Wedding Photography, Model Releases, and Websites?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by todd frederick, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. If I wanted to set up a wedding business web site, would I need to
    obtain model releases from every person at the wedding who might
    appear in the photos posted on the site?

    Most contracts are very general, and only state that photos may be
    used for sales purposes.

    I have been concerned about this since I have only shown samples in a
    sales album, however, using images on a business card, brochure, or a
    web site might be different.

    It would be very difficult, and disruptive to the flow of the
    photography, to get a signature from each person photographed. The
    issue of showing children on a web site is also problematic now days.
    Such photos as the wedding party, with flower girl and ring bearer,
    come to mind.

    Any thoughts on this?
     
  2. A lot of nite clubs have photographers show up to shoot bands, performance acts, etc. and somehow manage to get away with putting up a simple notice letting everyone know they might be photographed. You may be able to get some good advice from a nite club owner.
     
  3. I have a model release in my contract for the couple. I get a verbal for family members and wedding party. I don't know if guests at a wedding qualify for the "public gathering" rule. Maybe I should, but I don't worry about it. Most of the family and friends have seen my website prior to the wedding and realize I do use pictures on the site from other weddings.. I assume they realize that one of that wedding's image may also be used.
     
  4. When I post images to my sight I usally put them in a place that does not have a
    direct link to it until the couple has a chance to see them. Send them an email with a
    link. I also mention that I will quickly remove anything they or anyone else objects
    to. Shot selection is important too. Like when someone in a dress does the limbo
    and you can see more than you should don't put it up. Anyone embarressingly drunk
    don't do it. Then I add it to my linked pages later.
     
  5. If you need a model release, then all parties identifiable in the photo must sign one.
    Many wedding contracts include a release for the photographer to use the photos for
    promotion (sort of an abbreviated release), which is probably adequate in regards to
    the couple signing the contract. However, that would not be a valid release for the
    rest of the wedding party or guests. A sign at the door wouldn't do it either. To be
    valid, a release must be actively signed by the model (or the parent or guardian, in
    the case of minors).

    As a practical matter, it is all but impossible to attempt to get model releases signed
    by everyone at a wedding. If you really want the release, it might be best to get them
    signed early, before the festivities start, and only by a select few people that are very
    photogenic that you know you will want to use. Once the party starts, forget it. You
    could try tracking people down afterward, but that can be difficult when your only
    contact is the bride & groom (or more often the bride's mother).
     
  6. And as a practical matter you only have to worry if someone complains - and then you remove their picture. As long as you don't sell it for commercial purposes or purposely ridicule them with it, you don't have much to worry about.
     
  7. Agree with John. I send a note to couples when I've posted here or on my site. 100% of the time - the subjects are tickled to death! If someone is not happy - naturally, it can easily be taken off - unlike a newspaper ad, magazine ad or an editorial photo in a magazine. If I were to use a subject for a wedding for an ad or submit to a Bride magazine - I'd have to ask specifically for a model release.
     
  8. For Mary (and others, too) - from a legal point of view, "verbal" agreements don't hold water in a court of law. It may never happen to you, but if someone were to blame you for something they say was caused by your unauthorized posting of their image without a signed agreement, it could ruin you for good. The "public gathering" concept may not apply, either, if the photos are taken on any kind of private property. Just stuff to think (or consult an attourney) about.
     
  9. Verbal agreements are good when compensation is under $500. Over $500 and you need
    a written agreement. The only problem with a
    verbal agreement is proving that so and so was agreed upon. A verbal agreement is called
    a "parol agreement". It is fully enforceable as is a written agreement.

    I use a model release in my Agreement. But I do more than this. I eliminate gray areas
    that could result in legal arguments. As a result, I do not sell pictures wholely. I only sell
    a copy of the picture with the right to use it for 99 years. I keep ownership over the
    image, and I keep the negatives normally. This is a very good reason to not sell the
    negatives.

    It is a historic custom on this planet that anyone who attends the wedding may be
    photographed. The guests submit to this when they walk on the leased property. They
    become a memory for others.

    You could explore the issue of using wedding photos as editorial style of an event. I
    would argue that it is publishable in a newspaper for free, no compensation. You are a
    reporter, and paid to be a guest, in fact you are commanded to take pictures of people
    there and the commander is the temporary "owner" of the property that the people
    voluntarily attended.

