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123last
Photographer
Aaron Matthew Kaiser
Posts: 8
Burbank, California, US


Okay, so I've got a business/legal/etiquette questions for everyone. I am going to explain things fully so you can understand the situation.

First, I've been in photography for just shy of two years, but in entertainment for much longer than that. Because of my financial situation, I'm still working with my original equipment and mostly doing TF shoots (although I have paid before and would prefer to always if I could). I book about 50% of my shoots via MM and the other are friends, network buddies, and people that I meet. My goal here is to create art and keep building up my portfolio, not establish this as my career. I would eventually love to sell some of my prints, but that's not a priority for me at this time.

When I shoot TF, I do not request my models sign anything. I've read comments from other models who will not sign releases for TF shoots anyway. I do make sure we communicate clearly via email (where there is a paper trail) about the concept and general terms (getting them copies of images, etc.) and I have not had a problem until today.

I had a shoot with a friend a few months ago. The wardrobe was torn blue jeans and a leather jacket without a shirt underneath. No nudity, but a bit daring for her. She liked the concept, agreed to it, and had fun shooting it. We even did some great shots of her wearing a t-shirt underneath as well. I got her copies of the untouched files and have slowly been processing them and releasing them into my portfolio.

Today, I finished processing one of my favorite image from the shoot that required a bit of extra retouching. Her pose causes her breast to hang out more than the others, but still completely covered up. I love the image and the couple people I showed it to also think it's great. I texted her that I was about to post another image of her and the conversation quickly turned south.

Long story short, she doesn't want me to post it unless I photoshop a fake t-shirt onto her (which I'm not willing to do). And she actually drew the line saying that she didn't sign a release and is refusing to let me post it online or in any sort of public exhibition, etc. She claims she doesn't want it to come back and bite her later. (She is also an actress.)

Now, there are several ways to look at this. First, I do not want to damage my rapport and friendship with her and I'd even like to shoot with her again. With that in mind, I am (begrudgingly) respecting her request.

What I would like to hear from everyone is, how could this have been avoiding and what really would my legal rights in a situation like this be? My immediate thought is that I could post it regardless of her wishes, but that would burn a bridge that I want to remain intact. Are there some agreements that some of you are using that help in these situations, even without cash flowing (and maybe even saying what would happen if the photographer later wanted to sell prints)? Is there anything else that I'm not thinking?

My goal is to hopefully start getting the cash to pay every model I shoot with so I fully own photos and can do what I want with them, but I'm still a ways off from being able to do that.

Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

- Aaron
May 16 13 12:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
T-D-L
Posts: 10,105
Los Angeles, California, US


Most days my answer would be:

Fuck em, it's your book post what you want.

BUT, with nudity it's a bit different.  She clearly doesn't want anything too racy/revealing so too much boob (side/bottom/w.e.) is obviously outside her limits.  To be honest I just tell everyone in this situation don't bother shooting anything remotely close a models limits, even if you don't cross them.  Too much room for error, which you've now seen for yourself. 

My advice: don't post the photos, scratch the whole look even.  Next time you want to shoot open top, only do so with a model that at the very least has more examples of such, or even better...is ok with topless.  That way you'll know that something as minor as a little underboob or whatever isn't going to be an issue.  It's not worth the trouble to use em in my opinion.  Even with a release that doesnt' protect you from a ditzy girl changing her mind for whatever reason.  You may have the right to use the photos, but she can still be a pain in the ass if she feels she's been wronged.
May 16 13 12:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Designit - Edward Olson
Posts: 1,626
Eureka, California, US


You didn't intend to have her being exposed.
The shot shows exposure than was unintended.
She doesn't want it shown.
Don't post it.

EDIT: To answer your later question, to avoid this situation in the future, don't try to change the terms of the shoot afterward and expect a model to be happy with it.
May 16 13 12:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Philip from Scotland
Posts: 185
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom


I look back on a couple of situations like you describe, they always seem such a big deal at the time.  Now a few months on I wonder why I ever worried about it.  The shots are filed away and I've moved on......
May 16 13 12:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Aaron Matthew Kaiser
Posts: 8
Burbank, California, US


Designit - Edward Olson wrote:
EDIT: To answer your later question, to avoid this situation in the future, don't try to change the terms of the shoot afterward and expect a model to be happy with it.

