The photographer (as the author of the image) owns the copyright in their images. In the same way that musicians control who can reproduce their music, photographers control who can reproduce their images. Authors of original works own the copyright in their work and this is enshrined in legislation – the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 – more information on copyright ownership can be found at www.ipo.gov.uk
Shops, hairdressers and pubs etc all need licences to play music - photographers issue licences to enable people to reproduce their images. This is why it is important that you discuss your commission and fully brief your photographer (or their agent), including details about where and how you would like to use the images.
The photographer will give you a licence that will reflect the agreed media - ie. on a website, in a brochure etc, the time period you wish to use the images over, and the territories in which the images will be shown. The use of these images will be exclusive to you. This means that the photographer will not be able to allow any third party to use the images you are using during the time they are licensed for your use and beyond, if this is agreed.
When a client insists on unlimited use of the images they have commissioned, this can be an unnecessary and costly affair.
An unlimited licence includes every possible media including billboards, videos, TV, CDs, t-shirts etc., for worldwide use for the term of copyright (70 years after the photographer dies).
This type of unrestricted licence is unnecessary, it is highly unlikely that the vast extent of uses it includes would ever be taken up. If professional models are needed for the shoot, their charges also reflect the use to which the image is to be used. The price for this type of licence would be enormous and you would be paying for use you do not need.
As cameras grow in digital sophistication it has become easier for everyone to get pleasing results for apparently little cost. However, using an amateur to take an important picture can be a false economy. The impact a professionally taken image has on a client’s market is far stronger than that of a quickly grabbed snap from a digital camera. Professional photography will sell your product or your company, amateur photography will not.
Photographers are not just technicians. A professional understands how to capture images that are right for a client’s business and convey the message required. Their experience enables them to obtain successful results in any situation. It is as important for the photographer as it is you that the images are right for your business and convey the message you require. As a proportion of your media/print budget, the cost of getting the original imagery as good as it can be is tiny.
A professional photographer will hold all the necessary insurances eg public liability, professional indemnity, employers liability etc.. They will also have contacts for third party professionals, if required, for models, props, set building or locations.
When commissioning a photographer the images they produce will be exclusive to you. Images you buy from a photographic library are not exclusive to you, unless you negotiate an exclusive deal with them. This means other companies, which may be similar to yours with similar products, will be able to licence the same image and use it for their own products or company.
Negotiating exclusivity with a library is often more expensive than commissioning a photographer, and you are still unaware if the image has been previously licenced by a possible competitor.
A commissioned image is original and reflects your company and products only.
There are no set rates in photography. The majority of professional photographers will charge a day rate, although some may charge by the hour.The type of commission and specialisation will generally dictate the fee but photographers will also take into account a number of other factors to determine the cost including:
If you have a tight budget, discuss this with the photographer (or their agent) who can advise if it is realistic and what you can expect for your proposed budget. Be aware that if other professionals ie models, stylists, set builders etc are needed, these will be charged on top of the photographer’s fee, as will digital capture or film and processing. The photographer will estimate these extra costs for you initially so you know exactly where your budget is going, and allowing for any necessary changes before the shoot begins.
There is a misconception that if the images are shot digitally, rather than on film, that this is a cheaper way of producing images. This is not true. Some photographers will still shoot on film but deliver the images in a digital form whilst the majority will shoot and deliver digitally. Both methods incur costs.
Information courtesy of www.the-aop.org/