Legalities and Street Shooting...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by magkelly, May 6, 2010.

  1. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've always wondered how do you pros handle the legalities when you are just free-shooting on the street? I've not done a lot of commercial work with people, yet, but and the few times I've used real people as models I've always gotten verbal permission or a written release if necessary. But I've also shot a number of pics that I really like and that I might want to use for stock or art prints for gallery shows someday where it was very quick and where I never even met the person I was shooting.

    There's no way to track these people down, not really, but I hesitate to show them when I can sometimes because I am worried about what I am doing in terms of it being legal. I know I own the shots, but for casual public shooting what do you have to do to cover your arse and still be able to use those photos?

    Some of my best portraits are actually casual street work. They're in the portfolio, but I'd really like to use them for more than that someday...

    Any tips?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ghpham

    ghpham TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The upshot is you cannot use the photo's for monetary gains without a written release. Even for your portfolio, that is crossing the line between displayed art, and advertising. You should get some legal advice from a professional (lawyer that is).
     
  3. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I just read that legally oriented page up above and it sounds like just doing gallery display or making prints to sell is okay, but using them for say an ad for beer or selling them for stock use might not be.

    I see my portfolio as simply me showing off my best work, to anyone, not just potential clients so I don't think that so long as I don't use the photos with say text for ads for my business or something I am okay there. I probably wouldn't do that anyway, not unless I had a release, but it would be nice if I ever got to do a show of my work if I could sell prints of my work or put them in a book of my photos at least.

    That article above was a bit confusing, but there's a link to another one too. I actually just wanted to know what the pros here might actually do, not just what some article says is "probably" the right thing to do.
     
  4. ghpham

    ghpham TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    1. How is selling prints ok? you are making money out of image you took without consideration for the subject.

    2. Showing off your best work to potential client(s) is a form of advertisement. A picture worth a thousand words as the saying go, no need for text. But like I said, this area is murky.

    3. Professional photographers are not professional lawyers. People here will tell you tell you what they do, but ultimately, they will tell you to consult with a lawyer. It will save you grief in the long run. ;)

    Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, I don't claim to be, and I don't play one on TV! ;)
     
  5. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Photographers have been shooting random shots of people forever, okay since photography started.
    I do not believe they have permission to show them, yet they do.


    I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago shooting. 99% of the people hardly notice the camera. I cannot see how one needs to get permission. Unless you are using a particular person as part of the campaign.


    This photo has been making the rounds all over the place for years...

    [​IMG]
    this photo is from Wikapedia
     
  6. burstintoflame81

    burstintoflame81 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Arizona
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You can make money off of photos of people without a release. That is a misconception. Editorial photographers do it everyday when they sell shots to Newspapers. You are correct in saying that for any type of advertising you would need a release. Pretty much anything that could be miscontrued as being an endorsement by that person or insinuating some sort of association with that person and a specific good, or business etc. You can sell editorial photos without releases in most case which is what most magazines use anyway. How do you think Paparazi sell pictures. Do you think Lindsey Lohan is signing a release when she steps out of a car and accidentally flashes her HooHa?

    Look in the Photographers Market. You can see that not every business REQUIRES model releases. The ones that do, either work in advertising or want the option to sell stock to clients who do.
     
  7. Dallmeyer

    Dallmeyer TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit

    Yep! As you can probably guess I am no expert. But read up also about "Conversion" - that is not just people their personal identities endorsing something, but also buildings and trademarks.

    Something i read recently that i thought was interesting - take a photo of the Eiffel Tower during the day - that could be ok as a stock image, but at night - the lightshow that illuminates the tower is copyright!
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    7,274
    Likes Received:
    406
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV / Almost, MD
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You can also sell a photo of a person as a work of art and profit off of it without requiring a release of that/those individual(s).
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    7,274
    Likes Received:
    406
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV / Almost, MD
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    State and government law books.
     
  10. TheSolicitor

    TheSolicitor TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    MoTown, NC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If you want a rock solid, bet you life on it, no doubt about it answer pay a $500 retainer to an attorney and have them do the proper research to give you the answer. I would do it as I have access to Lexis and WestLaw, but I'm procrastinating from working on a criminal procedure exam...

    I can offer my thoughts off the top of my head, with the understanding that this is not legal advice, not intended to be legal advice, and if anyone detrimentally relies on this as legal advice, I am completely and absolutely disclaiming this as legal advice. One should always seek local counsel to answer complicated legal questions such as this.

    Generally, my thoughts are that if you are in public, you have a lowered expectation of privacy than you would on your property or in your home. However, that lowered expectation of privacy cannot be violated by someone harassing an individual to get photographs (or anything, really). With that said, it is generally accepted that you may stand on a public sidewalk and shoot anything or anyone that you see. As previously mentioned, editorial photographers have been doing this for decades. There are obvious exceptions, federal buildings, federal agents, and photographing on to someone's private property may get you additional scrutiny. One shooting in public should always strive to avoid confrontation when possible, and if you have the ability to have a conversation with someone before you take a photograph of them it always helps lessen the likelihood of a confrontation.
     
  11. vtf

    vtf No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,126
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    kansas city
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I always had heard that if it could be seen in a public venue then no one except the photographer had the copyright this includes someone flying over in a helicopter could take a shot of someones back yard since it could be seen from anyone in the public airspace. Im not a lawyer but it would seem to apply to the above journalistic/paparazzi mentioned above and in fact it would seem to be a censorship of historical documentation if you couldnt take pictures in a public venue without restrictions. Just my take.
     
  12. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,394
    Likes Received:
    405
    Location:
    An American in Europe
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    And you just broke the copyright law by using it. Not to mention one the rules of this website.

    Whether this photo has made the rounds or not, it still is the property of NG or its photographer (depending on what deal they have.) But copyright and model releases are two different things.

    There are only two uses, that I know from experience, for which you do not need a model release. Art and news. There are probably some other editorial uses allowed but it has never happened to me so I'm not sure how that would work.

    Use a person likeness in an ad, a book cover, a album cover, etc and you had better have a model release.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

street photography legalities