I didn't try to change any of the terms after the shoot. She knew where I would be posting stuff and never mentioned any reservations about any of the images until today.

Thank you (and everyone else so far) for the feedback, though. smile

May 16 13 12:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Aaron Matthew Kaiser
Posts: 8
Burbank, California, US


A Google search resulting in a photog who uses the following agreement for TF shoots. Has anyone tried using something like this? Thoughts on its fairness?

http://www.pbjae.us/TFP%20Contract.pdf
May 16 13 12:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Designit - Edward Olson
Posts: 1,626
Eureka, California, US


Designit - Edward Olson wrote:
EDIT: To answer your later question, to avoid this situation in the future, don't try to change the terms of the shoot afterward and expect a model to be happy with it.
Aaron Matthew Kaiser wrote:
I didn't try to change any of the terms after the shoot. She knew where I would be posting stuff and never mentioned any reservations about any of the images until today.

Thank you (and everyone else so far) for the feedback, though. smile

The particular image you describe (a lot of breast exposure) doesn't match the description of the concept (suggestive but no real exposure). It sounds like accidental exposure that you wanted to capitalize on.

Respect your model, or suffer the consequence of a negative reputation.

Like someone said above, don't shoot potentially revealing shots with models who aren't comfortable with revealing shots.

This is the wrong place to solicit legal advice, so I won't give it. I wouldn't take it from anyone else here, either.

May 16 13 12:55 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Lindsey Sharon
Posts: 306
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Aaron Matthew Kaiser wrote:

I didn't try to change any of the terms after the shoot. She knew where I would be posting stuff and never mentioned any reservations about any of the images until today.

Thank you (and everyone else so far) for the feedback, though. smile

You may think you didn't, but you did even if you didn't mean to. You agreed to shoot within the models comfortzone. You accidentally got a picture outside of her comfortzone and you now want to post it. Unless you showed her every image on a large screen while you were shooting, there was no way for her to know that that photo was taken until you told her about it.

I'm not a photographer so I don't know your rights in this situation. But I am a girl and I know how I would feel about someone stepping over my boundaries.

May 16 13 01:04 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Miroslava Svoboda
Posts: 555
Seattle, Washington, US


Lynz_Sharon wrote:
I'm not a photographer so I don't know your rights in this situation. But I am a girl and I know how I would feel about someone stepping over my boundaries.

^^^ This, it is really not worth it. I was promised that my shots would be cropped up to just shoulders and head once, they didn't go that way to a magazine submission that I didn't know about either. From this point on I won't listen to any promises, if something changes last minute no matter what assurance I'm being given I'm out.

If you post them, she might not do anything like that ever again just because you didn't stay withing her limits.

May 16 13 01:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Images by MR
Posts: 7,455
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


I've never being asked to remove a image from a TF shooting, but if a model asked for whatever reason I'd remove it.   Doesn't really seem that big of a deal.

Just my thoughts ~ MR
May 16 13 01:20 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Scarlett de la Calle
Posts: 414
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


Everyone has their limitations and you went past hers. Knowing that it went a bit further than the others you should have shown it to her first telling her that you wanted to use it before photoshopping it or saying you were going to release it online. If I shot with a photographer with a distinct request to no vagina shots and then I had vagina shots online I would be devastated.
May 16 13 01:28 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darren Brade
Posts: 2,746
London, England, United Kingdom


T-D-L wrote:
Most days my answer would be:

Fuck em, it's your book post what you want.

BUT, with nudity it's a bit different.  She clearly doesn't want anything too racy/revealing so too much boob (side/bottom/w.e.) is obviously outside her limits.  To be honest I just tell everyone in this situation don't bother shooting anything remotely close a models limits, even if you don't cross them.  Too much room for error, which you've now seen for yourself. 

My advice: don't post the photos, scratch the whole look even.  Next time you want to shoot open top, only do so with a model that at the very least has more examples of such, or even better...is ok with topless.  That way you'll know that something as minor as a little underboob or whatever isn't going to be an issue.  It's not worth the trouble to use em in my opinion.  Even with a release that doesnt' protect you from a ditzy girl changing her mind for whatever reason.  You may have the right to use the photos, but she can still be a pain in the ass if she feels she's been wronged.

