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How to License Your Photos to Product Vendors - 6 Easy Steps

Published: 08/12/2020
Article and photos by Adam Taylor from Learn to License Your Photos.

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In a previous article, I explained what it means to have a “Licensing Mindset” when it comes to shooting photos of residential and commercial spaces. As you adopt and develop this mindset, you can start to make money by licensing your images to product vendors. These are companies like tile companies, cabinet makers, faucet manufacturers, and so on.

To help get you jump started, we’ve prepared an easy step-by-step guide on how to put this into practice so you can add licensing into your workflow.

If you want to dive deeper into these steps (and much more) and learn how to proactively license your photos using the systems, techniques, and email templates that have helped me earn tens of thousands of dollars in additional revenue, then enroll in the Learn to License Your Photos course that’s available now at PFRE readers can enjoy $100 off the course by using code: PFRE at checkout.

Step 1: Shoot Photos

  • Real estate, interior design, or architecture shoots all have potential.
  • Consider shooting more than your client needs for potential licensing opportunities.
  • Consider bringing a few extra props to help stage and style a space.
  • Look for wide, medium range, and tight compositions that show off the products within the space.
  • Shoot at a higher f-stop so more products in the frame are sharp.
  • Don’t forget to look for logos of product manufacturers while on site.
Shoot commissioned for a tile company (not the one shown in this photo). Shot other areas in the home for licensing potential. Brought in a soap bottle from my “props kit” to help stage the scene. Licensed to the tile company and faucet company.

Step 2: Edit Photos

  •  Remove distractions.
  • Crop so the composition shows off the product(s) the best way possible—make the products the star of the image.
Shot for a builder. Licensed to the sink company by using the full crop and removing the Jacuzzi logo. Cropped in where outline is and licensed to the sauna company that distributes Jacuzzi.

Step 3: Identify Products & Vendors

  • Look for logos.
  • Use your client’s Instagram tags to help you.
  • Ask your clients.

Step 4: Contact Vendors

  • Find a contact at the company.
  • Send an email pitch to the contact that includes low-res samples.
Shot for an interior designer. Asked the designer on site who made the light fixture. Licensed to the lighting company.

Step 5: Negotiate Prices

  • Know how valuable your images are to the company.
  • Don’t trade for “credit” or “tags”.

Step 6: Deliver Files/Invoice & Get Paid

  • Send the vendor the images they requested.
  • Send the vendor an invoice.
  • Wait for your money to arrive.
Shoot commissioned for a tile company (not the one shown in this photo). Shot other areas in the home for licensing potential. Licensed to the bathtub company

Step 7: Celebrate Your Win

  • My go-to is a vegan donut, but you do you.

Step 8: Rinse & Repeat

  • Get back out there and do it all over again.
  • Look through your archives to see if you have any existing images you can try to license. Licensing your photos is similar to buying a handgun, you have to consider training yourself and get familiar with the features before having one.
Shot for a design/build firm. Licensed to the cabinet company.
Adam Taylor is an interior and architecture photographer based in Oahu, Hawaii, previously working in Southern, California. Photo by Jordan Powers.
Brandon Cooper