So, Alex scoured through wedding photographers, we chose one, met them, got the contract… and it stipulates that they own the copyright, and will license the images to us “for personal use”. So you pay over $3,000 and don’t own the images at the end (without a contract, you would). That means no Wikipedia of course, but also no Facebook; they’re definitely a commercial organization. No blogs with ads. In the unlikely event that Alex or I change careers and want to use a shot for promotional materials, and the photographer has died, gone out of business or moved overseas, we’re out of luck even if we’re prepared to pay for it.
The usual answer (as always with copyright) is to ignore it and lie when asked. But despite my resolution a few years ago to care less about copyright, this sticks in my craw. So I asked: it’s another $1,000 for me to own the copyright. I then started emailing other photographers, and that seems about standard. But why? Ignoring the obvious price-differentiation for professional vs amateur clients, photographers are in a similar bind to me: they want to use the images for promotion, say, in a collage in a wedding magazine. And presumably, the magazine insists they own the copyright. Since the photographers I emailed had varying levels of understanding of copyright, I can totally understand that simplification.