This. It would have been better to check before editing. Ask if you can use it in your offline portfolio (printed or iPad portfolio) and explain it won't go online.

Only use people above the limit you want to shoot.

May 16 13 01:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rasa Von Werder
Posts: 17
Brooklyn, New York, US


Hey Aaron - Please listen & hear me out, U've touched a sensitive subject where I have got burned a couple times.  ALWAYS GET A RELEASE EVEN WHEN IT'S TP  BECAUSE WITH TP U HAVE GIVEN SOMETHING VALUABLE TO THE MODEL - they gave U something, U gave them something.  If U R worth Ur salt, which I presume U R, U need a release to use these pictures whether or not U gave the model cash - GET A RELEASE!  ALWAYS!
I have found the following:  With women THEY GET ANTSY, SKITTISH, & HAVE REGRETS RE. ANYTHING & EVERYTHING & THEY WILL PUT U THROUGH THE GRINDER AFTER ALL IS SAID & DONE!  Have had them do it to me!  They AGREE to take the pictures.  Then they want the pictures - then they don't want U to use them! There is always a reason, but @ bottom it's fear, paranoia, bullcrap.
I had the same thing happen with my first MM model.  I paid him twice as much as he was worth.  I can work around faults, but this man had nothing but.  I have always PRIDED myself on working around faults.  So I covered his pot belly with a shirt, but when I turned him around, he had cellulite on his buns.  Then I turned him to the front, his face was so ugly it could stop a clock--I made him turn his face away from the camera.  Finally, after maneuvering every which way, I got about a dozen decent shots--one dozen shots of this creature for $300.
Here is the bottom line.  I then posted the pics, he demanded I take one down because he did not like the way he looked.  I told him "tough luck" & blocked him.
Another model I paid $500. to (& $250. in advances he was not paying back) suddenly writes me a letter to TAKE DOWN ALL HIS IMAGES - I can keep them for "my private use" but not make them public - & remove my name off anything of his - he wants to part ways with me forever.  Later he worked for me again, & said HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND HAD A JEALOUS FIT & MADE HIM DO IT.
GET A RELEASE WITH EACH & EVERY MODEL U USE NO MATTER WHAT - HAVE SOMEONE WITNESS IT JUST IN CASE.
Words to the wise.  THERE WILL ALWAYS B TROUBLE, SOONER OR LATER!
May 16 13 01:54 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Model
Anna Adrielle
Posts: 18,762
Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


then I wouldn't use it, honestly.

I do think however she should have asked nicely. I'd be tempted to post it anyway, just because she's being such a bitch about it.

I myself have asked photographers not to use certain images, for a variety of reasons, but I've always asked politely, given a reason, and (which is important I think) said that I understand if they don't want to take it down, that it is their decision, but that it is just something I'd really appreciate.

so I would give her a little lecture on how to treat people better, block her and never work with her again, but take it down.
May 16 13 02:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Designit - Edward Olson
Posts: 1,626
Eureka, California, US


May 16 13 02:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 35,962
Columbus, Ohio, US


Your notions about getting releases might be off a little. Use them, and avoid most of this BS.

Breast is covered, didn't have a problem doing & during the shoot, and now this? facepalm
May 16 13 02:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Aaron Matthew Kaiser
Posts: 8
Burbank, California, US


I want to thank everyone for the replies and feedback! I value hearing every side of the equation, even if you're telling me that I'm in the wrong.

A couple of quick things I want to comment on:

1) In this situation, I've already decided not to use the image. I respect her and value our friendship outside of the context of this shoot. Plus, as was mentioned at least once, I don't want to develop any type of negative reputations. From what I can see from the reactions is that I should definitely at least try and get releases signed moving forward.

2) Regarding comments about going beyond boundaries, I just want to emphasize again that this shot was entirely within scope of the concept we discussed and this was the first I heard of any reservations. I knew she didn't like how her stomach looked, but I fixed that up a bit. She never said anything about not wanting me to use it until today. I had my laptop on-site and she saw and received a copy of images immediately. She knew about this image and it likely would have been a non-issue if I had gotten it online sooner.

- Aaron
May 16 13 02:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Natural Means
Posts: 521
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Aaron Matthew Kaiser wrote:
Okay, so I've got a business/legal/etiquette questions for everyone. I am going to explain things fully so you can understand the situation.

