Photo rights and licensing is a complicated mess of spaghetti. Let’s see if we can untangle it a bit.
Who owns the photo?
Photos and images are intellectual property. As such, photo ownership starts and almost always stays with the photographer.
“Hiring” a photographer doesn’t change the ownership.
So, what if you hire a photographer? Won’t this mean the photos belong to you?
Actually, no. Even when hiring a photographer for a dedicated photo shoot, the employment is typically a contractor relationship. Therefore the photographer will still be the owner of the resulting photos. The photographer may grant you an unlimited license for these photos, but legal ownership stays with the photographer.
Only if a staffer takes photos on the job, using your equipment, and on paid company time, will you, the employer, be considered the owner of the photos.