Licensing: Why does it Matter and What does it Mean?

Initially, most if not all licensing, was done through a “Rights Managed” system. The Rights Managed licensing of an image presented an image at a price dependent on several variables including the type of usage, the specific final project, the time the image is being used, the size of the final print, and the industry for which the image is being used.  The downside to this licensing structure is that image sales can fluctuate significantly according to the final usage of an image. The rights managed model also requires that photographers and agencies periodically check with image buyers to ensure that image usages have not continued outside of the allotted time period. These sorts of issues have helped shape the industry to what has become the new standard of “Royalty Free” licensing. 

So what exactly is a Royalty-Free license?  First off, there is nothing free about a Royalty-Free license.  The “free” in the term comes from the fact that an image buyer is not required to pay a photographer a royalty for each use of the image.  Royalty-Free licensing was quickly adopted by creatives, as it allowed for images to be purchased once, and used indefinitely without the worry or need to renew a license.  This licensing model was introduced in order to counter the “per use” fees associated with Rights Managed sales. The one-time fee also allowed for more images to be purchased and at a more affordable rate.

Snapwire falls into the newest and most revolutionary type of stock photography.  We are a firm that believes in the value of photographer’s photos, as well as in providing quality content and great licensing terms to our buyers. We work with a community of over 450,000 photographers to source the best images directly to all levels of designers and art buyers.  Snapwire works as a form of hybrid stock agency, representing and licensing images from a traditional royalty free marketplace, while also connecting photographers directly with buyers to provide them with unique and custom produced content.  The model works to bridge the gap left in traditional stock photography, so creatives never again have to settle with an image that is just “close enough”.  Snapwire also presents a more cost effective method of custom photos for advertising agencies and designers.  Prior to Snapwire, quality custom photos required production shoots, which were often limited by restrictive budgets.  For a buyer, Snapwire allows for a price per image to be established by their project budget.

As an asset to the photographers, Snapwire is beneficial in a few distinct ways.  The first is in providing access to agency projects and briefs in an open source platform.  Before Snapwire, it was almost unthinkable that most photographers would be welcome to work directly with advertisers and companies.  In working directly with companies, photographers are able to produce meaningful content, and increase the likelihood of their images being seen and purchased by advertisers and companies.

We hope that this brief explanation of licensing was informative. While definitely not the most exciting subject, the more informed you are the better your chances for success. We welcome you into our community to grow and learn as a photographer or buyer.  Good Luck and Happy Shooting!