First, I've been in photography for just shy of two years, but in entertainment for much longer than that. Because of my financial situation, I'm still working with my original equipment and mostly doing TF shoots (although I have paid before and would prefer to always if I could). I book about 50% of my shoots via MM and the other are friends, network buddies, and people that I meet. My goal here is to create art and keep building up my portfolio, not establish this as my career. I would eventually love to sell some of my prints, but that's not a priority for me at this time.

When I shoot TF, I do not request my models sign anything. I've read comments from other models who will not sign releases for TF shoots anyway. I do make sure we communicate clearly via email (where there is a paper trail) about the concept and general terms (getting them copies of images, etc.) and I have not had a problem until today.

I had a shoot with a friend a few months ago. The wardrobe was torn blue jeans and a leather jacket without a shirt underneath. No nudity, but a bit daring for her. She liked the concept, agreed to it, and had fun shooting it. We even did some great shots of her wearing a t-shirt underneath as well. I got her copies of the untouched files and have slowly been processing them and releasing them into my portfolio.

Today, I finished processing one of my favorite image from the shoot that required a bit of extra retouching. Her pose causes her breast to hang out more than the others, but still completely covered up. I love the image and the couple people I showed it to also think it's great. I texted her that I was about to post another image of her and the conversation quickly turned south.

Long story short, she doesn't want me to post it unless I photoshop a fake t-shirt onto her (which I'm not willing to do). And she actually drew the line saying that she didn't sign a release and is refusing to let me post it online or in any sort of public exhibition, etc. She claims she doesn't want it to come back and bite her later. (She is also an actress.)

Now, there are several ways to look at this. First, I do not want to damage my rapport and friendship with her and I'd even like to shoot with her again. With that in mind, I am (begrudgingly) respecting her request.

What I would like to hear from everyone is, how could this have been avoiding and what really would my legal rights in a situation like this be? My immediate thought is that I could post it regardless of her wishes, but that would burn a bridge that I want to remain intact. Are there some agreements that some of you are using that help in these situations, even without cash flowing (and maybe even saying what would happen if the photographer later wanted to sell prints)? Is there anything else that I'm not thinking?

My goal is to hopefully start getting the cash to pay every model I shoot with so I fully own photos and can do what I want with them, but I'm still a ways off from being able to do that.

Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

- Aaron

Bad karma and bad "business" (or bad hobbie or bad pastime or bad enthusiasm or whatever) to use an image a model doesn't want used.

May 16 13 02:33 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Lindsey Sharon
Posts: 306
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Aaron, I have something to add on releases.

I'm not sure if you use a MUA or if you would like to use one in the future, but I won't trade with photographers who don't use releases. If for some reason you need to remove the photos, so do I. I'm not sure how most MUA/hair/wardrobe people feel about them. This is just my person opinion.

Practice/experience aside, TF is largely about everyone getting paid in images. A release ensures the check doesn't bounce. It lets you use the photos and hopefully it let's the models (and me!) know all the important details such as how many and when they will receive them.
May 16 13 02:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
FrancisXavier
Posts: 43
San Diego, California, US


As the photographer, you own the rights to the images, whether a release was signed or not.  So you have the right to use the shots as you see fit,  But... what is legal is not what is always fair.  The basic concept of a TF shoot is that both of you benefit.  If the model feels a particular photo from a shoot benefits you but not them, and if you ever intend to work with this model in the future, then, unless there is some overwhelming reason for using it, don't post, sell or publish in any way the offending image.  It is the old dilemma, what is legal versus what is moral, and in areas not affected by overwhelming need, I always choose moral.  Just my two cents.
May 16 13 02:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Aaron Matthew Kaiser
Posts: 8
Burbank, California, US


Lynz_Sharon wrote:
I'm not sure if you use a MUA or if you would like to use one in the future, but I won't trade with photographers who don't use releases. [...]

