In our digital world, protecting your personal photography work is crucial. Unfortunately with the accessibility of the Internet – our images can be stolen and reproduced in an instant. In order to keep your images protected, many photographers are utilizing platforms to help license their photos.
Licensing your images can help protect your creativity. And, it can serve as a form of income for a photographer.
We’ve written about licensing and copyright a few times on our blog, such as our Intro to Copyright and What Are Usage Rights and Why Photographers Need Them.
Yet, in this article we want to reiterate the concept of licensing and provide you with the platforms you can use to license your own photos.
So, if you want to protect your images all while earning some extra cash – let’s jump right into licensing your photos.
What is a License?
In simple terms, a license is used to protect your work. As a photographer, you own the rights to the images you create.
When you work with a client, you can determine the rights of usage they have for using your images. By licensing an image, you give a company or person specific usage rights in exchange for monetary compensation.
During this usage agreement, the person is allowed to use your work for a specific purpose and for a set time period.
Therefore, licensing doesn’t mean that you are giving away your images. Instead, you are protecting them by allowing them to be used with permission, attribution and an exchange of fees.
There are several forms of licensing such as:
- Commercial: Popular for clients who want to use your images for marketing purposes such as social media, online store, etc.
- Non Commercial: Allowing someone to use your images for their personal projects such as on a blog. This requires the image not be used in the capacity where the user makes a profit.
- Exclusive Rights: This is where you give the rights to your images to only one person. They have exclusive access and it cannot be shared with other clients.
- Non Exclusive Rights: Allows you to sell your images to one or more people.
- One Time Use: Where you can sell your image to be used for a one off, specific purpose for a client.
- Creative Commons: This is a place where you can share your images for anyone to use. This is usually done to gain exposure for your work. An example of a site utilizing creative common is Unsplash.
So, now that we know a bit more about the types of usage and licenses available for your photography – let’s discuss some platforms where you can license your images.
5 Platforms To License Your Images
The first platform for licensing your images is 500px.
They offer licensing of your photographs in order to help you – “Start earning money and get your content the attention it deserves.”
With 500px you can earn monthly income and get paid up to 60% in royalties. They offer both non-exclusive and exclusive licensing options.
You can choose from the following two options:
- Stock Photo Licensing
- Contributor for Commercial Licensing
And, you will always own the copyright of your images when you submit to 500px.
So, to read more about the offerings of 500px, check out their website here.
The second platform for licensing your images is Shutterstock.
As a contributor, you can join their global community and earn money doing what you love.
To become a contributor,
- Create: High quality images and videos
- Submit: Your content to their platform
- Get Paid: Make money every time your content is downloaded
On their site, you can see the “Shot List” giving you a breakdown of what type of content is currently in demand.
They also have other contributor platforms such as:
- Shutterstock Custom: Create custom content for brands
- Offset by Shutterstock: Authentic imagery that inspires
So, to read more about the licensing and selling of images through Shutterstock, check out their website here.
The third platform to license your photos is Getty Images / iStock Photo.
To become a contributor to their platform, you will need to download the Contributor by Getty Images app.
Then, share 3 to 6 samples of your photos, videos or illustrations. If you submit videos they will need to be upload to Youtube for review. After, they will review you submission and let you know if you are accepted to the Getty Images / iStock program.
Once accepted, you can submit your images via desktop or mobile. Then, your content is available online for buyers to see and license.
Buyers purchase a license that allows them to download the file for their personal or commercial purposes. This is determined by the terms of the content agreement.
In fact, with Getty / iStock, you could see your licensed content in advertising, social media, TV and film and more.
To determine if their contributor platform is for you, read more about their licensing here.
The fourth platform to license your photos is Alamy.
Their platform offers a “bigger, broader and more unique collection than any other stock library.”
To sell your images on Alamy:
- Create your content
- Upload your image to the website and add tags to describe it
- In 24 hours your image becomes for sale to Alamy customers
- Customers license your image and you receive your fee
Plus, with Alamy you have the option to sell your images with an exclusive or non-exclusive contract. If your images are exclusive, you will receive 50% of the sale. If they are non-exclusive, you will received 40%.
Therefore, as one of the leading photo agencies, Alamy is a great choice for licensing your images.
To find out more about their platform, check out their website here.
Lastly, the fifth platform for licensing your images is Lobster Media.
Lobster allows you to connect your social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Flickr to sell your photos and videos through their site.
When you license your images with Lobster, you are granting them non-exclusive access to distribute your work to their buyers.
This means you maintain full copyright and allow them to license these photos to multiple buyers.
If you license and sell your images with Lobster, you will receive a 75% commission.
To see if this platform is right for your photography, check out Lobster here.
Licensing your photos is simple and easy with these creative platforms. In order to keep your images protected and make some extra cash, choose one of these photo agencies above to showcase your work, gain exposure and seamlessly license your professional photography.