Legal And Business Practices For Digital Photography; On Guidelines, Licensing, And More From ASMP’s Judy Herrmann Page 2

SB: During digital postproduction, how do you embed copyright and contact information in images for project delivery and for posting to your website?

JH: We take different approaches depending on the project and the volume of images involved. Usually, we're delivering a very small number of master files to the client so it's easy to use Photoshop templates. For larger projects, we'll embed the metadata using Bridge. In addition to the copyright and contact information, we're careful to always embed the license language as well. That way, anyone who comes across the file for any reason knows immediately what they can or can't legally do with the file. And, if they want to use the file for a purpose not covered by the license, they can easily find us to negotiate a new license.

SB: We can't discuss commercial digital photography without the mention of licensing--what are your current resources for information that you can share with our readers?

JH: If you're not familiar with licensing images, the ASMP has a great resource at that explains everything you need to know. Another valuable resource is the Picture Licensing Universal System (, which includes a comprehensive glossary of licensing terms.

Doc Martens
Sometimes, your choice of equipment can give you competitive edge. Working with a weatherproof camera system, like the Olympus E-series D-SLRs, enables us to capture whatever comes our way, rain or shine.

SB: What has been your experience with using the UPDIG guidelines ( and what do they represent for digital photographic business practices?

JH: The UPDIG guidelines provide recommended best practices for digital photography that have been endorsed by 20 trade associations worldwide. The beauty of the guidelines is that they're designed to be very easy to incorporate into your workflow. I would start with the Quick Guide, which provides a short, easy-to-read overview of best practices and follow the links to
in-depth information when and where you need it. UPDIG also includes a new Digital Image Submission Guideline that helps clients understand and communicate their true needs for a wide range of uses.

We've all been in the position where we've delivered a file, something has gone wrong and we've wound up in a finger-pointing match trying to figure out what happened and how to fix it. When everyone follows the UPDIG protocols, these problems simply don't happen.

For clients, knowing a photographer is UPDIG compliant gives them confidence that the files delivered will be tagged with an appropriate ICC profile, will be sized correctly for the intended use, and will have embedded metadata giving them easy access to the owner's copyright, contact information, and the rights licensed.

I am very excited to report that the ASMP Digital Standards Committee, chaired by UPDIG's primary author, Richard Anderson, has just received a substantial award from the Library of Congress. These funds will allow for a significant expansion of the guidelines with an emphasis on developing tools to help educate photographers, printers, and clients on how to use UPDIG to get the most out of their digital files.

Mulberry Handbag
While we typically market ourselves based on a distinctive aesthetic, we work hard to maintain a wide range of skills that let us work in any visual language. This image doesn't follow our signature style but the product dictated a different approach. The Mulberry Roxanne handbag features a multitude of textures and details. The hard shiny light source helps define the subtle nuances of this upscale women's purse.

SB: Is there anything you would like to add to inform our readers about the current legal and business practices associated with digital photography?

JH: I would love to steer your readers to more of the resources available at ASMP's website. In addition to the licensing guide I referenced earlier, our copyright tutorial ( and releases module ( help photographers understand everything they need to know about protecting themselves through registering their copyrights and obtaining appropriate releases. Finally, our terms and conditions section provides language recommendations for photographers working in the digital age.