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Photography Question 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
 

How to ask a model for a release?


Recently someone spoke about the fear of taking pictures in public. I have no fear there, in fact I will wip it out anywhere(camera that is). I have set up shop on a busy street before to shoot the famous Bass Hall. My fear is asking someone if I can take there picture and then for a release. Is this normal? How do you approach someone for there photo and how do you get them to sign a release? Thanks so much BP folks!


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2/8/2007 12:37:50 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Chris: I don't think fear of taking pictures is so much the issue as is fear of talking to strangers, something that may have been instilled in us a small kids and likewise, something we need to get over as street photographers. I'm sure fear of rejection enters into this somewhere as well.

Here's a couple of links to a guy's work who has really perfected the art and craft of excellent street photography. http://www.flickr.com/photos/wd9hot/

AND http://www.flickr.com/groups/33979405@N00/discuss/132025/?

And an entire forum dedicated to the subject you and some others might be interested in.
http://www.photo.net/bboard/forum?topic_id=2061

Take it light.
Mark

There's an incredible wealth of excellent photos to be taken as street photographers, including essays of all sorts of people...taken over time. To do either quick grab shots or documentary work, you have to make contact with your subject. You don't do that by sniping across a busy street with a 300mm lens, but up close and personal AFTER you've "whipped it out", introduced yourself and in a polite society, ASKED for permission and then the release. Yeah, I know it's a time-consuming process, but the results of asking and then releasing (the shutter that is) and getting a release, I think, are safer, more polite and more productive toward your goals. Presumably excellent images.


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2/8/2007 7:28:01 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  [Sorry, that last one got away from me]

Greetings Chris: I don't think fear of taking pictures is so much the issue as is fear of talking to strangers, something that may have been instilled in us a small kids and likewise, something we need to get over as street photographers. I'm sure fear of rejection enters into this somewhere as well.

There's an incredible wealth of excellent photos to be taken as street photographers, including essays of all sorts of people...taken over time. To do either quick grab shots or documentary work, you have to make contact with your subject. You don't do that by sniping across a busy street with a 300mm lens, but up close and personal AFTER you've "whipped it out", introduced yourself and in a polite society, ASKED for permission and then the release. Yeah, I know it's a time-consuming process, but the results of asking and then releasing (the shutter that is) and getting a release, I think, are safer, more polite and more productive toward your goals. Presumably excellent images.

Here's a couple of links to a guy's work who has really perfected the art and craft of excellent street photography. http://www.flickr.com/photos/wd9hot/

AND http://www.flickr.com/groups/33979405@N00/discuss/132025/?

And an entire forum dedicated to the subject you and some others might be interested in.
http://www.photo.net/bboard/forum?topic_id=2061

Take it light ;>)
Mark


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2/8/2007 7:30:35 PM

 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
  Now that you mention it, its the fear of rejection! I have no fear of talking to people I own 2 business's that deal with talking to people all the time. Your absolutely right its the fear of them saying no! I think now that you got that out of me I can work on it now,LOL! Thanks so much Mark, you have help me in the past and I do appreciate it! Did you ever think of being a shrink, LOL!


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2/8/2007 8:43:28 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hi ya Chris. Glad you're feeling better after our "breakthrough". Now let me see, your insurance copayment is.......

In all honesty, my wife Charlotte is a shrink although I handled this one without consultation. Just send the 5cents in the mail.
Glad to help out.
Mark


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2/8/2007 9:29:41 PM

 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
  Its in the mail! Thanks again!


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2/8/2007 9:59:35 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I think that most folks might be more intimidated by asking a stranger to "sign something" rather than just talking to them and asking for their permission to photograph them.

One approach that usually works is to explain that you would like to document their activity for "possible publication", for which a written release is required.
Sometimes You'll get the "What's in it for ME?" line.
Explain to them that you shoot thousands of images each year so compensation on the ones actually sold barely covers your cost.
You can tell them that...best case scenario, they will be able to see themselves in a magazine someday. Worse case scanario...they will have a great story to tell their friends.


