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Buying & Licensing Images

Overview

PhotoShelter allows photographers of all sorts to upload, publicize, and sell images online. All images found on our site are property of the photographers who have uploaded them, which means that if you wish to buy or license an image, you would need to do so from the photographer directly. Not all images that appear on the site are priced for online sale, however -- we leave it up the photographers who use our service to decide whether or not images should be available for immediate purchase or license as printed products or downloads.

If you have performed a search for images from the PhotoShelter homepage, you will see a "+cart" icon on the thumbnail versions of all priced images. Clicking this icon will allow you to see pricing options for any given image, as well as add it to your cart for immediate purchase/license.

Clicking on the thumbnail itself will enlarge the image, taking you to the photographer's personal PhotoShelter website (you should notice that the design of the page changes a bit as you are no longer on the public PhotoShelter site once you do this). When viewing the priced image in this environment, you will see an "Add to cart" or "Buy" button (depending on the particular design that photographer has chosen for his/her site). Clicking this button will allow you to see pricing and sizing options for the image, after which you may add it to your cart for immediate purchase/license if you so choose.

There are 6 ways in which a photographer may sell his/her images:

Prints

If the photographer has made images available for sale as prints, when you click the "Add to Cart" or "Buy" button, you will see a "Prints" tab displaying all of the available print sizes and options, along with their pricing.

Use the "+/-" buttons to increment the number of prints at a given size, or type directly into the quantity field. If there are finish options available (i.e. glossy vs. matte vs. lustre), you may make these selections here, as well. Once you're ready, click the "Add to cart" button. You may then choose to continue shopping or proceed to the checkout area.

Should you choose to continue shopping, you may always access your cart later by clicking the "Cart" link or icon you see in the top right corner of the page.

Cropping

If you're purchasing prints, in most cases you'll be given the option to choose how your image is cropped. You'll see this once you get to the shopping cart, denoted by a red border around the image that represents the image's current crop setting. (One exception would be if the photographer has turned off this option.) This will come into play when your print size doesn't correspond to the dimensions of the image. For example, if you want a square print of an image that isn't square, you'll have to make a choice about how you want that image to fit within the square frame.

The image is always set to a default crop that is determined by the photographer. You can click "Fill" (under the thumbnail) in order for a straight center crop to be applied, but if "Fit" is selected and the image and print size do not match up perfectly, you'll likely see that there will be white borders on either the top and bottom or left and right of the print. If you're concerned about what part of the image will actually print, you can click the "Manual" button to view the crop. This allows you to use our "movable mask" to crop the image in any way you like.

If you click and drag the mask, you can move the crop area around the image. If you click and drag a corner of the mask, you can resize the printable area. However, there's a chance that resizing the printable area might cause poor print quality (because the image itself is being enlarged by filling up the space). If we detect that the final print quality is at risk, you will see a warning at the bottom of the window.

Once ready, click the "Save Crop" button to return to the cart. You may then click the "Checkout" button to proceed with the purchase.

Please note that if you proceed to checkout and we detect a cropping issue may be at play, the following message will appear, urging you to be sure your crops are set exactly as you see fit.

We will “flag” any possibly affected images to make the process as quick and easy as possible for you.

Now that you’ve looked carefully at the crops of all the images you’re purchasing and you’ve moved along to checkout, we'll ask you whether you're a returning visitor (with a login) or if you'd like to proceed as a guest (doesn't require you to log in). Then, we'll ask you to enter your shipping address, choose a shipping method, and provide your email address (only if you selected that "guest" option). Last step is to review your order, and then you can remit payment and call it a day!

Products

Purchasing a product from a photographer (perhaps a mug, mouse pad, key chain, greeting cards, etc.) will work very much like purchasing a print. You'll access the particular photographer's pricing options by clicking the "Add to cart" or "Buy" button while viewing the image on their site (or by clicking the "+cart" icon on the thumbnail as you are viewing it from a PhotoShelter homepage search). If products have been priced for sale, you will see a "Products" tab displaying all of the product options from which you may choose.

Use the "+/-" buttons to increment the individual product quantities, or type directly into the quantity field. Once ready to go, click the "Add to cart" button. You may then choose to continue shopping or proceed to the checkout area. Should you choose to continue shopping, you may always access your cart later by clicking the "Cart" link or icon you see in the top right corner of the page.

Once you've accessed your cart and are ready to checkout, you may click the "Checkout" button to proceed with the purchase. We'll first ask you whether you're a returning visitor (with a login) or if you'd like to proceed as a guest (doesn't require you to log in). Then, we'll ask you to enter your shipping address, choose a shipping method, and provide your email address (only if you selected that "guest" option). Last step is to review your order, and then you can remit payment and call it a day!

