Who owns the copyright of photo's taken at a Winery

← Return to forum

  • I want to start taking wine industry photographs which would entail taking pictures in vineyards, wineries and so forth. Do I need to get the winery's/vineyard's permission in order to take and sell the pictures?
  • As long as your photographs have a minimal level of originality, you would be protected by copryight.

    However, there are other concerns when photographing private property. You can read more about them here:

    and here:

    The first web site, the American Society of Media Photographers, also contains other information that may be relevant to you, so you might want to click on some of the links.

    Good luck,
  • What do you mean by "minimal level of originality?"
  • There must be a creative element, however small, for an item to be copyrightable. For photographs, that can include framing, lighting, etc. For a counterexample, an exact photograph of a work of art in the public domain, intended to be a copy or substitute for that work of art, does not receive copyright protection because there is no originality in that photograph.
  • Thank you so much for clarifying! So, if I take a photo of grapes on the vine, I may need a signed property release from the winery, but If I take some grapes and lay them against a bed of leaves and roses, I am adding my own creativity to the photograph and therefor it could be considered mine -- correct?
  • The property release issue is a separate issue from the copyright. Please explore some of the websites I provided in my previous post to learn more. For example:

    Whether or not you own the copyright to a photo is a different legal topic from whether or not you may face legal consequences by photographing someone's private property. The property release has to do with privacy, publicity, and property rights of the property owners, not copyright.

    Also, the creative element is usually VERY broadly defined. A photo of a leaf and some grapes IS probably minimally original. (In the case of a winery, I suppose an example might be if the winery uses a distinctive poster of its tasting room or caves to promote itself, and you come along and shoot the EXACT same photo.) As cjovalle said, the original element can be almost anything: framing, lighting, angle.

  • Thank you so much for help and the great references!

Posting to the forum is only available to users who are logged in.

← Return to forum