Hey, Greg. What’s the big deal? You put these pictures out there, why can’t I just use them?

Because, my friend, this is one of the ways I put food on the table. In 2018 I was eating lunch at a restaurant in downtown Des Moines and saw a political attack ad against Heather Matson, a client and friend. What was notable about this ad was that it included a photo of Heather that I had taken. And in teeny-tiny letters across the bottom of the ad was written “Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa.” Paid for? I hadn’t seen a dime.

When companies and organizations use photos without permission, especially of political candidates, they are less likely to see them as the product of quality that they are and that hurts my bottom line.

So I gotta take time out of my day to write up this stuff instead of taking photos and playing with my kid.

What is licensing?

When a photographer licenses their images, they are granting permission for someone else to use their work while still retaining ownership of the original photographs. This means that the photographer can continue to license the images to other clients or use them for their own purposes.

Licensing is an important aspect of photography because it ensures that the photographer is compensated for their work and protects their intellectual property rights. It also provides clients with legal permission to use the photographs without fear of infringement or legal repercussions.

What you get from me

I use something called “Rights Managed” licensing here on my site and unless we work out something privately, it’s editorial use only. Under a Rights Managed license, you are granted the right to use the image for a specific purpose, such as your newsletter or a YouTube video, and for a specific period of time. The cost of the license is determined by a variety of factors, including the intended use of the image, the size of the image, etc.

Editorial use only images cannot be used for commercial purposes, such as in advertisements, promotional materials, or product packaging. And no, your attack ad does not count as “educational” under Fair Use. I’m not still bitter over that 2018 ad, why do you ask?

Why not royalty-free?

Mostly because there are ways I do not want some of my photos to be used. I take pictures of public figures and often times activists and regular citizens. They didn’t consent to someone slapping their face on a t-shirt with a snarky message so I’m not going to let that happen without doing my best to at least get permission.

Sorry to be Captain Buzzkill, but them’s the breaks. If you have questions about any of this, you can always get in touch with me.