Packages

A "package" is a collection of prints and/or downloads that you may purchase for one set price. If the photographer is selling packages, you will see a "Packages" tab that displays the available product combinations after clicking the "Add to Cart"/"Buy" button from their site (or after clicking the "+cart" icon on the thumbnail as you are viewing it from a PhotoShelter homepage search).

It is up to the photographer to decide what print/download options should be included in a package, as well as whether the package may include only one image (being purchased in several formats) or a group of images.

When the "Packages" tab is selected, you will see a list of all the packages the photographer has made available for this image. The items included in the package will be listed here, along with the photographer's package description.

If a single image package is chosen from the list, an overlay will appear allowing you to select finishes for each print option in that package.

If a package that may contain multiple images is selected, an overlay will appear allowing you to drag and drop any of the images in the gallery from which the particular image you are viewing is contained into the available slots. You may also select finishes for each print option in the package from this area.

Once satisfied with your package selections, click the "Save Selections" button. This will take you back to the previous "Add to cart" window, where you may click the "Add to cart" button to continue with your purchase. You may then choose to continue shopping or proceed to the checkout area. Should you choose to continue shopping, you may always access your cart later by clicking the "Cart" link or icon you see in the top right corner of the page.

Once you've accessed your cart and are ready to checkout, you may click the "Checkout" button to proceed with the purchase. We'll first ask you whether you're a returning visitor (with a login) or if you'd like to proceed as a guest (doesn't require you to log in). Then, we'll ask you to enter your shipping address, choose a shipping method, and provide your email address (only if you selected that "guest" option). Last step is to review your order, and then you can remit payment and call it a day!

Personal-Use Licenses

A "personal-use license" is the appropriate choice if you wish to download an image to be used for personal use only. If you plan on using the image in any way that may generate a profit, this is not the license type for you. A typical personal-use license may be purchased for at-home printing, screensavers/slideshows, invitations, personal online profiles, etc., according to the terms and conditions of the License Agreement.

If the photographer is selling personal-use licenses, you will see a "Downloads" tab after clicking the "Add to cart"/"Buy" button from their site (or after clicking the "+cart" icon on the thumbnail as you are viewing it from a PhotoShelter homepage search).

If the photographer is selling more than one type of license, you will be presented with a choice of "personal use" or "commercial use" once the "Downloads" tab is selected. Upon accessing the personal-use option, you will be able to choose the size of the download you wish to receive. The sizes you see here are predetermined by the photographer, and may range from a small 500 pixel download all the way up an original size download. Just choose the option that is best for you, and click "Add to cart". You may then choose to continue shopping or proceed to the checkout area. Should you choose to continue shopping, you may always access your cart later by clicking the "Cart" link or icon you see in the top right corner of the page.

Once you've accessed your cart and are ready to checkout, you may click the "Checkout" button to proceed with the purchase. We'll first ask you whether you're a returning visitor (with a login) or if you'd like to proceed as a guest (doesn't require you to log in). Then, we'll ask you to provide your email address (only if you selected that "guest" option). Last step is to review your order, and then you can remit payment and call it a day!

A few minutes after you have purchased a personal-use license, you will receive an email containing a link at which the image can be downloaded. The image will be available at this link for 10 days post purchase.

Royalty-Free Licenses

The "Royalty-Free" option is a commercial license type which allows you to license the image from the photographer, at a particular size, for one set price. You may then use the image however you want, whenever you want, according to the terms and conditions of the License Agreement.

If the photographer is selling royalty-free licenses, you will see a "Downloads" tab after clicking the "Add to cart"/"Buy" button from their site (or after clicking the "+cart" icon on the thumbnail as you are viewing it from a PhotoShelter homepage search).

If the photographer is selling more than one type of license, you will be presented with a choice of "personal use" or "commercial use" once the "Downloads" tab is selected. Upon accessing the commercial use option, you will be able to choose the size of the download you wish to receive. The sizes you see here are predetermined by the photographer, and may range from a "web" version at 500 pixels all the way up an original size download. Just choose the option that is best for you, and click "Add to cart". You may then choose to continue shopping or proceed to the checkout area. Should you choose to continue shopping, you may always access your cart later by clicking the "Cart" link or icon you see in the top right corner of the page.

Once you've accessed your cart and are ready to checkout, you may click the "Checkout" button to proceed with the purchase. We'll first ask you whether you're a returning visitor (with a login) or if you'd like to proceed as a guest (doesn't require you to log in). Then, we'll ask you to provide your email address (only if you selected that "guest" option). Last step is to review your order, and then you can remit payment and call it a day!

