Everything You Need to Know about Image Licensing & Copyright

February 17, 2023

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I'm Jenna!

I’m a Metro Detroit photographer, outdoor lover, and dog mom with big dreams. I was born and raised in Michigan, surrounded by lakes, so my love for sunshine and water started at a very young age.


People often get uncomfortable when then L word comes up when discussing a project with a photographer. That L word is licensing. In my experience, licensing is something that makes people uncomfortable simply because they just don’t understand it. Business owners tend to be fearful of the term, thinking it makes things complicated. However, that’s simply untrue. In this post, we’re going over everything you need to know about image licensing and copyright.

Understanding the importance of image licensing.

What is Image Licensing and Why is it Important?

Image Licensing is the process of obtaining permission from the copyright holder of a particular image to use it for a specific purpose. Licensing is important because it ensures that the copyright holder is compensated for their work, and that the person using the image does not violate any copyright laws. Licensing also helps protect photographers and artists from having their work used without permission or compensation. As such, images licensing is an essential part of any content creator’s workflow, as it ensures that all images used are properly licensed and attributed to their rightful owners.

Understanding the Different Types of Image Licensing Agreements

Image licensing agreements are an important part of any business that uses images. It is also industry standard, and nothing to be fearful of. Understanding the different types of image licensing agreements is essential to ensure that you are using images legally and in compliance with copyright laws.

In this post, we will go over the various types of image licensing agreements and terms. We will also cover the differences between them and how they can be used in various scenarios. By understanding the different types of image licenses, you can make sure that your business is using images legally and protecting your assets.

Commercial Use vs. Personal Use Licensing

Have you ever wanted to use a beautiful image for your business but weren’t sure what type of license you need? Well, a commercial use image license is the answer. This type of license allows you to use an image for commercial purposes such as advertising or marketing. It differs from a personal use license in that it allows you to make money off the image, whereas a personal use license restricts the usage to non-commercial purposes. So if you’re looking to make some money off your images, then a commercial use image license is the way to go!

Duration of a Licence

When it comes to using images for commercial purposes, it’s important to know how long a license is good for. After all, you don’t want to be caught in a copyright infringement lawsuit!

Luckily, understanding the length of a commercial use image license is not as complicated as it may seem. Depending on the license, your image license could last anywhere from one day up to an indefinite period of time. So make sure you read the fine print before committing to any purchase! Here are some things to note:

Industry standard: 1-5 years. A small business today can become a huge brand in a year. Your images might worth a lot more than what you asked for its use in the beginning. 

Perpetuity: No end time. The license remains in place forever. Typically, a lincencer should avoid this, since you will lose out on any financial opportunity to earn renewal fees. If a business wants to use your image after five years, a photographer should be compensated for creating a high ROI product. Without a term length, you risk putting yourself out of a job with the client in the future.

Permissions on Where and How to Use

When it comes to commercial use image licenses, there is a lot of confusion among clients. They often don’t know where they have permission to use their license and what the restrictions are. That’s why it’s important for companies to educate their clients on the rules and regulations surrounding commercial use image licenses. This way, they can make sure that their clients are using the license correctly and not infringing on any copyright laws. Below are some terms to note:

Digital Use: This includes, but is not limited to social media, websites, email, and blogs. It’s important to know if the license includes all digital use platforms, or if there are exclusions and limitations. Typically, it is industry standard for a photographer to include some sort of digital use in a standard licensing agreement.

Print Use: This can include, but is not limited to magazines, brochures, POS material, billboards, etc. Just like digital use, it is important to know where you can use the photos for print. The rights to use an image on a billboard will be much more expensive than printing a brochure. Because of this, it’s important to get clear permissions on what your license includes. If you know you will need an image for print, make your photographer aware of that in the beginning.

Tools & Resources You Can Use to Educate Yourself About Image Licensing & Copyright

Understanding image licensing and copyright is essential for anyone who works with digital images. It can help protect your work from being used without permission, and it can also help you avoid any legal issues related to copyright infringement. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and resources available to help you educate yourself on the basics of image licensing and copyright. From online courses to websites that provide comprehensive information on the subject, these resources can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the laws related to image licensing and copyright. With these tools and resources at your disposal, you can ensure that your work is protected while also respecting the rights of others.


Every type of artist, in every creative industry, has laws and regulations to protect their work from being stolen. So, why should photographers be excluded from this list? Yes, you are hiring them for the work, but you must remember they are the creators of that work and therefor own the copyright.

Ready to get your captivating images for your brand? Reach out to us to inquire!

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I'm Jenna,

a Brand and Product Photographer with a background in marketing and graphic design. My journey in photography has led to features in national magazines and local billboards, creating visuals with a clean, crisp, and colorful style.

Photography isn't just my profession; it's a passion to help others achieve their goals. I'm not just focused on taking pictures; I'm here to help your brand succeed.

Beyond the lens, my love for nature and gardening adds a unique vibrancy to my creative perspective.

Let's elevate your brand together

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