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How we license our images

  |   Northlight Blog, Northlight Information

Photo & Image Licensing – what it is

Why we do it and how does it affect you

Image and photo licensing explained for our clients.

How we license our images so you can make full use of them.

What you can and cannot do with them once you’ve paid for them.

micro chips on a ruler

Like most photographers we do not give away or sell the copyright to any of our images (why not?), instead we license our images for use – a process that allows our clients to legally use our photographs.

A license is supplied with every (set) of photographs – whether they have been commissioned by a client or bought from our stock photography collection.

What can you expect from your Image Use License when you ‘buy’ an image from us

Remember each license is specific to each client but usually you will:

  • Be told where and how you can use the image – so on your website, social media, e-shots, print etc;
  • How long you can use the image for;
  • Who can use the image;
  • If there are any geographical restrictions.

As ever, we’re happy to explain all of this if you’re unsure.

What our photography clients can expect

For clients who’ve commissioned us to take photos of their product, processes, premises or people, our licensing terms are quite generous.

We rarely impose any time restrictions on the use of the images and are well aware that they may be used not just on a website, but also in e-shots, social and printed media – and we’re happy to supply a license that covers all uses.

The only real restriction is that if the images are to be used in an international billboard/print campaign, when an additional charge may be made.

What happens if a third party is using the images

We also understand that our client may employ a third party to make use of the images (for examples a design agency)  and conversely our client may actually be working on behalf or a third party.

To cover this, a standard license usually states that the images can be used by the client OR any third party working on their behalf to promote their business. We find this safely covers all the bases and ensures our client gets the most use out of the images and service they have paid for.

What happens if you buy one of our stock images

Clients buying one of our stock images will find they are limited to using the image only for the purpose it has been bought for – usually for their website or a promotional campaign.

In this case, who we license the image to is more limited and usually only covers the client and, if necessary the the printer or design agency putting the license to use.

We usually call this type of license a “single use license’ and while it usually has very few limits on the amount of time it can be used, how it can be used is limited to the purpose for which it was bought.

licensed print image

One of our images of Curve licensed for a single large print. [More project details]

What you absolutely can’t do

The restrictions on who can’t use the images is perhaps the most important factor for us as it enables us to protect our copyright of our images.

In basic terms, the licensee is not able to pass on – and most definitely is not able to sell – the image to any third party that is not working solely on behalf of the licensee OR  to anyone who may be using the images to promote themselves and/or make financial gain from using the images. This is a breach of the licensing terms and therefore a breach of our copyright.

If you – as our client – want to pass the images on to a third party and are unsure if you can, just ask – we can always clarify the situation for you. Just bear in mind, it can be very embarrassing if you pass on an image without our knowledge or permission and we then pursue the third party – who might be your valued customer – for breach of copyright.

If you don’t have a license

Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for us to find our images in use without a license. Here’s an article on how we pursue these breaches of our copyright.

Please just ask…

If you find an image of ours you want to use or want new ones taken – give us a call. We’re happy to discuss how licensing works and how you could use the photograph.