photographs are sold by by purchasing a right to use an
image under terms set out in a license. The rights are
set out in the license, a legally binding agreement between
the buyer and the seller. What the licenses actually say
varies, but there are traditionally three categories. Because
at Photoconnect buyers can deal directly with photographers
or libraries there can often be more flexibility in these
If an image file download is available
and you follow that option then the
is available will be set out on the site providing the download.
images are sold with a fee based on the buyer's specified
use. The fee is calculated from several factors including
size, placement, duration of use and geographic distribution.
It also takes account of who is using it. It essentially
prices images according to their value to the buyer's business.
may sometimes be less than licences
for an equivalent royalty free image. More often there
simply will not be an equivalent royalty free image - this
value is reflected in the pricing.
and sellers have to be aware that use is restricted and
buyers and sellers
stick to the terms of the license agreement which is
to support the value placed on the image.
If you choose a traditional
license then you will get greater (but not complete) exclusivity
and the photographer will be able to tell you if there
is any previous use that might affect your own business's
use of the image. (Under a royalty free license you may find
that a competitor has used the same image in a way that may
that the buyer pays once for an image that can be used
by the buyer (but not passed on to any one else) for multiple
purposes over an unlimited period of time. Other buyers
may have acquired similar rights which mean that the same
image can be sold many times over. If it is important to
a buyer that the particular image is only associated with
the buyer then it would be wise to purchase an
for royalty-free images are the same for every purchaser
whether a huge company seeking to use the image on its website,
or a one man business intending to use it in a brochure;
the only factor that alters the cost is
free has the advantage of being simple to understand for
both photographer (who need not worry about policing usage
by the buyer) and the buyer who is relieved of the burden
of having to monitor use. Some photographers confuse selling
royalty free with selling their copyright. This is not
the case - however once an image has been sold on a royalty
free basis, sales under other license arrangements are
not usually possible.
seems to be a stigma with buying and selling on a royalty
free basis - much of this is connected with the prevalence
of bulk royalty free images on compact discs and also the so called microstock sites which sell images for a few dollars. As a buyer
an image you can be relatively sure that there will be many
other users of the image out there. This may be a concern or may not depending on your circumstances. When buying from Photoconnect
you can talk directly to a photographer about whether an
image has previously been sold. If not, you will be the
exclusive user until another license is subsequently sold.
an example of a royalty free license. It does not mean that you can use the image for any purpose and certain uses are restricted. What you can or can't
do with an image will be specified in the license. So if
buying a royalty free image then you still need to be careful
how you use it - for example, most royalty free
licenses prohibit use of an image on T-Shirts etc.
is basically a traditional licence but includes terms restricting
the photographer from making sales for a specified period in
a specified location or locations. According to the severity
of the restrictions there is a premium paid over and above
the cost of a traditional licence. This will give a buyer exclusive
use of an image.
buy a traditional license when you can buy royalty free?
a traditional license means that the photograph should
not be available in the royalty free markets. This makes
less likely that a competitor or other user will use the
image in a way that could undermine your own use. In fact
you can stipulate absolute exclusivity, or exclusivity
of industry or territorial use by purchasing
reserved rights image.
And royalty free is not always the cheapest option - ask the photographer if uncertain on how to proceed.
direct from the photographer can mean
Until an image has been sold, when dealing
direct with a photographer you may have some flexibility
over licensing arrangements.
First sales of such images will
set a precedent that will impact licenses availability
For photographers this approach keeps
for an image open to the widest range of buyers.
buyers there is more flexibility and a purchase of the
image will not be ruled out because the license does
How does this work?
an image is first sold as:
subsequent sales may be only:
license or reserved rights
by license for use outside specified location(s) or
after license expires
Where an image is also available through an agency the specific
license there will likely restrict what is available when
dealing direct with a photographer.
Whatever the licensing arrangement you only get the use specified in the license. The photographer does not see that use and you as a buyer need to consider models, property or brands featured in photos. Here you should check with the photographer what releases are available and whether the releases make the photograph suitable for the use you have in mind. It is you the buyer who an aggrieved model or brand will pursue if the use to which you put a photo is inappropriate.
images at Photoconnect are and will remain the copyright
of the photographer.
you purchase a photograph for any use you will normally be
entitled to make minor alteration (sizing, contrast etc) to
use to which it is put. You may not copy the image in whole
or part for use in any way not permitted by your licence.