Do I need permission to post pictures of people I have photographed on my website?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by PeaPod, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. PeaPod
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    PeaPod New Member

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    I have been taking pictures for about 10 years. Mostly as a hobby but I am trip director for corporate meeting planners and I would sometimes get paid to take pictures of awards ceremonies at their dinner events. There were no contracts signed regarding the pictures. I would give them a CD of images and an invoice and they would give me a check. I have lots of photos from the past 10 years, some I got paid for taking some I didn't but I took them ALL. I have just started a business with a website for my meeting and photography services. In my sample gallery I have posted a bunch of pictures from the past 10 years. Some are of scenery and some are of people from meetings or awards I have done. My question is this: Do I need their permission to put their images on my website? I am not putting names with them, just pictures. I hope somebody can help me. First time here...it looks like some seriously useful info going around! Thanks! PeaPod.
  2. ryan7783
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    ryan7783 New Member

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    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    My understanding is that as long as you photograph them in a public venue and you are NOT making money from the images, it is fine to post them without written permission.

    I'm fuzzy on the details but that is what I've gathered thus far
  3. PeaPod
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    PeaPod New Member

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    Thank You! This is a good start.
    Some of the pictures I took pictures were on a golf course during a private golf tournament and I did get paid for taking pictures at the time. But I am not selling them on the website, they are just examples of my work. The awards pictures are in a ballroom during a dinner event for a private corporate function. Do you think that is still public?
    Also I did a charity gig of couple’s pictures and I am using a service to help me sell those images. They are in a separate part of my website and they are password protected with the password going only to those that had their picture taken. (I'm sure that's ok but it's still the sample pictures I am worried about.) I have also started asking EVERY person I photograph if I can use their picture for my site but it could take a while to re-build my sample gallery.
    Hey I am really new to this whole forum thing..(Very cool by the way) Question; Can I post my website here to show you guys what I am talking about? Is that ok?

  4. im_trying11
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    im_trying11 New Member

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    My Photos Are OK to Edit
    yes, perfectly fine
  5. PeaPod
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    PeaPod New Member

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  6. visualpoetry
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    visualpoetry New Member

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    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    I always thought you did need permission and a model release would give you that. I could be wrong, that was just my assumption.
  7. blash
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    blash New Member

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    if that's allowed, then when is it not allowed (only when the photos are for sale)? I thought you needed someone's permission in order to photograph them and thus had to be careful in public spaces i.e. parks.
  8. Jeff Colburn
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    Jeff Colburn New Member

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    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    Generally, if the pictures are taken at a public place or event, you don't need a release. But you can't say anything bad about the subjects, like they're ugly, fat, etc. You also can't use the pictures to promote a product. And of course, any of them can sue you if they want.

    Have Fun,
    Jeff
  9. skieur
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    skieur New Member

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    My Photos Are OK to Edit
    Taking photos of people is allowed almost anywhere with the common sense exceptions of washrooms, change rooms, courts in session etc.
    A model release is necessary if the photo is used to promote a product or for advertising purposes. Otherwise, it can be used, sold, displayed, published for any editorial or artistic purpose.

    There have also been some American cases where because a backyard was in public view, the owner could not have a reasonable expectation to privacy there, so a photo could be taken and used. Judgements in this area have depended on the individual situation. Someone outside the front of their house could probably also have their photo taken too, irrespective of being on private property.

    skieur
  10. LJA
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    LJA New Member

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    I am not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I am perplexed.
    I am a webmaster for a church site. Myself and other members often take pictures of events at church and sometimes post them on our website -- no names, no comments (other than VBS Day 1 or Annual Reunion Dinner).
    We do not sell the pictures, but in a sense we are advertising the church.
    Would common sense say that is a 'public' place and therefore okay to publish?

    If the answer to the above is yes, here's a follow-up: What about children's pictures from events? Like Vacation Bible School, our Sunday Church theater, Trunk-Or-Trick? Do we have to get every parent's permission to post their child's picture on the website?

    Oh, we are in USA, if that is a question.

    Thank you all -- lot's of great stuff on this site!
  11. Lyncca
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    Lyncca New Member

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    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    I'm pretty sure you are fine. You aren't advertising for the church unless you create a flier with their name on it, then put the kids pictures on it and put it out for advertisement for the church. Or, if one of those kids was drinking a Coke, and you sold it to Coca-Cola for them to promotoe Coke in a magazine.

    Also, if the church allows the photography on private property, then you should also be ok there too.

