Should a Professional Photographer Give Away Their Copyright?
Certain unique situations a client will call for the transfer of copyright / ownership of the photographers work. In these cases the professional is amply compensated, many times monetarily, for the sale of their copyright. I will cover these situations in a future discussion but for now; let’s look at the majority of commissioned photographic projects:
I hear this all the time … (voice of client)
- I want ownership / copyright to all my photos
- I want to be able to make my own prints
- I want a CD or DVD with all original photos
DO YOU REALLY? … ARE YOU SURE? … NO NO.. ARE YOU REALLY SURE?
Let me ask you something:
Q: Would a photographer or any other creative that was truly passionate about the work they do for you, your organization, product or event, be inclined to give away ownership to their creative work?
… So, just who the heck are these people that are willing to give away their copyright at a drop of a hat?
In the industry many professionals call them Warriors / “Weekend Warrior” to be exact. These are the individuals that have contaminated the photographic market place with mundane, mediocre and at times just plain crap photography. These individuals have no vested interested in their photographs nor the client’s vision. They simply shoot, get a check and drop a CD in the mail and it’s back to the 9-5 on Monday morning. The result? … Well, I think you can figure it out.
I touched on this topic indirectly in an earlier discussion entitled “ Do I Need A Professional Photographer? “.
I don’t know about you but when I hire a creative for a project I expected 110%; Mediocrity is not an option and if you wish to be “ MEDIOCRE “ you can do it somewhere else on some else’s dime not mine!
When a photographer is allowed to let their inner creative out the results can be truly magical. This magic translates to the client as increased sales, a beautiful wedding album, an acting job, a modeling opportunity, more guests at their next event and so on and so forth!
Please DO NOT insult the creative professional by asking them to discount their artistry or request that they turn over ownership to their work. If you cannot afford a professional, simply look elsewhere to someone that is more inline with you or your organizations budgetary constraints. Hiring a part-time photographer, “Weekend Warrior”, instead of a professional may be completely adequate if quality is less of an issue then quantity and or price. There is a place for everyone in the industry and it remains the client’s responsibility to educate themselves as to whom they need to hire and just WHY they need to hire them.
A professional photographer’s passion for what they create should run through every vein in their body and you should know it and feel it when speaking to them about your project. The world runs around money but to many professional photographers and creatives alike, their artistry, is equally as important and at times ever more. Find one, give them respect and reap the rewards of their passion.
Bottom-line: If a photographer or creative is eager to give away his or her ownership to their work, chances are, your project is not that important to them. Today more than ever mediocre is just not good enough.