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Right, the way I work: (in a nutshell)

It is different from the traditional business model photographers have worked with for eons. I sell my skills as opposed to images - so basically, by using a very open (but with attribution) licence, my Images get out to a very wide audience and from that, I get a lot more commissioned work - which ends up more lucrative for me. I never have to worry about selling an image - or frankly theft of an image, and so far, have been wonderfully busy, with a varied audience and client base.

Hope this helps in a small way with HOW I do things.
Andre van Rooyen's profile photoPaul Scott's profile photoCazpi Scott's profile photoPaul Jacobson's profile photo
Thanks for sharing. Given that Creative Commons allows you to have an open licence and still apply commercial value to your images, is there any particular reason that you choose not to levy an image fee on top of your professional services?
Do you license images that get commissioned as @ CC as well ?
+Darren Smith An image fee as well as the services would minimise the sharing potential negating the license to a degree. The point here is that the images are shared freely and the attribution stays intact. It is almost a complete 180 degree turn from the traditional copyright model of photo distribution at a professional level. The entire business model is geared towards "Free advertising" of your services as opposed to selling items (images) in which the buyer then has all rights to the image. In this way, you reserve at least some rights to the image and are able to exercise a little more control over where and how it is used and who benefits from it.

In a copyright world, the buyer would have all rights to the picture and all future benefits derived from the use of the image are the sole domain of the copyright holder (not you). In a CC BY-SA model, you will always derive benefit. Take the following example:

A large international corporation wants to use an image you took. Copyright means that if they want to use it, even as an image on their web site, they will pay you a fee to buy the picture. You may make, say R20k from the sale of that picture. Great! Once you have sold it for R20k, you then see that they are using it as © Big Corp all over pamphlets, TV spots and elsewhere. You have no rights anymore.

On the other hand, lets say you allow Big Corp to use your image with attribution. The image remains the property of you, plus they need to attribute you on every use of the image. They can then freely use the image on multiple campaigns (web, print, billboard etc) but with your name attached to every instance. This means that any other corporation or other potential client will see that, and potentially commission your work for their own campaigns, with attribution again and again.

It is a simple model and the above examples are simple examples, but I do think that they illustrate a point at least. Please do carry on the discussion though!
+Paul Scott Would it not be easier to license by-nc-nd / by-nc-sa and duel license for commercial with conditions that suit it best ?
commissioned work is also released under CC BY-SA so that others can benefit as well. For example, if someone wants photos of a birthday party, all the moms can share the pics of each others kids. If I used copyright, the person that paid for the shoot would own copyright on the images and would commit a crime by sharing them. I also use copyleft style licence, not copyright. There is no "statute of limitations" on the rights - protecting myself and my clients forever, not the copyright 75/90 (?) years (fyi and all that)
+Henti Smith Some people choose to use the ND or NC limitations, which are OK if you do not want your work used in commercial or derivative works. IMO, this is a serious limitation and should not be used as it impacts negatively on your "shareability" and hence employability... Dual licensing is a headache at the best of times, so I (and +Cazpi Scott ) prefer to use the more open licenses. This is always a personal choice of course, so use what works for you best!
+Paul Scott Not strictly true that the photographer loses all rights in a 'copyright' world. Correctly constructed agreements can return those rights to the photographer in spite of the commercial transaction. As you correctly point out, once the image copyright is vested elsewhere, you're screwed. But, a well constructed agreement ensures that the common place example you give would cost the corporate. It can be done.
+Paul Jacobson Could I ask you to dig out your comments on South Africa copyright law ... and perhaps comment on the merits (in your professional opinion) of the Creative Commons thinking and/or conventional copyright thinking when it comes to the business of photography. Would really appreciate your input.
+Darren Smith as I said, these are very simple examples, obviously there is a lot more to discuss! :) I was merely illustrating a point in a manner that can be easily typed, read and consumed on a social sharing site... :D
+Paul Scott I prefer to use ND and NC, but I do understand your point. I would prefer to control what commercial use my personal images have, hence the NC. I hardly want Apple to use my images to advertise their products. ND is also a personal choice not to alter an image beyond post precessing of the raw files and small blemish editing. I can't stand the thought of editing images and manipulating them to the point of not resembling the original scenery.

