Copyright Release and Print Release contracts are legal documents that are naturally apart of the business of photography. However, the difference between the two can be perplexing amongst all the legal jargon. This can be a bit of a confusing topic, so I wanted to explain for you, in the simplest terms possible, the difference between Copyright Release and Print Release.


A Copyright Release is basically when the photographer, me, hands over any and all rights of the photographs outlined in the contract to the client, you. What this means is as soon as the Copyright Release is signed and the copyright is transferred to the client, the photographer no longer owns the photographs. Furthermore, after a copyright is signed over to the client, the photographer can no longer use the photographs in media, websites, promotions, portfolios, etc. without express permission from the client who is now the copyright holder. As the copyright holder, the client may now edit, print, share, etc. any and all images covered in the contract as they see fit. In summation, a Copyright Release is a contract that gives the client full and exclusive rights to any and all photographs specified in the contract.


Unlike a Copyright Release, a Print Release does not allow for editing, removal of the photographer’s logo when shared, or unlimited use without the photographer’s permission. Essentially, the Print Release provides the client with limited permission to print the images and use them as stated in the contract while preserving the photographer’s rights. With the Print Release, the photographer still owns the images. This means that if the photographer feels the use of the images breeches the contract and/or the images aren’t being used for their intended purposes, the photographer has the right to ask you to take it down. The photographer, me, may use the photographs for media, websites, promotions, portfolios, etc. without any further permissions.


Every photographer gives their clients Print Release permissions, including Crystal Clear Photography. However, Crystal Clear Photography also provides the option for Copyright Release on a temporary or permanent basis. This option is mostly directed to businesses, business owners, and entrepreneurs using Crystal Clear Photography Business Services to develop their brand, enhance their website, or further promote their business.


I hope this article has been useful and helpful in clarifying the differences between the Copyright Release and Print Release. It is my goal to be of service to my clients and make the legal and business process of the photography sessions as clear and concise as possible. If you have any remaining concerns or questions after reviewing this article, please don’t hesitate to contact me for further information at the email below! In the meantime, don’t forget to book your next (or your first!) session with Crystal Clear Photography!


Email me for more information at


Writer/Editor –  Crystal HollmanChelsie Cummings


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