Legal Tips For Part Time Photographers

Posted on 7/25/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

There is increased demand for real, authentic photos, not set up shots using professional models. Many photographers grabbing these “authentic” photos on holiday, or as they go about their daily lives, ignore some of the legal hassles that can arise as a result of trying to license use to such images.
Jonathan Appleby of Copytrack has provided five important tips to consider before trying to sell your candid shots.

Tip One “Permission is best: When photographing individuals”

It doesn’t matter if you’re snapping the holiday makers of Italy or even those hiking in the Carpathian Mountains. In Europe, everyone has the right to private and personal life according to The European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Photos that can be considered defamatory towards an individual even in public places or in situations where the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy cannot be made public without their consent. However, the meaning of “Public Places” can vary. Fundamentally, you should always ask for permission, and get a model release, before taking a holiday snap that you might want to sell – and that’s worldwide.

Tip Two “Caution when taking pictures of children”

You have to be extra careful when you want to photograph minors. If you want to reproduce the photo or use it commercially the permission of the parents is needed. You also have to ask the boy or girl for their consent. This applies when he or she is seven years or older and can be legally allowed to make decisions. A court in the UK decided that a publicly made image of a child could interfere with their private life when used without permission, even when the parents are part of the image.

Tip Three “Attention: Not every tourist attraction can be photographed”

Whoever happily clicks the camera freely should inform themselves of which sites are forbidden to be photographed. Photos of the Eiffel Tower for example can’t be shared when it’s lit up, as the light installation is legally protected. Here, the so-called “Freedom of Panorama” applies that allows photographers to take pictures in public places. The freedom of panorama varies country to country, so it’s always best to check the country’s rules before travelling. Each country also has special regulations. In many museums photos are forbidden, like the Van-Gogh-Museum in Amsterdam, as well as similar sites such as the Sistine Chapel. So, keep it in mind to ask before getting the camera out. Military sites are also very well protected. No photos can be taken of army barracks or general military places. In Russia, photos of train stations and airports are a taboo for instance.

Check out this story for some of the places where you need property releases in order to license rights to a photo. Here’s an additional resource.

Tip Four “Be aware of Aniconism ( )in Muslim countries”

You should inform yourself before travelling to Muslim countries because the Aniconism in Islam forbids photographic representation of people or animals. The interpretation of the forbidden photos differs strongly between each individual land and region – from a complete refusal to a restricted approval. Even if the ban isn’t everywhere, before you take any photographs, you should always have the rules in the back of your mind, and ask before taking any photos. Also, be aware: It is not allowed in Arabic countries to take photos of the Imperial Palace as well as the Imperial Family itself.
Tip Five “Hold the trigger before snapping your holiday treat”

The freshly caught fish is arranged beautifully on the plate, the cocktail is a work of art, the tortillas looks delicious. It’s already clear that these photos are going to be uploaded to social media quickly, to make anyone left at home jealous. However, that can cause some trouble! First, because it can be forbidden when it is lavishly displayed. That’s because the cook is the copyright holder of the artwork. You can photograph the art and share it on your social media, but only with the chef’s approval. And secondly, due to their code of conduct, it can be forbidden to take photographs in restaurants. In this situation, the camera would be better off staying in your bag.

Copytrack provides a service for photographers and picture agencies that includes a risk-free search of the Internet for uses of their images. The company finds photos with a 98 per cent accuracy. The customer then determines if the uses were licensed. If not, Copytrack will pursue out-of-court resolutions in over 140 countries, as well as legal resolutions in relevant areas where the images are protected by copyright law. If the post-licensing process is successful, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The search function is free of charge.

Copyright © 2017 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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