What IS Copyright Infringement?

With as easy as it is today to take, share, download or alter photos, I thought I would share some details about Copyright Infringement in specific to professional photography.

The basic definition is:

when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.

Let's break that down some more:

The copyright owner, in most instances unless otherwise agreed upon between the person taking the photo & the person paying for the photo, is the photographer or creator of the work. If a person or entity purchased the photographers services, digital product, or print product, they do not have copyrights. Seldom does a photographer release copyrights.

I will often release PRINT rights however, allowing the person who purchased their services or digital downloads, the right to take the image(s) & have it printed anywhere or how ever many times they may want but this is not to be confused with the sharing digital products with another company. It's strictly applicable to prints.

Common cases of Copyright Infringement are when someone other than the photographer takes a professional photo & alters or shares it by:

  • applying a filter (Instagram, etc.)
  • converting it to another color, size, or shape
  • removing a Watermark
  • altering the images in any form (Photoshop, editing work)
  • printing without print rights
  • screen shots
  • copying an actual photo on your own scanner & printing for distribution whether it's 1 or 100 or for family or a newsletter
  • sharing it to another business for their revenue gain

To define Copyright Infringement based on the services we perform:

For Real Estate, photos are for MLS use & the realtor or homeowner who purchases our services is for a One Time Use only. Once the property is sold, the use ends. If the contract between the agent & seller expires, the use ends. Real Estate photography is priced lower than usually hourly photography services because it is a medium volume scale of work & for One Time Use.

In Marketing, Branding, or Advertising, the average rate for professional photography is scaled by a few different factors. This could be calculated by hours or amount of photos. It would depend upon the product or brand being photographed for the marketing or advertising. On average, it's $300-$400 an hour & is unlimited use for print, advertising, websites, etc. but has a limited date range of use. Often 3-5 years, depending on the agreed contract.

With Events, it's based on hours of photography service provided, the amount of photographers needed & is usually with a minimum of hours, but includes light editing & digital downloads made available for the event or their guests. Our rate starts at $400 an hour with a 3 hour minimum.

In Portraits, we have a session fee & includes the amount of time of the portrait session, pre-consultation, editing, hosting & a reveal. Typically a family or senior photo session is about an hour. Print products & any art produced are sold separate.

For Headshots, it is depending on how many people or how long we may be photographing. For an individual mini-session, we photograph 3-5 different basic poses. A corporation will scale differently based on how long we are setup for as well as if any hair & makeup services are required.

I hope this helps clarify any questions about how we scale our rates & services as well as why but we welcome any questions.