Jump to content

Photographing people in public

Recommended Posts

I always wonder about this. I really love photographing people, but am very self conscious about doing so. I shoot on 35mm and it takes me ages to focus/set the exposure etc so it's not a case of getting a quick snap!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zone focussing cameras like the Trip 35 are good for quick snaps (just 3 notched zone settings) with at least the chance of DOF.

 

I've a Minolta XD-7 with shutter/aperture priority, unfortunately only one half works, but that at least gives you some manual control as well as automatically getting the right(ish) exposure and a quick snap (set to highish fstop and nearest hyperfocal you're likely to want).

 

---------- Post added 02-02-2015 at 12:33 ----------

 

BTW, interesting thread on Public spaces, and as a film photographer I don't have the luxury of showing or deleting my shots if confronted but would stand my ground (until they start lighting the bonfire they've thrown me on!). I did however get cards printed recently and always make sure I carry some in the hope that they'd give some reassurance and a point of contact, my Flickr albums and such...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I've never done street photography, the entertainment events I cover have large crowds and the public audiences, I find on a whole people are very receptive at having their picture taken. I think it would be different on the street with people going about their own private business. I do know some photographers that do that for picture stock and photo journalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an interesting one this. Legally, there is no need to ask for permission in a public place (unless it's somewhere like Meadowhell, which is owned privately), but morally it's difficult putting a camera into someones face. I have done a bit of street photography and did an MA in this where I had to show to the ethics committee of the university, that I was not breaching any legal or moral issues. There was no issue at all, but I do think common sense prevails. If you are likely to get thumped, or your kit destroyed because someone is unhappy about having their image captured, then legalities don't really matter. If you're wanting to make money out of such images, then you need model release forms, which mean that you have to have asked permission or get it retrospectively. I found what worked best was to make conversation, explain what I was trying to achieve and then get people to just 'be', getting the shots along the way. Rightly or wrongly though, if you choose to take pictures of people on the streets, kids included, you're within your legal rights to do that. To get those candid shots, I find that using a wide angled lens enables me to get good shots without actually lining up the lens with the person coming towards me. It captures so much information and with good light at around f8 or above, there's great depth of field too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you're wanting to make money out of such images, then you need model release forms, which mean that you have to have asked permission or get it retrospectively.

 

That's not quite as straightforward as I understand it, isn't there a definition of 'commercial use' such as advertising and promotion that does require consent and other definitions such as news journalism that don't?

 

Do you happen to know if publication of street photography in an 'art book' requires release forms, as I can't see that this is possible in many, if not most scenarios, or do the publishers just have liability insurance up to their earballs?

 

bx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I understand If you are the one taking the picture/video you own the picture/video you only require consent if you ask/request from someone to perform an act at your request. All other images are free to do as you wish (being the owner). However if you have taken images of individual they have the right (if they request) to view the image i.e. Sheffield city councils has to release CCTV footage to you if you believe you have been filmed. That would be a headache for the council and probable shut the CCTV program down if everyone did that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's an interesting one this. Legally, there is no need to ask for permission in a public place (unless it's somewhere like Meadowhell, which is owned privately), but morally it's difficult putting a camera into someones face. I have done a bit of street photography and did an MA in this where I had to show to the ethics committee of the university, that I was not breaching any legal or moral issues. There was no issue at all, but I do think common sense prevails. If you are likely to get thumped, or your kit destroyed because someone is unhappy about having their image captured, then legalities don't really matter. If you're wanting to make money out of such images, then you need model release forms, which mean that you have to have asked permission or get it retrospectively. I found what worked best was to make conversation, explain what I was trying to achieve and then get people to just 'be', getting the shots along the way. Rightly or wrongly though, if you choose to take pictures of people on the streets, kids included, you're within your legal rights to do that. To get those candid shots, I find that using a wide angled lens enables me to get good shots without actually lining up the lens with the person coming towards me. It captures so much information and with good light at around f8 or above, there's great depth of field too.

 

How does this misinformation abound, apparently amongst someone who's studied the subject! You DON'T need model release forms, think about it for a second, how would a paparazzi ever sell a single shot?

