BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Shari Morris
 

Model and Property Releases


This is going to be a multiple question. When are releases required for shots of buildings, businesses, etc.? Also, in most of the shots I take that include people (if they're not a friend or family), they have no idea that they're being photographed. They are more candid and journalistic photographs - i.e., "Guardian Angels," giving directions to a person on the boardwalk. Thank you for your help.


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6/3/2004 8:30:50 AM

 
Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Hi Shari! I was wondering what the answer to this question is, too. Let's hope that someone in the know can help us. :-)


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6/3/2004 11:24:26 AM

 
Rachelle Meilleur   Are you asking about getting permission to photograph and publish pictures of buildings, businesses, etc.? I'm nowhere near an expert on this, but having worked in the tourism industry myself, I do know that a lot of buildings that make money from tourism require a letter of permission/release. If it's a smaller or lesser-known place, they usually say yes (just contact the PR person). In terms of people, if they are recognizable in the photo then you should get a release. I'm not sure about the standard for crowds or large groups of people, though ...


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6/6/2004 5:04:00 AM

 
Ken    From what I have read a model release is not needed for editorial photography, but if you are going to use the photo for commercial, advertising photography, releases are neeeded because a person appearing in an ad implies that they are endorsing whatever it is the advertiser is selling.
On The other hand if a photo buyer wants a release whelther they really need one or not, I would think that you must get one if you wish to make the sale.


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6/8/2004 1:20:47 AM

 
D. L. Kimbler   Commercial use in which a person or property are recognizable may require a release. The two keys are "commercial" use (not just advertising or stock) and "recognizable". Note that these apply to private property and individuals. Public property may have access and use regulated, for example National Parks regulate access for photography based on impact, but not use. Also, some buildings may be copyrighted if built after the early 1990's. If not for commercial use, though, the rule is if you are on public property and you can see it, you can shoot it (subject to general regulation of photography in that public place).

Del Kimbler


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6/8/2004 7:20:48 AM

 
Shari Morris   Ok, let me see if I'm understanding correctly. If my photos are for personal use only, I do not need to have a release. But if I am photographing a person of building that is recognizable and I'm am going to recieve any compensation for the photograph, I need to have the release? What about for example in a National Cemetary? Do I need to have a release from the survivors of the deceadant if the names are readable or recognizable?

This is getting much more complicated than I had expected. Thank you all for your help. - Shari


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6/8/2004 8:07:40 AM

 
Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
 
 
  Need a release?
Need a release?
© Diane Dupuis-Kallos
Fuji FinePix S5000...
 
 
I'm also wondering about the model releases. What about people who we may photograph who we do not know and will never see again. It's not until I get home that I realize they are in the photo, and I have no way of contacting them. I'm wondering about needing releases from them to enter them in the BP contest? Or other contests? Thanks for your input. I've included a sample photo. I do not know who the spectators, referee or the girl in yellow are...


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6/8/2004 8:27:39 AM

 
Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
 
 
  Need a release
Need a release
© Diane Dupuis-Kallos
Fuji FinePix S5000...
 
 
Sorry - the photo was too small...


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6/8/2004 8:50:01 AM

 
D. L. Kimbler   This is getting a little more complicated. First, the terms and conditions of the BP contest require a model release for recognizable people in the photo. If my entry had recognizable private property, I would get a property release as well.

As for not realizing people are in the photo until you get home, you need to be more proactive before the shot, by carefully viewing who (and what) might be there. (This will also help you compose well, and avoid unexpected ugly surprises.) If you have any expectation of publishing the shot (other than editorially), you should get the releases at the time of the shot if the people are strangers.

I just don't know the answer to the National Cemetary question. My choice would be to not shoot a marker that had easily recognizable names at the published size, or to get a release from the closest family member or estate. Names are property, too, but I don't know whether right to privacy extends after death.

Del Kimbler


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6/8/2004 10:04:25 AM

 
Shari Morris   OK, so as long as the shot is only for personal or editorial use, we don't need a release. But if the shot is purchased for editorial, wouldn't it then turn into a commercial piece?

Do we have any lawyers in the house?!


