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Understanding Common Words Your Photographer May Use

If you've ever had a portrait session done with a professional photographer, you'll likely have encountered some of these terms. But did they ever explain to you what they meant? Many photographers forget that clients don't use the same terminology as the everyday person. So to help you understand, here are some common words you'll likely come across when hiring a photographer.


In the simplest of terms, copyright on a photo means the photographer who took the image owns it. Even if the photo is of your child, the photographer still owns the copyright to the image. The photographer is the only one who can crop, modify, or print any image they produced. Screen-shotting or scanning a print goes against copyright without proper permission from the photographer.

Model Release

This is a signed waiver that allows the photographer to use the photos they took of you. Releases typically include use for portfolio, studio samples and other commercial uses. They also release any claims the model may have to future compensation for images used by the photographer.

Print Release

A print release grants permission to the client to create their own personal prints from the digital files received. It means you can share the photos online with friends and family, but does not allow you submit the image to contests or modify the image (ie filters) without written permission from the photographer.

Raw Files

Remember back in the film days when there were the negatives you had to get developed into the final photo? Think of raw files like that. It's a specific file format that has been unprocessed, and can only be opened in certain programs.

Digital Files

These are the image files you can open and receive on a USB, or through a download link. Having the digital file does not mean you have the copyright or printing rights.

Golden Hour

The prettiest time of day to take photos! This is the time shortly after sunrise, or right before sunset where the shadows are softest and the light isn't harsh like it would be during the day when the sun is the brightest. It makes for beautifully colored skies; Most photographers prefer to do photos at this time when possible.

If you are unsure of any terms a photographer uses, please ask! There are no stupid questions. The last thing we want is for a client to be unsatisfied with their portrait experience because it wasn't explained in a way you understood it.


Nicole Hemeon Photography specializes in motherhood photography such as maternity, newborn, babies & milestones, as well as landscapes in the Okanagan area, including Peachland, Summerland, West Kelowna, Penticton and Kelowna, British Columbia.

I’m so thrilled you’re here and would love to tell you more about a custom portrait session. From the client wardrobe to hair and makeup, every detail has been thought out, making the entire experience a breeze. If you are interested in a custom portrait session with Nicole Hemeon Photography and would like more information, please click here to learn more about this experience.

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