A photographer (the Greek φῶς (phos), meaning "light", and γραφή (graphê), meaning "drawing, writing", together meaning "drawing with light")  is a person who makes photographs.
As in other arts, the definitions of amateur and professional are not entirely categorical.
An amateur photographer takes snapshots for pleasure to remember events, places or friends with no intention of selling the images to others.
A professional photographer is likely to take photographs for a session and image purchase fee, by salary or through the display, resale or use of those photographs. 
A professional photographer may be an employee, for example of a newspaper, or may contract to cover a particular planned event such as a wedding or graduation, or to illustrate an advertisement. Others, like fine art photographers, are freelancers, first making an image and then licensing or making printed copies of it for sale or display. Some workers, such as crime scene photographers, estate agents, journalists and scientists, make photographs as part of other work. Photographers who produce moving rather than still pictures are often called cinematographers, videographers or camera operators, depending on the commercial context.
The term professional may also imply preparation, for example, by academic study or apprenticeship by the photographer in pursuit of photographic skills. A hallmark of a professional is often that they invest in continuing education through associations. While there is no compulsory registration requirement for professional photographer status, operating a business requires having a business license in most cities and counties. Similarly, having commercial insurance is required by most venues if photographing a wedding or a public event. Photographers who operate a legitimate business can provide these items.
Photographers can be categorized based on the subjects they photograph.
Some photographers explore subjects typical of paintings such as landscape, still life, and portraiture. Other photographers specialize in subjects unique to photography, including sports photography, street photography, documentary photography, fashion photography, wedding photography, war photography, photojournalism, aviation photography and commercial photography. The type of work commissioned will have pricing associated with the image's usage.
The exclusive right of photographers to copy and use their products is protected by copyright. Countless industries purchase photographs for use in publications and on products. The photographs seen on magazine covers, in television advertising, on greeting cards or calendars, on websites, or on products and packages, have generally been purchased for this use, either directly from the photographer or through an agency that represents the photographer. A photographer uses a contract to sell the "license" or use of his or her photograph with exact controls regarding how often the photograph will be used, in what territory it will be used (for example U.S. or U.K. or other), and exactly for which products. This is usually referred to as usage fee and is used to distinguish from production fees (payment for the actual creation of a photograph or photographs). An additional contract and royalty would apply for each additional use of the photograph.
The contract may be for only one year, or other duration. The photographer usually charges a royalty as well as a one-time fee, depending on the terms of the contract. The contract may be for non-exclusive use of the photograph (meaning the photographer can sell the same photograph for more than one use during the same year) or for exclusive use of the photograph (i.e. only that company may use the photograph during the term). The contract can also stipulate that the photographer is entitled to audit the company for determination of royalty payments. Royalties vary depending on the industry buying the photograph and the use, for example, royalties for a photograph used on a poster or in television advertising may be higher than for use on a limited run of brochures. A royalty is also often based on the size at which the photo will be used in a magazine or book, and cover photos usually command higher fees than photos used elsewhere in a book or magazine.
Photos taken by a photographer while working on assignment are often work for hire belonging to the company or publication unless stipulated otherwise by contract. Professional portrait and wedding photographers often stipulate by contract that they retain the copyright of their photos, so that only they can sell further prints of the photographs to the consumer, rather than the customer reproducing the photos by other means. If the customer wishes to be able to reproduce the photos themselves, they may discuss an alternative contract with the photographer in advance before the pictures are taken, in which a larger up front fee may be paid in exchange for reprint rights passing to the customer.
There are major companies who have maintained catalogues of stock photography and images for decades, such as Getty Images and others. Since the turn of the 21st century many online stock photography catalogues have appeared that invite photographers to sell their photos online easily and quickly, but often for very little money, without a royalty, and without control over the use of the photo, the market it will be used in, the products it will be used on, time duration, etc. These online stock photography catalogues have drastically changed the landscape of the industry, presenting both opportunities and challenges for photographers seeking to earn a living through their craft.
Commercial photographers may also promote their work to advertising and editorial art buyers via printed and online marketing vehicles. In today's digital age, social media has become an increasingly popular tool for commercial photographers to showcase their work and build their professional network, allowing them to reach a wider audience and connect with potential clients around the world.
Many people upload their photographs to social networking websites and other websites, in order to share them with a particular group or with the general public.  Those interested in legal precision may explicitly release them to the public domain or under a free content license. Some sites, including Wikimedia Commons, are punctilious about licenses and only accept pictures with clear information about permitted use.
Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. It is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing, and business, as well as its more direct uses for art, film and video production, recreational purposes, hobby, and mass communication.
Getty Images Holdings, Inc. is an American-British visual media company and is a supplier of stock images, editorial photography, video and music for business and consumers, with a library of over 477 million assets. It targets three markets—creative professionals, the media, and corporate.
BENlabs, formerly BEN Group Inc, is a Los Angeles-based product placement, influencer marketing and licensing company. The company offers AI-driven product placement, influencer marketing services, music partnerships, rights clearance, and personality rights management services for the entertainment industry.