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6/8/2004 10:13:54 AM

 
Tyler B. Sutcliffe   Much of this answer depends (for people anyway) on if the people in the photograph are the main focus of the photo, or if they are there incidentally. As far as photographs with buildings, the "rules" are similar. Rule of thumb - when in doubt, get a release!


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6/8/2004 5:40:13 PM

 
Tyler B. Sutcliffe   One more quick note, it also depends on a "reasonable expectation of privacy".


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6/8/2004 5:43:35 PM

 
Brian    What about the case of "paparazi" getting a shot of two married movie stars (but not to each other) groping each other in a bar? Or on the street outside? Surely, in the case of the street outside the bar, no release is required--else the tabloids would never get the picture! Or am I wrong?


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6/10/2004 8:48:52 PM

 
Darlene Christensen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2003
  Lots of stock agencies and magazines etc. state "Model release preferred". What happens when you DON'T have a release? Can the person just make you "cease and desist" or can they sue you for everything you own?


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6/11/2004 9:21:33 AM

 
Sreedevi  Kashi   Even though you make money for photojournalism, if you're in a public place- this includes streets in front of a shop- you don't need a release. As a "model" when it comes to news/editorial, we give up our right to privacy once we step out into public space. Paparazzi usually try to wait outside and grab shots of people on the street. But they never crowd around someone and try shooting them when they're in a store or restaurant, unless of course it's an event where it's public knowledge that you could be filmed. Lawsuits against paparazzi happen when they hide in the bushes behind someone's backyard and try to shoot a star sunbathing on their lawn. That's an invasion of privacy.

For photojournalism, the rule is, if you're in public space, or in a place or at an event where people walk into it knowing there's going to be some photography, then it's ok to use the image anywhere. But you should try to at least get the names of the recognizable people- that's journalism 101.
For stock photography, it's the same as commercial photography. A model needs to be paid if they're going to be doing endorsements- and they should also know about it. That's common sense.

As far as portfolios are concerned- the pictures are your property. So if you're using the picture in a portfolio on a website or in a book,- you don't need their permission. But if you're sending out cards, like little advertisements, or putting up advertisements in places, then you need a release. With this, if you're showing your work after someone has asked to see it, then it's not an issue- it's your property, and you're allowed to show it as a sample of your work. If you're receiving calls for photography because someone has seen your work in ads or zed cards, then you need a release, because you're using this as an advertisement for yourself. For the most part, with websites, people don't go there unless you tell them to look at it, so for right now that's being looked at as your online portfolio. But if it's not your personal website, and your using a picture on another website to link to your website, then you're advertising.

I'm not sure if I've covered everything or not. But this should help with whatever you're trying to do. Also, try going to apanational.org- this is the advertising photographers of america website, and they have all this information on rights and model releases.


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6/14/2004 6:37:07 AM

 
Shari Morris   You have just helped alot. Thank you.


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6/14/2004 8:32:37 AM

 
Zita A. Strother
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/5/2002
imagesbyzita.com
  There are 2 must read books if you are considering using photos for other than personal use.
The first by Jim Zuckerman "Shooting & Selling Your Photos".
The second by Bert P. Krages, Esq. "Legal Handbook for Photographers / The rights & Liabilities of making images."
I get releases all the time and always carry them with me in my camera bag.
Model releases do require compensation for them to be legal. Often ofering a free print makes everyone happy, get you the release and all the info. a stock agency would require and fulfills your obligation for compensation to the model...be sure it is stated on the relase form (you can just write it in as agreeded and have both parties initial.
I do mainly equine photography and I give unlimited use of my images for the promotion of each barns/breeders specific program only. This excludes the copying of my images in any form and they must be obtained thru me or and autorized agent; in return I am grated the right to use the images any way I chose for promtion and or commercial use. It means the models have been compensated and they all love that I will supply them with web ready images and or send images electronically to any of the breed magazines for them.
Hope that helps! Being a woman always makes getting a relase easier and if possible building a rapor will often go miles!
Zita
imagesbyzita.com
p.s.
You need to consider witness protection programs and a spouse or a spouse with a child that may be hiding from a potentially dangerious problem. You may never know why they say NO, but you need to be senistive to the fact these and other situations do exist.
Z


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6/17/2004 3:40:28 PM

 
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