Copyright, Intellectual Property & Image Licensing
Photographs (especially in digital form) constitute a valuable, desirable and easily transferrable asset - which is why every image taken by a photographer is automatically protected by both domestic and international copyright laws.
As soon as the shutter on a camera is released and an image is created, the photographer becomes the exclusive copyright owner of the image - with copyright lasting for the life of the photographer, plus 70 years.
To get the shots that matter most, professional photographers invest an enormous amount of time and money into developing their skills and acquiring expensive gear to frame and freeze those moments that count. Time, skills and equipment only makes up the tip of the iceberg when it comes to calculating the cost of producing a photograph: with insurance, digital storage archives, post processing, software, and business related running costs all factoring in behind the scenes. The impact of having images stolen, repurposed or illegally commercialised can be devastating for photographers - who have both a legal and moral claim towards defending their intellectual property and recovering damages resulting from copyright infringement.
For these reasons amongst many more, copyright ownership of images and all intellectual property rights afforded therein remain with the photographer, who may then choose to sell their work along with certain intellectual property permissions under the terms of an image license.
So, when you purchase an image, you are purchasing a licensed copy of that image - which you can enjoy indefinitely under the terms of your licence. Photographers are also open to fair negotiations when it comes to assigning copyright terms of their work under commission or contract, but these terms must be mutually agreed upon before the photographer releases their work to the client.
I offer three affordable licensing tiers for personal, editorial, and limited commercial use (see ordering and pricing) as well as fair contract rates for all-inclusive image licenses and exclusive licenses. Please contact me if you would like to find out more.
Do I own the photos I've ordered from you?
Every order comes with a choice of conditional licensing terms. So, when you purchase an image you come to own a licensed copy of that image, optimised for either personal, editorial or commercial use.
Buying a licensed copy of an image does not represent a transfer of intellectual property or copyright ownership - which at all times are retained by the photographer. Think of it like buying a book, album or movie: while you now own your own licensed copy, this doesn't equal a transfer of copyright title (which will remain with the author, artist, filmmaker or studio).
If you're hiring me privately, your contract will set out all terms and conditions for use.
Can I give my photos to someone else to use?
If you're sharing your photos with family, friends and loved ones for private use that is absolutely fine. However, if you wish to commercialise an image for use on a business' website, professional service, media publication, brand sponsorship endorsement, sale or promotion of any kind, a commercial license will need to be purchased.
Can I update my usage license?
If the license you've purchased doesn't cover the purposes for which you would like to use your images, please get in touch. You'll receive optimised renders of your images and a new usage license at a discounted price (i.e the amount of your new license less what you had previously paid).
Please note, this applies to digital files only and not physical products such as prints.
I'm sponsored by a brand or business - can I tag them if I post your photos on my socials?
Sure! They're also free to share your original post (images included) to their feed or embed it elsewhere if they wish.
BUT - if your sponsor or any other affiliated business wants o create their own promotion featuring an image of you, they will have to purchase a separate commercial license to do so.
Two main reasons:
i.) The image is being repurposed beyond the conditions of a personal licence (in other words, the image has gone from being purely aesthetic to now being put to work with the intent of generating some $), therefore a commercial fee has to be paid
ii.) The format in which the image was rendered for personal use may not suit commercial applications (nobody likes a pixelated image after all)
Am I allowed to retouch images myself?
No photographer in the world can stop you from altering a digital image, but before you do please think twice.
Every photographer has a unique shooting style and editing workflow which takes years to develop. Any ordered proof image will always undergo a facelift before being sent to a client, because it's our aim to develop images to the very best of our ability.
If you're planning on making drastic changes to your photographs, you may end up misrepresenting the photographer's work and also degrading the quality of your digital files.
If you're not entirely satisfied with your images, all you need to do is contact your photographer for assistance.
You may also want a graphic designer or artist to render your images into an entirely different medium (such as a logo or painting). It's always a good idea to check with your photographer first, just in case.
Do you mind If I screenshot your images?
Yes, I really do... especially when it comes to proof images.
Unless you plan on making a purchase, please resist the temptation.
Do you really follow up on stolen images / enforce copyright?
No doubt about it!
Two steps are taken towards resolving issues regarding piracy or copyright infringement:
i.) An invoice is issued to the party that has used an image (or images), allowing them 21 days to either pay for a license, or to remove the image(s). A recovery fee and damages may also be sought out, depending on the circumstances.
ii.) If payment is not received after 21 days and the image(s) remain on display, legal action will be taken.
It's best just to do the right thing: purchase an image license.