Time for a little rant – I haven’t had one in a long time – particularly directed at photographers.
Like most of us who’ve done this for a while, I’m very aware of how fast the photography world is changing and how the lines get more and more blurred between photographers who make a living out of photography and photographers who like to make a bit of money on the side from time to time. Notice that I don’t really like to call them “pros” and “amateurs” as it usually has nothing to do with the quality of work (I know of many “amateur” photographers who produce wonderful work that would rival any “pro”). But no matter what kind of photographer you are, the one thing you should always be aware of are your rights.
Don’t give your copyright away by telling your clients they can pass your images to whomever they want. I just got off the phone with a client I shot a couple of projects for and just found out that they are passing my images to other contractors working on the same project. My terms and conditions are pretty simple to read and straight forward and they clearly state “images cannot be used, licensed or sold to a 3rd party without my prior approval”. Their explanation was that they didn’t see this and that the photographers they worked with here in the past were ok with this.
What I would say to those photographers is you should think of image licensing as your pension. The good images will bring an income for many years – if you give it away for nothing or close to nothing, you are shooting yourself in the foot. In architectural and interior photography in particular if 5 contractors (design, construction, lights etc.) work on a project and one of them passes images to everybody else, those other 4 contractors will never pay for imagery because they will always expect someone else will pay for it. And if you really must give away your images, do it for enough money to cover other potential licenses.
To finish it off, have a read through the UAE (or any developed country) copyright law – the copyright is always yours. Always!
If you think this will help any clients of yours or photographer friends, please share it. The more people understand these issues the better.
As for the image at the top, it’s from a recent shoot I did for a great client who really understands that good photography is worth it.