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2/9/2007 4:32:43 AM

 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
  That did cross my mind, what if they want to be paid? I am glad you brought that up Bob. I was afraid someone might ask me that. I also thought about telling a white lie that I was a student of photography. I guess it wouldn't be much of a lie, I am still learning. What do you think about that approach? Thanks Bob and Mark!


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2/9/2007 7:11:14 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  If you are going to tell un-truths...be prepared for any follow up questions in case you run into someone who really knows the business. (For that reason, I recommend that you be honest.)

Handing over a business card on the point of initial contact is a good ice breaker to open a dialog.

Bob


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2/9/2007 8:05:17 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I'm with Bob, Chris. I wouldn't do it. I've found most people have a built in B.S. detector. When they smell bovenis excrementis and your credibility begins to vanish, that kind of promotes suspicion or even hostility between you and your subject(s). Be straight with them. Offer to pay them a buck afterwards. What'll it cost ya, $20 bucks a week? Worth it, I think. A contribution to community. Besides, you stand to meet some interesting folks this way. Try it. Dress down somewhat for the occasion and let us know how you fare.
Mark.


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2/9/2007 4:22:07 PM

 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
  I agree Bob and Mark! I have never been comfortable with lieing. Its goes way back to my single days when my friends use to say lets pretend we are UCONN Grads or whatever to meet chicks! I would not go along with it because I did not want to look stupid later when they found out we just skimmed by high school! I like your advice and I will give it a try and get back to you!


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2/9/2007 6:48:55 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  hey chris,
do not offer money.it's like feeding pigeons.hey there's that photog guy,he'll fork up some money if you'll be a part of his?
then you've forked out money for what?a maybe?
I do respect your opinion mark,but a true community is built on trust and honor.those that feel a modest compensation is relevent,is,a bit bogus.
a piece of the pie..
I truly don't feel they are at your disposal,but even a small bit of notarity,i believe,is a greater sense of being,than a small monetery payout.
sacrifice and understanding,wether your intent or not,hence we don't know your goal,may influence the outcome.
even if you have a release,was it noted they would be portrayed in that manner?
courts see legalities and rulings,seldom honor and truth.
just an opinion,sam


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2/9/2007 7:31:47 PM

 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
  I like the not giving money part! LOL! Thanks for all your help! Thats why I love this site.


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2/9/2007 10:07:35 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well Sam, a model release is a contract and one of the elements you need to have a legally sufficient contract is consideration which can be anything of value from a peppercorn to money. Courts rarely question the sufficiency of contractual consideration although once in awhile, a contract will be found to fail because of that and usually it's due to an issue of whether the amount paid for entering into a contract was equitable given the benefit of the bargain received by the other party.

Sooooooooooooo, yes, how much consideration paid to someone in exchange for them signing a model release, whether it's a cup of coffee or a buck or anything else paid to someone can become a legal issue.

BUT if someone is given a buck, which is pretty much industry standard, or a copy of the print in exchange for an unlimited release, even if that photograph becomes famous on say a worldwide basis and the photographer makes millions, courts of equity aren't likely to tamper with the original amount of consideration because that was the initial bargained for exchange and the parties could have negotiated a higher price if they fully contemplated the potential value of their agreement.

The other thing is that a person who happens to be without a home is going to be hard-pressed to eat "trust and honor". While I don't support panhandling, per se, I do think that giving someone a buck or two for allowing me to photograph them may be helping them out as they are helping me out.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
Take it light ;>)
Mark


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2/10/2007 10:58:26 AM

 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
  Wow! I love when I start a firestorm, I just sit back and catch the sparks that fly off! Thanks guys.


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2/10/2007 11:43:08 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  they're opinions chris.
I enjoy marks take on everything.i think if more people would voice their opinions,there would be better understanding.
I do give photos to people for thanks.
so is that roll of film half full or half empty?
sam


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2/10/2007 12:14:36 PM

 
Christopher Delaney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2006
  Beats the pants off me! I also enjoy his comments, he seems to be a very educated guy! I also thank both of you for all your help. I have posted ?'s before and got limited responce. I am here to learn all I can from the pro's. If you need any profesional advise on Pest Control and the Music store business I'm your guy! Photography, I would recommend BP to anyone.


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2/10/2007 12:23:45 PM

 
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