Hiring a Photographer : 7 things you’re REALLY buying (7)

7 – License to use the images

And finally, the one no-one considers.

When you commission a photographer, you are paying for them to create images, edit them and a license for you to use them in your business.

You don’t own the images – the photographer retains the copyright unless otherwise agreed.

It’s a bit like commissioning a musician to write music. Paul McCartney wrote “live and let die” for a bond film. We assume he was paid for it, and that he still gets royalties from it being played. The same copyright laws apply to photography – we are paid to take the photo and we grant you a licence to use the photo, but the copyright remains with the photographer (unless agreed otherwise and a larger fee charged).

The licence is usually based on:-

  • territory – e.g. your local city, country, continent, worldwide!
  • time – 1 year, 3 years, 5 years – forever!
  • usage – promotional like on websites, social media, press, print adverts, Instagram, billboards, back of buses
  • usage – commercial like on you sell to make money, like mugs, posters, album sleeves, calendars… the list is endless

It can get complex and confusing, so at McFade we’ve streamlined it all into packages, which covers the costs of the licence. It just makes “doing business” easier to understand. 


So it’s a bit more than just the shoot day

So that’s why photographers will seem expensive – the contact time is the tip of a big creative iceberg! 

A photograph is a difference between clients visiting your website and buying, or moving on to the competition – who have better looking photos. 

Photos are often the first thing clients see of your business – if they’re not right – it’ll probably be the last too! 

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