The bigger question for me is the difference between personal photography and commissioned photography. ZA copyright boils down to :

Non-commissioned photographs are owned by the photographer Commissioned photographs are owned by the client

I'm more interested in how to deal with commissioned work to be honest. I would prefer to keep images @ CC but the copyright is not mine to dictate license. Can copyright be retained ? I've read that a contract takes precedence over the Copyright Act, but is that true ?
Commissioned images - so every shoot you get paid for then.
+Henti Smith Yes, as far as I am aware, a contract trumps everything, it is an agreement. Clients should be informed of a licensing scheme and agree to that always, we hold no secrets here! :) If I were you, I would spend the 10 minutes explaining your license to the clients and the fact that some rights are reserved by both parties. Most folks will agree, but for those that don't, you get to fall back to full Copyright, or to refuse the job
Hey +Paul Scott, +Cazpi Scott, +Henti Smith and +Darren Smith

Firstly, I wrote about some Copyright Act issues on Facebook a while ago at and it is probably worth taking a look at that post, particularly the effects of a commission to take photos and how you can retain copyright in the photos. The main issue when it comes to a commission to take photos is the following:

"Putting this all together, when a photographer is commissioned to do a wedding photo shoot, for example, and the client pays the photographer or agrees to pay for the shoot in money terms or something worth money (probably includes a barter arrangement) then the photographs belong to the client who is the copyright owner. For the photographer to make use of the photographs in some way, the photographer would have to either take a license from the client to do those things (making copies, publishing photos in a magazine or on the photographer's website, for example) or reach agreement with the client to take assignment of the photographs. Both of these things are usually done through the photographers terms and conditions (its contract with the client)."

There is a work-around in the form of a contractual opt-out which effectively negates this assignment to the client.

I really like how you, Paul and Cazpi, have adopted CC licenses and applied them to your work. I think your basic approach is right and the idea that making your work more freely available to increase exposure and work is pretty much established in the publishing and music industry by some progressive people. CC licenses, like custom licenses, are intended to grant others the rights you, as copyright owners, enjoy exclusively. They aren't alternatives to copyright, they work within the parameters established by copyright law.

Your approach of licensing all your stuff under CC BY-SA is a little risky because once licensed the license can't be revoked and attaches to the work. The license allows anyone else to commercially exploit your photos provided they attribute you as the source. Also bear in mind that the license is perpetual. Some commercial clients may not like this so make sure you brief your clients on all of these features of the license so they understand what they are doing. Of course you should provide for the opt-out (what I referred to above) to retain the rights to license the works under a CC license or you won't be legally empowered to license the photos at all because copyright ownership shifts to the client by default.

If you would like to make your photos available under a CC license and avoid the risk of someone else commercially exploiting your works you could use a NC license variant for general release and a more specific license for the client (you can license your works under multiple licenses as long as you don't interfere with the CC license terms or try sub-license a CC licensed work). That said, your approach of licensing all works under a CC BY-SA license can work provided its done competently and the client understands it doesn't own the photos, merely licenses them under a fairly open license.

