FAQ's Concerning Photography for Reproduction and Digital Licensing

In today's fast moving society, people often make value judgements based solely on first impressions. Therefore, it is imperative that an executive portrait, whether used for publicity, annual reports or display, project a successful, positive image. The correct clothing selection to be used for the portrait can create just the image businesses seek, while the wrong selection of clothing may leave the viewer with a negative feeling toward the executive and his or her company.

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Wauwatosa Studio
6654 W Lisbon Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53210


Downtown Studio
312 E Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202


(414) 445-2220
(414) 445-3939 Fax


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Frequently Asked Questions Concerning
Photography for Reproduction and Digital Licensing

Q - When did all this licensing begin? Before I just bought pictures and was not aware of any usage license?

A - Actually, licensing has always been in effect. When you purchased a photograph for a press release, it came with a single use license. You would send it to the newspaper, the license was used, and the newspaper discarded the print. If you needed to send a photograph to multiple media, you would purchase as many prints as needed, each with a single use license, and they would be discarded by that media thereby ending the use of that license.

With the advent of digital files, it is now possible for you to use the same file many times. Therefore, licensing has been brought into the forefront. To keep the cost of your photography as reasonable as possible, you now purchase additional usage licenses instead of additional prints. Each single use still carries a single usage license just as it has done before, however, you no longer have to store stacks prints. Instead, you only have to keep a record of the number of times you use the file and order additional licenses as needed.

Q - I paid for the print or file so why can't I use it as I see fit?

A - The fees you pay are for the labor of making the selection of images (Session Fee) and the use of the image for a single purpose. The Copyright Law of 1978 clearly assigns the ownership of the photography to the original maker (Photographer). Purchasing a photograph is rather like renting videotape. You can have the enjoyment of viewing it but it is illegal to copy it. And if you wish to use it again at another time, you need to rent it again.

Q - Why can't I use the same file for my web site as I use for my printed proposals?

A - The files for printed output are much larger than what is needed for web use and would therefore display very slowly if used on a web site. In addition, the resulting web image could look bad when viewed on-line since printed output files are saved with a different color/tone than what is needed for the web.

Q - Ok, so why do I need both a color file and a black & white version? Can't I just convert the file, as I need it in a photo-editing program?

A - First, if you plan to use the file for both a color output and a black & white purpose, you will need a license for both uses, which automatically comes with each version of the file. But more importantly, when we create a digital file for you, we do so based on the final usage. It involves much more than simply converting the color file to grayscale (black & white).

Proper adjustments must be made to the file to assure proper printing. A grayscale file has 256 different possible adjustments that could be made, all affecting how the final output will render. In addition, web files require many additional adjustments to allow them to display on web sites quickly and not bore your viewer having to wait for them to show.

Q - May I give my digital file to another firm to use?

A - Yes, of course. However, be sure to inform them of the licensing restrictions and check that you still have a sufficient number of licenses available to cover the other firm's usage. If more licenses are needed, either they or you may purchase them from our studios.

Q - How do I keep track of the number of times I have used the image?

A - When you purchase a digital file from our studio, a license(s) is included on the disk or email you receive. Most firms simply print out multiple copies of the license agreement equal to the number of licenses they purchased, number and date them and place them in the employee file. Then each time a file is used, simply dispose of one of the licenses. As your supply gets low, you can purchase additional licenses by phone from the studio. Your invoice will also reflect the number of licenses you have purchased.

Of course, the easiest way is to do what most of our corporate client do - purchase an Unlimited Use License for each file.

Q - I want to use an image for my web site in color, for proposals I mail out to various clients throughout the year in black & white, on my business cards in color, for a client newsletter in color and for 3 different newspapers for press releases at various times during the year. What do I need?

A - Usage licenses are good for an entire 24 months from the date of purchase and may be continually renewed by simply purchasing additional licenses as needed. There is no need to be re-photographed unless you wish to up date your image.

For the above uses you would need...

Web site ~ 1 - 72ppi color file with one license
Proposals ~ 1 - 300ppi B&W file with one license
Business Cards ~ 1 - 300ppi color file with one license
Newsletter ~ 1 - additional use license for 300ppi color file
Press Releases ~ 3 - additional use licenses for each set of press releases each mailing

Additional use licenses may be purchased in quantities of 10, 50 or unlimited use for the entire 24-month period. For greatest savings, it is best to try to anticipate your usage over the year. Additional licenses may be added by a simple phone call to our studios.