Watermarking and model releases?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Cinka, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    I do a lot of freelance TFCD shoots as I'm building my portfolio. Most of my models are also building their portfolios too. Generally, after a shoot, I go through the images and then post them to a secure location online for the model to download. Who knows what they'll do with these images. Should I be watermarking my images? Should I require all models (unpaid) to sign a release?

    Secondly, I've recently done some work for bands who will use these images for promotion. One band in particular, a friend, will use the images for promotions and press. At this stage in game, credit is more important than money. Should I simply ask for credit? Assume they'll give it to me? Or watermark the images?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Azuth

    Azuth TPF Noob!

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    Watermarking images... if they're at a decent resolution it wouldn't hurt to have "Proof only" or something similar stamped across them so that they don't get posted before you've done your retouching etc. and are happy with the finished product. (Doesn't stop everyone though).

    Release.... This depends on what you're using the images for, but I'd recommend a limited release for a TFCD shoot, something that allows you to use the images for your own promotion but not sell them.

    Many models will not sign an unlimited release for a TFCD shoot, but some will. That probably depends on the quality of your work. An unlimited release is a little pointless unless the images are saleable anyway. But if you're using them on stock sites or wanting to use the images commercially you need a release. If you use them in your own portfolio without one, as an amateur, you're probably on the OK side of a grey area.

    A watermark on a commercial image is generally a bit of a no-no, the most I'd suggest if you really want to go that way is some very small unobtrusive type on the right side or bottom of the image.
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    1) Do not watermark images you give to models. It's not fair to them. What if a model showed up and refused to wear any clothing that didn't have her name in big letters written across it? If the shots are good, they'll recommend you to others anyway.

    2) Always get a release. This is for both you and the model. For starters, you CANNOT use any images you take of them commercially (that means publishing or otherwise selling). I hate to break it to you but eventually (and if this hasn't happened to you yet, it will soon), you will get harassed by someone who wants a) RAW, negs, or otherwise super high res photos that you never agreed on, b) For someone else to post-process the shots, c) Every single image you shot, even the bad ones, or d) To otherwise prohibit you from using the photos how you like. Get a release signed that spells out exactly how the deal will go down. The contract needs to spell out who retains particular rights, copyright privileges, the number and format of images to be given to the model, as well as all the requisite legal jargon. It also needs to include both your and the model's full name, address, and signature, the date and location of the shoot, and they need to be provided with a copy (or you can each sign two copies). Not only is it good business to spell out and agree on all of this before-hand, but it can also can shield you from a lot of misunderstandings resulting in the burning of bridges, as well as serious legal protection in the event that anything serious were to go down. Not getting a release is not an option.

    As for the bands, you're allowed one free shoot per band (in exchange for credit). After that, you charge, no question. Otherwise they will ask you to do all of their shoots for free. You might begrudgingly do it once or twice again for free and feel screwed. Happens all the time. Don't let stingy bands happen to you. If they don't pay you, they'll have to pay someone else anyway. Having done a free shoot (that they end up using images from) means you've already got a good relationship with them. You've got to make money, too, after all.
     

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