend the CD, I would first make a back-up copy so that you have proof that your husband took the photos. This is particulary important if the CD gets lost or damaged. Also, I would create a release - it doesn't have to be fancy - that the person must sign when they receive the CD. The release would indicate that any photos made are for personal use and may not be displayed on web sites, in newspapers, or in other ways without first obtaining copyright permission. Many people don't understand the concept of copyright and what is and isn't covered and they could potentially use the pictures for profit or exposure in some way that your husband would not approve. Today, some photographers do give the negatives to couples but the couples may have difficulties using them because most commercial photo labs (including those in department and discount stores) understand that the photographer owns the copyright unless he assigns it to the couple.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 4:46PM
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Nita, I don't understand why you can't post the same message here? People post duplicates of their messages all the time. I'd at least suggest copy & pasting it over here if you want responces from people here. The photography forum moves pretty fast, your post won't last long there.

Now, having read your post, I'm unsure how to respond, it's just one of those situations. When I got married at Cypress gardens in FL, the photographer (supplied by CG) gave us our negatives. With this, I was able to give framed photos to my relatives for Christmas. Technically, I could have scanned all the printed pictures the photographer included in our small album, and would have; had I not had negatives.

Since this is a friend, your really in a tight spot. You could lose the friendship over this. I would have to say that asking your friend to give the groom's sister your phone number so you could talk directly is the best bet, this way you or your husband can ask her specific questions about what "her thing" will be. Even if you don't give her the CD, she can still get the photos from your friend to scan & do it anyway.

You've been given some good advice about imbedding his name on the images. You've also been asked questions on the other post, but haven't replied. If you could reply to those questions, your likely to get better advice, more suited to this situation.

Here is a link that might be useful: other post

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 9:45AM
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Thanks for the advice. I first must apologize for not replying as quickly as I should have. I actually have not been home very much since I posted and then my car heater died...I went to what is called the Parade of homes (took a lot of the afternoon and evening) yesterday after church...went to early service. After the show of homes, I had to grocery shop, pick up child from the sitter and oh well... I became very discouraged over the car situation and went to bed rather early (after I posted about the car) and had to get up at 4:00 am to take hubby to the airport and just got home a few minutes ago from work. I didn't have time before work to check the responses. I am so sorry... I am now on my way to soccer practice, but thought that I better post real quick. I do appreciate all of the responses and don't want it to look like I am ignoring them.

Hubby does not know how to imbed his signature on the photos. I personally am hoping that he will either make them a copy of the CD or get them one and all be happy.

I better get to the other post and do my best before I take off!


    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 6:05PM
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Here's Nita's post

A good friend of mine's asked my husband to do her wedding pictures. My husband is not a professional photographer, but he has a good camera and takes pictures for friends and family as a gift if asked and for special occasions. He has been doing this for years and has his own policy of not releasing his negatives. He will however, make as many pictures from the negatives as they want, sizes included. Sometimes that is an additonal gift and sometimes he will charge exactly what it costs to reproduce. We do not profit at all from his picture taking. He never charges any fee. It is one of his hobbies and he does a pretty good job.

My friend was having a small wedding and asked my husband to take the pictures. I toldher that he would be happy to do so and that it would even be our gift to them, album included. I told her that he did not release his negatives and she said that she wouldn't need them anyway...that she just wanted the pictures. I might add that I was her Matron of Honor.

We prepared the album, gave them all of the remaining pictures, be they good or bad shots and told them to choose some to reproduced into larger sizes.

Today she called me and said that the groom's sister wants to borrow the CD to scan and do her own thing. She said that she sis in law would return the CD.

Hubby tells me that a CD is the same as negatives and that he does not give those out. He said that he will reproduce anything that they desire. He said that no photographer wil release his negatives or cd's.

I am in a bad place because these are friends and I feel that we may have some hurt feelings here or something to mar our friendship.

We have spent over $100.00 so far including purchasing the album. I do not have the exact figure. He took a lot of pictures, rolls and rolls.

Are we wrong? Should we concede because they are good friends.

GIve me your input.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 9:50AM
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I am not a photographer, but work in another aspect of the arts that involves me working with copyright issues everyday. Most people I work with, even in my own organization, do not understand what copyright is and why you cannot do whatever you want with what ever you want.

I agree with the other posts, a CD is the same as negatives. If possible, get his name on each photo. As mentioned, it is hard sometimes these days to track illegal usage of copyrighted material (photocopying, scanning, etc.). Although your husband does not use his skills to make money, many do, and this is how artists, photographers, composers etc. put bread on the table and pay their bills. Whether or not you give the CD over (I wouldn't, but if you do, do it with a signed contract!) or they go behind your back and scan the photos, it should be at least mentioned that there is a copyright issue and you trust that they will not infringe on it. Other than that, not much more you can do, unless anyone else out there has any more ideas or experience with this type of situation.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 1:35PM
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I am a full time professional photographer and have photographed over 3,000 weddings in the last 33 years. I have photographed digitally the last 8 years. In my area, Southern California, it is not uncommon to sell the CD to the client. Prior to digital, we use to sell the negatives. For a photographer making his living at his craft, money is money, whether it comes from selling the prints produced from the negatives or whether is comes from selling the negatives themselves. In your case, your husband is doing this as a gift and it wouldn't discredit his skills to give her a copy of the negatives on a CD. If he is not making money from producing the prints, I don't understand the reluctance to give the CD away.
Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 11:21AM
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Hubby decided to have the sis-in-law to call him and I think that he was going to let her use the cd to do whatever she wanted. This was over a week ago and she has not called. Robert, your 2 cents makes good sense to me.

Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 8:10PM
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