Creative Commons licensing is a set of standard licensing agreements that has revolutionized photography copyrighting.

Creative Commons licensing allows creatives and photographers to easily share their work with others. Depending on which license is used, the photographer can choose to make their work available for others to use, share, or even edit.

While this ‘free for use’ licensing allows photographers to easily make their work available for others, and has helped to standardize the way online photo copyrighting works, it has also seen its share of debate. While some photographers enjoy the publicity-and even sales- that have come as a result of listing photos under Creative Commons licensing, others argue that Creative Commons devaluates a photographer’s work, and ultimately amounts to nothing more than giving photos away for free.

Can a photographer benefit from listing photos under a Creative Commons license? Or does that fall under the umbrella of “giving work away”? Is Creative Commons licensing really a good idea?

In this article, we help to answer these questions, and take a look at some of the benefits of listing photos under a Creative Commons license.

Increased Publicity

As Creative Commons licensing grows in popularity, more people and companies are searching out for images listed under this licensing. This means that if your photos are under Creative Commons licensing, it increases your chances of being found. Creative Commons licensing allows your photos to reach an audience that you may never be able to reach otherwise. By getting your name out there, you will become more familiar to more people. The more people who see your photos -the better!

Link Backs to Your Account

The Creative Commons licenses state that “attribution is required.” This means that when someone uses your photo, he is supposed to link back to your account. The more people who use your photos, the more traffic your account will receive.

Reach a Wider Audience

Reach a wider audience with Creative Commons licensing. In today’s tech-saturated, user-friendly world, people want to find and share photos easily. Most search engines allow searches for Creative Commons licensed photos, and people who need photos often use these search options.

Potential Sales

Creative Commons licensing gives you a chance to gain publicity, and may even lead to photo sales. While some people argue that Creative Commons licensing means giving photos away for free, you can combat this by listing your photos in a slightly lower quality format. If someone likes what they see, they will be willing to pay you for the original, high quality, photos.

You Control the Licensing

By listing photos under Creative Commons, you still retain some of the licensing rights. You can choose from several different licensing options; which allow you to choose if you want to allow your photos to be used commercially, and whether you want others to be able to edit them. Read about the different licensing options.

Collaboration Leads to Creativity

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By allowing people to use your work -or even edit it- you allow your photos the chance to gain more recognition. In a way, it’s free promotion for your photos. By sharing your work, and allowing others to recreate it, you allow your photos to take on new life in a different way, surely better than keeping the photos locked away where no one will ever notice them.

Should You List Your Photos Under Creative Commons?

That’s ultimately a decision that only you can make. Your photos are your creations, and you are the only one that can decide if the benefits of listing them under Creative Commons outweigh the risks.

Creative Commons allows your photos to be shared on a wide scale basis. Of course, anytime your photos are online you run the risk of piracy -or people using your photos without attribution- but keeping your photos locked away isn’t an ideal solution. While it’s true that increased publicity can potentially lead to increased piracy, the risk of someone using a photo without your permission is nothing compared to the risk of your photos remaining in obscurity.

What about you? Do you license your photos under Creative Commons? We’d love to hear your thoughts!