Tag: ireland photography

Your Wedding Photos, Copyright and Monkeys…

You may not realise it but just because you paid someone to take photos of your day doesn’t mean you own the photos. Here’s why and what it means oh and what it has to do with a monkey…


The first thing to touch on is copyright. We hear the term but don’t always understand it fully. Copyright is “the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.” – Lexico.com

In the EU artwork is automatically copyrighted upon creation of the work. No registration is needed.

This means that because your wedding photographer pressed the button on the camera to take the photo, they automatically own the copyright to that picture.

(photo: © David Slater / Wildlife Personalities Ltd).


This is where an interesting case came up a few years ago. In 2011 a british photographer, David Slater, travelled to a national park in indonesia to take pictures of the wildlife.  He wanted pictures of monkeys, the monkeys were scared of him so he left his camera set up on a tripod and let the monkeys be curious and actually snap a few shots by themselves!

This picture went a bit viral. Problem is wikipedia tagged it as public domain (which essentially means something isn’t protected by copyright law) for the reason that as Mr Slater didn’t actually take the picture he didn’t own the copyright and monkeys cant own copyright. Mr Slater asked wikipedia to remove the picture, wikipedia didnt.  Then in 2015 PETA sued Mr Slater on behalf of the monkey. It got thrown out of court, PETA appealed it ending in an out of court settlement. Really this issue hasn’t been fully settled. 

As silly as it is, this story highlights how serious copyright is taken. So basically don’t let monkeys take your wedding photos, but on the other hand it would be cool to have monkeys take your wedding photos (they just probably won’t let you use them because of the copyright thing)

Faithlegg Hotel, Waterford, Ireland

What This Means For You

So what does this mean for you as the purchaser of a wedding photographer and your resulting photos?

This is down to the discretion of the photographer.  A wedding photographer should have terms and conditions regarding what you as the buyer can do and not do with your own wedding photos.

The wedding photographer should grant you a license to use the images for certain things. For example using on social media, sharing with friends and family and printing. Really within reason you should be able to do whatever you want with them. 

The only time a photographer would likely have a problem is if you edit and share them in a way that reflects their work in a negative way. Also most of the time the photographer won’t give you permission to sell on these photos for profit.  If you did want to sell the photos then approach the photographer and I’m sure you’ll be able to broker a deal.

What This Means For The Photographer

The photographer is likely going to want to use some of the photos they took of your wedding as promotion material.  Weddings aren’t a return business so new customers are always needed and new, fresh photos are a continual part of bringing in customers.

You do have a level of protection. The photographer needs a model release to use a photo from each individual in the photo.  I say level of protection because it’s not a black and white thing. It all depends on the use (is it commercial), whether it was taken in a private or public place, and who’s in the picture. For a more detailed insight into this side theres a good article at https://thelawtog.com/wedding-guests-need-sign-photography-model-release-form/

Rule of thumb would say that for a wedding, which would be considered a public place where photos would be expected, that the photographer can use the photos how they would deem fit.

If you would like your wedding photos kept private, then have a chat with the photographer, they should be willing to help you out and work with you to provide a solution that works for you both.


The wedding photographer is an artist you are commissioning to document your day.  Photographs are creative works, and the copyright law exists to protect the artist.

Any wedding photographer worth their salt should let you essentially do what you want, within reason, with the photos though.  It’s down to you to check what the photographer will licence you to do with your wedding photos and if you feel it’s not what you’re after, talk to them.  

Check out my terms and conditions for copyright licensing and model release info. If you’re not happy with it, talk to me, I’m a reasonable guy!

Should I Let Uncle Dave Take My Wedding Photos?

Wedding photography isn’t a priority when it comes to your budget, so when uncle Dave offers to take your wedding photos for you it seems like an ideal way to save some money…or is it?

Before we get into the details, let me make it clear that I’m not going to say you should let him take photos or not. Not everyone can afford a wedding photographer so uncle Dave is actually better than nothing. So if it comes down to you having any pictures or not, then go get uncle Dave signed up asap!

Uncle Dave

If you have got it in your budget to get a wedding photographer, but think it’s worth getting uncle Dave to do the photos so you can reallocate the photographer budget to something else, don’t think photos are that important,  then that’s the time to really have a hard think about things.

As I mentioned in my post about “why is wedding photography so expensive” the value of a good wedding photographer isn’t seen till after the wedding. By then it’s too late to go back and change things.

