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The U.S. Government defines a legal copyright as

"A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for "original works of authorship", including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. "Copyright" literally means the right to copy but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright.” (

Basically that means that, as the photographer, what I author or create, I own and I have the legal right to control any reproductions of my work, including the right to receive monies or payment for use of any reproduction of my work. Photographers and other artist have the sole right to copy, distribute, sell, and publish photos in any form. And that copyrighted material cannot be reproduced or copyrighted without the permission of that photographer or artist.

Some FAQs people ask about Copyright when it pertains to wedding and portrait photography:
  • Why does my photographer own the copyright when I paid them to take my photo?
    • US Copyright actually protects the author of any piece of literary, musical or visual work of art so therefore the photographer holds the legal copyright which is inherent from the moment of creation. Your photographer has the sole right to copy, share and sell photographs or publish them in any form. Any use of copyrighted material must be obtained from the photographer who is the copyright holder.
  • Does that mean I can’t use the copyrighted photos?
    • Not at all. When you hire your photographer, you will agree to terms of service in your contract which will, in all likelihood, include a reproduction agreement. This agreement will provide for you, as the client, to utilize your images for personal use. For example, I offer my wedding and portrait clients the right to use their images in social media formats and in online albums and galleries so long as the images are clearly attributed to Traci Arney Photography.
  • Can I alter photographs that my photographer gives me?
    • The simple answer is no. Under US Copyright law, copyright infringement includes protections against any manipulations including editing or cropping of a photograph without the excess permission of the artist. My clients are always welcome to post their images but I do ask that no changes are made to the files including cropping, conversion to black and white or adding filters to images to change the way they look.
  • Does that mean I can’t print the photographs I paid for?
    • You can usually obtain prints of the work you hired a photographer for. At Traci Arney photography, I offer my clients an online gallery and storefront which allows the client to both see their images and purchase them from a quality lab that will print the works to my high museum quality standards.
  • What if I want to submit the photographs from my wedding or event to a magazine or blog?
    • While your wedding contract may not explicitly allow for image submissions to magazine, most photographers, me included, love to see their images in print or on a blog. So never hesitate to ask and I will happily submit your images to the blog or magazine of your choice. That does not mean the publication will show your work. There are so many variables to that including what the publication is writing about in that edition, if they have other weddings similar to yours, or if they are writing for a specific designer, season, or have a specific editorial in mind. But I do try to accommodate all my clients’ wishes if they are in line with Traci Arney Photography’s core principals.

All images, text and content on this site are the property and held under contract of Charlotte, NC photographer Traci Arney. Every item on this website is protected y United States Copyright Law and may not be copied or used without the express permission of Traci Arney.

Written permission of Traci Arney is required before any text, content or images may be downloaded or reproduced in any way for editorial, commercial or personal usage. Please contact me directly if you would like to purchase or use the images found of this website. We will discuss appropriate compensation, payment terms, and citations for usage.

Written permission of Traci Arney is required before any content can be used by anyone for any purpose.

You can read more information on Copyright in the US:

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