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Why do photographers charge so much for using Copyright images

Updated on April 28, 2013

The Concept

In order to answer this lets take a lot a one image in particular, the one that I currently use as my profile picture is a simple image of a lemon

Image ©Howzat Photography
Image ©Howzat Photography | Source

Now look closer at the image, the lemon appears to be levitating over a reflective surface. There is nothing holding the lemon up not even in the reflection is anything visible.

This image was something I had thought about several times and had made a few attempts to get the final result I wanted. There were times when the image looked good but the method used to make the lemon float caused juice to drip out which ruined the shot.

After several attempts I managed to get an image that I could manipulate in photoshop to complete the illusion of a levitating lemon complete with reflection.

The Equipment

In order to get this image I used a camera (digital SLR + lens), A tripod, a light tent, two lights, a perspex stand and a black backdrop. All of these are standard equipment for a photographer and all have to be purchased and maintained in their own way. None of these are cheap as cheap equipment is great for the occasional user but never copes well with continual use. After the image has been captured it then has to be Manipulated in adobe photoshop to get the final usable image, this software is not cheap but again is an essential tool for the professional photographer. In order to pay for all of this the photographer needs to make some money.

A picture I took of Me watching Me take a picture of something Image ©Howzat Photography
A picture I took of Me watching Me take a picture of something Image ©Howzat Photography

Exclusive Use

So having spent all this time and all this money to buy to buy the various items of equipment how does the photographer make a living? well the best way to get your money back is to sell an image for exclusive use. That's when someone pays a lot of money for your image in order to be the only people that use it. However if someone has "borrowed" a copy and is using it on their blog or hub page then the photographer can't sell it as exclusive use. That turns a £200 image into a £20 image. That's why the photographer gets upset.


As you can see a simple image like the levitating lemon has taken me several hours of thought, A few hundred pounds of equipment and a few hundred pounds of software. So for just over a thousand pound and a day of my time I have got an image that I could sell for £200 that has just been devalued to £20 because some blogger chose to "borrow" it. Any ideas why I send you a really stroppy email telling you I want blood and your first born as compensation?


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    • Vinodkpillai profile image

      Vinodkpillai 5 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Voted up and useful as a brilliant hub that puts across the trouble taken to create a great image and the reason for "all the fuss" that photographers make when somebody "borrows" it.