Digital Picture of Britain - Model Release

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Stu Carter, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Stu Carter

    Stu Carter Guest

    I caught a little of the BBC's Digital Picture of Britain programme last
    night. It was a little odd - looking like an 'infomercial' for digital
    cameras, but interesting enough. It did, however, raise a question with

    The chap who was taking shots with the consumer camera was travelling
    around London taking candid shots around the market and into bus windows
    etc. Now I can't believe that he then ran after the bus and asked each
    person in the picture if he would be OK to publish the photo (ie. standard
    model release stuff).

    Does anyone have comments on this? I realise that a model release is
    merely a polite formality and will avoid possible legal implications
    should someone on the photo take exception to their identification. Do you
    think he was out of order? Was this reasonable? Did he really chase the

    Any views would be most appreciated - I avoid people completely at the
    moment because I don't understand the intricacies of model releases, and
    don't have the confidence to approach people right now. It's something I'd
    be interested in getting into, however.


    Stu Carter, Jul 4, 2005
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  2. I've been thoroughly enjoying the series. Some bits are mere
    entertainment, but other bits I find quite inspiring. The girl doing
    photo montages to recreate old paintings, for example. I might get
    around to trying that one day...
    There you go, you've answered your own question.
    I guess he'd made the same decision I would have, i.e. that nobody in
    those photos would be likely to object or have grounds for legal
    recourse as they were appearing in pretty innocuous circumstances and
    not in any way that mis-represented them or showed them in a bad light.
    I try to as well, but that's only because I'm an unsociable bugger.
    Willy Eckerslyke, Jul 4, 2005
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  3. Stu Carter

    Stu Carter Guest

    Yes... I thought they were wonderful.

    Ok. That seems reasonable. So we're saying that the risk of legal problems
    diminishes proportionally to the level of controversy in the picture! If
    you're going to take nudes, make sure they know it and sign something :)
    Why don't I understand the intricacies? Mainly because of what I saw on
    the programme!

    Why don't I have the confidence? I don't feel like a 'real' photographer.
    I know this is completely under my own control, however!

    Why am I interested in getting into it? I like people. I can sit for hours
    watching the world go by. I'd like to capture that.


    Stu Carter, Jul 4, 2005
  4. Probably a good idea!
    More to the point, make sure the dirty old man ogling them from the
    background also signs a release form. He may not be nude, but your photo
    may cast nasturtiums on his character in a way that he's going to object
    to. Similarly, people sitting innocently on a bus are probably safe
    enough, but if one was clearly staring down the blouse of the young lady
    in front, you'd be unwise to publish the photo.
    Just my opinion, I'm not a lawyer.
    Yup. I was a little puzzled as it seemed to be at odds with the lack of
    confidence you mention above.
    Willy Eckerslyke, Jul 4, 2005
  5. Stu Carter

    Pb Guest

    I am not an expert on this but wrt model releases I am sure I read somewhere
    at sometime that a model release is only really required if the subject
    forms a substantial part of the image; faces on a bus probably don't fit
    this category.

    Exactly *when* the subject forms a substantial part of the image I don't
    know and if the subject is in silhouette (and you can't see their face) I
    don't know how the law would be applied. Certainly I don't think it's just a
    *courtesy* and I *think* the photographer can find themselves with problems
    if they don't get a release and the subject later objects.


    Paul ============}
    o o

    // Live fast, die old //
    PaulsPages and Gallery are at
    Pb, Jul 4, 2005
  6. Stu Carter

    Tony Polson Guest

    Faces on a bus may well fit into the category.

    It is OK to take pictures of anyone for your own personal use, as long
    as you take them from a public right of way, and you don't need a
    model release.

    However, if you intend to sell or publish your work, a model release
    is required.
    Tony Polson, Jul 4, 2005
  7. (snip)


    The guide was written by Linda Macpherson LL.B, Dip.L.P., LL.M, who is a
    lecturer in law at Heriot Watt University, with particular experience in
    Information Technology Law, Intellectual Property Law and Media Law.

    download at:

    Journalist-North, Jul 4, 2005
  8. (snip)

    NOT in the UK it's not. Certainly not as street candids; certainly not as
    published non-commercial (editorial) work; not as "art"; not to publish to
    your website; not to print up as a book; not to display oin a gallery; not
    to sell prints;...

    NOT even, generally, for commercial use!

    Journalist-North, Jul 4, 2005
  9. So the BBC obtained a model release for all the pictures that it broadcast
    over the weekend? ;-)
    John Cartmell, Jul 4, 2005
  10. A model release is only required for commercial (i.e.. advertising) usage.
    For personal (i.e.. your Web gallery) or editorial (i.e.. a newspaper) use
    unreleased people shots are absolutely fine.
    Simon Stanmore, Jul 5, 2005
  11. Stu Carter

    Stu Carter Guest

    Perfect. Thanks!

    Stu Carter, Jul 5, 2005
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