Intellectual Property

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Link Posted 23/09/2012 - 17:55
Good afternoon all

Some of you on this forum may already know me, but for those of you that don't : I am an artistic photographer and peruse it as a hobby, I studied photography at both College and University under John Blakemore and feel myself that I am very talented, technically and artistically, (but the latter is purely subjective).

I have offered my services to a family member whom has started his own Wedding Photography business. I have been ‘Second Photographer’ for 11 weddings and 4 engagement shoots thus far. I have also offered my time for the foreseeable future. I not asked for payment for my time or images and have told my cousin that he may use the images on the condition that I am credited wherever they appear.

As some of you may be established Photographers within the ‘Wedding Photography Community’ I was hoping I may ask your advice.

I am finding a large number of my images on the internet unaccredited. They appear on my cousins Facebook page as well as his website which he uses to promote his work.

When someone offers themselves as second photographer for a day, where do they stand in terms of their images? Is intellectual property ownership discussed and agreed beforehand? Is image usage rights discussed? And of course do you credit the volunteer that came to work with you?
Are there any ‘unwritten rules’ regarding this? For example: in exchange for valuable experience with a world renowned pro, the second photographer has certain ‘hoops to jump through’ and thus surrenders any rights to their own images?

I would be very grateful if anyone with experience or knowledge in this grey area could clarify this topic for me, and outline in brief how you approach this subject with people whom wish to come and work with you. Or what you would expect yourself. Do you credit them should you use an image of theirs? Or are they aware that they will not receive credit as it is agreed beforehand; as this is the currency of trade in exchange for your giving them an opportunity to see how you work?

Is the second photographer permitted to display the images they shot on the day to promote their own photographic artistry? Are there certain restrictions on this? And also what would you expect should you imagine yourself in my position giving your time to someone (irrespective of the personal relationship) whom is very unestablished, and only just starting out in the business.
I welcome any feedback and advice on this issue, both from an ethical stand point and should anyone have any legal knowledge in this area, please, I would also be grateful to hear from you.

And thank you all for the time you have taken to read this


If you are curious to see a small selection of my Wedding Photography, please follow this link
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Pentax Photo Gallery

"Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong" Carl Sagan


Link Posted 23/09/2012 - 18:21
I would think that you would be regarded as just an assistant or employee and the work belongs to whoever commissioned it and that as an employee you have no rights in the matter. Your cousin might have an agreement with his client that he can show any of the work that his firm have taken, but that's between him and his client.

I'd just forget about it there are millions of wedding photos out there and non of them are anything special to anyone other than the couple and their family.
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff



Link Posted 23/09/2012 - 18:26
Your cousin is the photographer as regards the client, but the most important thing I would think is not to have any falling out with a family member.

If you don't want to give up the recognition of your work, then under these circumstances I would maybe think about whether it isn't better just not to do it. People do post images on facebook that they shouldn't, but when it's family it's a technicality really.

My family post pictures that I take, and they are welcome to. I'm glad they enjoy them enough to want to share them.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 23/09/2012 - 18:28
As Algi states, if you are working for (or deemed to be working for) another person they generally any IP would belong with them.

Whether or not you are working for them is a matter for lawyers, but my totally non-legal opinion is that you are working for your cousin therefore the copyright belongs to him.

He should already have an agreement with the couples about what they are allowed to do with the photographs. Some allow a one-time fee for unlimited copies, others state that all hard-copies must be paid for. There are no rules other than to what the two parties agree.

The only way to avoid ambiguity between you and your cousin is to have a written agreement in place stating who owns the copyright and whether your name should appear.
My Photobucket


Link Posted 23/09/2012 - 18:33
greynolds999 wrote:

The only way to avoid ambiguity between you and your cousin is to have a written agreement in place stating who owns the copyright and whether your name should appear.


If your serious about getting into the business you have to have everything on a professional footing. Think you need to forget the past, but protect the future. Good luck.



Link Posted 23/09/2012 - 19:13
Stew the problem you have is the photographer is using your images to promote his business, how can he do that if he needs to put your credit to the photographs???

Your first mistake was not getting a contract sorted in the first place.
Your second mistake was shooting for credit only.

Without a proper contract of employment drawn up leaves lots of ambiguity like this.

Working for credit is a pointless exercise, only other photographers read photo credits.

If I was you I would draw a line under the situation and either ask to be paid per shoot or from the sale of your images and forget the credit.

I would also ask if you are allowed to use images for portfolio or self promotion, it is generally accepted when working for a company any IP created during employment belongs to the employer, this is why you need to be paid for your work and removes all doubts.

When I employ second shooters I have a very basic contract of employment that states copyright and rights to the IP etc belong to me. Whilst photographers are allowed to use images for portfolio they are not allowed to use images for any business venture or business promotion.
PPG Wedding photography Flickr
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Currently on a Pentax hiatus until an FF Pentax is released
Last Edited by cabstar on 23/09/2012 - 19:13


Link Posted 24/09/2012 - 08:47
I wouldn't get in a stew about this, it's a wedding - sell the package, shoot the wedding, sell some prints and move on to the next one. After six months I erase the files anyway because they take up too much space and it is unlikely that more prints will be needed. When it was film we offered the bride the option of purchasing the negs and 99% of the time we binned them.

Credits? Who honestly cares? You can't really expect every publication or web site to credit you.

If you are second shooter then the pics belong the the photographer and his client. He could if he was generous or particularly stupid allow you use them to presumably steal future work from him.

As far as the poll is concerned, you'll find that major clients like the BBC will insist that they have the copyright
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -
Last Edited by gartmore on 24/09/2012 - 08:49


Link Posted 24/09/2012 - 10:30
A few valid points have been made here.

IP is overrated (unless you are Amazon, Google, Apple, etc). We live in a digital age and everyone steals. If you saw a photo on Flickr and decided it would make a nice screensaver would you really contact the photographer and ask how much he wanted to be paid for your use?
My Photobucket


Link Posted 24/09/2012 - 16:00
greynolds999 wrote:
IP is overrated (unless you are Amazon, Google, Apple, etc). We live in a digital age and everyone steals.

I appreciate that the sky won't fall in in this particular instance, but in general IP is not overrated. Individuals benefit from it, not just multinationals. Many people rely on it to protect their livelihood. You are right that the digital turn has put it under unprecedented pressure; but unless it or something very like it is respected, it's difficult to see how many kinds of endeavour could keep going.
Regards, Christopher



Link Posted 24/09/2012 - 17:34
Oddly enough, I've just come across this in a different context. The difference seems to revolve around whether you're employed or contracted. Here are the relevant two pages on the IPO site: employees & contractors

The important lesson I learned was not about copyright but that legal guff can rot your brain...
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