Without a contract, the answer in a nutshell; the photographer owns your website images.
There are a lot of sites on the internet where you can buy royalty-free images. There are also websites that allow account holders to use images for free.
Royalty-Free Website Images
Creative Market have beautiful photos you can purchase, they also have a plethora of fonts, templates and other pretty things
Shutterstock is my personal go-to as it has a huge selection of gorgeous royalty-free images. I have a monthly plan that gives me 10 images a month for $32 so it’s budget friendly as well as the biggest photo repository online
If you do not have the legal right to use a photo, you can get yourself into hot water. You can be sued by the image owner if you take something from Pinterest or google images without permission.
Custom Website Images
If you decide you wish to create your own images and book a photographer, make sure you have a contract that outlines the use of the images.
Without a contract, the photographer the copyright is still with the photographer even tho it’s you and your products shown in the images.
It’s generally assumed that when you pay for photos that you own the photos; legally that may not be the case.
I have a close friend who has been a photographer for over 20years and the first time we talked about contracts I was quick shocked that even if I paid for the pictures, I didn’t own them unless there was a contract releasing the photo ownership to me.
Custom Website Image Usage
If you do not have a contract, the copyright is owned by the photographer this means that you cannot reproduce the photograph in any means or medium, without the photographer’s consent.
The extent to which you can use your photographs is limited by what has been agreed upon between the Model/Agency and the Photographer.
The photographer, as the copyright owner of their photographs, can dictate terms for reproducing their work including where it may appear and for how long. Using photos beyond the purposes originally agreed is a breach of the photographer’s copyright.
You can only use the photos in places and on mediums as agreed with the photographer. Photographers know you will be using them for your websites however you cannot use them for say a magazine submission.
Without the photographer agreeing to the photos to be used in a commercial endeavour outside of their original intended purpose, you are in breach of both copyright and contract law.
If you wish to own your photos then you need to discuss with a photographer and have a written contract in place.
Many photographers have boilerplate contracts for the transfer of rights. If they do not have one you may want to consult a lawyer for such a contract and in most cases, the cost of the photos will increase significantly.
Website images arranged by someone else
The agreement is in place between the person who arranges the shoot and the photographer.
Even if they are photos of your products, you cannot take photos and use them yourself without breaking copyright and contract law.
The best way to deal with any photo ownership issues is by clearing up copyright ownership from the outset. The best way to deal with this problem is by covering yourself in writing.
You can read more about photographs and copyright laws of photographs in Australia on www.copyright.org.au
Website images ownership who knew it was so complex?
I hope you found this blog post helpful