Monday, 30 May 2011

Modelling Photos : Copyright and Rights to Use (in the UK)

There are often many questions raised by models about copyright and what rights they have to use photos that they have posed for. The answer is: it depends! The reason is that firstly the law is different in different countries and advice you read on the web could have been written from anywhere based on their laws so that is the first thing you need to check. The comments here are all based on UK law; the situation in the USA is very different and much advice on the web would relate to that purely because the USA is such a large country with a huge web presence.

In the UK in general terms the photographer owns the copyright of any photos that they take. They can do pretty much anything with those photos should they so wish and no model release form is needed. This is one major difference with the USA where model release forms do have a purpose and many online articles confuse models about their requirement in the UK - model releases forms are not needed for a photographer to publish photos of a model here. Some magazines may require them but they are not legally required and a photographer can use any photos taken online as they wish.

If you are a model that has posed for a TFP/TFCD shoot then the photographer will provide you with copies of images from that shoot that you can use for your portfolio. The number will depend on the agreement that you reach with the photographer but you should not expect EVERY photo that has been taken. A good photographer will remove poor photos. An indication to me about the professionalism of a photographer is their worst photo that is shown; studio lighting stands or background edges in a shot show me that they do not care much about their work.

Any images provided to you should be used as provided unless you have a written agreement from the photographer that you can edit them including cropping. Any logo included on the photo should remain wherever you use them as in the example below.

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