What Influencers Should Know About Photo Rights


As a creator, the rights to your content are the most important pieces of property you own.  Unless a brand has hired you to create content for their exclusive use, your content is your intellectual property.  This is true for sponsored content as well.

Photo rights can be confusing, especially online where everyone is re-sharing and reposting other people’s content all the time.  But, like your mama always said, , just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right. If someone shares your photo they should always be giving you credit and linking back to your profile.  Most of the apps that allow you to regram photos do this automatically, but not all of them. Photos can also be downloaded and reposted, so be sure you’re paying attention.

Most of the time, a link to your profile is sufficient credit for someone sharing your photo online. Let’s face it - you want people to share your content and get the word out about you.  If you’ve ever had your photo featured on the Obviously blog, you know that we are sticklers about asking permission for photos.  To date, we’ve never had anyone turn down the opportunity. Influencers love being featured, and we love when they share our content in return. However, if someone is posting your photo without driving traffic to your Instagram, or worse claiming your work as their own, you have the right to ask them to take it down.  

When it comes to using your photos beyond social media, like on a brand’s company website, magazine, or marketing materials, it’s a whole different ball game. They’re asking to use your content the same way they’d use that of a hired photographer or model, people they would pay directly.  Even if you created content as part of a collaboration, it’s more than reasonable to expect additional payment if the brand comes back later asking for photo rights. If possible, a better option is for you and the brand to agree on a fair price before the collaboration begins.

Last week, I wrote a bit about some of the predatory practices that Obviously has seen in the industry. One of those practices is to “sneak in” a clause that asks you to give away your photo rights for free during the registration for the platform.  It might be as simple as clicking a box asserting that you agree to give the brand full ownership of all your content for every collaboration through the platform.  This is not how you should be treated by brands and agencies that are your partners.

At Obviously, we go above and beyond to make sure you’re compensated fairly for your photo rights.  If a brand is interested in buying photo rights, which is quickly becoming the norm, they have to set a rate before the collaboration begins.  We will always be up front about the rate we’re offering, and you're free to accept a project or not. We make sure the price is fair and in-keeping with industry standards, but ultimately you have the power to determine what works for you and what doesn’t.

Photo rights can seem like a confusing concept, but at the core it’s simple.  Your work belongs to you, and there’s no reason to give it away for free. Take yourself and your content seriously and your collaborators will do the same. We’re on your side, Obviously!

TLDR: Your content is your property. Working with Obviously will ensure you are compensated fairly for its use.

Interested in seeing how we talk to brands about photo rights?  Peep our brand-facing blog on this same topic here.

Emily BarozComment