Shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, I got a call from a representative of Pat O'Briens asking to use one of my photos.
Anyone who has ever wandered down Bourbon Street knows that Pat O'Briens is an institution in New Orleans. It opened in the French Quarters in the 1930s and has become a landmark for locals and tourists alike.
I'd gone down to visit my family home and assess our own damage. While I was in town, I ventured down to the French Quarters to see how the rest of the city fared.
Pat O'Briens, like most Bourbon Street businesses, was anxious to reopen in the wake of the hurricane, so when they did, they hoisted a huge sign proclaiming it to the world.
I photographed a few of these signs, tourist style, because I thought they told an interesting story. In that moment of dumb luck, I captured one of the only photos of Pat O'Briens' welcome home sign. And now Pat O'Briens restaurant was on the phone. They found my photo on Flickr and wanted to know if they could purchase it.
This is flattering for someone who lived and worked in New Orleans, but I still didn't know enough to agree.
What is a photo license and why would you need one?
A photography license covers what, where and how your image will be used. Like any contractual document, it is designed to articulate the terms of your agreement, so there is less likelihood for misunderstandings.
Photographers use it to ensure you are receiving a fair market value for your product. Your clients need it for the flexibility of paying only for what they need.
In our webinar, we discussed the questions you would need to ask, common licensing terms, and how you would write a license for your photos.
ASMP Licensing Guide
The American Society of Media Photographers Licensing Guide is a great resource for learning more about licensing your photos. They have an in depth list of licensing terminology and tips to help you make smart decisions quickly.
PhotoShelter Pricing Guides
If you want an idea of what you should charge, PhotoShelter's pricing guides will give you broad ranges of the going rates for different types of photography. These free e-books will cost your email address, but they are well worth it.
Enter your specifics, and out pops your quote. It's that easy. I love this software because you enter all your variables, and it tells you exactly how much you should quote your client. Now you don't have to worry if you overpriced or underbid. You can feel confident that you are asking for a fair market value.
You can create a simple questionnaire that will prompt your client through all the information you need to create a license. I made my form using a web platform called Wufoo. Once a prospective client complete the form, it emails me their info, so I can create a quote. You can see a template of my licensing form.
What about you?
What licensing issues are your grappling with, and what resources have you found helpful? Let us know in the comments.