Just shot a whole bunch of photos at the beach. I have two or three shots of lifeguards on duty. The people in the photos are barely recognizable. Pretty much in profile. Mostly in shadow/backlit.

From my college classes in civil liability, I learned that the rule of thumb for publishing/selling photos is based on whether or not the person is recognizable from the picture. To me, this seems like a gray area.

I suppose, if you know who the person is, you could compare the photo I took to the person's actual likeness and make a connection but, if you don't know the person, you probably could not pick him out of a lineup.

I think I'm going to go back to the beach and talk to the Head Lifeguard. I know him because I used to work with him, many years ago, as a lifeguard on that beach. I am planning to make small 4x6 postcard sized prints and have him give them to the lifeguard(s) in the pictures and ask for a release.

My rationale is twofold: First, it covers my ass. Second, it helps me establish myself as a photographer who plays it by the book.

I just wonder whether I'm worrying about minute details too much.

What do you think?