Licensing photos from my photography archive, my initial ideas.2 min read

Somebody slid into my mailbox the other day asking about using images from my archive. Interesting. I was just watching a video by Dan Milnor in which he mentions people living on their archives, simply by licensing images to people. Hmmm…

It just so happens to be that I’ve focused the past year on building my online archive and that’s starting to take shape nicely. There’s a structure in the galleries that’s easy to navigate and it slowly gets more body as time passes.1 I still need to go through old images and add those but even without that, there are almost 12.000 images in my archive. Mind you, I’m uploading all final images from a shoot to my archive. After the initial filtering for the edit I don’t narrow it down any further. It’s a very raw representation of my work, rather than a curated collection of my best images. But that’s a good quality for an archive, right?

So how do I go about licensing this work then? I have no idea yet but here are some ideas:

  • I can start by building a webpage that explains the licensing process to clients. I can then refer people to that page at the beginning of negotiations to make things easier for them and myself.
  • That page needs to be filled with the general process explanation and perhaps a default licensing agreement.
  • Which means I need to write a licensing agreement. I should look up some examples on how to do that.
  • After the client and I agree on the images, the usage and the duration of usage, I can create a separate gallery for them in my archive with a password-protected download link. That probably should all be collected in a special ‘licensed photos’ section in the archive for future reference.
  • Oh! Of course I also need to collect model releases then. Let’s find a template for that as well.

That’s it for now? I can’t wait to read this back later and find out how much of this has come true.


  1. That means I’m adding more images all the time. ↩︎
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Hey, I’m Mitchel Lensink. I’m a photographer and writer from The Netherlands. Want to know more than that? You can find out on my about page.

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