photo licensingPhoto licensing is often a confusing endeavor when you are hiring a photographer. In the US, the creator of an image is the copyright owner at the moment they create the work. This means a photographer owns the copyright to an image when they snap the shutter and can, as copyright owner, choose to license out the photo for additional usage. The usage is what the license covers. The creation of the image is covered by copyright.

us copyright office - copyrighted images are protected and can be photo licensingWhat does this mean in practice? (to jump to our own most popular options, click here)

So you hire a photographer.  Unless you do a Work for Hire agreement, the photographer will be the copyright owner of the image.  But you want to use the images for various reasons.  This means you’ll need to granted a license for how you want to use the images.  PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System) is a consortium that came together to simplify licensing and they’ve come up with some industry standards on what a licence can mean and what rights such licenses can grant.

At Orange, we include some basic licensing that’s useful for most instances of the type of work we’re shooting for our clients.  We use the PLUS Packs which are pre-determined licensing sets that cover a lot of the most common types of usage.  

For example, a common one is Marketing Materials (PAMM)

This means images are licensed for “Use in any marketing materials distributed to a targeted audience. Includes use in printed brochure, catalog, annual report, public relations and sales material. Also includes electronic (PDF) versions of the original printed uses. Applies to a specified end user product or service.”


Web and Electronic Advertising (PAWE) Use in any web and electronic media for advertising and promotional purposes including website, web banner ad, promotional email and mobile ad. Applies to a specified end user product or service.

Internal Company (PRCO) Use in any medium intended for internal company use.


But most clients can have the usage they need in our basic photo licensing options. 

Our Standard Licensing Package includes pretty much any marketing usage – so if you want to use your images for your website, Facebook, email newsletters and presentations this will suffice.

Our Premium Licensing Package adds commercial usage which means if you want to use the images in paid advertising (trade show promotional ad, billboard or other external advertising – if you use it to promote your company internally you don’t need the Premium level and our Standard level would suffice).

Our highest level is a Copyright/Licensing Buyout Package.  This is when you must own the actual copyright and as such would have complete control to use and re-license.  Since this requires us to give up the copyright it’s also the most expensive level.

If you have any questions about usage and photo licensing feel free to reach out and we’d be happy to explain in more detail what the best options would be for you.