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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Photographers & Copyrights

The thing a model must understand about photographers is that their work--the images they produce--are their livelihood and must be protected at all times.

Ever wonder why there's a random name or funky mark on top of a model's photo? That was done on purpose to keep people from copying the picture for personal use (how many times have we seen a photo we liked on the Internet and copied it to our own folder?).

Everyone has done this at one time or another and while it appears harmless, there are some people out there who try to pass off someone else's work as their own, or attempt to sell it for a profit--all while the actual photographer doesn't have a clue.

While some models don't like this extra info on their images, if a photographer requests that you put it on your photos, then you must respect their wishes. In the age of the Internet, it is easy to steal other people's work. Even though it is still possible to take the name off of a picture on the Internet, as long as you aren't the one doing it, that's what matters.

Many photographers are touchy about this subject and unless you are a photographer or other type of artist, it's hard to understand how hurt or angry a photographer gets when they see their image online without being given credit. Think about it: if it weren't for the photographer, would you have that amazing photo in your portfolio? That would be a "no." So give credit where credit is due.

Whether or not it is stated clearly in the model release form, always play it safe and ask the photographer if they require their name and/or copyright on the images that you want to use. Some don't care what you do with the photos or if you put their name on it or not, while others have their own rules.

During TFPs, oftentimes the photographer will ask that you put their name and/or copyright on any images that you intend to use for the Internet. This will discourage people from illegally copying the photo for personal use, since many people don't want to have a picture with someone's name or logo on it.

If you're using hard copy versions of the photos in your book, the photographer may or may not care but when it comes to putting their work up online, that is enough reason for them and you to take extra precaution to protect the work you've done together.

With TFCDs, you get all the images in high-resolution, either retouched or raw. A lot of photographers who give a model this option, normally are less strict about putting their name on the image, as long as it is stated in the model release form that you are not to use the photos to make a profit or for some other purpose that the photographer hasn't given you permission for.

When it comes to marking their territory, photographers will either put their name or the name of their photography business with the copyright symbol, or will just have their name alone. A simple logo may also be used. Either way, if you know that a photographer prefers to have their name on their work, then do them a favor and give them credit. It will save you a whole lot of trouble. The last thing you want is for a photographer to be angry at you so make sure you're both on the same level when it comes to this.

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