It is not uncommon for personal branding and headshot clients to ask their photographer for copyright ownership instead of a commercial use license. Often, branding and headshot clients have a need to control how their likeness and brand are being used and who is using the photos. If the photographer keeps the copyright and the photos are used by an unauthorized party or in a way that is not representative of their brand, the client then has to inform the photographer and rely on them to pursue infringement in order to have the photos removed. Since the client is not the copyright holder, they only have publicity rights and can only pursue unauthorized use of their likeness. If the photographer transfers copyright ownership to the client (either within the photography service contract or utilizing a separate copyright transfer agreement), the client would be able to enforce copyright by pursuing the infringement.
Learn more about transferring copyright to commercial photography clients here.
Check out our lawyer-drafted Branding & Headshot Photography Contracts here.