Did I do something illegal or immoral?


TPF Noob!
Apr 28, 2009
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My newphew recently stayed with us for 4 days while his parents were out of state. I live in Indiana. I decided to get my nephew and my children's pictures made together as a gift for my mother-in-law. I also had pictures made of my newphew for my sister-in-law. I spent a lot of money on these pictures and had them personalized with Mother's Day poems. My newphew was especially excited to surprise his mother with these portraits for Mother's Day. When my sister-in-law found out, she threw a fit and said that I should have gotten her permission to have the photos taken of her son. (Which of course would have ruined the surprise). She said that even schools have to have release forms filled out before they can take a picture of her child. I thought they only had release forms for the publication of the pictures. Aside from being hurt that my good intentions have been turned upside down, now I'm worried that I may be in some legal trouble. I told the photographer that he was my newphew and the reason for the pictures. He never asked if I had permission. Have I done something illegal?:(
No. Your sis-in-law is just nuts... no offense..

Release forms aren't necessary for non-published/personal photos.
I agree, none taken!
hmm besides its not a stranger its your sis-in-law for crying out loud.
I hate how everyone thinks that there should be a permission slip for EVERYTHING now-a-days. I did a photo shoot for a band who played as a special guest at a school orchestra concert and I was told I couldn't have any of the students in any picture because they didn't have permission slips. I knew there was nothing wrong with taking a group shot of the kids with the band and giving it away to the kids, but it wasn't worth fighting about. Oh and on top of that, the orchestra director gave a photo of the band from my website to the local newspaper without permission and they published it without crediting me. I told her that she was lucky I didn't have time to sue her for violating a copyright. The whole affair pissed me off. When I was in school we had an astronaut visit and give a speech. NASA sent a photographer and people would have laughed if someone suggested that the photographer needed permission from all the parents to have a group picture. I miss the less ridiculous times when people thought for themselves and could determine when something was appropriate without a permission slip.
No. No, you aren't, really...

Look, I feel for you. I know what it's like to go through it all and have someone say that to you - that hurts.

So not to have 'revenge' or something like that, but just to make her appreciate: when talking to her next time, or in front of her, just let it 'slip'. Or leave the receipt from the photographer lying around.

If worse comes to worse, I'd tell her straight up that the photos and prints cost you $x and you meant it out of good will. If she still doesn't... then just ignore her for time being.
I don't see how it would be illegal. I will assume that these are nice clean portraits and not random photos that portrays the child in any indescent manners. So I doubt that it's illegal. Immoral? NO way!! What's wrong with family doing something nice for other family members?

I think it's was a really great idea and something that every mother would (no offence: in there right mind) be very happy to get.

Could it be that she's upset because you paid for it and she feels like it was too much money for you to spend on this? It's a shame that she's ruining the mother's day gift from her son. Sound like she's arguing just for the sake of arguing...it's a photograph, and it's a present, she should get over it and be happy.

Now a days people freak out over the smallest thing even if it's a nice gesture it's crazy. I would'nt worry about it, but I would also be pretty pissed off at her reaction because it's childish and unnecessary. That's my opinion.

Um, you watched her child for 4 days & she's throwing a fit about this?
your sister in law is a loon.
It's not illegal
If i'm out in public and taking pictures of kids I would ask permission first.
But..seeing as how they stayed with you and are related and i'm assuming, the pictures are..normal...
She sounds extremely paranoid and it's too bad that your gift was received in such an ill light. I agree with the above statement
Sister-in-law = loon :S
Based upon the slight information provided ... your sister-in-law is nuts and a control freak. This is all family ... and you're concerned about legal ramifications? What you did 95% of the US population would consider a very nice, considerate and actually a wonderful deed. (There must be a few who have a religious or cultural thing about being photographed ... I'm assuming you and family do not.)

Why does she feel you need to have her permission for the photos? As you are on this forum, I suspect you also took photos with your own equipment ... does she have a problem with that? What's the dif?

Again, she is a control freak, you have two choices, you can bite you tongue and say "Yes ma'am, I am sorry ma'am." ... in order to preserve peace in the family by walking around the elephant in the living room ... or excerise the fact that humans have backbones and tell her that she is completely wrong and that she will not control your actions as long as your actions are legal, ethical and not harmful in any manner. (And then stand back and watch the fireworks. In which case she will use your nephew as a weapon against you and say that you cannot see him again or at the least never keep him overnight.)

I doubt that this control thing happened overnight ... so the family has been enabling her to act this way by saying "... that's Susan ..." and walking around the said elephant. So, remember by exposing the elephant ... by illuminating what everybody has been ignoring, will make you the bad guy.

(There are a number of other alternatives, but most of those involve the sister-in-law coming to the table in an open and receptive fashion ... which I don't think is gonna happen.)

Hopefully, your wife and her the mother can intervene and try to bring the control freak nearer the top of the bell curve of social behavior. Don't let you sister-in-law's problem(s) become your problem or destroy your good feeling for performing a good deed. If you do capitulate in order to preserve "peace", use that card for more photo equipment.

Good Luck,

PS- (Hopefully you're not a felon or equal that she would suspect you could/would do something illegal or unethical with the photos ... but then again if you were or if she had any suspicions about your character, then she should not have left them with you in the first place).

PPS- If you ever want to have photos taken of my kids with your kids (on your nickel) ... let me know.

PPPS- You sister-in-law is a loon.
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There are always 2 sides to every story but from your side I would say you had a wonderful gesture in mind and its a pitty your sister in law over reacted...
I've merged the two threads and left it in the 'General Shop Talk' forum. No need to keep this running in two places.
I'm actually great with children. I've been a scout leader for 4 years, had a daycare for 3, and currently a CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate for our local court system, "I advocate for abused and neglected children." My sister in law and I don't exactly get along because I have more than questioned her parenting skills. She rarely lets us have our nephew as punishment. I haven't said anything about her parenting in years, and only have when absolutely necessary for the safety of my nephew. The pictures were kind of a "thank you" for allowing us to keep him. We've missed him so much only seeing him a handful of times over the last year. So this may help explain her behavior. There are two sides to every story and I'm sure she's just always on the defensive. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to have charges pressed on me or a lawsuit in the near future. I doubt I'll try more nice gestures for her anytime soon. If it wasn't that, it would have been something else she was mad about.

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