Sell Your Photographs, But Don’t Give Away Your Rights

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The digital era has made copyright protection more difficult. And as more applications and opportunities to place images online grows, the opportunity to lose out on revenue may seem to go along with it. But it doesn’t have to. It’s all about knowing and understanding your rights, and putting the proper photographs into the proper places.

Clients Images

If your client comes in for a session, sell to your client BEFORE you put them online. Or make them a part of your package deal.

For example, if you photograph a high school senior, they should come in and purchase their images and packages. After the order, you can place a few online to show off to family and friends. Don’t place all of their images online; just the images them purchased. This gives them more incentive to purchase more images.

Images for Stock/Commercial

One time rights – your photos can be used one time and in one location. Any additional publication must be paid for.

First rights – similar to one time rights, only the purchaser is also being guaranteed they are the first to use your image in publication.

Exclusive rights – the company buys the rights to the photograph for a particular use in a particular industry for a particular amount of time. Photographer still should remain in control of the image, and have the right to sell it in other formats at a future date.

Electronic rights – this gives the buyer the right to use your photograph in digital formats, including websites.

Promotion rights – the buyer has the right to use the photograph to promote his product/service.

In all cases, make sure you have a contract and a thorough understanding of how the images will be used.

For more info on copyright issues:

American Society of Media Photographers

U.S. Copyright Office

Editorial Photographers

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