Ethics Q: Pro Photogramers and wedding/ group pics

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by dmfw, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. dmfw

    dmfw TPF Noob!

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    (I would welcome comments from professional photographers)

    I notice that some professional photographers have portfolios of weddings and group photos, online and in publicly accessible. I assume that these events are of a semi private nature.

    I am curious about the ethical ramifications of publicly publishing these photographs. As I see it, the photographer is using what is essentially an private event for their own public profit. While I understand that the photographer may obtain permission from the bride or groom or their families, it would be impossible to get permission from every person in each of the photographs.

    BTW. This question was prompted by member of this forum providing a link to their website which publicly showed photographs of multiple weddings. I was surprised that the website or gallery software allowed me the option of purchasing one or more photographs.

    Personally, I would be upset that a photograph of my wedding was offered for public sale.
     
  2. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    I have limited knowledge of this subject, but I will tell you my understanding: (1) Most contracts will contain a model release that states that the client is permitting the photographer usually fairly unlimited display/copying rights for use in advertising, contests, etc. However, (2) technically the photographer would need a model release from everyone in the photograph to legally make it available. Now, this rarely will ever happen, but I also don't know of anyone actually pursuing a take-down or lawsuit over such a display. Also, (3) I would personally find it odd if my wedding photos were available for purchase by some stranger who had no relation to me, and perhaps you may want to message that person and let them know so they can consider limiting purchasing ability.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    From what I know (and take into account that I live in Australia so our laws may be quite different) there is a big distinction of when and where you need a model release.

    I can basically take a photo of anyone I want in a public or private place assuming I wasn't trespassing in the private place, and offer them for sale. What I do need a model release for is for commercial purposes. Now selling an image is not a commercial purpose. Putting them on my website where I sell my service is not a commercial purpose. Putting a sign across the image saying "Garbz photography, weddings, events, and other weirdness," not as a picture for sale but as a header for my website, or on a flyer I hand out IS a commercial purpose.

    Want to get grey? Including the picture in a portfolio which has my business card attached to the front is likely not commercial purpose.


    Gotta love law. As for ethics and morals? Is it morally or ethically wrong to offer for sale a picture I took? I say no. However if someone phoned me and said can you please not display my picture in public, or not offer it for sale, then it becomes ethically and or morally wrong, but likely still not legally, in Australia anyway.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think that Garbz reply is probably pretty accurate.

    As for selling prints to 'the public'...some photographers have private galleries, some don't. On one hand, some clients would feel more comfortable with a private gallery but that would also require that all their friends & family have the password. It's probably just easier to have a public gallery. I can't imagine that too many 'strangers' are buying other people's wedding photos.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Self promotion is not considered commercial in the US. So, logo'd or watermarked image sans model releases are permitted.
     
  6. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Reading these types of threads are what make me hate living in Quebec. Damn stupid photography laws that apply to us and France only. :grumpy:
     
  7. JamesMason

    JamesMason TPF Noob!

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    why would you want someone's wedding photos anyway ? A nice landscape or a rare parrot sure. But someone's wedding photos why ?
     
  8. Sobek5150

    Sobek5150 TPF Noob!

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    I'm taking a promotional communications class at the moment, and just had a conversation about release details in photographs just the other day.

    In a public place, if you are taking a photo and capture people's faces within the photo, no release needs signed because it is considered "Faces in a Crowd".

    An interesting story, a photographer for a local newspaper a few years back took a photo of a mother and child ice skating. As they exited the ice, he told the mother his intentions for the photo being used in the paper. She had no problem with this, and consent was given. Because of this "Faces in a Crowd" issue, the photographer did not -have- to ask permission. He did so out of respect for the mother and the daughter.

    Even seen here, the picture was focusing primarily on the mother and child. Because of the "Faces in a Crowd" rule, the photographer was still legally able to use the photo without a release.

    As far as a wedding goes, this may not apply being a private event as it is.

    Garbz had it: "Gotta love law". It's a sticky situation, definitely one to research before posting anything of your own.

    Advice any of us can give you is good for general knowledge, but if for some reason a decision you make hinges on this information... I'd find a legal consultant.
     
  9. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    It is not just a legality issue. I think he was asking an ethics question. I would not like my wedding pictures posted on the internet as advertisement for a photographer. I would not like strangers taking pictures of me while I am in a public place and posting them on the newspaper or on the internet. So for me I simply follow the Golden rule. I don't post other peoples pictures.
     
  10. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    just today we became featured on our wedding photographers site and are excited about it.
     

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