Licensing street candids

Started Feb 9, 2013 | Discussions
Jonathan Siegel Regular Member • Posts: 499
Licensing street candids

I am frequently approached by different parties interested in licensing my street candids. I am fully aware that I cannot license these photos for commercial use, however I have been told that I can license them for editorial purposes. In this regard, if someone were to publish a guidebook, would this be considered editorial, or would this still be considered commercial usage? I have read the guidelines for editorial licensing several times, and from a few different regions, and it seems to differ slightly. There is one project in particular for which I am being approached, and the client would like to use the photos for location services, which I read as something akin to a guidebook service. Any thoughts?

Ohnostudio Regular Member • Posts: 486
Re: Licensing street candids

As a former editor in the photo industry I can tell you this would be commercial usage. A guidebook is not classed as a daily or periodical. If the image is used in conjunction with promotion of a product or a service, it is commercial use.

There could be some exceptions such as crowds at Disneyland where the shots are taken by Disney and used by disney, sporting event crowds where images are used by the leagues, civic events where the image promotes a city or town. Even here, entities are getting more careful about what is used. When I was 14 (many moons ago), I wound up on the cover of a Sunday news magazine. My parents were beyond livid..

You could sell as fine art, exhibit in a gallery as art and sell as a print, that's it. As long as no images cross the bounds of what is construed as a reasonable expectation as privacy. For instance, waling on the street, ok. Shooting into the window of a restaurant, not so ok.

It would be wise to decline the request before the conversation goes any further. Because the new wave of marketing people we have now are sometimes clueless as to what the grey areas are and they will twist the language any way they want in order to suit themselves.

And just an info note, if images are altered in any way, meaning cloning of signs, license plates, removing blemishes, taking out a telephone pole, stuff like that. they are not classed as editorial according to news standards. So they could not be licensed as such to any news agency.

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OP Jonathan Siegel Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: Licensing street candids

Thank you so much for your advice! This is just as I suspected, I figured unless it was going into a news article, then it cannot be licensed for any other purpose unless I have a signed release. I get asked this all the time and I always decline unless I happen to have a release for that photo. In this case, being a guidebook, I was not sure but this clears it up. Thanks for the tips too. Cheers!

Ohnostudio Regular Member • Posts: 486
Re: Licensing street candids

You're welcome Jonathan. Even if released, on street images you still need to watch out for business signage and brand logos. Doing things like posing someone against a vintage car grill (like Rolls, Mercedes, basically anything highly recognizable)  is also problematic these days. If you have any more questions just fire a PM my way. I don't always keep up with past posts.

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