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Commercial Photography
Copyrights & User Licensing


Copyrights are like owning a house. In the case of photography, the "house" is the RAW image created every time I hit the shutter button. That means I own the image and depending on the user licensing terms we agree to, I then "rent" the image to you for a period of time. 

Just like with a house, if you would like to fully purchase it, make renovations (edits to the images) and do what you want, then it will cost you a large lump sum of money up front. (This will cost anywhere between $1,500 to tens of thousands PER IMAGE depending on the purpose and eventual use of the images.) This is because over time I will never again be able to rent or sell that house/image again to you or anyone else.


It is rare that you would need or want to purchase the RAW files because let's face it, you are hiring me for my work and a huge part of that work is my post-production editing that you have seen, liked and hired me for. 

Does this mean I (the photographer) can rent or sell the image to someone else? 

Not likely. The most important thing copyrights protects us from as photographers is a photo being edited in a way that does not fully represent our artistic work. Also, in your user licensing terms it usually says "exclusive rights". That means I can't go and rent or sell the image somewhere else. 

Can you (the client) use the images forever?

A typical contract allows you to use the images for 1-5 years. At the point of expiration, we will then either re-negotiate to continue using the photos or you will need to agree to stop using them. 

What does that mean if I (the client) used the images on social media or in a cookbook for example?

Don't worry, you don't have to dig through your social media archives and delete old images or throw out your books! It means that going forward you can't do another run of books (2nd edition) or use any of the images in new social media content, on your website or any other place they were authorized to be used until you “update your rental lease” or, in this case, your user license. 

The legal terms below are the standard terms you will see in my contract. Terms can always be negotiated, but it's important to understand what copyright actually means. Trust me, it took a long time for me to really be clear on it. Whether you are a small, individual business or a large publishing house, the same rules will apply when working with me. 

User Licensing Terms:

Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement and solely upon full and timely payment of Photographer’s invoice, Photographer grants the Client an exclusive license to use the the Work in their INSERT PLACES TO BE USED. This license shall be valid for X years and granted with EXCLUSIVE OR NON-EXCLUSIVE rights with full payment from the Client. Any other use of the Work by the Client shall require a separately negotiated license.

Copyright Ownership:

Photographer owns the copyright in any and all photos he/she takes pursuant to federal copyright law (Title 17, Chapter 2, §201-02, of the United States Code.) Any and all photographs produced in connection with, or in the process of fulfilling this agreement, are expressly and solely owned by Photographer to use in the reasonable course of business.

Prohibited Uses of Photographs:

Some uses of Photographer’s property are expressly prohibited in order to maintain the integrity and quality of Photographer’s reputation and work.

  • Under no circumstances will RAW files be provided to Client unless Copyright purchase terms are agreed to and paid in full.

  • Any resale of the photographs through direct or indirect means, including, but not limited to: selling the photos as stock photography; selling or allowing use of the photos by a third party such as a corporation or advertiser.

  • Any illegal assignment of Photographer’s work, such as allowing third party use of a photograph online or in print without attribution.

  • Any use of photographs, personally or otherwise, which does not include attribution to “AMANDA LOREN STUDIOS”.

  • Client expressly agrees not to produce derivative works of Photographer’s property, such as, but not limited to, photographs of a photograph, scans into a computer, unauthorized photo collages or other works that incorporate a substantial portion of Photographer’s property in a way that distorts or denigrates the photograph’s high resolution.

  • Any use deemed unreasonable or defamatory, at the discretion of Photographer.

  • Any retouched or further edits of photographs that materially alters the composition of the photograph, such as by applying filters, changing the colors or other means of degradation, as determined by Photographer. Special Client Provision: Client is allowed to crop the photo and/or add text overlay for marketing purposes.

  • Client will not purposefully try to hide or otherwise conceal attribution to Photographer, such as by printing attribution in such small print or font that the source of the photograph is not readily apparent to the reasonable viewer.

Trademark Ownership: Any and all trademarks, whether registered or unregistered, remain the property of the contributing Party.

Please contact me directly with questions about this.


Watch Joanie's Video Here: Explain Copyrights To A Client

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