In our new online world, aspiring photographers can offer the fruits of their digital labors to stock photo sites or can use their images to design a myriad of print-on-demand products on sites such as Zazzle. In my enthusiasm, I began taking photos of everything and anything and submitting them to different sites. I am happy to say that a number of my photos were accepted by dreamstime, a stock photo site, but the most interesting part was why some were rejected. The technical rejections are not relevant to this article, but two other reasons are:
Firstly, they requested model releases for those photos in which a person is recognizable. Secondly, they asked me to either edit out trademarks that appeared on the photos or just not submit them in the first place.
In one of my shoots, a security guard came running out of the building I was photographing, telling me I could not take any pictures of it because the building was protected by copyright. He threatened to call the police. I thought he was wrong, but he sufficiently intimidated me that I moved on.
What is the story here? When do we need permission to take photographs and when do we not? Do we need model releases? This is the first of a two-article series in which I discuss these questions and provide some answers. The link to the second article is on the sidebar.
(Thumbnail photo of model from: PublicDomainPictures.net)