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Photographer and my pictures

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Old 01-27-2011, 12:50 PM
MissBenedict MissBenedict is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
Photographer and my pictures

I recently had a photographer take some pictures for a calendar he wanted to do. We never did any paperwork on the photos or the calendar. now it look like he is not going to pay me my share from the calendar.
Is ha allowed to make money on any of my pictures at all since we did no paperwork?

I paid in cash for him to take the pictures!.

What can I do?
Miss B.
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:34 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,028
Re: Photographer and my pictures

MissBenedict, welcome to RetouchPro. What did he take pictures of -you, your car, your house?
Technically he took the photos so he owns the copyright and unless you have some type of contract or legal agreement that states otherwise or grants you some rights, you have no legal title to those images. If the photos are of yourself and you did not sign a model release,then he does not have the right to post or publish your likeness anywhere without your permission.
Regards, Murray
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:31 PM
MissBenedict MissBenedict is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
Re: Photographer and my pictures

The pictures was of me only in a studio, we even made a video to go with it.
What about me, can I use the pictures he took and retouched with no legal problems?

It is good to know that he can not use them at least..
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:04 PM
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MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Knoxville Tennessee
Posts: 281
Re: Photographer and my pictures

This is a bit of a dicey issue, and this is why I ALWAYS get a signed release from any model I work with. However, a photographer legally owns every photograph he takes, you cannot use one of his photographs without his permission, even if it is a picture of you. The penalty for doing so can be up to $125,000 per violation (make two copies, and post one image to Facebook, that's 3 violations.)

Concerning his right to use the pictures for profit without compensating depends a lot on where you live. In most states, if you get into a he said, she said argument over whether you gave permission they will side with the photographer. YOU paid HIM to take the photos of you, in the absence of paperwork you would have to be able to prove that you paid him for exclusive rights to the photos, since you don't have a receipt, you have no way of doing that. Although he technically doesn't have the right to do it because he has no release, from a legal standpoint, you have no recourse. Especially considering that photographers usually offer lower rates in expectation of being able to sell the photos.

I will warn you though, if you start asking for an exclusivity agreement, you are looking at big bucks to get it. My rates jump from a $50 sitting fee per hour to $400 per hour for exclusive rights. If you paid him to take the photos, you have almost no chance of getting royalties.

You will also want to check to see if he has a standard shooting agreement posted on his web site or in his studio. These are binding if they are freely available to you before the shoot.

In the end, you are probably out of luck on this one. Chalk it up to a learning experience. ALWAYS sign a talent release and ALWAYS make sure you read it before you sign. That and always get a receipt when you pay in cash. Also, always make sure you get an image release from the photographer telling you how you are allowed to use the photos, without that you're violating the law if you post or copy them, and if he has a copy of the file that has his camera's serial number in the EXIF data, his ownership of the image WILL hold up in court.

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