Cazpi, you made an incorrect statement when you said "If I used copyright, the person that paid for the shoot would own copyright on the images and would commit a crime by sharing them". When you take photos for a client and you don't include the opt-out under the Copyright Act, copyright vests in the client becomes the copyright owner and can do pretty much whatever the client wants with the photo. The only real restriction is that the client must respect your moral rights as the photos' creator. If the client contractually opts-out of the assignment under the Copyright Act, you retain copyright and you can then license the photos under a CC license. The client can then share the photos under that license without penalty. A BY-SA license is broad enough to allow the client to share the photos, commercially exploit them and create derivatives provided you are attributed as the author and copyright owner.
Thanks +Paul Jacobson for your comments too! I tend to simplify CC because of the many talks etc that I give, but your insights are very valuable to the discussion. The commercial portion does not really apply to me as such, but it does need to be explored more I think and put into terms that more folks can understand easily. I think that a few examples of successful business models (like Cazpix Photography can and should be explored and almost incubated so that they can be used as global examples. Cazpix is also in the unique position of only using Free and Open Source Software as well, which has been somewhat challenging some times, but has paid off huge in the medium to long term. Licensing should do the same thing although +Cazpi Scott is only really starting to see the large scale benefits there recently.
Only free and open source software? What is Cazpix's setup (OS, software apps etc)? Very curious about OSS in production environments.
I'm going to let Paul tell you :) I am not sure I could list everything I use. But linux, gimp, ufraw, etc is a start. Nothing on my setup is proprietary.
+Paul Jacobson Caz uses:

Ubuntu GNU/Linux
UFRAW (RAWtherapee)
Remote backup via AMANDA
GIMP plugins via Gimp Registry (I am sure she can tell you the favourite ones!)
NVidia GForce 2GB video card
8 core CPU
2 TB HDD, but connected to a cloud files drive that I maintain

Nothing much more than that. Some commandline tools as well like mogrify (part of imagick) and ufraw-batch too
I just find the setup really interesting. I keep returning to the question whether I could run my firm on an OSS platform. Its certainly cheaper than outfitting my office with Macs running MS Office. I thought I'd start with a migration to LibreOffice instead of MS Office but it seems to be missing a lot of polish.
It isn't as pretty. I will admit that. But it does as much. My mom has word. I now find it a mission to use. You can also request features our add ons etc in foss, which I doubt happens with other Os'
I'd really like to switch to LibreOffice from MS Office. I have my Mac and my paralegal who starts next year has a Windows machine. We both have office but LibreOffice will scale better. I started exploring it and it didn't have much in the way of appealing fonts but I since bought a font for office work so its probably worth looking at it again.
Really late to the party here, so, sorry, but...

It always astounds me how folks confuse and conflate the concepts of copyright and license.

Simply because a photographer shoots images on assignment from a customer DOES NOT automagically mean that the photog surrenders their copyright in the created works. The copyright is ALWAYS vested in the creator (without needing to be asserted), UNTIL it is explicitly surrendered or transferred. There are some exceptions, but they are SO specific. For example if you're employed and your contract of employment states that...yada yada...

A license is NOT a surrender of copyright. A license, by its definition implies that the holder of the copyright is issuing a filtered permission for the usage of the works, by another party/parties/the world.

In order to license something then, it is implicit that you own the copyright, as only the holder can issue such a license.

Surrender or transfer of copyright is done explicitly in a contract or other legal document.
So, I'm speaking to a legal expert, two prolific Free and Open Source Software evangelists, a significant Creative Commons boffin, and a Pro Photographer. And I sound like a jerk. Pardon me, people. This particular point gets me SO riled up, I forget my manners. Apologies for the attitude.
+Andre van Rooyen Attitude? Huh? I thought we were all big people here... All good points, thank you. Sometimes in the excitement, I forget what it really about and am glad that you posted! Thank you!

If anyone feels that your points are indicative of a bad attitude, they should not be in this discussion. As I said, adults and all...
What I would really like to see is more points and advice from other professionals working with CC exclusively. I wonder if +Lawrence Lessig can put like minded folks in touch or even comment on this thread. That would be great! Surely +Cazpi Scott is not the only pro photographer licensing exclusively with CC?
+Andre van Rooyen, you are pretty much spot on about what licenses are but wrong about the effect a commission has on copyright ownership. Take a look at my note about the effects of the Copyright Act (I linked to it in my first comment above). If a client commissions you to do a shoot, copyright pretty much does automatically shift.
Hi +Paul Scott, +Lawrence Lessig doesn't really work in the copyright space and hasn't for a little while now. He has refocussed his efforts on institutional corruption in government.