Copyright, Trademarks and the Law
Normally the stock photography agencies have this side of things covered so when you upload any image that infringes on any imaging or copyright laws, you will be informed, rejected and will also learn a valuable lesson.
The only thing the agency cannot police very well is the fact that you own the image and all rights belonging to it. They also cannot verify a genuine model release until it becomes an issue so here are a few guidelines to keep you on the straight and narrow!
Model and Property Releases
Check with each agency to see what criteria and information they need and adhere to their rules. Write up a different model release for each agency if necessary.
Even if you shoot the same model on two different occasions with a long gap in between, it is a good idea to get a model release signed for each shoot with a passport sized image for reference attached or embedded somewhere in the digital file. Some agencies ask for this so try to make it part of your standard routine.
Is that you in that stunning stock photo? You still need to provide a model release for yourself.
Listed, heritage or private building? The chances are it will not be accepted as stock without a signed property release from the owner. Each agency is different so always check with their terms and conditions and rules and regulations, better safe than sorry and this could save you a lot of work in the long run.
Public buildings or properties photographed from public places are generally ok to submit.
NEVER fake a model or property release. Enough said.
Trademarks and Logos
As we discussed earlier, make sure that there are no visible logos, trademarks, serial numbers, telephone numbers etc visible before you upload…rejection will be a certainty (basically anything that can identify a person, a property or their/its location). Clone them out, disguise them or hide them with your excellent Photoshop skills and you will be ok (as long as the rest of the image is good of course)!
Never risk breaking the law or getting into trouble just to get a shot you think may sell (leave that to the paparazzi)! It just isn’t worth it.
Always respect land or properties that you are on when shooting and the same goes for people. Never ask someone to do something unlawful or dangerous in order to get a dynamic image…by all means do it yourself though.
It may be worth getting some third party and/or indemnity insurance for your business. This will cover you for things such as your camera or gear causing an accident or damaging some else’s property somehow.
Go with your gut instinct and common sense, if it feels wrong it probably is so don’t do it.
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