The Basics of Licensing Wildlife Photos

The Basics of Licensing Wildlife Photos
A juvenile barred owl practices hunting while the adults watch nearby. Photo by: Annalise Kaylor

Licensing your wildlife photography is one of the easier ways to get started in the business, but you have to understand how licensing works in order to make it work for you.

There are almost limitless ways you can license your work. Every business under the sun needs photos for its collateral. Brochures, websites, social media channels, annual reports, videos, advertising, and fundraising campaigns - the list goes on and on.

When you put your work on a stock site like Getty or iStock, you are licensing your photography. But you really have no control over how much money you make from the transaction. The prices are all pre-determined by the agency and the photographer always gets the short end of the stick. Many of them offer just pennies on the dollar.

Stock websites have their places in photo sales, but it's a misconception that this is where you earn the majority of your income as a wildlife photographer. Recently, one of my images was licensed through Getty and I made a whopping .44 cents. CENTS. Do you know what Getty sold it for? $375.