If the photographer doesnt have a model sign a release> wins money off the photo...

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by get_me_a_gun, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. get_me_a_gun

    get_me_a_gun Member

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    Hi, so true story here. This happened very recently.

    Last semester I was photographed multiple times by a girl taking some photo classes at the same college I go to. She entered one of the photos she took of me into a contest online (without informing me before she did so).

    I never signed a release and we never talked about this. So she won this contest last month, a $1000 prize. As the model in this photo what am I entitled to? I am not looking to go to a lawyer because I dont have the money, i just wanted to know what I should do so it is fair for me (In fact it was the portrait section of the contest, therefore I assume I should get a fair share)

    Any help you guys could give me would be wonderful, you've helped me out tremendously on this forum, thank you all so much, and ask questions and ill do my best to answer them. Let the games begin!!!
     
  2. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    in my opinion, for the little that is worth, you are entitled to no money at all. she is/was the photographer and it was her vision. I know nothing about the legal means in a situation like this, but it just doesnt seem like you as the subject should get compensation.
    The model release should have been done by the photographer before entering her images.
    strange to think about though, if I take a photo of a landscape and it wins some money or the like do I ethically or morally need to give a portion of that money to the subject some how?
     
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I am not qualified to practice law in your state but I do have a law degree and a modest idea of the law normally applicable in this sort of situation.

    You're not entitled to anything. As a matter of courtesy you'd expect a bottle or some similar present, but that's not a matter of entitlement. Why not just be happy for her? Presumably she is/was a friend and presumably you've photographed people the same way and entered competitions too. What would you give them in the same situation?

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    Since you're a photographer too, what would you pay her? Would you give her half? If not, how much?

    And don't forget about Karma.
     
  5. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Iwould imagine that legally you are entitled to something. However there's the legal world and then there's the real world.

    Take the high road and congratulate the girl on her achievement and maybe ask for a print so that you both mark the occasion.

    Michael
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    You might check any paperwork you received in your sign up for the photo class, often times there is a statement to the effect that you would not be entitled to anything and have granted permission to be photographed while in the class, I know our local colleges all put a clause of this nature in their paperwork for photography classes, also at the time she was taking pictures of you, you must have concented to having her do it? Really it does not sound like your entitled to much of anything..

    Dave
     
  7. david b

    david b Member

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    Were you in class when the photo was made or was it outside of class?
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    One other quick thing I will add, I am surprised that the company that held the contest did not require a model release for this catagory, most legitimate contests require this.

    Dave
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I think you should just congratulate her, and offer to sign a model release for her. Help her celebrate her achievement, you many not get any money, but you will win respect for your actions - which is worth a whole lot more than a share of the winnings.
     
  10. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    I agree with Robert on this. Though a model release should have been requested. However, as Michael has indicated, you may want to ask her for a print as well. It would be gracious of her to offer one to you.

    Rich
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2006
  11. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    A fellow student. No model release. No money for lawyers. You enrolled in the class to learn about photography, right?
     
  12. get_me_a_gun

    get_me_a_gun Member

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    I was aware that I was being photographed.

    If I took a picture and wanted to enter it in a contest i would get the models consent, and offer her at least a fourth of the earnings. yes she took the photo but if it was a photo of a crappy model it wouldnt have won. Out of all the photos shes taken she said the ones of me came out best, because I do most of the work and she just happened to get lucky.


    i am happy for her but at the same time, i model for her for free and she hasnt given me anything for my time.
     
  13. get_me_a_gun

    get_me_a_gun Member

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    that doesnt mean she cant share the wealth! i need to spend $$s on photo stuff , not that im bitching, im just saying she has money she should share it.
     
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  15. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Just to note, the OP said he attends the same school as the photographer. He did not indicate that they were in the same photography class. So it should not be assumed that he was acting under some blanket model release.

    The OP does seem to indicate that these were "posed" shots such that both he and the photog were operating with the knowledge that he was a model. So, I think he should inform the photog of her omission in obtaining a model release. At the least she should be made aware that she should have sought one at the time of entering the photo in the contest - and that she certainly should do so in any future similar situations. Telling her this fact is doing her a real favor because the next model may indeed go to a lawyer.

    That said, I generally agree that - except perhaps for a print and perhaps a free meal etc. - the OP should not seek any remunerative compensation.
     
  16. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    You could be entitled to the "usual and customary" fees paid to models for similar "work" in your area. The photographer may not know who you are and if you come forward in a nice way, may offer you a print and a some money as well in return for a signed model release. When signing the release you have to consider that the photo may have even further travels beyond this contest and could be sold many times over if it's a really great shot. You may or may not want this photograph of yourself in world-wide distribution. Photography students at some point are instructed in this area of the business and need to apply what they have learned in real life settings such as this.

    It's irresponsible for the contest sponsors not to require model's releases with its entries.
     
  17. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    Actually, you have no entitlement unless the image is published. If for instance, the photo of you was published in a local newspaper or in a magazine, you would have a case. If the image was used as stock in an image bank where it is leased out for commercial use, you would have a case. If the image was sold to a client and that client intended to use the image for advertising or publication purposes, you would have a case.