    I would not give any images to a 3rd party for their usage for commercial purposes. But I
    am not a 3rd party. I am the party of the 1st. I am the owner and I issue rights.

    Since I own the pictures, and sell rights, I place them in a portfolio or book for others to
    see. Without a portfolio, I and all the photographers on the planet cannot function.

    You can argue that the subject is in a 'public place" when they are in a church. I would
    argue that the event is in a public place.

    It is clear that nearly everyone is very happy to be a part of a portfolio presentation.
    However, once I did a wedding for the FBI, everyone was FBI. So, knowing this, I never
    placed these photos into a portfolio. I understood the sensitivity there. These guys were
    literally shielding their faces from my photographing them as I went around!

    I think that if your photos are positive and showing people having a good time, you will
    not have any problems. By quickly removing any photos from your portfolio or website, it
    would be difficult and expensive for someone to sue you for... what? You don't want
    anyone in your book that can't be phone called anyway by a viewer for a reference anyway,
    right? So, you need to pick and choose who you place into your portfolio. Don't do it
    blindly.

    I once gave a newspaper several images from weddings I had done. The groom found out
    and called a lawyer. Their names were not used in the article about me. I never received
    any money. It was an editorial. They tried to put pressure on me to give them some free
    pictures or whatever, but I noted that it was an editorial, not an advertisement. Nothing
    happened after that.

    I think the sign posted at the reception is a fairly good idea. It would certainly make
    anyone think twice about suing the photographer. It puts doubt on the whole matter of
    winning a lawsuit. However, it is a custom to be
    photographed anyway. This is no surprise.

    I would limit, however, the length of time people can buy photographs included in the
    contract. Why? To place buyers in the position that if they want pictures from you, they
    need to stay on your good side! If they want to get huffy and argue a point, simply leave
    yourself an 'out' so that you do not have to do business with them, soon! You know, the
    deadline is coming, stop the argument over technicalities otherwise time will run out!
    Therefore, you could give them, oh, 3 months to get all ordering of the package done.
    After that, it is the photographer's good graces to sell pictures.

    Some times people may try to 'shake the photographer down' for some free pictures!

    I would not personally put a sales offer near any photos taken of other people on a
    website. I would simply name my site a "portfolio" and not try to make it into a brochure if
    I did not have model releases. If it looks like a brochure, then I would try to get those
    releases. A brochure would have to have specific prices for packages or products.

    So, in practice there is seldom a problem. But always leave yourself an 'out' so that if
    there is an argument, you can back out gracefully and show the argumentative person that
    it is worth their while to continue to be on good terms with you. Don't just hand the
    negatives to a complainer and walk away!
     
  10. Verbal agreements are good when compensation is under $500. Over $500 and you need
    a written agreement. The only problem with a
    verbal agreement is proving that so and so was agreed upon. A verbal agreement is called
    a "parol agreement". It is fully enforceable as is a written agreement.

    I use a model release in my Agreement. But I do more than this. I eliminate gray areas
    that could result in legal arguments. As a result, I do not sell pictures wholely. I only sell
    a copy of the picture with the right to use it for 99 years. I keep ownership over the
    image, and I keep the negatives normally. This is a very good reason to not sell the
    negatives.

    It is a historic custom on this planet that anyone who attends the wedding may be
    photographed. The guests submit to this when they walk on the leased property. They
    become a memory for others.

    You could explore the issue of using wedding photos as editorial style of an event. I
    would argue that it is publishable in a newspaper for free, no compensation. You are a
    reporter, and paid to be a guest, in fact you are commanded to take pictures of people
    there and the commander is the temporary "owner" of the property that the people
    voluntarily attended.

    I would not give any images to a 3rd party for their usage for commercial purposes. But I
    am not a 3rd party. I am the party of the 1st. I am the owner and I issue rights.

    Since I own the pictures, and sell rights, I place them in a portfolio or book for others to
    see. Without a portfolio, I and all the photographers on the planet cannot function.

    You can argue that the subject is in a 'public place" when they are in a church. I would
    argue that the event is in a public place.