 

---------- Post added 18-02-2015 at 08:59 ----------

 

As far as I understand If you are the one taking the picture/video you own the picture/video you only require consent if you ask/request from someone to perform an act at your request. All other images are free to do as you wish (being the owner). However if you have taken images of individual they have the right (if they request) to view the image i.e. Sheffield city councils has to release CCTV footage to you if you believe you have been filmed. That would be a headache for the council and probable shut the CCTV program down if everyone did that.

 

You have to be specific, otherwise they just deny the DPA request on the basis that finding the data is onerous and non-trivial since you can't be specific about what you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlyJ View Post

It's an interesting one this. Legally, there is no need to ask for permission in a public place (unless it's somewhere like Meadowhell, which is owned privately), but morally it's difficult putting a camera into someones face. I have done a bit of street photography and did an MA in this where I had to show to the ethics committee of the university, that I was not breaching any legal or moral issues. There was no issue at all, but I do think common sense prevails. If you are likely to get thumped, or your kit destroyed because someone is unhappy about having their image captured, then legalities don't really matter. If you're wanting to make money out of such images, then you need model release forms, which mean that you have to have asked permission or get it retrospectively. I found what worked best was to make conversation, explain what I was trying to achieve and then get people to just 'be', getting the shots along the way. Rightly or wrongly though, if you choose to take pictures of people on the streets, kids included, you're within your legal rights to do that. To get those candid shots, I find that using a wide angled lens enables me to get good shots without actually lining up the lens with the person coming towards me. It captures so much information and with good light at around f8 or above, there's great depth of field too.

How does this misinformation abound, apparently amongst someone who's studied the subject! You DON'T need model release forms, think about it for a second, how would a paparazzi ever sell a single shot?

 

This is a real grey area for many photographers. From what I understand you are free to take pictures of anybody in a public space, the use of those images is the issue.

 

- Paparazzi don't need releases as the images they take are always from public property and the contents of the image is in the public domain, they are simply recording a public scene is illustrated in the image and does not form part of a commercial activity. Some papers will have either detailed or general releases agreed with celebs/brands which allow them to publish images containing their property. There are issues regarding the use of telephoto lenses which have been highlighted recently but I think that is more to do with privacy.

 

- You will need model release form if you intend to use a persons image for commercial gain, if for instance you are promoting a service or product.

 

- Buildings or signs which contain trademarks also require a property release if they feature prominently in a shot which is then used for commercial purposes. If you shoot a street scene with a Starbucks coffee shop in the background that image will need a release from Starbucks before it can be used commercially and if it doesn't will only be able to be used in certain not for profit sectors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, link to the legislation that mentions release forms of any kind, for any photo taken from public property...

 

You could fall foul of trademark issues if you had a prominent shot of starbucks and were selling coffee, but there is nothing to stop the commercial use of their image, taken from public property for example in a commercial story about the company.

 

The same applies to people. People do not own their image, you do not require any permission to use an image you have taken, no matter who is in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You could fall foul of trademark issues if you had a prominent shot of starbucks and were selling coffee

 

Correct, this would be commercial use of their trademark and would require a release from Starbucks (either for the property or trademark) which wouldn't be granted.

 

but there is nothing to stop the commercial use of their image, taken from public property for example in a commercial story about the company.

 

Correct again but only if the story is classed as Editorial and would not require a release, if you were writing a story for your own commercial gain the above would apply.

 

Releases explained >

 

The same applies to people. People do not own their image, you do not require any permission to use an image you have taken, no matter who is in it.

 

You always need a model release for images featuring identifiable people if you are using it for commercial purposes, see here >

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although laws vary from country to country, more often than not it’s perfectly legal to sell an image of a person or group of people without their permission as long as the photo was taken in a public place.

 

They go on to contradict themselves, but haven't provided any links to any actual legislation that would apply.

 

The only time some form of release or payment would be required would be if there were a contract in place (or implied). Otherwise, there is no requirement for any release.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a world wide organisation they have to be generic as all kinds of region specific legislation will apply, I'm sure they will have done their homework being one of the biggest stock agencies in the world.

 

the only time some form of release or payment would be required would be if there were a contract in place
which falls under commercial use as I said. For editorial or personal use without commercial gain you are fine without releases but even then you need to be careful with other legislation such as intellectual property, anti-terrorism laws etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.

X