If I pay a freelancer to photograph my work, can those images be “gifted” to a client/supplier without permission from the photographer?

I am 99% certain of the answer to this but I have a colleague who is disputing this and I would like some clarification on the etiquette in this situation so that we don’t upset our very valued freelancers!


  • @Affordable Photostudio LDN agreed. However he’s the director so I figured I better check my facts before I challenge him! Thanks for replying!
  • @Kelly Jaghai sounds like its a him problem, now you know where you stand, best move on taking advice from ppl who dont know what the fuck they are talking abt 😂
  • @Alexandra (Lex) Hearth thanks so much this is super helpful. In terms of usage, we just had a simple agreement: website, social and some other marketing materials like brochures. My colleague is under the impression that once the images are paid for, that he can do what he likes with them including gifting them to clients!
  • Hey Kelly, the simple answer is it depends on the usage agreed with the photographer when they took the images. Usage should be negotiated ahead of shooting, but can be renegotiated/extended down the line. Usage includes: length of time of use, geographies/territories, media type - eg press/digital/OOH, third party use. Its not uncommon to agree an in perpetuity usage upfront which would allow you to share the photos as you need - if you didn't agree this, the photographer may not mind you sharing, but you should ask them with consideration. For a large brand with substantial budgets, of course the usage is a key part of the payment to the creative so that has to be clearly fixed. Hope that helps, Lex
  • @Affordable Photostudio LDN thank you! I have explained all this and it didn’t seem to register. I figured I’d ask here and get some clarification so thank you!
  • Also just to mention, when a client hires a photographer, they simply are paying for the time to create the needed imagery but the client does not own the imagery unless negotiated in a contracted. On top of the fee for creation of the work, the client then pays what is known as the usage fee and this will be different depending on how much money will they be making from the image and the size of that company. For example one picture for a billboard for nike could be £3k day fee for a day and maybe somewhere in the region of 20k for say half a year or a year usage a billboard(obviously these are not accurate numbers, but this in the region of what ppl seem to earn for these kinda of jobs) but obviously this fee will be much smaller for a brand to use in their social media or website.

  • No, copy right belongs to the photographer and images may not be reproduced without their permission. If images end up being used without photographers permission commercially this can end in a law suit.

    I believe as a stylist you also have a copyright but its not the same as sharing it. It just means that say a magazine needs your permission to publish images alongside photographers for example.

    Im not even going to mention models rights cos thats a whole other story.
  • There are multiple levels on this. First of all is your work an art work? Or he created some photos for you according to your set direction. If it's an artwork created by you, let's say some statue, no he can't.
    But if it's not something in that category, legally by paying him you get usage right but he would be the copyright holder. It goe smuch deeper but I made a very short summary of it.

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