    It is clear that nearly everyone is very happy to be a part of a portfolio presentation.
    However, once I did a wedding for the FBI, everyone was FBI. So, knowing this, I never
    placed these photos into a portfolio. I understood the sensitivity there. These guys were
    literally shielding their faces from my photographing them as I went around!

    I think that if your photos are positive and showing people having a good time, you will
    not have any problems. By quickly removing any photos from your portfolio or website, it
    would be difficult and expensive for someone to sue you for... what? You don't want
    anyone in your book that can't be phone called anyway by a viewer for a reference anyway,
    right? So, you need to pick and choose who you place into your portfolio. Don't do it
    blindly.

    I once gave a newspaper several images from weddings I had done. The groom found out
    and called a lawyer. Their names were not used in the article about me. I never received
    any money. It was an editorial. They tried to put pressure on me to give them some free
    pictures or whatever, but I noted that it was an editorial, not an advertisement. Nothing
    happened after that.

    I think the sign posted at the reception is a fairly good idea. It would certainly make
    anyone think twice about suing the photographer. It puts doubt on the whole matter of
    winning a lawsuit. However, it is a custom to be
    photographed anyway. This is no surprise.

    I would limit, however, the length of time people can buy photographs included in the
    contract. Why? To place buyers in the position that if they want pictures from you, they
    need to stay on your good side! If they want to get huffy and argue a point, simply leave
    yourself an 'out' so that you do not have to do business with them, soon! You know, the
    deadline is coming, stop the argument over technicalities otherwise time will run out!
    Therefore, you could give them, oh, 3 months to get all ordering of the package done.
    After that, it is the photographer's good graces to sell pictures.

    Some times people may try to 'shake the photographer down' for some free pictures!

    I would not personally put a sales offer near any photos taken of other people on a
    website. I would simply name my site a "portfolio" and not try to make it into a brochure if
    I did not have model releases. If it looks like a brochure, then I would try to get those
    releases. A brochure would have to have specific prices for packages or products.

    So, in practice there is seldom a problem. But always leave yourself an 'out' so that if
    there is an argument, you can back out gracefully and show the argumentative person that
    it is worth their while to continue to be on good terms with you. Don't just hand the
    negatives to a complainer and walk away!
     
  11. I'm not sure what the issue is here.

    As I understand it, you the photographer, have the right to show your wares. You do not
    have the right to sell your wares to a third party for commercial gain without permission of
    every recognizable person in the photo... or you risk a lawsuit which you will most
    certainly lose.

    Anyone can bring civil action against anyone for any slight real or imagined. It doesn't
    mean they'll win. Slander or libel actions can be enacted against you wether you made
    money from an image or writing or not. That also doesn't mean the offended party will win
    either.
     
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The point is that as a wedding photographer, you set up a web site to display sample images you have shot in previous weddings to attract new customers. Therefore, you are indirectly making additional profit from those images.

    Of course whoever is offened by you using their images in that manner may not win in court, but the fact that you need to go to court to defend yourself and perhaps hire a lawyer is the kind of trouble you don't want to get into.
     
  13. I worked with a large studio for a summer a few years ago to learn some studio skills and operations. When I photographed weddings and events for them, I was never asked to get model releases from each person posted on their web site.

    I just took a look at the web site, and browsed through the portfolios of some of their photographers. Although most are of the bride and groom, there are dozens of photographs that include guests and children. I don't know what their contract states regarding such use, but I think I will contact the owner, Barb Eagan, and find out. If you want to view the website, here is the URL:

    http://www.eaganpv.com/p_weddings.html
     
  14. PORTFOLIO PRESENTATIONS, RELIANCE, CONTRACTS, REPRESENTATION

    Most wedding photographers do not understand contracts and the finer concepts of law.
    As a result, they can end up with clients who expect more of them than they, the wedding
    photographer, could ever have promised in the first place.

    The problems all start when you show your portfolio to the client and claim that THEIR
    pictures will look like the pictures in your portfolio. Or, lets say that you simply make no
    statements, but you let decide whether you REPRESENTED through your CATALOG OF
    PICTURES that the product they should have received should have looked like the pictures
    in your portfolio.

