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.
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When someone calls and asks to use one of your photos, there are about 15 questions you should ask. Once you have the answers, your work isn't done. You have more research to do. Then, and only then, you can make an informed decision.
In our next Free Photo Webinar, we will discuss the questions you ask and the issues you should consider before you respond to any request to use or license your photo.