    However, revenue obtained as an award would probably not qualify you for any royalty. Unless, the image shows up in an interview, say on "Sunday Morning". But that would be highly unlikely, "Sunday Morning" would require a release.
     
  18. david b

    david b Member

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    What is the time frame here? When did she win and when did she collect the money?

    I think you should ask for a print and be happy. The photo won because she is a good photographer and you're a good model.

    To quote you "i need to spend $$s on photo stuff , not that im bitching, im just saying she has money she should share it." I too had (some) money when I was in photo school. I did my photo 1 class with a Hasselblad. Does this mean I had to share my money with my classmates?

    Also, as a model, what were you required to do?
     
  19. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hey look on the bright side, if you were a good enough model to be featured in a shot that won, perhaps you have a career as a photo model, and use the earnings from modeling on the side to purchase your camera equipment.

    Dave
     
  20. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    thats horrible. I promise you dont do "most of the work"
    there was likely alot more to it than just "you being the model" or "luck"
    she won because she took, what the judges likely felt, was a good photo and she entered it into the contest for judging. the rapport she has with you, her exposure, her printing, her time, etc, all play a part in the final print.

    The model release should have been done for sure. Theres no doubt about that. Mistake on her part, one that she hopefully learns from.

    you are coming across as very egocentric about it. Much like whats been said already, congratulate her, and expect nothing in return.

    did you happen to enter any work in this same competition?
     
  21. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    First lesson when working with models:
    Make sure you get a signed release

    95% of my work is shooting models. Your photographer friend may have caught a break with the award, but the image of you cannot be used commercially. This may come back to haunt the photographer. I certainly would not publish anything without a release, not even on little foums like this. If the image was good enough to win an award, its probably good enough to warrant some commercial use. But without a release, it can't be used in that capacity. So, you might want to remind your friend of this little fact. Sounds like the photgrapher might not be aware of it.
     
  22. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Sounds like a good twilight zone episode, to me.

    She's got money. You want money. Therefore, she should give you money because she took your picture.

    I wonder if your sentiments would be the same in 20 years or so if everyone recognizable in every photograph you ever took made a career of chasing you down for their cut every time one of your images won an award, was published somewhere or was displayed in a gallery.

    I wonder if the the surviving solders in these Joe Rosenthal photographs of a flag raising on Mt. Suribachi at Iwo Jima spent much time tracking him (and now his estate) down over the years for their cut each time an image made a buck because they're recognizable in an image. I'd be willing to guess not, that they probably saw things in a little broader scope.

    I wonder if the decendants of Lisa Gherardini ring up the estate of Leonardo DaVinci for a few Euro whenever an image of the Mona Lisa appears somewhere and they're a bit low on cash.

    It would be one thing if you entered into a financial agreement with you as the model and she as the photographer, but since neither of you did so, it sounds like little more than envy and resentment to me.

    -KwM-​
     
  23. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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    Build bridges, don't burn them.

    D.
     
  24. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I feel that models should be paid for their work at the time of the shoot. I'm perfectly willing to build in a percentage of any royalties I receive for the photographs which result into the model release agreement. The probability of earning any is so low that I can afford to be magnanimous in this regard.

    But Don's admonition is the heart of the matter, to wit: NOBODY has any chance of making any money without that release. No publisher will touch a photograph without one. In fact, I'm surprised that the contest which awarded the prize was willing to consider it without one.
     
  25. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I think that you were treated shabbily. Put it behind you.
     
  26. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

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    I think it's great that the photographer won the competition, but I think it is extremely irresponsible of her to not consult the model beforehand.

    There are so many ways you can look at the situation. The model has every right to decide whether or not her image is used. I have photographed a lot of models and have done nudes as well. One model expressed that her photos are to never be shown to anyone which I have always respected. The whole idea of the shoot was for me to practice my photography. I assume the same for these two students. If that wasn't the case, all of us could deceivingly take photography class, photograph our classmates and submit them to competitions.

    Another thing to consider is that photo competitions are never private. If you're winning $1000.00, you can bet your ass on it that whoever is giving you $1,000.00 is gonna use that photo in all its advertising and promos. There's no such thing as a free meal. In fact, I'm willing to bet that there is a disclaimer on the entry form stating that the photographer keeps all right to his image, but the magazine/competition holder shares those rights for any use they feel necessary in promoting themselves. This probably is not limited to posters, banner ads, flyers, etc. And most competitions indicate that the photographer must have any necessary documents supporting the image, such a release forms. Luckily for the competition holder, submitting the image is in itself an agreement to the terms. The model had no opportunity to read any fine print when she was photographed.

    Personally, I would simply bring it up to the photographer and see her response. Screaming for a share is not a good way to present yourself. But if anyone is smart enough to win a competition, should be smart enough to read your concern and intent.

    Recalling an earlier poster: Remeber the Robert Doisneau's photo? The kiss. We had a thread on this topic as well. She sued him!

    It is our responsibility as photographers to make sure we have full approval before doing anything. But then again, the op clearly wants money. Had it won first place with no money, would there be this much hostility?

    Andy