    Firstly, I would like to say that a local photographer her in San Francisco makes this
    representation that a certain likeness can happen, and if it is demanded upon him to make
    this likeness happen, he charges $90 per 8x10. That is not a misprint in 2004, that is
    ninety dollars per wedding 8x10 copy. So, to begin here I would like to say that there are
    solutions to the issue of model releases, portfolios, representations, likeness arguments:
    simply separate this representation, sell it as an additional service, and charge a whole lot
    more!

    And this is the problem of most wedding photographers. They charge $10 for a picture
    and the bride wants to look like an actress in a $10 million movie!

    This is an issue that is addressed by videographers. They simply convey to the client that
    they cannot make a $10 million film with $1,000. The bride and groom accept the
    limitations and everyone is happy. By the way, if the videographer films the room of
    guests and then sells the result to the bride and groom, is the videographer liable for this
    commercial product taken without a model release? I mean, the bride and groom and the
    mother of the bride are buying this commercial product!

    But do wedding photographers limit the expectations of the bride and groom? Hardly.

    Part of the problem of portfolios is that the person looking at it may think wrongly that the
    portfolio is A CATALOGUE. In his mind, this CATALOGUE represents what he will get and
    the law says that the product must look like the thing in the CATALOGUE. Right? This is
    the first problem that needs entry into the contract. "Any pictures I show of previous
    shoots do not represent any future products I sell." This is a start. Why? Because the law
    does not require the seller to always have a product that represents what the FUTURE
    PRODUCT will look like. So you also say, "My portfolio is not a CATALOGUE", for example.
    This rids you of one problem. They cannot say you are showing a catalogue if they agree
    in the contract that it isn't a catalogue.

    But there is more. You want to completely separate the portfolio from any representation
    of what you end up giving them by using as many means as you can. The fact is, you can't
    re-make the weather to look like the portfolio pics. You can't give the bride a $10,000
    dress like the pictures you have, you can't change the look of the church or promise that
    you will pose her in exactly the same way as some other picture. Why? Because you are
    an artist, and this gives you the right to make decisions on your own. Furthermore, you
    put in your contract that the images don't have any descriptions of what you will take at
    the wedding. Even if they give you a "dream sheet" of a list of pictures to take, you cannot
    promise that you can, either. UNLESS.....they pay alittle extra PER PHOTO. Why?
    Because if you get into an argument, you can point out that they didn't pay this extra fee
    per photo. This is your proof. What should this extra fee be? Anything you want. If they
    want to have something extra special at so and so place, you should charge more. If you
    don't charge more, being the nice guy, they can always come at you with an argument that
    their pictures don't look exactly like your portfolio pictures and you said this, and said
    that....and they want 50% refund....or they want this....You need to make it clear and make
    it easy to prove that they did not make this requirement because they have no proof of
    payment for this extra service!

    Once you have completely separated your portfolio from their expectations, the portfolio
    cannot be said to be a catalogue, or a brochure. And whether it is still a sales tool is
    arguable since you aren't promising anything. And if you do promise something, you only
    promise that it will look like something the 2 of you describe. You never, never say it will
    look like something in your portfolio. This would make your portfolio a reference and you
    don't want that.

    I you don't address this issue, the bride and groom can come at you legally and argue that
    you are a "professional" and that "professional" means all their pictures have to look
    perfect, "professionally perfect" by the standards they have set up, and the standards that
    other people set up. What are these standards? They can be anything they find other
    professionals doing. What a mess. This means you are no longer an artist with personal
    decision - making powers but rather a vendor that is selling a product that has to look like
    what other people give. Do you see how messy this whole thing is getting?

    I have found solutions and put them in my contract. My contract is therefore very long
    compared to other photographers. But I sleep well at night knowing that if I should have
    an irrational customer, I have a basis to argue my position from. And this position is not
    unkind or irrational. Rather it is based upon the idea that selling a custom product with
    additional guarantees and promises of what the images will look like costs more.
    Otherwise, they can hire me without those promises of what the images will look like for
    less.

    Remember also, that a I photograph party pictures of people in groups. There is no
    invasion of privacy when you photograph a person among other people. It is only a
    possible invasion if you single them out in a public place.

    Can you imagine someone suing the Bride and Groom for directing the photographer to
    take a picture of some people at a table and having the people at the table sue the Bride
    and Groom for taking their picture? That's right, you are employed by contract to do this
    function. The Bride and Groom are the ones responsible for having you there! It wasn't
    your private iniative that you 'crashed the party'. You are there for a professional reason!

