Now we see through a glass, darkly...
- Apr 5, 2016
Nope. If you took a photo and it wasn't under terms of a contract that assigned the rights to someone else, you own the copyright to that image.I believe that in the U.S. you must make some effort to claim a copyright. That does not mean you have to formally apply for the copyright, but I believe you have to at least do something to indicate you intend to copyright an image. That can be something as simple as writing a copyright message in the EXIF.
If you want to sue for more than actual damages when someone violates that copyright, it needs to be registered with the U.S. Copyright office within 90 days of first publication or before the copyright violation occurred, whichever is later. If you haven't registered the copyright you can't sue for punitive damages, only actual damages.