How to Provide a Photo License to a Friend

Photographers often take photos for friends, such as of their kids or pets.  But how does the photographer limit the friend’s use of the photos with tact?

For example, some great friends invite my husband, his grandsons, and me to their plantation every year.  I love to photograph their horses, dogs, swans, the landscape, and other beautiful things while there.  After the trip, I send a link to copies of the photos posted on a photo website for the friends to see and to purchase prints at no upcharge.  I also send them a note to tell them that these photos are for personal use only and to let me know if they want to use them for anything else.

After this past year’s visit, the husband asked for a copy of a large digital file for one of my shots.  He wanted to give the wife a framed enlarged print of the photo for a Christmas present.  I replied:

Happy to do so at no charge for xxx’s gift.  Please let me know what format file the printer needs (.jpg, .tiff, or raw) and the specific use so that I can provide a license with the file.  The limitation is to keep up with uses so there is no misunderstanding with the printer.

He replied that he understood.  My email to the printer was as follows:

This is to confirm that you may make one 20″x30″ giclee print of the “Snow Horse Run,” Copyright 2010 Carolyn E. Wright, for [my friend].  All other rights are reserved.

So while I am giving the license to my friend at no charge, he knows that the license is limited.  That way, he’ll respect my copyright, I can give him a gift that he appreciates, and we can remain good friends.

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