Practice/experience aside, TF is largely about everyone getting paid in images. A release ensures the check doesn't bounce. It lets you use the photos and hopefully it let's the models (and me!) know all the important details such as how many and when they will receive them.
FrancisXavier wrote:
As the photographer, you own the rights to the images, whether a release was signed or not.  So you have the right to use the shots as you see fit,  But... what is legal is not what is always fair.  The basic concept of a TF shoot is that both of you benefit.  If the model feels a particular photo from a shoot benefits you but not them, and if you ever intend to work with this model in the future, then, unless there is some overwhelming reason for using it, don't post, sell or publish in any way the offending image.  It is the old dilemma, what is legal versus what is moral, and in areas not affected by overwhelming need, I always choose moral.  Just my two cents.

I think both of you hit the nail on the head here. I especially like FrancisXavier's comment about the basic concept is that both of us benefit and this would be a situation where it would benefit me, but maybe not her as much. Thank you for that insight.

May 16 13 03:02 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


A) Never work with models who aren't 100% happy for all photos taken during the shoot to be posted/used wherever, whenever and however you choose.

B) Always try to work with models comfortable shooting higher levels than you actually want to shoot.

C) If you're not in the UK, always get a release .

That said, it also helps to be a decent guy or at least to aspire to be one. I changed the name credit on a few images I've posted online of a model just yesterday because she now prefers that they not be credited to her full name due to a change of career. I'm not sure if I would have taken the images down but I certainly have no problem changing the credit.



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com
May 16 13 04:20 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Red Lace Photography
Posts: 1
Adelphi, Maryland, US


I follow the rule that Scott Church suggests in his photography workshops: never argue with a model over an image. If she asks you to take it down, take it down. Look at it in private, if you must, and use it for inspiration for farther down the road.

However, if it is an image that important to you, and you are professional, ask the model and negotiate with her to redo the shoot for publication. Pay her a standard fee. Reproduce the same look, same model, same lighting. And this time with a model release that is specific. If she can't do it, and that is understandable, we all have limits, then find a similar model to do the shoot for you. Pay her. Get a model release. Photograph the look and feel with someone else. Put it in your portfolio.

I require a model release for every studio session.  And even still, unless it is something $$$ for a client, I listen to my models if they say take it down. I've even had a college student ask later for me to take an entire shoot down because she wanted to go to medical school. That's cool, it was TF work for portfolio. No one was going to die because I didn't post the image, but I can almost guarantee if you do post something like that, and the model doesn't want to see it, the other models here and there will hear about it. You will be one of the enemy. The photographer without a clue.

I get a lot of cooperation and enthusiasm from the models who work with me because I pay attention to them as people, and to what their limits are. - RedLace
May 16 13 04:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SitronStudio
Posts: 1,056
Venice, Florida, US


I always go over the shots with the model at the end of the shoot and ask if there are any they aren't comfortable having posted. Saves headaches later. If a model asks me to take a pic down, I do. I've also asked models to take down shots of mine that they've edited themselves (badly).
May 16 13 04:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bradley Studios
Posts: 124
Greenville, South Carolina, US


On MM, reputation is everything.  Even if the model immediately got bitchy I would be polite in response and not use the image.  You can never tell why she changed her mind.  Maybe she didn't find it flattering or maybe her mom saw the image and was shocked.  Who knows.

A single image never made or broke a port anyway.
May 16 13 05:09 am  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
Two Pears Studio
Posts: 3,313
Wilmington, Delaware, US


One photo will most likely not hurt your career, but it may her's. Unless this is the photo to launch your career to a new level... don't post it. Your reputation as a good guy will help you far more than one photo.

Being right always means someone has to be wrong... and if you get the rep that you are difficult to work with... You hopefully get my point.

Now if someone was going to pay you a million dollars for the shot????? All bets might be off.
May 16 13 05:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Loki Studio
Posts: 2,875
Royal Oak, Michigan, US


There are three basic strategies for test shoots- 1) The photographer picks the final images 2) You each pick your own photo for your own purposes or 3) You agree together on all photos that get released and edited.

Not defining your process and not signing a model release will cause conflict sooner or later. For me, I find that strategy 3 generally results in the best photos, because the model is free to experiment but still comfortable with the results released to the public.

