The Travel Photographer has been on a roll the last few days. On Friday he posted a short article about Model Releases, on Saturday an article about the censorship of war photographers, and on Sunday, an article about photographing people and the need for relationships. All good stuff. The article on model releases reminded me to finally post my thoughts – I get at least a couple emails a week asking me how I approach this subject.
Q:Do I use model releases when I shoot internationally.
A: Sometimes. When I shoot for a client, like World Vision, and they ask for signed consent, we get it. It’s not always easy, but we have field staff who speak the language and usually the hardest part is just tracking down the actual legal guardian of children we’ve photographed. But when I travel on my own and shoot for my portfolio or no specific client, I do not release my images. My rational is similar to that of Tewfic El-Sawy – it’s just not feasable, or even appropriate sometimes. How do you deal with people who are iliterate? What about child-headed households in Africa? What about plain old language barriers?
Doesn’t this prevent me from selling certain images to certain clients? Yes it does, and I’m ok with that. In the end the question is not “should I get my images released?” it’s “does my intended use or client require that I have a release?” If the answer is yes, then you need releases or you need to change your expectations for the uses of your images.
There’s some good discussion about all this going on these days over at Scott Kelby’s blog, and the input is coming from experts, not just other photographers with opinions. Start HERE.
Speaking of Scott Kelby – check in on his blog today (Monday), rumour has it he’s making a big announcement about August 23. I’ll recap it once it’s been made public, but you’re going to want to get in on this if you can. Scott’s blog HERE.