Photo Usage FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions about licensing and using professional photographs.

Q: Who owns the photographs after a shoot?

A: The photographer does. Since November 7, 2012, the Canadian Act finally recognizes professional freelance photographer’s ownership of copyright works they produce as part of their work.

The law on copyright was amended in Spring 2012, Bill C-11, correcting the injustice that prevailed hitherto, while the copyright of the photographs, the subject of a command, belonged default client.

Canadian photographers are now the first owners of the copyright of the images they produce rights, and by default, as are particular illustrators, musicians, painters and writers. This applies to both photographs commissioned by a client and paid by him as photographs taken outside of a commercial context.

Q: What if I am given a photograph or receive a professional photo via email from a supplier, client, etc. ?

A: Contact the photographer to discuss usage before using this photograph. Physical possession of photographic material, such as digital files or prints, does not grant the right to reproduce the images. Without specific written permission from the photographer, it is a violation of federal copyright law to reproduce photographs in any form, including color copying and scanning.

Q: What if a publication, contractor, or manufacturer wants to use the photographs?

A: Contact the photographer before passing the photographs along to colleagues, suppliers and publishers, or have them contact the photographer directly. Usage rights cannot be transferred by the client, except with written consent of the copyright holder.

Q: Why is this important?

A: Photographic reproduction has always been a valued means of income for photographers. These days the fees charged for reproductive use of photographs are based upon how widely and how often the photographs are to be used. The dollar amount is also commensurate with the profit the user will realize with their use. For example, an architect in a small office using photos in portfolios and award submissions will pay a lower rate for usage than would a window manufacturer using the photos in a national print ad campaign costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Broader usage increases the value of an image, and fees are adjusted accordingly.

Q: What is Multiple Client Usage?

A: When more than one party pays for the rights to use the photography, it is called multi-client usage. For example, architects often share the cost of a shoot with the contractor or other parties involved in construction. Fees in this situation will be greater due to the increase in usage. However, each party will still realize savings relative to the prospect of each party paying for photographs on their own.

Q: Who can use the images in a Multiple-Client agreement?

A: The photographs can be used by those licensed in the agreement. If a number of commissioning clients share in the cost of the assignment, each party considers their specific needs, receives a copy of the agreement with their needs specified, and signs the agreement before work begins.

Shared with authorization. Article Published on October 21, 2015 by David Robinson Photography.