Snapwire's Basic Guide to Image Licensing

Snapwire makes it easy for you to sell your photos, but through industry jargon and special clauses it can be hard to tell exactly what happens when someone purchases your image. Don’t stress, we are here to sort all that out so you can feel confident about where your work is going and how you are compensated for your talents.

On Snapwire’s site, this is all listed out in detail and fancy lawyer language through our copyright and licensing tabs. For those of us who don’t understand legal talk, here are:

Eddie Rios_PRO_eddierios.jpg

8 Licensing Topics You Should Know

Photo by: PRO | Eddie Rios

Copyright & Copyright Buyout

The basic definition of copyright is: a form of protection given to the authors or creators of original works of authorship. What you create is yours! You own your work and what happens to it. Yay! We won’t sell your work unless you give us permission! (So make sure your settings in your content manager on your profile are up to date on all your uploaded images!)

I hate that I even have to say this, but as Snapwire respects the intellectual property of others, we ask our users to do the same. Do not upload photos that aren't yours. That is stealing.

So what does it mean for you when a buyer seeks copyright buyout? It seems threatening and a lot of photographers steer away from it purely cause it sounds like you are selling your soul and giving up your creative rights. This is not the case. When a client asks for a copyright buyout it means you no longer own that photo and can no longer sell it or make money from it.

To sum it up, you take a photo for a client and no one else can use it. Imagine you take a photo of your fluffy pup Snowflake for a company. If they buyout your copyright, only that company can use the photo for promotion. This means you cannot post it on multiple stock photo sites, let the random pet food instagram repost it, or even print it as a gift for your sister in law who owns a “wigs for pets” salon.

No one can buy your copyright without your permission and you should be compensated higher for full buyouts.

Marketplace vs. Challenge/Requests vs. Profile

Snapwire is multi-dimensional. This makes it fun and creates a variety of places to earn, but it can also get a little confusing about what it means when your photos are uploaded or selected for different areas.

Marketplace:

The Snapwire Marketplace is a selection of the best shots submitted to Snapwire offered to buyers through a subscription. Shots chosen for the Marketplace are flagged as Select or Premium and are only made available for download for buyers who subscribe. It is an easy way to not only sell your photos (Creators earn 50% when shots are downloaded from buyers in the Marketplace,) but for buyers to accumulate specific unique shots within their subscription period.

If you would like to remove any shots from the Marketplace Subscription, you can simply change the licensing status on your file or delete them from the Content Manager section of your account.

Challenges & Requests

You are all signed up on the platform! Now what… Challenges and Requests are ways to work directly with brands and push your creativity to produce work through specific concepts.

Challenges are hosted “competitions” that focus on a specific theme with one winning photo selected at the end of the allotted time. Challenges are open to any level and a great way to earn points through nominations and submissions.

Once you've reached the Advanced level, you'll be eligible to be invited to Requests by buyers. These are higher paying and give you the access to work with some of our top clients. They are handled the same way through nominations and final selections.

Profile

You can submit shots to your profile and build a great portfolio at anytime. All shots uploaded directly to your Portfolio are available for buyers to purchase a license. Remember, you can control whether or not your images can be purchased or selected to the marketplace through your content manager on your profile.

Upload your best shots to your profile to give Snapwire Creative Recruiters and Buyers a chance to see what you can do. Think clean, commercial, bright, and diverse.


Premium Content

Premium shots are curated to the top of search results due to their commercial potential. This provides more opportunities for your shots to be sold. AKA you shot a rad image and we want to promote to our buyers!

Exclusivity

Exclusivity guarantees the buyer that no one else can purchase the image during a pre agreed period of time. On average, our buyers ask for a two year exclusivity. You will be compensated extra for any exclusivity purchase.

 Photo by: MASTER |  Israel González

Photo by: MASTER | Israel González

Royalty Free

On Snapwire, you will only find royalty free imagery purchases through our Marketplace. But what does that mean exactly? A buyer will pay a one-time fee for a royalty-free image license and can then use the image as many times and in as many places as he chooses. The "free" in royalty-free does not mean there is no cost for the license, but instead refers to being able to freely use the image without paying additional royalties. A small-business owner, for example, may opt to pay a one-time fee for RF images for his website, but can also use it for social and promotional value. Being royalty free does not mean you cannot sell your photo to another buyer - there needs to be exclusivity contract involve to pull it completely off the market.

Permission Releases

Releases are important because they protect you from potential lawsuits where people claim invasion of privacy or defamation after you’ve photographed them.

Model Releases:

In order to submit a shot to Snapwire, you agree you have the permission from any identifiable people in the submitted shot in order to sell it. Imagine you sell a photo to a major brand featuring a recognizable person, but the model didn’t sign a release. If that person sees their face on a huge billboard and becomes upset, they can sue because you never got written permission to use or sell the photo. There have been a number of high profile cases like this, and they can get messy and expensive. You can use our model release app; Releases.

Public spaces

Do you need a property release? If your shots contain recognizable trademarks or personally owned property (like a identifiable store sign, branded product, logo, or other identifiable private property) it is best to have a property release as most buyers look to license shots for commercial use. As this is not always possible, be sure to capture shots that mitigate this issue.

 Photo by: ELITE |  Andrii Sarymsakov

Photo by: ELITE | Andrii Sarymsakov

Have some questions that you didn’t find the answers to?

Read more on our FAQ page and always feel free to reach out to the Snapwire Team.

As always, Happy Shooting!