When do you need a photo release and when is it okay to photograph without special permissions?
By Bob Krist
Tear a whole stack of hats. We’re image makers, color-management experts, IT nerds and digital-asset managers. The hat that fits me the worst, and seems to confuse a large majority of shooters, amateur and pro alike, is that of the legal eagle.
We live in the most litigious society on earth, and we produce images that are whipped around the planet on the Internet, subject to being co-opted, misappropriated, misused or objected to, all in real time. The legal aspects of making and displaying images, once the exclusive headache of professional photographers, is now a concern for every photo enthusiast who shoots a picture on the street or in a park and posts it to a website or displays it as a print. The questions raised are legion: When do I need a release? What protection is afforded me by the copyright law? How do I prevent infringement? Where and when am I allowed to take a picture? It’s enough to make you jump up and say, "I object, your honor!"