A few minutes after you have purchased a royalty-free license, you will receive an email containing a link at which the image can be downloaded. The image will be available at this link for 10 days post purchase.

Rights-Managed

A "Rights-Managed" license is a commercial license type that allows you to use an image for a specific usage and duration. The cost of the license depends on the extent and prominence of the image's use. If the photographer is selling rights-managed licenses, you will see a "Downloads" tab after clicking the "Add to cart"/"Buy" button from their site (or after clicking the "+cart" icon on the thumbnail as you are viewing it from a PhotoShelter homepage search).

If the photographer is selling more than one type of license, you will be presented with a choice of "personal use" or "commercial use" once the "Downloads" tab is selected. Upon accessing the commercial use option, you'll find the rights-managed pricing calculator (powered by Cradoc fotoSoftware's fotoQuote application). This calculator will require you enter your specific usage information for the image in order to be quoted a price. For example, if you wanted to use the image for an advertisement on the back cover of a magazine with a US circulation of 500,000, the calculator you see here would allow you to choose those terms, and be presented with an immediate license price (you must make selections from all the available drop-down boxes provided in order for the price to generate). If you're happy with the usage you've selected and the price you've been quoted, you may click the "Add to cart" button to place the image and its associated licensing terms in your shopping cart. You may then choose to continue shopping or proceed to the checkout area. Should you choose to continue shopping, you may always access your cart later by clicking the "Cart" link or icon you see in the top right corner of the page.

Once you've accessed your cart and are ready to checkout, you may click the "Checkout" button to proceed with the purchase. We'll first ask you whether you're a returning visitor (with a login) or if you'd like to proceed as a guest (doesn't require you to log in). Then, we'll ask you to provide your email address (only if you selected that "guest" option). Last step is to review your order, and then you can remit payment and call it a day!

A few minutes after you have purchased a rights-managed license, you will receive an email containing a link at which the image can be downloaded. Because your rights-managed license is associated with the specific terms you just chose, we will deliver it to you as a .zip file, which will include all of the following:

  • The image
  • An XMP sidecar containing the specific usage rights
  • A Text file containing the specific usage rights

The usage rights are also embedded in the image file. The usage rights will indicate what the license allows and who the licensee is. For example:

Usage rights agreed upon for this image are: United States, Advertorial.Print.Magazine, 1/2 Page, Up to 5,000 ** Licensed to Joe Smith / Joe's Design Co. **

The .zip file will be available at this link for 10 days post purchase.

FAQ

Do I need a PhotoShelter account to buy images?
Nope! While we certainly advocate creating a free buyer account so you may keep track of your purchasing online, access lightboxes and invitation-only galleries, and more, you may choose the Guest Checkout option to complete your purchase without creating an account or logging in. All we'll need from you is an email address, no signup or login required.

On one order there are multiple shipping charges? What's going on?
Although it might technically be one single order, all the items that you've purchased may not necessarily come from the same place. For example, if you order several standard prints and a custom print (e.g. on watercolor paper), your regular prints are probably going to be shipped from one of PhotoShelter's four automated print partners, while the other products may come from the photographer him/herself, who sets his/her own shipping rates. Thus, you'll find multiple shipping charges added to your purchase total.

I'm trying to check out, and it says something about PayPal.
Photographers who sell images through the PhotoShelter shopping cart have the option of accepting payment through PayPal. If they have configured their account this way, you will be required to enter your credit card information through the PayPal website, or you can log into PayPal and pay using your PayPal account. You will be redirected from the photographer's site to the PayPal site to complete your transaction, but you do not need to log into PayPal to finalize the purchase. Once redirected to PayPal, you should see an option to simply enter in your credit card information, no PayPal account required.

I accidentally added the wrong print/download size to my cart. Can I change that without having to start all over again?
You sure can! You should see "Change Item" and "Remove" links next to each line item in your cart. Simply click the "Change Item" link to open up the same "Add to cart" window from which you chose your item earlier, and make your new selection. Click "Remove" to take just that item out of the cart without affecting anything else you may have added.

I want to purchase a download, but when I click the "Download" link from the photographer's website, it tells me to login. I thought you said I didn't have to login to buy!
The "Download" link actually only allows for *free* downloads. You will only be able to download using this link if the photographer has granted you such access, and the majority of our free download options will indeed require a PhotoShelter account. You will want to click the "Add to cart" or "Buy" button (you may see either depending on the design the photographer has chosen for his/her site) in order to purchase your download with no account/login required.