Saturday 20 August 2016


I read a lot about picture copyright on forums. It got me thinking. I shoot mostly for myself. Occasionally I am asked to provide some family portraits. And then last month a model asked me to provide new pictures for her. Xandria

But I didn't think about mentioning copyright. Should I? I collaborated with Xandria. As the photographer it is presumed I own the copyright to the pictures we produced. But she contributed as much as me, so should it be shared?
If she becomes famous, could I sell the pictures? I'm guessing they would have a value. What if she made money from them; should I expect a share?

Personally, I wouldn't sell the pictures, I wouldn't give them away either. And I would expect Xandria to consult me if she had any new plans. But I wouldn't become obsessed about it.

The forums I mentioned earlier, are mostly populated by amateurs like me. The difference between some of them and me is the amount of effort they put into worrying about copyright. What is the model they worked with going to do with the pictures, are they going to alter them? Some are incredibly obsessive.

If it was a paid shoot, the digital files weren't shared with them, but the model downloaded them and is using them for promotion. That is wrong. Maybe it would be worth taking further. I'm just not sure how far though.

Don't get me wrong. Copyright is very important. Some famous brands have used pictures taken from the internet for advertising. Getty are being sued for licensing and distributing pictures given by the photographer to the Library of Congress for public use. Why should a profit be made or money saved by using someone's work for free, or selling rights to work you don't own?

If you are paid to produce a photograph you should be able to control how it's used. And paid accordingly. For advertising and editorial work certainly. The company paying you has a need and an expectation that your work will help them. They can put a monetary value on it.

I'm not so sure if you are a wedding or portrait photographer that you should be overly concerned about how the pictures are used after you hand them over, either printed, on a USB stick or allowed download from a website. You were paid to produce personal pictures. How you would enforce any restrictions you may have put on their use? If it were me I would price the packages to ensure I could make a living. Am I wrong, nieve? Please feel free leave a comment.

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