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Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:59 am
by deaner1971

I have had my website up for a bit and I get orders from time to time. I don't charge anything above the printing costs but, it is still a financial transaction. Which has me thinking:

When do I need a release? Many of us shoot pictures with buildings in them. Do you contact the owner? Do you ask for permission to use the building in your image? Do you carry blanket forms that you hand them to release them of any liability, should something happen to you on their property (the concern I get from land owners when shooting or fly fishing on/via their property)? Do you carry releases that convey you the right to use their house, barn, cow, etc... in a sold image?

I was thinking I might start carrying a release that I can hand to people and another in case I want to use people in a shot (I have traditionally kept people out of my shots for fear of needing this but, I would like to gain the freedom to use them if I want to [and they agree]).

Just curious to what degree you all carry around a lawyer's office when you shoot.



Re: Legalities

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:17 pm
by Andy
Dean: Can be a tricky subject. SOME architecture is copyrighted (e.g., it is purportedly an infringement to photograph the Eiffel Tower at night). Most buildings are not. If it is in public view, you can photograph most buildigs without a release. But be carefule about signs. I have a nice image of the NBC building in Chicago. Shot from a street. But the Peacock is prominent so I am sure ai cannot sell it. People. Again, in public places, no need for a release to photograph. But they may have rights if you use their image for profit. And I would be very careful with kids

Re: Legalities

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:52 am
by deaner1971

Thanks! On people, my understanding was that people in the background and in a public place, no need for a release but, if they are the subject of the photo (and the photo is for artistic and not journalistic purposes) you need to contact them for a release. Honestly, as a landscape guy, people are never the subject.

And as a dad who doesn't like it when people even post images of my kids on Facebook, I always skip a photo that would have identifiable kids in it.

Thank you for the insights on architecture. I feel much more assured now about all of the farmhouse and barn shots I have but was always afraid to post due to uncertainty.

Do you (and the rest of you) ever ask to photograph on private land? I have not, in the past, but have started to see some shots that I really want to capture and am ready to overcome my natural shyness and knock on a few doors.

To that end, I am thinking about having business cards done that have, on the reverse, a statement about releasing the property owner from liability and letting them know that they can reach out to me and ask me to exclude any and all images FROM (rather than OF) their land. I would leave those with those to whom I speak and with a note asking for permission to come back to any who are not home at first contact.

Taking a page from my past life in politics.

Re: Legalities

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:54 am
by Andy
Dean, I think your observations about people are right on. And in this day and age (sadly) I agree about children.

I have been in the same "school" with you about not wanting/having people in my "landscape" images for years. I the past few years, though, my shooting style has evolved away from pure landscape to more of a "travel" style. What I have learned is that not only are people inevitable, but sometimes they actually add to the image. I don't often make them the conscious subject and it seems like the best result is when they are incidental and somewhat generic. For pros that do photograph people, many of them have become really good at approaching the person and most of them carry releases with them. I am not "there" yet :) .

I have asked permission when the situation lends itself. I have also walked onto farm fields without permission. When I do, my farm background helps. Farmers are generally open and friendly, but they are business people, so if you trample down their crop (and in NE that includes grass), you are trampling their profit. When I have asked, they have often not only said yes, but told me where to go to get more/better shots.

Re: Legalities

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:44 am
by deaner1971


I think Vermont is so exceptional in the locals willingness to share their land if you are respectful of their needs and courteous to them as people.

My favorite fishing spot is near Arlington. The people whose land borders on the Battenkill have mowed a path to the river for easier access and posted a sign that just asks that you stay on the path and not litter. Their example has always humbled me in its kindness given that, in many places (upstate New York, here in Ohio, etc...) people buy river front land to exert their rights to make the rivers more and more private and exclusive.

That example is one of the many things that remind me that I love and admire both the land of Vermont and wonderful people who live upon it.

Re: Legalities

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:24 pm
by MinnieB
On this topic I asked the same question at a workshop with a professional photographer at Hunt's Photo and he said anyone in public should have no expectation of privacy, therefore legally, a release is not needed to sell a fine art photo that has a person in it. However, if you intend to use the photo for advertisement, then you would need a release.

Re: Legalities

Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:52 pm
by Andy
He is probably correct. There is a difference between expectation of privacy and the right to profit from someone's likeness :)