Knowing these few tips could save you thousands!
Tip 1: Don’t purchase the rights if you don’t need to. The rights to a photo can cost hundreds if not thousands depending on its intended use. Instead, have the photographer draft up a contract with a temporary release of the images based on the terms you have agreed upon. If you only intend to post them on your MLS or Website. Why pay the same as a print or magazine ad. Draft a contract for a limited license stating you will only use the images on the MLS. Just be sure to stay within the limits of the agreement.
Tip 2: No contract, no deal! A photographer has to actually sign over their image rights to you for it to be a legal transfer. If you are just purchasing the image or just have a temporary release, get it in writing and signed. This will prevent any business deals that go bad from going REALLY BAD. No contract and you could get hit with a Copyright Lawsuit costing you at least five grand per photo or more.
Tip 3: Read the fine print! Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken of your listing. In other words, the photographer can use them professionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even use them in ads). That also means that you can't just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise if you want to print the images, with most photographers you'll have to buy the rights to the images.