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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Karen S. England

member since: 8/17/2006
 

Photographing Buildings: Permission Needed?


Bear with me, Im new to the whole thing! :0) I have been taking pictures of local farms, barns, old buildings, etc. I was wondering if I had to get the landowners' permission before selling these photographs? Thanks so much!

10/11/2006 7:40:56 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  If the buildings are on private property (sounds like they are), then yes, you do need the owner's permission.
Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

10/11/2006 8:22:38 AM

 
Karen S. England

member since: 8/17/2006
  Thanks so much!! What would be the best way to go about getting permission? My husband and I drive around, and I just snap the shots, so Im a bit "chicken" to just go knock on someone's door, if ya know what I mean!

10/11/2006 11:18:35 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Unless you see a clearly posted sign that says, "No Trespassing", you actually got it: While driving around, go knock on the door and ask!! Most people will be flattered. They might even offer you a glass of homemade lemonade and a few cookies. And... and... you might even get to photograph them in their home environment - like working in the barn, milking the cows, etc. Plus, you might meet someone who becomes a lifelong friend. The possibilities are endless. Go knock on the door.
Take it light.
Mark

10/11/2006 4:11:21 PM

 
Karen S. England

member since: 8/17/2006
  So Mark, I actually dont "have" to have permission if I dont see a No Trespassing sign? Hehe forgive me for being a flake :0)

Thanks you guys alot for the info!! Im just starting out with this, and Im obsessed with it, but I want to make sure I do everything right!! Thanks again!
Karen

10/12/2006 3:09:16 PM

 
Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/15/2004
  Mark is the expert, but I think you only need a "property release" if you plan on selling the image. Maybe Mark can provide add'l info.

10/12/2006 3:18:50 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  No Karen. What I said was it would seem to be alright to go knock on the door as long as you DON'T see a sign that says "No Trespassing". [Trespassing is the entry on the land of another without privilege or consent]. You don't have to trespass to photograph the property, but you may have to trespass to get PERMISSION to use the photograph in print or commercially.

So, Mike is correct in that you need a property release if you're going to sell the image as you seem to want to do, OR if you are going to publish it, electronically or in print.

The reason for all this is because landowners have a right to control the use of their property. Depicting their land or buildings or out-buildings in photos that those things are recognizable, is use of their property for commercial gain and its their inherent right to control that and refuse, for any reason, if they choose to do so.

Let's say for example, you photograph a red barn and corn crib that's clearly recognizable for some reason(s) and it's in Iowa. You turn around and sell the image to Mail Pouch Tobacco Co., that uses the image on their cans and display advertising. They pay you thousands of dollars for the rights of usage. BUT, Karen was bad. Karen didn't knock on the door and get her release signed. Karen got sued by the property owners for misappropriation of the images of their property for commercial purposes. Karen lost and had to give up all the current and future profits to the image(s) without even having an opportunity to offer the property owners a chance to share them. :<((
Got it now? ;>)
Mark

10/12/2006 4:39:24 PM

 
Karen S. England

member since: 8/17/2006
  Yeah :>P I got it! I thought that you would have to, but I guess I just read the first response wrong (shocking huh?) haha

As far as the images I have permission to sell....We live in a pretty rural area, so Im trying to figure out a "price range" for everything. I dont want to "rip anyone off" but dont want to rip myself off either if ya kwim!? Any suggestions??

Ya'll are gonna wish I never found this site! hahahaha

thanks guys!
Karen

10/12/2006 8:32:25 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Don't know the economic area you live in, but you might try adding up all your costs, figuring in your time and how much that's worth, misc. expenses and then take all those and multiply the total X3 or 4 to get a ballpark figure.
M/

10/13/2006 10:47:40 AM

 
W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  If the building is visible from the street (public area) you can take any photo you like, afaik*. It is what you DO afterwards with those photos that is important.
For publishing them or selling them to third parties you may need a release.

*with the exception of militarily strategic buildings. Like bridges, railways, energy plants, and such.

10/13/2006 1:00:45 PM

 

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