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Building a portfolio

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Old 07-20-2005, 12:13 PM
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touch31 touch31 is offline
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Building a portfolio

I've tried to research this topic in the forums, but only find info. on using "challenge" photos. I work in a photo lab and have accumulated before and after samples for my "portfolio". I didn't get permission to use these photos so I figure as long as I didn't advertise them I could still show them as "examples" of what I can do. Well, now I've decided to start my own business, and I do have permission to use the photos from my building clientelle. But if I want to start a web site, am I only allowed to show the photos that I have permission from? So far the majority of my samples are only in my book. Am I even allowed to show these?

I appreciate any input. I don't want to break any laws, legal or moral.
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:02 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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regardless of any laws, it's considered common courtesy to at least inform folks, but particularly to ask. legally, it's a bit of a gray area in my mind. i've posted things on sites where no one was going to commercially gain from the posting, and have never been bitten for it,but i'm also perfectly willing to un-post it if someone shld object. on the other hand, some have objected. there was one here in retouchpro not long ago, in fact. someone had posted a picture of a child from a children's beauty pageant and the parent saw this and complained. so, different folks may view this differently.

also, if you are using it in a portfolio for a business, you may not be actually selling that picture, but, you are using it to solicit commecial work and that can be considered as using it for gain. so, in a commecial enterprise i'd make sure i either had permission, it was my own photo to begin with, or that it came from a widely known 'free' site. i wouldnt risk any backlash at all.

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Old 07-20-2005, 03:58 PM
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Caitlin Caitlin is offline
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In many countries the internet is considered a 'published' work, so it both attracts copyright, and also means that the work can be reproduced in the same way as a written work, and can be used in certain situations without clearance. (Review, criticism, etc etc) There are however some grey areas with the internet, so it is generally treated more loosely than this. For instance the wayback machine copies websites and archives them without permission, based on the assumption that the internet is a broadcast and in the public domain. However they are currently being sued for maintaining a webpage in their archive that had been removed from the internet due to a copyright breach. So it is an area that has not been fully resolved yet.

Photographs themselves are under copyright of the photographer - it differs in different countries, but this copyright does lapse - something like 75 years after first publication, or the death of the photographer.

In this case though you seem to be saying that you have gathered some of these photos you have used from clients at the photo lab you work at without their permission. I would think that this was a concern on several grounds - copyright, presumably breaking confidentiality laws, and I would think that your employer would have a contract with employees that state that they cannot take client or business property - which this is. So not only do I think that publishing them here would be unacceptable, I also think that you are doing something quite risky including them in your printed portfolio.
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:17 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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You need to aquire a release from the client, with specific details about where/how you will be allowed to use their photo. The release should also stipulate the length of time you are allowed use of the image, and may even include the number of times you may use it.
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:08 AM
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touch31 touch31 is offline
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I appreciate all of your answers. It has been troubling me on how to set up a portfolio and especially a web page. Like I said, I do get permission now from the clients I have been getting. And I have been working on a family project that is 1,400 old photos big. I'll be able to work on getting my work out with permission. I just like the variety I've worked on through the years. Is it common to pay people to use their photographs if I get a release from them? Or are people usually happy you ask? If it is a professional photographer I'll give them credit. It almost sounds like I should see a lawyer to get a contract written up so that I can have everything legal.

All of the details on starting a business can drive a person crazy!
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Old 07-21-2005, 12:19 PM
emarts emarts is offline
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I'm in your same shoes. Most of the work I do is for other creative services companies (advertising agencies, design firms...). I cannot publish the work on my own site due to confidentiality agreements. I was doing a lot of retouching for automobiles before they became widley published in auto magazines. So the companies didn't want me showing off a new car before pictures of it started showing up in MotorTrend or something. My agreements state, however, once the product (or image) becomes public, I may use them in my own portfolio only. It doesn't specifically state ONLINE portfolio, so I don't put in on the internet.

When I am trying to get a new project, I show prints in my portfolio that I carry around. I find it's better than an online gallery anyway as it seems to give me a reason to show up at their office, rather than they look at it online without any input from me.
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