Should Photographers provide images or prints to Models?

The quick answer to this is: Depends.

If the Photographer pays the model for the shoot –

Then all of the images belong to the Photographer.  The Model was paid for her modeling time.  She has no claim to the images.  If she should decide that she wants images for her portfolio, website, or other use, she can pay for the images just like anyone other client.

  • However, one thing that I personally do for Models I work with is If I end up with Tear Sheets from our shoot then I will usually give her a copy as a courtesy.  I am not obligated to do so though unless that is specifically spelled out in the original shoot agreement. 

If the Model pays the Photographer for the shoot –

Then the images are hers.  The Photographer still owns the Copyright but the Model has a full right to use any of the images from the shoot as spelled out in the Shooting Contract.

  • I personally do not require or need Tear Sheets or credit attached to the images.  I also do not watermark these images in any way.

** Editing these images: Unless our original Shooting Contract specifically spells out details about editing the images, they are the Models to do with as she sees fit.  Since my name (and reputation) is not being attached to these images I don’t have a concern about their editing.

Details –

When working with Models all shoots should be planned in advance and all of the details spelled out in some form of Contract or document and agreed upon by all parties involved, (not JUST a Model Release).  Who pays, or who doesn’t pay, TF*, $$, clothing (wish list) trades, or other options, all need to be spelled out and agreed upon in advance.  Contracts should also cover Copyrights, Watermarks, distribution and usage rights.  Also, delivery times for the images (if necessary) should be spelled out. 

These should all be spelled out and agreed upon in advance of the shoot.

Editing an Image!

I decided to try playing with an image the other night. I did some coloring, tinting, softening, mosaic, and other things. I did 8 different variations on this image:

Changed the background
Changed the background | Softened her edges
Blurred the rocks – background and foreground
Tinted the background
Random tinting on background | Tiled part of image
Tiled part of image | Twisted tiles | Left her untouched
Tiled portions of image and laid tiles at angles
My Personal Favorite! Tiled the image | Twisted and stacked the tiles


Where are Your Photographs?

What do you do with your photos? Are you still shooting film or are you shooting digital? If you are shooting digital are you storing your images on your memory card or on your computer? Maybe burning them to CDs? These are all good ways to store your images for the short term but they aren’t easy to share with family and friends. And, if something happens to your storage medium (whether a disk, harddrive, or memory card) you could lose all these images forever.

Todays generation is probably going to be a lost generation. There aren’t going to be images of kids growing up today. These images are going to be lost to time. The digital revolution has taken over and people are shooting more pictures than ever before but they aren’t printing them. With cameras built into cellphones, photos being stored on Ipods, and all the photos that are E-Mailed there aren’t going to be any prints around in the next few years. As people E-Mail their images, or store them on their harddrives, these images don’t get printed. They aren’t going to be available for future generations to see.

Previous generations shot photos on film. When they got these processed they had prints. Sometimes the images just ended up in shoe boxes, but a lot of times they ended up in albums. Either way, there was a printed photo that created a permanent record. These albums and shoeboxes have been handed down from generation to generation. I don’t see how this can possibly happen with E-Mailed images and JPGs stored on harddrives.

Many people still shoot film today. These people will have prints of all their photos. These prints have the ability to be passed on to future generations. This holds true for the digital shooters that print their images and create albums or scrapbook.

Scrapbooking has grown a lot over the last few years. Scrapbooks, wedding albums and memory albums are all great ways to share images and save memories for the future. With the thousands of scrapbooking products available I see this as a great way to save and share images.

It seems to me that the ease of digital shooting has created its own problems. Without making prints you don’t have any permanence. Negatives from the 1800s can still be printed today, but will someone in the year 2100 be able to print from a CD or a SmartMedia card? I don’t think so.

Most labs now offer 4″ x 6″ prints for under twenty cents a piece. With digital you can pick and choose which prints you like and at twenty cents (or less) there really isn’t a reason to not be making prints. Don’t lose the memories, find your images no matter where they are and get some prints made. Years from now you will be glad you did.

The Photographer’s Eye