Need some guidance/advice please...

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by chammer, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    i probably should not have done this, but i did, and boy am i getting responses!

    i posted an ad to craiglist under the pets community offering free pet photographs. the deal is basically they hopefully get some good images/prints of their beloved pets, and i gain experience in building my photography skills. as i've been mostly shooting pets for the last month and a half it seemed like a good line to follow.

    responses have been wonderful, and im starting to think i may have bitten off more than i could chew, but thats a minor detail at this point.

    so i guess what i need to know is simply is there anything that i need to do or be aware of legally with doing this? as im responding to each person im making it a point that these photos will be provided absolutely free, and they are absolutely free to take them to their local print store if they want prints but i would leave that for them to decide. i am also making a point that i am very much an amateur and cannot guarantee that the images will turn out, but only that i will try my very best.

    i guess, again legally speaking, am i required do draw up contracts/model releases/whatever and have us both sign copies or anything of the sort; or because this is totally free work and leaving all the decisions on their side whether or not to print the digital images i provide at the end... am i protected from any "wrong doing" should the images not turn out and all that would be wasted would be the time spent shooting the pictures?

    i hope this made since. i just want to make sure that what im offering is safe for both of us, and that these people cant come back at a later time and sue me for something silly.
     
  2. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Simply speaking? No. :)
     
  3. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    excellent, thats all i needed to know! thanks! :)
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    On one hand it is important to always be shooting for obvious reasons. On the other hand photography and providing a service for free is serious business. Make sure both parties realize points such as time involved, usage rights, prints that they will or will not pay for and all that fun stuff. All details must be clearly spelled out and understood before the work starts. Paid or free; you must learn the business skills to protect yourself and the client. If not it will come back and bite you.

    Love & Bass
     
  5. lschaaf

    lschaaf TPF Noob!

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    Just keep a copy of your Craigslist ad and their response to it so you have a record of the "expectations."
     
  6. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Is that simply because what he's shooting is 'property' and not people? - Or is there a different reason... ?

    tks,
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I wonder! Have you noticed? Your posts in this thread are the only ones that lack capital letters.

    Even if you are not charging, you are advertising your services. In that light, you could well be held responsible in the event a person or animal were to be injured during a shoot.

    Craig rightly points out that documenting, and requiring signature, of the terms of your offer would make people think twice before deciding at some later date that they have some how been agrieved by the arrangement.
     
  8. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Bah. I don't think any of us is a lawyer. I certainly am not. However, were I doing this, I would be considering the following...

    - Are they on my property? If so, I might want to have insurance protecting me from someone slipping and falling, a pet getting wounded and me being sued.
    - Am I charging them for anything? If so, then I want contracts and agreements and such.
    - Am I taking pictures of something with rights that could sue me? If so, then I want model releases and such.

    Since the answers to 2 and 3 are no, then presumably you're covered there, though to be honest on 3 I have no idea. I suppose in really bizarre circumstances someone could sue you for using the likeness of their pet in some way... I don't know.

    In the end, it's best to consult a lawyer, but by and large my non-lawyerly take here is you have very little to worry about.
     
  9. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    you guys have provided more food for thought. it's greatly appreciated. i do agree i should learn the business side of it as well regardless of my current skill level and whether or not im charging.

    i am confused now if i should even do this. it's pretty sad that you cant even provide something for free just so people can get decent shots of their pets, and you building your skill set without having to worry about being sued for something silly.

    so far those that responded sound like i would be taking the pics in their home, and for personal and obvious reasons regardless of the location i will not be touching their pets for posing. i will leave that to the owners. i wonder then in that regard if by some off chance an animal is harmed...if it would still put me in a position i could be held liable even though it was the owner that was posing them?
     
  10. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Your basic idea is a good one to get portfolio material and with normal people you would have no problems whatsoever. However, we do have a lot of nut cases around and I would not get into such a situation without thinking through the details.

    1/ Shooting for free or pay makes no difference to me. Have them sign a contract that outlines the deal as well as legal responsibilities. Where it says fee just put $0.00 so that it is very clear there is no charge. Make sure this contract is looked over by a lawyer before going ahead.

    2/ Have them sign a release so that if you do get a great shot you want to use later for advertisement, you can. There are legal sites on the web where you can customize your release to fit your state's laws.

    3/ Give prints. Not files. By giving a file you allow them to print it any which way and if they get horrible prints and show them around "look at what chammer did for us" it could be bad for you. By giving prints you control the quality.

    4/ Rather than get potential dogs through craigslist, try and find them through a dog club, a rescue, or some such thing.
     
  11. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    very good points, c.cloudwalker, much appreciated! very clear and concise.

    for point #4 i figured this would be the easiest/fastest way. we're both members of our local bulldog club, and my gf does shows all the time. however, the next show isnt til the end of september and i'm a bit impatient in wanting to get more variety in my shooting.

    one of my responses actually did come from the local pug rescue. they want a shot for an event in october to help advertise their cause. :)
     
  12. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I wasn't so much thinking of shooting shows. It's more a way of getting people who should be better with their animals. What's the point of going to someone's house for a couple hours to find that they have not the slightest control over their animal and you can't get a decent shot. :lol:

    Rescues and shelters, it is a way to help them while helping yourself.

    The only problem with rescues and clubs is that you get stuck with just one breed so you have to make sure and not take on 50 dogs from the same place. :er: You do want variety in your portfolio. For that reason, I probably would not make the offer to anyone in the club you belong to. Between you and your GF, you already have two bulldogs and that's enough.

    Another thought, you could ask to meet the dogs before agreeing to anything. This way you can see if the animal is well taken care of, good looking enough and worth spending the time with. I mean that you probably don't want to shoot a long haired dog that is all matted. After all, no matter how good you are as a photographer, if the dog looks like hell you will not get a shot for your portfolio.
     

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