My rights as a photographer : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've learned to "knock" on doors and ask if it is alright to shoot something on someones property, after being yelled at by someone for not asking. (I was not physically on the property, but lost a great shot because of the conflict)

I wanted to lie, and say I'm a photo student, so I would not to be intimidating, but I didn't. Then I thought I should have handed them a business card. This situation made me think of something.

What if someone was to ask me for royalty on the photo? I would have no idea how to respond, and I would like to be prepared.

Thanks for any responses. Raven

-- Raven Moss (, May 09, 1998


I am a photography student and was on public property and tryig to shoot a flower on a college's property. I was asked if I had gotten permision from the PR office. When I told the nuns that I hadn't (and I made sure that I was on the town's sidewalk etc), they asked me to leave and get permission.

So I don't think that telling someone that you're a photo student is going to work.

Another time, I was shooting some of the closed steel mills in Bethlehem. Every time a truck came into the parking lot that I was working in, the truck would honk its horn at me. There was no one else around. I decided that the best thing for me to do was to work quickly, get the shot, and leave.

It seems that people are becoming more paranoid about "privacy" an "corporate espionage" issues and don't want anybody taking photos. At least that's what it seems like some times.

-- Stuart Goldstein (, May 09, 1998.

If you shoot for editorial work, no royalties need be paid(unless you are in Quebeq, Canada, but it is rife with French speakers & they are always a problem). If asked it is a perfect time to get a model release signed and(if so inclined) write the name & address to send the "standard 3% royalty check" should you ever sell the images. I have done this with some models and the percentage varies depeding on the folks, location and situation. It is one way to get model releases and help them out in the long run, but can be a real bookkeeping nightmare if you aren't organized.

-- Dan Smith (, May 10, 1998.

There is a web site for a series of travel books called Photo Secrets (or PhotoSecrets) that explains your rights, and copyrights, when photographing buildings and people in public places. I believe the article was written by a lawyer. I don't remember the URL but it shouldn't be hard to find with a search engine.

-- Mark Alan Wilson (, May 11, 1998.

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