    That's right, you can direct the complainer to sue the Bride and Groom!
     
  15. PORTFOLIO PRESENTATIONS, RELIANCE, CONTRACTS, REPRESENTATION

    Most wedding photographers do not understand contracts and the finer concepts of law.
    As a result, they can end up with clients who expect more of them than they, the wedding
    photographer, could ever have promised in the first place.

    The problems all start when you show your portfolio to the client and claim that THEIR
    pictures will look like the pictures in your portfolio. Or, lets say that you simply make no
    statements, but you let decide whether you REPRESENTED through your CATALOG OF
    PICTURES that the product they should have received should have looked like the pictures
    in your portfolio.

    Firstly, I would like to say that a local photographer her in San Francisco makes this
    representation that a certain likeness can happen, and if it is demanded upon him to make
    this likeness happen, he charges $90 per 8x10. That is not a misprint in 2004, that is
    ninety dollars per wedding 8x10 copy. So, to begin here I would like to say that there are
    solutions to the issue of model releases, portfolios, representations, likeness arguments:
    simply separate this representation, sell it as an additional service, and charge a whole lot
    more!

    And this is the problem of most wedding photographers. They charge $10 for a picture
    and the bride wants to look like an actress in a $10 million movie!

    This is an issue that is addressed by videographers. They simply convey to the client that
    they cannot make a $10 million film with $1,000. The bride and groom accept the
    limitations and everyone is happy. By the way, if the videographer films the room of
    guests and then sells the result to the bride and groom, is the videographer liable for this
    commercial product taken without a model release? I mean, the bride and groom and the
    mother of the bride are buying this commercial product!

    But do wedding photographers limit the expectations of the bride and groom? Hardly.

    Part of the problem of portfolios is that the person looking at it may think wrongly that the
    portfolio is A CATALOGUE. In his mind, this CATALOGUE represents what he will get and
    the law says that the product must look like the thing in the CATALOGUE. Right? This is
    the first problem that needs entry into the contract. "Any pictures I show of previous
    shoots do not represent any future products I sell." This is a start. Why? Because the law
    does not require the seller to always have a product that represents what the FUTURE
    PRODUCT will look like. So you also say, "My portfolio is not a CATALOGUE", for example.
    This rids you of one problem. They cannot say you are showing a catalogue if they agree
    in the contract that it isn't a catalogue.

    But there is more. You want to completely separate the portfolio from any representation
    of what you end up giving them by using as many means as you can. The fact is, you can't
    re-make the weather to look like the portfolio pics. You can't give the bride a $10,000
    dress like the pictures you have, you can't change the look of the church or promise that
    you will pose her in exactly the same way as some other picture. Why? Because you are
    an artist, and this gives you the right to make decisions on your own. Furthermore, you
    put in your contract that the images don't have any descriptions of what you will take at
    the wedding. Even if they give you a "dream sheet" of a list of pictures to take, you cannot
    promise that you can, either. UNLESS.....they pay alittle extra PER PHOTO. Why?
    Because if you get into an argument, you can point out that they didn't pay this extra fee
    per photo. This is your proof. What should this extra fee be? Anything you want. If they
    want to have something extra special at so and so place, you should charge more. If you
    don't charge more, being the nice guy, they can always come at you with an argument that
    their pictures don't look exactly like your portfolio pictures and you said this, and said
    that....and they want 50% refund....or they want this....You need to make it clear and make
    it easy to prove that they did not make this requirement because they have no proof of
    payment for this extra service!

    Once you have completely separated your portfolio from their expectations, the portfolio
    cannot be said to be a catalogue, or a brochure. And whether it is still a sales tool is
    arguable since you aren't promising anything. And if you do promise something, you only
    promise that it will look like something the 2 of you describe. You never, never say it will
    look like something in your portfolio. This would make your portfolio a reference and you
    don't want that.

    I you don't address this issue, the bride and groom can come at you legally and argue that
    you are a "professional" and that "professional" means all their pictures have to look
    perfect, "professionally perfect" by the standards they have set up, and the standards that
    other people set up. What are these standards? They can be anything they find other
    professionals doing. What a mess. This means you are no longer an artist with personal
    decision - making powers but rather a vendor that is selling a product that has to look like
    what other people give. Do you see how messy this whole thing is getting?