    Of course, someone can sue whether they have a leg to stand on or not ;)
  12. LJA
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    LJA New Member

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    My Photos Are OK to Edit
    Thanks for the reply.
    Yes, sometimes I think that USA is latin for 'let everyone sue'.
    Thanks again.
  13. THORHAMMER
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    THORHAMMER New Member

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    if your cant easily tell who is in the picture you are totally fine,but if you can clearly make out the face, i think technically your supposed to get a release if your using it to promote your site commercially.

    now a paid event where they are just a background, or bystander is probably never going to get you in trouble, ever, but if you spotlight someone, make a full 800 pixels portrait on your site, they could ask you to take it down if they didnt like it.

    now if its art, then its different story all together.

    dont worry about it, if you ever get contacted, just deal them out free portrait session and get the release signed in return for the favor.
  14. skieur
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    skieur New Member

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    Lyncca is correct, although the Church being a public place, property ownership is not really relevant.

    Advertising requires a model release but this is not advertising. Doing photos of kids in Church doing church event/activities is considered "editorial use" which does not require a model release. An out-of-context advertising use as Lynnca suggested as in using a shot to sell Coca Cola, certainly would require a model release.

    skieur
  15. tsaraleksi
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    tsaraleksi New Member

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    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    The only thing you need a release for is advertising. An image can be used editorially (as in, to illustrate a story in a magazine, newspaper, or website), or as part of a portfolio or other similar display. You can also sell prints or whatever you like, as determined by a lawsuit a few years back.
  16. PeaPod
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    PeaPod New Member

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    Ok so first thank you to all who have contributed to this string. After reading all of your stuff and speaking to a few photographers I have encountered in the last month here is what I have come up with, and what I plan on doing...
    My website has lots of pictures of people I have taken for free or gotten paid for over the last 10 years. I have actually, just by chance, talked to a few of them and they are thrilled to be on my site. As I circulate my site to the meeting planners I work for I will just be aware that I am most likely legally totally in the clear. However, if anybody says I don't want my picture on your site I will simply apologize and remove that picture from the site. Now the meeting planner says, “You took that picture while working for us and we don’t want our attendee’s face on your site”, I will say since it doesn’t mention your company name anywhere on the picture I think I am legally able to use it and I don't think they would mind. But if you feel the need to contact them feel free and if they want me to take their picture down I would be happy to do that.
    Now I guess I have one more question. One of the pictures actually is of backs of heads but clearly says Mitsubishi in it. I would think Mitsubishi would be thrilled but the meeting planner that hired me could just be persnickety. I will say that I still think I am legally ok and will just ask if we could contact the client directly and allow me to ask them permission. Honestly I just have one meeting planner that for some reason just likes to be difficult and they are who I am worried about. I’m sure you all know people like that! (Sorry for the long post…)
    How does that sound??? Anybody?
  17. dtornabene1
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    dtornabene1 New Member

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    There are two issues you need to work with here. First is the Model Release and second would be Property Release. For the Model Release I would like to reference Photography People by Roderick Macmillan:

    ""In most countries, people may be photographed in public places and the images published without obtaining consent. However, if the cooperation of the subjects was obtained, the photographs were shot in a private place, or the images are to be used commercially...it is only reasonable to seek permission before proceeding."

    For Property Release I would like to reference The Basic Book Of Photography by Tom Grimm and Michele Grimm.

    "Advertisers may also require PROPERTY RELEASES if a building or other identifiable property is prominent in the picture."

    Look, if it is a private function get a release. If you are in a park and snapping away without the cooperation of the subject and no private property is in place, you are fine.

    The two books I referenced are good, but do not directly deal with legalities so I also recommend getting a book like Wedding And Portrait Photographers' Legal Handbook by Norman Phillips and Christopher S. Nudo, Esq. This book is written for the laws of Illinois, however it is very detailed and provides great legal advice for only $30.

    Hope this helps.

    -Nick
  18. bdavis
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    bdavis New Member

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    Short answer, if its taken out in public and using it for portfolio, photojournalism, etc you don't need a release.

    As soon as you try to make money off of it by selling it, using it in advertising, etc then you do need a release.
  19. christm
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    christm New Member

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    My Photos Are OK to Edit
    If children are in the photos then ASK.
  20. bdavis
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    bdavis New Member

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    In that case...yes, for the love of god, just ask. Don't get tied up in that mess! I've been there before when shooting a fair.

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