When preparing a license for a photograph (for a rights-managed situation where the license will spell out the conditions and terms of use), what sorts of things should be specified?

Clarification: I'm not asking about specific rates, but what usage factors should be considered. One example might be whether the photo is being used locally, nationally, worldwide, etc. What other factors affect the rates?

(there's a "How Do I Know what to Charge" question, but the answers don't really go into what factors should be considered)


3 Answers 3


You should specify the media allowed, the geographical distribution, the life of the license, whether the rights are first usage or not, the exclusivity or lack thereof and the period of exclusivity if there is one. The media may also be subdivided into genre -- be as restrictive as possible without hamstringing the licensee so your ability to further license the work is not impeded. If the licensee wants exclusive worldwide rights in all media, it's going to have to affect the price since it also affects your rights.

You should also be clear about usage rights for associated promotional material (where and how the image may be used, and the maximum resolution that may be used for any purpose other than the primary licensed use). Be as specific as you can with cropping, composition into a montage, and so forth. And be clear about subsidiary assignments -- that is, the ability of the licensee to allow reproduction of their IP that contains yours. Again, it's not about making life difficult for the licensee, but preserving the integrity and value of your image.

It's been a while since I wrote up a licensing contract, so I may have missed a detail or two, but these should be enough for a basic checklist.


I think this is such a massive question that answering it in here may not be possible due to the vast nature of the subject.

I guess the rates and associated licenses might differ between countries.

I will post this link which goes into licensing and pricing for different licenses in quite a lot of detail depending on usage, period of usage etc which might be worth a look:


Clarification - this website goes into different usage cases - be it for magazines, corporate shoots, newspapers, websites, size of image, length of use of image etc

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not looking for specific rates, but rather the factors involved in determining those rates. \$\endgroup\$
    – ahockley
    Feb 16, 2011 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Check out the link, it goes into that along with the rates which appropriate for the types of use. \$\endgroup\$
    – JamWheel
    Feb 16, 2011 at 23:05

You can get some pointers from the different Creative Commons licenses that are used on sites like Flickr. Some examples include:

  • Attribution License
  • Attribution-NoDerivs License
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
  • Attribution-NonCommercial License
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
  • Attribution-ShareAlike License

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