Stepping on someone's toes?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by DGMPhotography, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. DGMPhotography

    DGMPhotography Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hey guys,

    It's been awhile since I posted. Hoping to get back into it more soon.

    Anyway, I had a recent experience where I was hired to do videography for a wedding. And although I wasn't contracted to do so, I took about 20 or so still photos as well. Got some nice portfolio shots, and of course posted them on social media (with link to prints gallery), in lieu of the coming video.

    However, the photographer from the wedding recently reached out to me saying she has an exclusivity clause in her contract that she is the only photographer, and that I need to take down the photos.

    Now, I will probably do so, because I respect that photographer, and want to stay on good terms with her.

    However, I am wondering what peoples' thoughts are on this situation. Barring the desire to not burn bridges, what would you do?

    I personally feel like I wouldn't care if I was in her place. But I can understand how she might feel like I'm overstepping.


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    While I don't necessarily agree with it, if she does have that clause, removing your images would be the appropriate thing to do. This is why I always insist on meeting the other creatives at events and discussing everything in advance.
     
  3. DGMPhotography

    DGMPhotography Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yeah, I agree.

    But out of curiosity's sake, my question is does that clause actually apply to me? I'm not the one who signed her contract, and if there was any legal argument, I would think that would fall on the bride/groom, right? But then I guess they could subsequently come after me for doing work outside the scope of my contract (which specified video)? I know that's a legal question (which I may ask some lawyer friends about), but I'm curious what yall's thoughts are.
     
  4. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Just take them down. It's just going to cause a bunch of avoidable, unnecessary bother and hand-wringing for all parties. Not worth it.
     
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  5. DGMPhotography

    DGMPhotography Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, I am taking them down. I thought I established that.

    I'm not asking if I should take them down or not in this specific scenario.

    I'm just curious what other people may think about this situation, and thoughts on the legal gray area this situation presents. There may not be a yes or no. Maybe it's something in between. I just want to know if I am wrong for thinking I should be able to take/post photos. Especially from a content creation standpoint... I can get a lot of leverage out of posting photos on Instagram and what not over several weeks. Much harder to do so with video.
     
  6. Soocom1

    Soocom1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I took photos of a wedding on the Navajo Nation in 2006.

    I had an exclusivity clause in my contract with the family, but someone neglected to tell another member of the family who hired someone else to show up just as the wedding started.
    That person came with a Hassy with something digital attached.

    I had to shoot the wedding and couldn't get to them during the ceremony, then disappeared after the wedding.
    I got the reception. I had no real legal discourse because the contract was not applicable on the nation.

    But because it was so ambiguous I couldn't do anything about it.

    Then afterward the sister of the bride showed me Fakebook pics of the wedding taken by others with cell phones and snuck in P&S.

    Its disheartening that it happens but unavoidable these days.
    The loss in revenue for the photographer can be substantial especially if they were taking orders for secondary sets.
    The iPhone crowd simply cuts into that.

    For what you did, I see no real harm if personal, but once posted it can damage the photographer who was the "official" for the wedding.
     
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  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Does it apply to you? Yes, insofar as you are a professional. Are you bound by it? No. A contract exists between the parties who agree to it. You cannot agree on behalf of someone unless you have the legal authority to do so (A senior officer in the military could agree to a contract which binds his subordinates, but the photographer does not have legally binding authority over you), so from a legal perspective, there's pretty much zero that the photographer could do, HOWEVER, the question of professional ethics comes in to play, and the question really becomes not, "Do I have to?", but rather, "Should I?" and the answer is, yes, you should.
     
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  8. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You said:
    This actually still leaves ambiguity, so no, it didn't seem established.

    As I said,
    Can't say for sure without seeing the actual clause. Maybe there's nothing she can legally do to force you to take down the photos. Maybe it depends on whether or not the clients decide to try to buy some of your photos, or if it ultimately affects her business in a negative way. Don't know what the clause says. If you're really interested in knowing some of the potential legal outcomes, you could ask to see the clause.

    As mentioned, there is still the ethical question.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  9. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You were contracted to shoot video only, not to take photos. Does your contract address you using video you shot to market and promote your business?

    It seems you do NOT have their permission to use any photos you may have taken for marketing (portfolio) or business use (much less to sell prints). It was their event (wedding) and they paid to rent the venue which would be a private business. So it would be up to the client and the venue ownership.

    Besides professional courtesy and ethics which is up to you, this is about usage. It seems you didn't have permission to do anything but shoot video for the client and possibly use that to promote your photography business.

    Get on American Society of Media Photographers - Homepage or PPA for info. on marketing, etc.
     
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  10. DGMPhotography

    DGMPhotography Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks for the input, everyone. Sorry for any ambiguity.

    I guess I'll resolve to communicate this issue with the photographer (or other vendor) beforehand from now on. I'm not used to not being the photographer, so definitely not something I thought about. The photographer in this case said she would have been fine if it was just a couple of photos. At the very least, I'll just take photos for the portfolio/website from now on. Definitely gives me FOMO.
     
  11. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I think the law here will depend very much on what the details of your conteact were, the spesific wording used and case law in your local area. Confusing stuff like implied contracts can come in and to make things even more complicated you are essentially a sub-contactor. Probably one that could go either way.

    Buisness wise I think the right thing is to take them down. The last thing you want is to get a rep for causing legal issues for your client let alone other professionals in your area especially when you don't get much benefit from it.

    Morally, IMO, it's the good guy thing to do.

    If you really want to take some stills as well then you could always put it in your contract but make clear it's not a deliverable.
     
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  12. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Good thought Weepete about professional reputation, that's something to consider.

    I think an exclusivity clause would mean the client couldn't hire anyone else to take photos and that would be in the contract between the client and photographer. That wouldn't affect contracts with the videographer, venue, other vendors, etc.

    But as videographer it seems you DON'T have permission to use photographs you took at their event/wedding for your portfolio or other ways of promoting or marketing YOUR business. (An amateur with a camera could share photos because it's not business promotion, they aren't going to profit from it.)

    If you're contracted to take photos at future weddings learn about how to be able to use the photos for marketing & promotion of your photography business. It seems you aren't adequately informed about all the business aspects of photography, releases, etc. ASMP has offered marketing webinars, etc. and I think they and PPA have some resources available that nonmembers can access.
     
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