Also don't forget that an important goal of test shoots is to build your network of supporters and connections, and pissing off a model/client/resource is a shame when you have spent so much effort on it.  These are key people to make recommendations and expand your business in the future.  No one photo is worth an enemy for years.
May 16 13 06:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Anthony J Deffina
Posts: 80
Shingle Springs, California, US


It's just one pic. What a great chance to show the model that she can trust you. Don't blow it.
May 16 13 06:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Wolfy4u
Posts: 1,075
Grand Junction, Colorado, US


You mention that you've felt that releases are not necessary for TF shoots. I think  that this situation shows why they have value. With a release, the agreement is on paper. If a model has special limitations, have her write it on the release, and both of you initial it.
Having said that, if I do a TF shoot, and a model askes that an image not be displayed, I almost always go along with her wishes. As a matter of fact, we often agree to shoot certain concepts with the agreement that they not be made public. Sometimes a model wants to push her limits of try something new/different, knowing that she can change her mind, post shooting.
May 16 13 06:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,171
Salem, Oregon, US


it's a crazy world where people get fired for bathing suit photos. i'm sympathetic to concerns about nudity (even hints of nudity). this is why people suggest hiring a nude model if you want to do nudes (or even implieds).

that said i've never given a model veto power on a trade shoot but if a model has a concern i will generally comply to keep the peace. i did have one model ask to have a picture taken down because she thought it made her face look funny.

if i paid the model then i might want my money back as a kill fee.

when models are dabbling into the world of nudes for the first time sometimes they (or people close to them) can have regrets. if you want to avoid that possibility hire a nude model.
May 16 13 08:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Swanson Studios
Posts: 395
Galesburg, Illinois, US


If you value her feelings, value her agreement with you, and want to maintain a clean reputation (hell hath no fury like a woman who has had an image she doesnt want posted posted) Id respect her wishes and put it away.
May 16 13 08:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


I'm curious what would have been prevented or avoided with a Release in this case?

Even with a Release, wouldn't you still have this same problem? The model, after viewing the final image, would still ask that you remove it because it was outside of the agreement?

Other than the fact that the OP might be more inclined to use that Release as justification, or his defense to the model, to keep the image up, I don't see how the Release would change anything.

And if the ultimate goal is to appease the model so you can shoot with again and keep the relationship intact, pulling "Well I have a Release so...tough nuggies" is going to quickly terminate any chance of that.

Edit: I'm also going to say that there is a big difference between an image the model "doesn't like" and one that exceeds the boundaries of the agreement. "Nip slips" happen but posting one of the "outtakes" is far different than "meh, I'm not crazy about that image."
May 16 13 08:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
The F-Stop
Posts: 1,420
New York, New York, US


Come on really.. you can't work it out with the model? How about a test post to see how may hits n comments you get.. let the public decide in Critic section of the forums maybe?
May 16 13 10:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Aaron Matthew Kaiser wrote:
Okay, so I've got a business/legal/etiquette questions for everyone. I am going to explain things fully so you can understand the situation.

First, I've been in photography for just shy of two years, but in entertainment for much longer than that. Because of my financial situation, I'm still working with my original equipment and mostly doing TF shoots (although I have paid before and would prefer to always if I could). I book about 50% of my shoots via MM and the other are friends, network buddies, and people that I meet. My goal here is to create art and keep building up my portfolio, not establish this as my career. I would eventually love to sell some of my prints, but that's not a priority for me at this time.

When I shoot TF, I do not request my models sign anything. I've read comments from other models who will not sign releases for TF shoots anyway. I do make sure we communicate clearly via email (where there is a paper trail) about the concept and general terms (getting them copies of images, etc.) and I have not had a problem until today.

I had a shoot with a friend a few months ago. The wardrobe was torn blue jeans and a leather jacket without a shirt underneath. No nudity, but a bit daring for her. She liked the concept, agreed to it, and had fun shooting it. We even did some great shots of her wearing a t-shirt underneath as well. I got her copies of the untouched files and have slowly been processing them and releasing them into my portfolio.

Today, I finished processing one of my favorite image from the shoot that required a bit of extra retouching. Her pose causes her breast to hang out more than the others, but still completely covered up. I love the image and the couple people I showed it to also think it's great. I texted her that I was about to post another image of her and the conversation quickly turned south.

Long story short, she doesn't want me to post it unless I photoshop a fake t-shirt onto her (which I'm not willing to do). And she actually drew the line saying that she didn't sign a release and is refusing to let me post it online or in any sort of public exhibition, etc. She claims she doesn't want it to come back and bite her later. (She is also an actress.)

