What are you paying for? Photo Copyright & Usage Rights explained…

From time-to-time issues relating to photo usage rights arise — here are a few examples:

[Example A] — the contractor who installed the new kitchen at 123 Main Street thought your photos of the kitchen were great! Can the contractor use your photos on their website?

[Example B] — the seller of 456 Main Street just loved your photos! Could I give them a copy as a keepsake now that their home is sold?

[Example C] —  sadly I did not sell 789 Main Street that you photographed for me. The Home Seller loved your photos though and would like to have their newly appointed listing agent use the images. I don’t like this idea… do you have any policy concerning this?


New Photo License Agreements

To provide some clarity…. I have put together 2x license agreements — for both Real Estate Agents and for Home Sellers / Buyers. The licensing agreements are straight-forward (i.e., you don’t need your lawyer to read them for you) and can be found on my website here:  southbendrealtyphoto.com/531335/copyright-usage

The Summarized Version for Listing Agents

This is a condensed version of what you are paying for when you hire me (see the actual license agreement for a little more detail):

  • South Bend Realty Photo always owns the copyright and usage rights for all the images. Always.
  • You get to use the images in whatever way you need to promote the sale of the home
  • You can use the images (and Tours) to promote yourself as a listing agent, i.e., to showcase the services you can provide (through me) to a potential client
  • You can provide the images to your client after the sale has closed as a keepsake — this is for personal usage only [Example B]. Under no circumstances should you provide the images to your seller if the sale has not closed as this has and will create future copyright issues.

What you  CANNOT do is provide the images to any other third-party (designers, architects, builders, home stagers, other real estate agents etc) to use for their commercial or other purposes [Example A]. If a third-party is interested in using my images, ask them to contact me and I will re-license images to them for an appropriate license fee.

When [Example C] rears its ugly head, here is what I have been doing… technically as I hold the copyright of the images, I have the right to re-license the images to the new listing agent. But, out of respect for my clients, here is what I have been doing in this situation… firstly, I contact the commissioning agent (my client) and discuss the situation and suggest re-licensing the photos to the new listing agent (or the home seller) for the same price that the commissioning agent paid for the original photo shoot. If the commissioning agent is agreeable to re-licensing the photos, out of courtesy, not obligation, once I receive full payment from the new listing agent I have been crediting 50% of the proceeds of the re-licensing fee to the commissioning agent as a credit towards future services provided by South Bend Realty Photo. The 50% of the re-licensing fee I receive is put towards my ongoing image storage costs (external hard drives & cloud back-up services) to ensure I have all of my photos available in the future.

I hope that is helpful information. If you have any questions, leave a comment or get in-touch.


T: 574.383.9388

South Bend Realty Photo | Real Estate Photography + Floorplans | SouthBendRealtyPhoto.com

Author: Andrew Hughes

South Bend Realty Photo delivers professional Real Estate Photography, Floorplans, Virtual Tours & online Showcases and Custom Flyers to Realtors and Homeowners in the greater South Bend, IN area. Great Photos Help you Get Homes SOLD!

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