The wedding day does only last a day, but the memories you want to last forever. 

Uncle Dave could actually be a good photographer, have a good camera, good lenses etc, but experience and craft are really the main attributes you should look for when getting anyone to take your wedding photos.

Being family or a close friend then it’s also easy for them to take their eye off the ball. They’re there as a guest really and so will have that focus about the day.  They would rather be by the bar talking to old friends and family than making sure they get your day documented.

I’ve seen a variety of outcomes with letting a non-professional take the photos. In one or two cases I’ve actually been really impressed with how good the photos have come out. But let’s get it clear when I say “impressed” I really mean “Didn’t mess up”. But to be honest more often than not, the couple are disappointed by the photos they, eventually, get.

That’s the other part to this decision, don’t expect to get the pictures anytime soon. It can take, and I mean literally, years to get the photos. In the case of one of the couples who were happy with their wedding photos from a family relative, it took 3 years to get them.

Another thing to keep in mind is what happens if Uncle Dave’s memory card fails, breaks his camera or just completely loses the photos?  These things can happen to even a professional, but for a professional having backups is part of their process. (Read more about keeping your photos safe)

Other Options

The other option for those who don’t have the budget to pay a full blown, hundreds of weddings under the belt, professional photographer is to find someone who’s starting out.

I got my first wedding gig by offering my services to a friend. He was doing the wedding on a shoestring, I wanted to help him out and so shot his wedding. Before that wedding I really wasn’t interested in making this a living, landscape photography was my thing – It meant I went to awesome places and didn’t have to deal with people! It was by doing that wedding I actually realised wedding photography could be an option for me.

There’s always people starting out in a profession that need a few breaks and are willing to do things for cheap or even free, and for a couple that don’t have a budget it’s a winning combination.

Keep in mind though that for someone starting out, they too likely don’t have the equipment they really need, the experience and especially the craft. But what you would gain from them over uncle Dave would be raw passion, eagerness and a mindset about actually photographing your day rather than propping up the bar.

Should you bite the bullet?

If you have the budget then yes, definitely.  With a professional you are really paying for a guarantee. A guarantee you get what you’re after, when you want it, high quality, minimal fuss, no excuses and a great attitude.

Anything other than a professional then you have to compromise somewhere. But that’s your choice to make.

Remember the food will be finished before the day is gone, the reception will be empty by the end of the night, the flowers will be dead by the end of the week, but the photos will be there forever.

How To Book A Wedding Photographer

Here I want to help you understand the process, from initially enquiry through to the wedding day. This is how I personally work, every wedding photographer is going to have their own way of doing things.

So to start with you have obviously found me, liked what i do, and want to enquire more about my services.

The first port of call is to – 

Fill in Contact form on website

  • A way for me to collate everything in one place
  • I know right away the important information so I can help you
  • I don’t want to say i’m available before i know all the info. No point saying I’m free when your wedding I couldn’t get to if it’s far away or abroad, etc
  • Might be more hassle initially but helps both of us know if it’s even going to work before we start.

If I’m available I will send out price list

  • Have a look. There’s no rush to get back with a decision.
  • If you have questions or want to just chat to get to know me – no problem.

Fill in booking form

  • All the information I need from you about your day – for now.
  • The Tick box at the end is making this contractual to safeguard both of us.

I will send out an invoice

  • Deposit now to secure the date, rest of balance due 4 weeks before wedding day.
  • If you want you can pay all up front now, or can pay in installments, or 4 weeks before wedding day.

You pay a deposit to secure the day, then send out a receipt.

Communication will likely be small until nearer the wedding day.

The Month before I will send out a questionnaire and reminder about settling balance.

  • This is about more specifics about the day, where you will be getting ready, group photo list, suggestions etc
  • Google sheets document – Can take time filling in and can be updated as you go along, Or can print out and then send me picture etc

Week of the wedding We Will Have A Phone Call 

  • Run through things and answer any last minute questions either of us have.
  • Arrange arrival times – for prep or ceremony
  • If prep – rule of thumb – goto groom for 30-45mins then to bride for rest of morning.
  • If no prep – Will aim to arrive at least an hour before the ceremony

I personally don’t feel a need to go before the big day to check out the venue.

If you prefer, I’m happy, as long as it’s not too far for me to travel, to meet at the venue, check it out with you and we can discuss the itinerary and places we can use for photos together.

Hope this breakdown helps you understand what my process is and give you confidence going forward if you decide to book with me!