Now, there are several ways to look at this. First, I do not want to damage my rapport and friendship with her and I'd even like to shoot with her again. With that in mind, I am (begrudgingly) respecting her request.

What I would like to hear from everyone is, how could this have been avoiding and what really would my legal rights in a situation like this be? My immediate thought is that I could post it regardless of her wishes, but that would burn a bridge that I want to remain intact. Are there some agreements that some of you are using that help in these situations, even without cash flowing (and maybe even saying what would happen if the photographer later wanted to sell prints)? Is there anything else that I'm not thinking?

My goal is to hopefully start getting the cash to pay every model I shoot with so I fully own photos and can do what I want with them, but I'm still a ways off from being able to do that.

Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

- Aaron

You're on the right track by including etiquette in your question.

Why do you care what your legal rights are? Suppose you with fully within your rights, or she'd signed a release, would you post the photo in that case? Do you think telling her that she signed a release saying it was ok will change the way she feels and leave her wanting to shoot with you again after you post the photo she doesn't want you to post?

This is soley a question of whether you care about the relationship and want to interact with her in good terms again.

May 16 13 10:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Aaron Matthew Kaiser wrote:
I want to thank everyone for the replies and feedback! I value hearing every side of the equation, even if you're telling me that I'm in the wrong.

A couple of quick things I want to comment on:

1) In this situation, I've already decided not to use the image. I respect her and value our friendship outside of the context of this shoot. Plus, as was mentioned at least once, I don't want to develop any type of negative reputations. From what I can see from the reactions is that I should definitely at least try and get releases signed moving forward.

2) Regarding comments about going beyond boundaries, I just want to emphasize again that this shot was entirely within scope of the concept we discussed and this was the first I heard of any reservations. I knew she didn't like how her stomach looked, but I fixed that up a bit. She never said anything about not wanting me to use it until today. I had my laptop on-site and she saw and received a copy of images immediately. She knew about this image and it likely would have been a non-issue if I had gotten it online sooner.

- Aaron

You're not in the wrong. You can use it in your book without her written permission. It's just that it would be a dick move and you'd burn a bridge that you don't want to burn.

May 16 13 10:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
The Shoeplay Warehouse
Posts: 66
Washington, District of Columbia, US


At least you know you should always have a release now.
May 16 13 10:59 am  Link  Quote 
Model
NicoleNudes
Posts: 3,783
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Get her to sign a model release next time.
If she doesn't, don't shoot.

If you shoot with her again and she doesn't sign a release (again), what's stopping her from turning around and doing the exact same thing?
May 16 13 11:41 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Nathine
Posts: 144
Scottsdale, Arizona, US


Input from a model.

I carry with me contract agreements for paid and TFP/CD. I think it's better for both sides. In general what it says is that both parties agree to how the prints are to be released.
If stays much friendlier that way.

Nathine
May 16 13 12:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Big A-Larger Than Life
Posts: 33,400
The Woodlands, Texas, US


Nathine wrote:
Input from a model.

I carry with me contract agreements for paid and TFP/CD. I think it's better for both sides. In general what it says is that both parties agree to how the prints are to be released.
If stays much friendlier that way.

Nathine

Wait.  You make the photographers sign YOUR release?  And they actually do it?

May 16 13 12:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Azimuth Arts
Posts: 1,418
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I've had a few shoots with models who agreed to the type of shot you describe.  Things like an open jacket that opened a bit too much; a top that was a bit more sheer than she thought under the lights; or a topless shot with just hair covering, that didn't quite cover enough.

In all of these cases I have sent an un-edited/un-retouched proof to the model and asked for her opinion on using it.  Sometimes I have been told it's okay and other times they have asked me not to.  On a couple of occasions when asked not to use it as-is, they agreed to using a retouched version (it was easy enough to make the kinda sheer top not so sheer in post).

When working with a model doing something new for the first time (everyone has to have a first time) I like to show them images on the camera after the first few frames to make sure they know exactly how much is showing so there are no surprises later.  That gives us time to adjust the wardrobe or angles to keep within their comfort zone.

In some cases it was the model's choice to pick a shot from my proofing gallery that was beyond the limits of our agreed shoot.

It's all about maintaining communication and respecting the intent of the shoot.

Just my $0.02
May 16 13 12:42 pm  Link  Quote 
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