Stock photography is the supply of photographs which are often licensed for specific uses. The stock photo industry, which began to gain hold in the 1920s, has established models including traditional macrostock photography, midstock photography, and microstock photography. Conventional stock agencies charge from several hundred to several thousand US dollars per image, while microstock photography may sell for around US$25 cents. Professional stock photographers traditionally place their images with one or more stock agencies on a contractual basis, while stock agencies may accept the high-quality photos of amateur photographers through online submission.
Clip art is a type of graphic art. Pieces are pre-made images used to illustrate any medium. Today, clip art is used extensively and comes in many forms, both electronic and printed. However, most clip art today is created, distributed, and used in a digital form. Since its inception, clip art has evolved to include a wide variety of content, file formats, illustration styles, and licensing restrictions. It is generally composed exclusively of illustrations, and does not include stock photography.
A photo booth is a vending machine or modern kiosk that contains an automated, usually coin-operated, camera and film processor. Today, the vast majority of photo booths are digital.
Wedding photography is a specialty in photography that is primarily focused on the photography of events and activities relating to weddings. It may include other types of portrait photography of the couple before the official wedding day, such as a pre-wedding engagement session. On the wedding day, the photographer(s) will provide portrait photography as well as documentary photography to document the different wedding events and rituals throughout the wedding day(s).
Microstock photography, also known as micropayment photography, is a part of the stock photography industry. What defines a company as a microstock photography company is that they (1) source their images almost exclusively via the Internet, (2) do so from a wider range of photographers than the traditional stock agencies, and (3) sell their images at a very low rate for a royalty-free (RF) image.
A model release, known in similar contexts as a liability waiver, is a legal release typically signed by the subject of a photograph granting permission to publish the photograph in one form or another. The legal rights of the signatories in reference to the material is thereafter subject to the allowances and restrictions stated in the release, and also possibly in exchange for compensation paid to the photographed person. A model release is not needed for most photograph publication because of freedom of speech rights A model release is needed for publication where personality rights or privacy rights would otherwise be infringed. No release is required for publication, as news, of a photo taken of an identifiable person when the person is in a public place. In general, no release is required for publication of a photo taken of an identifiable person when the person is in a public space unless the use is for trade or direct commercial use, which is defined as promoting a product, service, or idea. Publication of a photo of an identifiable person, even if taken when the person is in a public place, that implies endorsement, without a model release signed by that person, can result in civil liability for whoever publishes the photograph.
A photo book or photobook is a book in which photographs make a significant contribution to the overall content. A photo book is related to and also often used as a coffee table book.
A film still is a photograph, taken on or off the set of a movie or television program during production. These photographs are also taken in formal studio settings and venues of opportunity such as film stars' homes, film debut events, and commercial settings. The photos were taken by studio photographers for promotional purposes. Such stills consisted of posed portraits, used for public display or free fan handouts, which are sometimes autographed. They can also consist of posed or candid images taken on the set during production, and may include stars, crew members or directors at work.
A copyfraud is a false copyright claim by an individual or institution with respect to content that is in the public domain. Such claims are unlawful, at least under US and Australian copyright law, because material that is not copyrighted is free for all to use, modify and reproduce. Copyfraud also includes overreaching claims by publishers, museums and others, as where a legitimate copyright owner knowingly, or with constructive knowledge, claims rights beyond what the law allows.
Stock illustrations used by creative professionals as a method of visual communication. They are found in reports, news media, advertising, and websites. They are abundant and available online through several stock art agencies, many of which sell both photographs and illustrations. Today stock photos can be purchased through a subscription and downloaded from a stock photography distributor's Website or purchased as a CD-ROM collection. Buying stock art is convenient for those who are looking for high-quality images without spending too much time and spending only what their budgets allow. Stock images have many perks for businesses and digital market, but the main, most immediate and evident benefits are the time and money savings.
A photo shoot is the process taken by creatives and models that results in a visual objective being obtained. An example is a model posing for a photographer at a studio or an outdoor location.
Nude photography is the creation of any photograph which contains an image of a nude or semi-nude person, or an image suggestive of nudity. Nude photography is undertaken for a variety of purposes, including educational uses, commercial applications and artistic creations. The exhibition or publication of nude photographs may be controversial, more so in some cultures or countries than in others, and especially if the subject is a minor.
The intellectual property rights on photographs are protected in different jurisdictions by the laws governing copyright and moral rights. In some cases photography may be restricted by civil or criminal law. Publishing certain photographs can be restricted by privacy or other laws. Photography can be generally restricted in the interests of public morality and the protection of children.
National Geographic Image Collection, a division of the National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and The Walt Disney Company, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, was a stock photography agency that managed and licensed one of the world's most comprehensive and unique collections of photographs and original artwork. It maintained a collection of more than 10 million digital images, transparencies, black-and-white prints, early auto chromes, and pieces of original artwork.
DreamsTime.com is an online royalty-free microstock provider based in Brentwood, Tennessee.
A revenue model is a framework for generating financial income. It identifies which revenue source to pursue, what value to offer, how to price the value, and who pays for the value. It is a key component of a company's business model. It primarily identifies what product or service will be created in order to generate revenues and the ways in which the product or service will be sold.
Alamy is a British privately owned stock photography agency launched in September 1999. Its headquarters are in Milton Park, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. It has a development and operations centre at Technopark in Trivandrum, Kerala, India and a sales office in Brooklyn, New York, United States.