I had portraits done, who owns the images?
Great question! It's time for "The Talk." I call it "the talk" because it's an essential part of the process that all photographers should be doing with their clients, however, many don't. Whether this is out of ignorance or to avoid explaining a difficult concept - much like the "birds and bees" talk - I'm not sure, but I try to have it with each of my clients.
Any time a photographer shoots an image, they own the all rights for using that image (whether the subject is aware of it or not). But, if the photographer doesn't inform the client directly, they can sometimes make the client unduly upset. In reality, photographers charge clients for the time it takes to make and process the images only.
Simply put, when I shoot portraits I own the images, but I license them to the subject of the image, who - under the cc by-nc-sa license - can use the image pretty much any way they like. The only things they can't do are; A) claim they themselves produced the image, and, B) make money from selling said image. This means they could use it on social media however they wish, print it to hang in their house, or even use it for a billboard advert (as long as they clearly credit the photographer, and weren't selling the image to someone, using the billboard)
If they do use it as their profile picture, I recommend them to credit one of my social profiles.
You can check out the other types of Creative Commons licenses here: http://creativecommons.org.au/learn/licences/