proper etiquette : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi, 1) If I'm taking a picture of someones house, and I'm standing in the street, do I have to ask their permission? 2) If I have to go on someones property to take a picture of something on their property (house), when I ask permission and the person brings up the fact that I will be making money from this picture of their property, what is the correct protocal?

-- Ravne (, March 27, 2000


1) Do you HAVE to? No.

2) Never expose film in a commercial for-profit situation without advance permission from all involved. AND - of course - never attempt to profit from somebody else's private property without their permission.

I find that most of the times I ask people, they give me ten times more than what I wanted. The person you hurt most by not asking is yourself.

I hope this helps.

-- Brian Yarvin (, March 27, 2000.

I recently asked a similar question on the forum. I know that it's good ediquette to ask permission to photo private property, as well as a legal requirement in certain cases where you may wish to sell the photo. The details of this seem less clear (I no doubt have though too much of this). What if there are two houses, or four, or a skyline with recognizable buildings. What if it's a commercial building and the owner is in an office out of town or it's an abandoned building and you have to go to the courthouse to find out who the owner is. For the time being I've decided to stick to landscapes that are hopefully on public land.

-- Roger Rouch (, March 27, 2000.

Take a look at this article for starters:

"Travel Photography and the Law" Do I Need Permission?

Has a lot on taking pictures of buildings-which, after a certain date, hold copyright

-- David Stein (, March 28, 2000.

The letter of the law varies from country to country, and probably from state to state in the US. Here in the UK, the law is that you may photograph anything or anybody that is visible from public property, or from property where you have permission to be.

But you need a permit to erect a tripod in any of the Royal Gardens! I got thrown out of one of London's cemetaries once for taking handheld shots, after an argument with a caretaker who was obviously not fully conversant with the regulations.

-- Pete Andrews (, March 28, 2000.

Hi all, I think with regards to Seattle, if you face your camera west towards the Pacific you are OK, north towards Canada is OK too, but if you turn it to face east towards Microsoft there might be legal problems.

I mean, isn't there a difference if the photographer's intent is art or commercial gain? If you are an "artist" trying to capture the feeling of something, what is off bounds?


-- david clark (, March 28, 2000.

Copyright in the USA is a federal matter not a state by state matter.

1.) No, but it is good manners to ask if the opportunity arises.

2.) Well you have to ask permission to be on their property in the first place otherwise you are trespassing so why not ask then?

2.) It depends on how the photo is going to be used. In the USA if the photograph is for artistic or editorial purposes then you do not need permission to sell the photograph. If it is for commercial purposes like stock photography (where you cannot know in advance how the photograph will be used or if the image is being made for advertising purposes, you will need a signed property release from the owner of the property. Once again: to simply make a photograph while on public property you need no one's permission although 9 times out of 10 you'll get more co-operation and less hostility if you ask nicely. Your first amendment rights end where they intrude on anothers rights. If the photograph is going to be used in a commercial manner, you absolutely need a signed property releaase other wise you open yourself up to a vast amount of liability.

-- Ellis Vener (, March 28, 2000.

Sorry folks. Yes, I do b+w fine art, not commercial. Thanks.

-- Raven (, March 28, 2000.

I wouldn't step foot on private property without asking permission, but my question is, if someone brings up the fact that I will be making a profit from the picture, which is of their property, what would you say?? I live in the USA.

-- Raven (, March 28, 2000.

Then again, maybe I won't even print it. Or maybe I will, and it won't be a good seller! Thanks.

-- Raven (, March 28, 2000.

Then again, maybe I won't even print it. Or maybe I will, and it won't sell well, or it could sell very well. So, as I understand it, I just present myself as a local fine art photographer, depending where I am, can give them a business card. And just say I would love to take a picture of their house. Tell them my general backround. And cross my fingers.

-- Raven (, March 28, 2000.

Doesnt matter what word you use to describe your photography. If you sell a photo of someone's house for money in a non-editorial context, you need a signed release, just as you do for a photograph of a person. There is a book in print that has examples of model and property releases, as well as other contracts and legal type documents that can be used.

I consider it good etiquette to bring back a nicely matted print and present it to the homeowner.

-- Tony Brent (, March 28, 2000.

hmmm that's funny I never bothered. I don't think I'd like photography very much if I had to get releases signed....or talk to strangers....or keep track of anything more than gear, negs and prints. I don't sell alot of work. It hurts too much. I give it away.

-- Trib (, March 29, 2000.

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