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Photography Question 
Valerie M. Almeida

Shoot Residential Doors

Am working on a project to photograph New England Residential doors. My question is do I have to get a release from the owners of the homes I shoot ?

Will eventually end up a book I am publishing.

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1/7/2011 9:25:15 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Hi Valarie,
There are arguments both ways. If you are standing on a public street and shooting a private house/door, you technically dont need one unless the house/door is trademarked.

However, certain private homes that have specific design features (even something as simple as an "original and custom" paint job) have been found by the courts in the past to be both identifiable enough and to have enough specific design features with the idea that the owner's intent was to differentiate his home from others (and the intent matters) to warrant awards in cases where the owner has sued over commercial use.
There are very, very few of these...but Getty (stock agency) doesn't ever want any trouble, so they just lump in all private houses as that's their right. They want to make sure they're absolutely covered in case of any potential problem.
You may decide to use the same care for creating a book. I would myself :)

There was a law passed in 1990 that protects private buildings much the same. If you shoot a skyline with the building in it, your OK - but to have the building as the featured subject could create a legal problem for you.
For shooting doors, you are probably safe as the odds of a lawsuit would be a very low probability (Million to 1) but since you will be creating a book to sell, I would get a release.

Confused ? So am I and I do have a lot of door photos posted on my websites that I did not get a release signed.

Need a bit more confusion ?
Here is an older post from our Better Photo forum..
Permission to Shoot Private Home?


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1/9/2011 7:40:27 AM

Monnie Ryan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/25/2008
  I totally agree with Carlton that especially if you have any intention of selling your door photos, it's best to err on the side of caution and get releases. These are private homes, and while the owners might not win if they took you to court over your right to photograph them and sell the results, being on the receiving end of a lawsuit is a VERY expensive and time-consuming proposition even if you end up on top. I sure wouldn't take that chance.

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1/9/2011 1:53:45 PM

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