How do I get my photos cleared for Editorial and Commercial use?

When a photo is uploaded to Twenty20, it will eventually see the eyes of one of our photo editors who have been rigorously trained in the legal nuances of clearing images for different types of licensing (Read about different licenses here.) Each editor evaluates images to check for things that would not be able to be cleared for commercial use.

 

How long does it take for my photo to be reviewed and cleared?

Since thousands of photos are upload every day, there is no definitive time period that your photo will be reviewed. Don't worry- having your photo 'Pending Review' doesn't hurt the chances of it being sold! Customers can request an immediate review when they need to know if they can purchase a certain photo for commercial use. 

 

Why wasn't my photo cleared for commercial use?

Some of the main reasons that images can’t be cleared for commercial use:

  • Lack of property or model releases
  • Visible company branding, trademarks, or logos
  • Isolated buildings, recognizable interiors or other identifiable property
  • Visible artworks and design (ex: digital art, illustrations, graffiti or a designer piece of furniture)
  • Anything that could be linked back to a person's identity/property is shown (ex: license plate)

If your image cannot be cleared for commercial use, it will still very likely be able to be used for editorial purposes.

For more information, check out this video: Todd Talks Licensing from Twenty20 on Vimeo.

 

Why wasn't my photo cleared for editorial use?

When a photo is uploaded to our site, our legal team runs it through our system. If the photo is found elsewhere on the internet, we flag the photo and put a hold on its clearance. Our system detects that the photo may not belong to the Twenty20 photographer because it exists somewhere else. If you can provide information showing that the photo is yours, or other sites that the photo is on and your affiliation, we can clear the photo.

 

How do I know if my photo has been reviewed and cleared?

When you're viewing a photo, you'll be able to find information about that photo's availability under Photo Details:

If the photo details look like the screenshot below, it means the photo has been cleared for both commercial and editorial use.

If the photo details look like the screenshot below, it is because something about this photo means it’s not cleared for commercial use. 

 

What does it mean when a photo is "Pending Review"?

If the photo details show that commercial use is "Pending Review", it means the photo might be available for commercial use, but our editors just haven't personally reviewed it yet. It might also mean that we haven't yet received the model releases for any recognizable people in the photo.

If your photo is "Pending Review", it does not hurt your chances of selling it. When a customer wants to know if the photo is commercially usable, they can request to “Get it reviewed today,” which notifies them within 24 hours. (Note: This is only for customers; photographers can not request this of their own photos.)

 

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Comments

  • Avatar
    Kevin Mayers

    I've been contacted because my photo has people in it. However this particular photo was taken in another country while on holiday. I have no idea who the people concerned were nor how to contact them now.
    Also, I've entered a photo of my granddaughter in a challenge and tagged her but chose the "ask for a model release by text" option. She said yes to me but doesn't know how to tell Twenty20 - how can I change this?

  • Avatar
    Twenty20 Help

    Hi Kevin! If you can't get a model release, your photo will still be available for editorial licensing.

    To provide permission, your granddaughter can follow these instructions: https://twenty20.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/217880088-How-To-Respond-to-a-Model-Release-Request-Giving-Permission-

    Email us at hello@twenty20.com if you have any other questions!

  • Avatar
    Anthony Maiocco

    On average, how long does it take your editors to review a picture?

  • Avatar
    Twenty20 Help

    Hi Anthony! Since thousands of photos are upload every day, there is no definitive time period that your photo will be reviewed. Don't worry- having your photo 'Pending Review' doesn't hurt the chances of it being sold! Customers can request an immediate review when they need to know if they can purchase a certain photo for commercial use. The photo editors work as quickly as they can to review images. We appreciate your patience.

  • Avatar
    Khürt L. Williams

    So I understand correctly, a photo can't be cleared for commercial use if there are any buildings or people in the image that don't have a release? Regardless of whether the image or the property are recognisable or not?

    So, for the majority of contributors to Twenty20, only images of trees, rocks, etc. that have no visible branding can be used?

  • Avatar
    Twenty20 Help

    Hi Khürt! Some photos with buildings can be cleared for commercial use if they are in a grouping or cityscape (not the focus of the image) or if they're unrecognizable. Photos of people are eligible for commercial use if they have a model release on file.

    If you're shooting photos with people and buildings, I'd recommend taking portrait style shots with lots of bokeh/depth of field. If you're using the new iPhone 7+, you can achieve this with the camera in Portrait mode. This helps to isolate the main selling point of the photo on the model, who you can get a model release for, and will likely blur out any recognizable buildings or trademarks in the background.

    Photos that are not cleared for commercial use are still purchased by a good number of customers for editorial use (blog posts, social media, internal presentations, etc.). Photos available for commercial use just help increase the likelihood that your photo will sell more often because it fits a variety of customer needs.

    Hope this helps!

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