    I have found solutions and put them in my contract. My contract is therefore very long
    compared to other photographers. But I sleep well at night knowing that if I should have
    an irrational customer, I have a basis to argue my position from. And this position is not
    unkind or irrational. Rather it is based upon the idea that selling a custom product with
    additional guarantees and promises of what the images will look like costs more.
    Otherwise, they can hire me without those promises of what the images will look like for
    less.

    Remember also, that a I photograph party pictures of people in groups. There is no
    invasion of privacy when you photograph a person among other people. It is only a
    possible invasion if you single them out in a public place.

    Can you imagine someone suing the Bride and Groom for directing the photographer to
    take a picture of some people at a table and having the people at the table sue the Bride
    and Groom for taking their picture? That's right, you are employed by contract to do this
    function. The Bride and Groom are the ones responsible for having you there! It wasn't
    your private iniative that you 'crashed the party'. You are there for a professional reason!

    That's right, you can direct the complainer to sue the Bride and Groom!
     
  16. For Timber: is your computer stuck in Duplex mode?



    For Todd: you can use Photoshop to 'make fuzzy' anyone in the image except for the bride and groom. The Blur and Blur More filters are good tools to do this. The image can then be used on your web site (so long as the bride and groom do not object.)
     
  17. I think having a "preview site" of your chosen pictures might be a solution. Have the bride and groom agree to sending out notices to those in the photograph. If there are no objections within a reasonable time, I think you can rest assure you won't have sleepness nights. Then those pics can be transferred to the public site.

    The drawback with this is that years later you can't choose another pic that didn't went to the preview site.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  18. Photo.net is supposed to screen out duplications. I don't know how it happened.

    I would make an offer to give the person a free photograph. This is a nice way to get their
    address. Then insert a note to have them call you.
     
  19. This matter of rights to wedding photos is very important to know.
    I shot a wedding in august of 2003- the pics where beautiful. i had $150 down
    from them to get the date, and the rest to be paid when they picked up the
    pictures. I waited 4 weeks and they didn't come in. I called 4 times leaving
    messages each time before i heard anything from them. this was my third
    wedding and i dare say iwasn't prepared as well as i should have been.
    There was no contract at all. just verbal agreement for the sum of $429
    tax included. As i waited for this payment- i decided i should get something
    out of these pics, so i made a wonderful brochure to advertise my abilitys.
    That got a responce. The bride and groom wher furious that i used there pics
    in an advertisement without their permission. Their parents called me up and
    told me they wanted $80 off the price they hadn't paid yet to compensate them
    for the "modelling" they had done on the brochure. after some research, i had
    my lawyer right up a "hold harmless agreement" with the $80 off the price and
    faxed it out to them. that was in december. Since then i have heard nothing
    from them and have been collecting info as fast as i can in case i have to
    defend my position. That much said - inow charge $650 for 4hours and have
    a clause in the contract that states i reserve the right to use the photos. Last
    week i had a couple come in saying they didn't see the clause about
    displaying their pics and wanted that taken out! (this is after they paid and
    signed) the guys jaw was twitching as he told me that if i was going to display
    the pics of them, i could keep the deposit and he would go elsewhere. I told
    him, if they didn't want ther pics displayed all they had to do was write in on
    paper and sign it and give it too me. What a pain!!!! Anyway- that is what i
    have experienced so far. Any info on the what i should or could do as far as
    this usage of wedding photos goes would be greatly appreciated. thanks-
    David
     
  20. Jeeze, if you told potential clients that nothing they were looking at constituted any
    promise of similar quality, and crammed a contract with a bunch of "cover your ass"
    language, I doubt you'd ever see them again. Heck, if someone told me that, I'd run (not
    walk) to the next guy's studio.

    The only caveat I put in my contract is not taking responsibility for 3rd party screw-ups. If
    a lab looses a roll, or the machine eats one, I tell them restitution is limited to whatever
    the 3rd party's policy is. I also put in writing what happens in case an accident or act of
    God prevents me from photographing their wedding.

