Photographs are considered artistic/intellectual property. Like computer software, video, or music, they come under the protection of copyright laws. The photos remain the property of the photographer. Only he or she, as the copyright holder, has the right to license their use. 

The fees charged for reproduction are based upon how widely and how often the photographs are to be used. The dollar amount is also commensurate with the profit that the user will realize with their use. For example, an architect in a small office using the photos in portfolios to submit to awards and publications will pay a lower rate for usage than would a window manufacturer using the photos in a national print-ad campaign costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Q and A's for Architects and Designers. 

Q. Who owns the photographs after the shoot? 

A. The photographer does, but licenses their use to the designer with some restrictions. Without additional fees, a designer may use the photographs in portfolios, on their company website, for presentations, and for general company promotion. Submission to design competitions or to publications are also allowed. 

Q. What happens if a publication wants to use the photographs? 

A. Most reputable publications understand copyright and provide the photographer a fee for the use of their photos. Architecture, Architectural Record, Interior Design, the New York Times, etc. all adhere to this standard. There are many book publishers however who try to get photography for free. They either ask the architect to pay the use fee or they ask the photographer to waive it. 

In this case, generally photographers adhere to the underlying principle of copyright, which is that if someone is to profit by the use of their photographs then remuneration is necessary. The book publisher is a for-profit enterprise whose product is books. Like printing, writing, and editorial services, photography is a component in the making of the book which adds to its value. Thus, publishers must expect to pay a usage fee. 

Q. What if a contractor or manufacturer wants to use the photographs? 

A. You should have them contact the photographer directly to arrange usage. Again, only the photographer has the right to license the use of his or her work. 

Q. What is multiple-party usage? 

A. When more than one party is paying for the rights to use the photography it is called multi-party usage. For example, architects often split the cost of a shoot with the contractor and other parties who were involved in construction. Fees in this situation will be greater due to the increase in usage. However, each party will still realize a saving relative to the prospect of paying for photography on their own. 

Copyright Notice for This Site 

The images on this website are Copyright 2008 RICHER IMAGES / Paul Richer and may not be reproduced, copied, projected, used, or altered in any way, alone or with any other image(s), by use of computer or other electronic means, without specific permission from Paul Richer / RICHER IMAGES