I think that the most valuable thing that I own, by far, is the copyright to my photographs.
I find my copyright so valuable that I register it with the US Copyright Office on a regular basis. As a professional photographer, you should too.
In 1997, after working over a decade as a professional photographer, I decided to get out of the business. I found the working terms intolerable and frustrating.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed photography but not as a way to make a living.
In 2002 I moved to Washington DC and began working as a photography instructor. One of the courses that I began to teach was the “business of photography”. As a way to inform students on current business trends I started reading about what was going on in the business.
One of the trends was that there were ways being developed that would allow a for an independent photographer to easily set-up their own print sale and licensing shop in cyberspace.
Beyond the work that I created while working as a staff photographer, I NEVER relinquished the copyright to ANY of my work. As a result I’m sitting on a photo library that I’ve created over a 20 year span AND I own the copyright to each photograph.
Because I own the copyright to my work, and register it in a timely manner with the copyright office,and by working with places like PhotoShelter and Picturengine I’m happy to open shop again.