Photography – the legal aspects


Let me start with a story: I usually have my Nikon with me. One can never know what happens, I want to be prepared. Sometimes people talk to me. The camera is a first topic. About 2 years back a pralinè salesman from Maroc (how I learned later) started talking to me about my camera in the subway. He was spontaneous, me too, so we got out of the train for a photo shooting in a garden downtown. He was great in front of the camera, so we met for another shooting a few days later. The results of this shooting were awesome. I emailed him the pictures and he was enthusiastic, too. He thought now I would/should sell the pictures to a fashion magazine. He wanted money, and he didn’t want me to publish the pictures.

I was disappointed, as I loved to create my portfolio, yet it was my fault. I missed to get a contract signed. No contract, no shooting. Haha…….

In my short life as a photographer I quickly learned how important it is to have an agreement (in writing). 

1. If something is put down one must define what the goal of the shooting is. What are the expectations on both sides? How many pictures can someone expect? How will they be delivered? This doesn’t guarantee contentment at the end, but it’s a step in the right direction.

2. It’s also an opportunity to tell the client/model about the rights, how the photographer can use the pictures, how the client can use the picture. It can be that the client doesn’t want that the pictures are published. Why not being flexible?

3. For me, as I take yoga pictures, it’s also important that I’m not responsible for any accidents that might happen. It’s important to get the contract signed before the shooting therefore.

4. Getting a contract signed is also the time to talk about money. It’s the time to talk what happens after the shooting.

Every client has different wishes, so there is a flexible part in the contract and fixed parts.

One can differentiate between 3 main situations and every situation requires another contract.

1. Someone wishes to have some pictures and hires so to say a photographer.

2. The photographer has a picture idea and needs a model to create this picture. Then the photographer pays the model.

3. Tfp stand for ‚Time for pictures‘. The model gets the pictures for free in exchange for the shooting.

I wrote this post because in every workshop this topic came up. ‚Download a contract‘, was the quick answer. Yet I don’t think that it is so easy.

No photo shooting without a conversation before the shooting. No photo shooting without a contract. 

My work is done for today. I adjusted available online contracts to my needs. It remains to print them out to have them handy.

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