As a photographer, you may sell online on your own website or you may choose the easier and sometimes more profitable route of licensing your images for use online. You may be able to make a significant profit from selling images on your website. But licensing is a great way to make consistent income since depending on the agreement; a single image can earn a lot of money for many years.
But how do you go about licensing your images online and how can you be sure that the agreement or licensing website will protect the photos? Preventing the theft of photos online if you are going to be positing them on a photo sharing website is a shared responsibility. Both you and the website stand to benefit from the image and must therefore the best way to share it.
There are several different types of photography licenses in use. Understanding how they work is the key to getting paid for your work and protecting your images from theft online. The following are some of the more commonly used photography licenses;
- Creative Commons
This is the license you should choose if you don’t really worry about making money from your images as much as you worry about attribution. With this type of license you allow others to use your images as long as they acknowledge that the images belong to you. You can then determine where they can share the image, whether they can change it or not or if they can use it for commercial purposes.
- Commercial License
A commercial license on the photographs means that they can be used for commercial purposes such as to promote or sell a product or service. The photos can be hired out to make product mages or as part of a marketing campaign. Licenses for commercial use are generally paid for and can be expensive.
- Editorial License
These ones are not that different from commercial licenses expect for the fact that they are used by journalists as a representation of the story and never to promote a product or service. In most cases, images used in an editorial license will be attributed to the photographer.
Whatever license you choose to use to sell your images, it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of the images, particularly if you will be posting them online. If you own your own domain, take steps to protect the domain from infiltration and the images themselves from unauthorized use. You can add watermarks to images that you are displaying on the website or display low-resolution images to prevent theft.
If you will be using an image sharing platform to display and sell your work, choose one that has a proven track record of keeping images safe. Be clear on the different licenses you want your images to be used as and specifically ask them what measures they intend to take to ensure the safety of your work.