    I do clearly state in my contract that I will do all the selecting of images for the album, and
    I'll pick which images get processed for contact sheet review, and which will get tossed.
    That makes it clear who is performing the creative decisions. If they sign, then they release
    me from their opinion. I then bust my hump to deliver more than they ever dared dream.
    I also make friends with a lot of the people at each of my weddings. I've shot their family
    or children's portraits for years afterward. And I put anything I want on my web site.

    But because anyone can sue you for anything real or imagined, I have incorporated and
    have a 1 million dollar insurance policy as a buffer. That photo company doesn't own any
    equipment or space. The corporation rents it... from another corporation... which I also
    own. It's all pretty easy to do and not that expensive.

    If the big guys can do it, so can the little guys ; -)
     
  21. I don't use wordy legalese contracts. I'm asking this question because a friend is concerned about putting photos on a web site. I don't have a web site and don't want one. I couldn't care less.

    I really think that permission for such might be better asked after the selected web site photos are chosen rather than before the wedding. Everyone is under enough stress as it is. After the wedding, all is cool and calm.

    keep it very simple.
     
  22. The fact is, some people do not want the world to know they are married or what their
    appearance is. Like I said, you may have a career CIA or FBI groom. On the other hand, if
    the reason the couple can't pay you is due to lack of funds, watch out for a complaint on
    anything! A complaint can be used as a tool to take advantage of the photographer and to
    delay further payment.

    I think that the comment regarding letting the people look at the picture you want to put
    in your brochure and then having them sign a model release after you give them $10 and
    a couple of free pictures is also a very good way to do it. In this way, there are no
    surprises! You want full agreement when the subject knows what they are getting
    themselves into. This is the way the law works; inform everyone and you are safer. Give
    them time to make a decision.
     
  23. Several years back (1995) I read of a case in Chicago were a photographer was taken to small claims court by someone who objected to being photographed at a wedding. The pivotal point the judge made (who mentioned that he had a bad habit of ruling for photographers) was that people customarily took photos at a wedding so there was no expectation of privacy. Anyone attending a wedding could more than reasonably expect to be photographed. Therefore the claim of invasion of privacy was moot. Second the person in the photo seemed to be posing for the photograph and several photos were taken. In none of the photos did the person make any attempt to sheild himself from the photographer. And as he appeared in several different photographs the person was aware that he was being photographed. Finally the judge said that it was customary practice for photographers to use photographs taken at weddings to illustrate their competence and for advertising. He said that most photographers include a notice in their contracts stating that photographs taken at a wedding will be used for advertising and this met a "reasonable standard." Based on the above, the judge considered the suit frivilous and without merit and tossed it out.
    As I don't have proof of this being true or not, I asked my lawyer buddy about this and he said "That even though you can't really say what a judge would do today, you, as a professional, can reasonably expect to take photographs at a wedding and use the photos to advertise your business." I asked about having them on a website and someone taking them and using them elsewhere, and he said, "what about someone cutting them out of an advertisment and using them elsewhere? The key is a reasonable expectation of use. Advertising your work is a reasonable expectation of use.
     
  24. "Verbal agreements are good when compensation is under $500. Over $500 and you need a written agreement. The only problem with a verbal agreement is proving that so and so was agreed upon. A verbal agreement is called a "parol agreement". It is fully enforceable as is a written agreement."

    My comments are not to be considered legal advice. There are many ways for a verbal contract to be enforcable that were not even mentioned in this post. One example are contracts that could conceivably be completed within a year under its terms like say hmm.. most wedding photographer contracts. The $500 rule, in many states, applies only to the sale of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code. The author refers to something known as the parol evidence rule (very incompletely) which is a different area of contract law.

    Photographer's contracts usually concern services as well as product. Which type of contract it can be complicated. Some states may have case law or statutes that discuss monetary value in a contract being enforcable.

    There are more examples of concern in this thread but it would take too long to discuss them all. It appears that this new business forum is going to be a very very dangerous place for people who desire legal guidance. There are many with expertise and/or helpful experience in the photography business here, there are very few that have such credentials in the legal arena.
     
  25. All of the photographer's "services" end up output as a product: photographs, albums,
    proof
    books, frames. It can be said that the photographer is " selling a service", but the
    "service" is delivering a product. If it were simply a "service" we would not be charging
    sales taxes.

    All of the personal 5 cent psychological services that the photographer offers the
    bride are free.
     

Share This Page