A way to pay for street photos

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by htarragon, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. If you take people shots on the street you can sell them to your subjects via IPhone and a credit card. The ultimate impulse buy!
    See video here
  2. Howard I find it works even better if you capture them in a comprimising situation.
  3. lol Philip. Or one can always supply book and magazine publishers. Textbook publishers are always looking for authentic images of people at work, things happening, equipment etc.
  4. Michael - then you would need to use your credit card to pay them for commercial use of their image(s).
  5. Howard:

    I'm assuming you're kidding but I might be extra thick today after spending better part of the day breathing fumes from the darn mower. Pay whom? The publishers pays me, most certainly not the other way around! lol
  6. Mikael, I think he means pay the subjects of the photos who will sue you for using their images w/o a model release for commercial pubs.
  7. Could be Dmitry. Selling images to the subjects photographed isn't generally seen as commercial usage though, that was what made me wonder. I photograph people on the streets (getting arrested etc) all the time and license images for use in books, magazines etc (all editorial mind you) with no releases.
  8. Dimitry - I wasn't taking it that far, I just meant people would pay for portrait shots, assuming they were better than their own cellphone shots.
    Or one can always supply book and magazine publishers. Textbook publishers are always looking for authentic images of people at work, things happening, equipment.

    Mikael -Depends on how the publisher uses their likeness. If the subject sued you, you would need more than a credit card :)
  9. Dimitry - you were right, that's what I meant.
    I find it works even better if you capture them in a comprimising situation.
    Phillip - It depends on how fast you can run if they see you. ;-)
  10. Howard:

    Well. Here's the deal. A lot of photographers seem to believe a couple of myths about releases. Most commonly:
    a/ A release is needed when you make money of a photograph; and
    b/ A release is protection against a lawsuit.

    Fact is that neither is true. To clarify, I'm talking about publishing in the US. Having a release doesn't prevent a law suit. It can make it less likely that the person bringing the suit will win but that's about it.

    I do this for a living. I supply big national publishers such as Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill, Scholastic, Heinemann and many more with images for use in various books. Mainly college level textbooks but also books for children, young readers etc. I license images to a wide variety of magazines, anything from Playboy to various Church magazines. My images are of people getting arrested, getting busted for drugs, cops serving search warrants, inmates inside prison, exteriors and interiors of prisons with inmates, guards, staff, along with crime scenes, crime labs etc. A lot of images where people are photographed at... well... let's just say not at their very best.

    I have never had a single request for a release for any of my images when they were to be used in a book, magazine, newspaper etc. I have always made it very clear that I don't have releases so it's not like I somehow keep this from the publishers. The publishers don't ask because their legal departments know they don't need releases for images used editorially. Simple as that.

    I think a lot of really great photographs - especially street photos - sit unused because people think they need releases when in fact they don't. I mean have a look at the photo galleries on my site. Look through TAC and SWAT. There are some pretty heavy arrests there for serious matters. If releases were needed for this type of usage I think it would be very safe to assume that the very well staffed legal departments at the really big publishers would demand releases. They don't.

    There is a lot, really a lot, of great photographs that could make the photographers nice money if they [the photographers] knew the fact about releases. I just think it's sad that so many very accomplished photographers miss out on this. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all of a sudden people will start making $10k/month licensing old street-pics. But I think quite a few people here would not feel too bad about making $250/image for licensing images for standard book usage.

    There is a real need among editorial publishers for all sorts of "real-life" type of photos, exactly the type of photos very often produced by "street photographers".

    I have no agenda. I gain nothing in pointing this out. Strictly speaking I'll probably end up encountering some more competition myself but that's OK. I have no book to sell that I'll urge people to buy to learn how to make money on their photos. I simply see some nice images here that could maybe make the photographer some money and in this day and age every little bit helps for pretty much all of us.

    I'm currently working on a piece for Photo.Net on this topic and hopefully that'll lead to some more people being able to get some images published and get a check or two along the way!
  11. True -- releases are not required for editorial photos.
    True -- releases are not required for all photos that "make money." Photos of persons on the public street, where they have no reasonable expectation of privacy, can be taken, published, and even sold as art without permission and without releases. And that holds whether at that moment the people on the street are doing something newsworthy (as appears to be the case in many of Mikael's editorial photos) or not.
    Have to be careful with photo captions and titles, because of an area of defamation law often referred to as "false light." A crude example: photo of identifiable man taken in an area known for illegal drug trade and captioned "Waiting for someone ? ... Man on a notorious drug corner." This could be trouble, unless the fact is that the man photographed is involved in the illegal drug trade. If he is not, the photo and caption, taken together, could be actionable under a "false light" theory.
    For photos to be used for commercial purposes or for trade (think advertising and endorsements) permission is required and releases should be obtained. I'll take issue with reducing to a "myth" the assertion that a release is "protection against a lawsuit." Depending upon the circumstances and the wording of the release, it can indeed furnish very useful protection.
    The release doesn't "protect" the photographer in the sense that it magically disables someone from filing suit. (I'm an old enough lawyer to remember the phrase: "Hey, anybody with a typewriter and the cost of the filing fee can sue." We spoke that way back when there were typewriters.) However, a carefully worded release can furnish an extremely important defense to the lawsuit -- one that might end that suit far more quickly and at considerable cost savings.
    Bert Krages, a lawyer in Oregon, has a site that offers very helpful general principles and legal commentary about photography:

  12. Well stated Michael, and I agree, my wording regarding releases and the protection they offer - or don't - was indeed too simplified and general. Thanks for clearing that up.
  13. I now have it clear that "editorial" includes books and magazines. I knew that pictures used for "commercial" purposes i.e. imply endorsement of a product or service or person(s) need permission.

    How about a picture of three young ladies who happen to be holding the same brand of bottled water? Ok in a gallery but not in an ad?
  14. Howard:

    Define gallery. As in displayed in a gallery to be sold as Fine Art? Or "just" displayed in a one-line (for instance) photo gallery? Both should be fine by the way, as Fine Art is typically seen as closer to editorial than commercial.

    The thing is that it pretty much doesn't matter what a photo is of, but rather how it is used when it comes to the need, or not, for releases. Take this image here below as an example. If used in a book (or magazine or paper etc as an illustration) no need for any releases. If used by Ford to market the Police Interceptor (soon to be no more) a release would be needed, well 4 actually, one by each "model". An easy to remember distinction is to remember commercial usage=releases needed, no matter what the photo is of.

  15. Thanks everyone. This really does shine some light on this topic. I have moved to Daytona Beach from southern Indiana.
    There I did model/fashion photography. I have signs on my car and I keep getting older people asking for local prints.
    Since it's such a tourist town the models just aren't here. So I am now shifting to Editorial stock and prints. I mean hey, if I
    have customers wanting stuff I'll give it to them. I did editorial shots back home for a small paper. Now I really want to get
    into stock photos. I am at a great location for it. I was worried that if I take a wide shot on the beach I would need all of
    them in the photo to sign a release.

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