If you photograph people, please read this!

Started Oct 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
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69chevy
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If you photograph people, please read this!
Oct 4, 2012

Seldom do I get charged up enough to go off on a rant. This is one of those times.

I frequent this forum to stay connected to photographers and gear-heads alike. Why? Because I love photography. I love the fact that I can freeze time and preserve a millisecond of life to reflect on later.

I find it disheartening to read so many posts concerning model releases. “Do you have a model release?” really gets to me, in a bad way.

A model release serves one and only one purpose; to protect a person from being affiliated with a product that they do not endorse. This means if the image will be used as an advertisement for a business, a model release is required. This is why it is called a “model” release.

If a person is in public, you can photograph them. You can publish the photos, post them online, sell them to a magazine, newspaper, or anyone else who will give you money for them. If a company uses them improperly after buying them, they are legally responsible if a lawsuit arises. That is why any company with a clue will require said release.

I believe this big misconception comes from stock photo agencies. They do require a release for any picture that is not editorial in nature. Why? So they can license your pictures to companies for advertisement purposes. That is it, period.

Did Britney Spears sign a release for the pictures of her privates to be plastered all over the internet? Do all of the guests sign a release at a wedding? Do all the kids on a team sign a release when the photog takes a group shot? Do all of the protestors sign a release when CNN posts coverage of a protest? The answer is no. Yet the pictures are legally sold, published etc..

I could post 1000 examples of people’s pictures that are bought, sold, and published legally without a release, but I hope you get the idea.

Why do I bother ranting? Because you have the right to photograph whatever you want as long as it is in a place considered public. Do not limit yourself and take away your own rights because you are CYA. If you are in public, shoot away; do not be afraid, you have the right to do so. (In the United States at least).

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