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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> releases needed?
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05/05/2006 02:43:25 PM · #1
I've been asked by the parent committee of my daughter's ballet studio to take pictures on a regular basis of the kids practicing etc. I plan to let parents order prints etc. and they are the only one's I'd be selling the prints to. Do I need a release for everyone I shoot?

My concern is that some parents might be concerned about a release because it turns it from a casual thing to a more commercial enterprise in which case I could see some people saying no (paranoia is so rampant these days). Not being able to shoot xyz kid could be a real hassle in a group situation like this.

They are private lessons but the studio is open to the public and obviously I do have permission from the head of the studio to shoot.

My only real concern is in the sue happy world we live in (well, at least America) I'd hate for some opportunistic parent to take advantage of the situation if I should have gotten releases.

Message edited by author 2006-05-05 14:43:53.
05/05/2006 02:48:02 PM · #2
you need a release if you (or the ballet studio) plan on using them comercially. (in other words to promote the studio) if youre just selling prints to parents then no. :0)

edit to say- you might want to ask for a release after the fact. some parents are thrilled at the idea of thier children going into print or a brochure or something.

Message edited by author 2006-05-05 14:49:33.
05/05/2006 02:59:52 PM · #3
Originally posted by oOWonderBreadOo:

you need a release if you (or the ballet studio) plan on using them comercially. (in other words to promote the studio) if youre just selling prints to parents then no. :0)

edit to say- you might want to ask for a release after the fact. some parents are thrilled at the idea of thier children going into print or a brochure or something.


Or if you use them to promote your photography.

"Commercial use" basically means that the photograph is used to promote a product or service. Selling a photo is not necessarily commercial use, even if it sold to a complete stranger.

*Disclaimer: I am by no means a legal authority, this is simply my personal understanding and interpretation based upon a reasonable amount of study of United States policy. Neither did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

EDIT - It would be possible in some cases for use on a website intended to promote the dance studio to be included in a "commercial" definition.

Message edited by author 2006-05-05 15:01:24.
05/05/2006 03:02:27 PM · #4
I work on a school. Everytime we take video- or photo's from the kids, we ask the parents who DON'T want their kids on it, to send a small note back to us.

then we know who can't be on film. most of the times we get nothing back from the parents (because they're too lazy to answer the small note ;))
05/05/2006 03:09:26 PM · #5
In my decidedly non-legal opinion, selling them to parents is a commercial endeavour.

That said, if it's pretty small-time (a dozen kids?) I wouldn't sweat it.
05/05/2006 03:12:56 PM · #6
I would get permission from the parents anyway. You could indicate on the release form what the purpose of the images is (promotion of studio and sale of prints to parents).
05/05/2006 03:16:56 PM · #7
Originally posted by photomikey:

In my decidedly non-legal opinion, selling them to parents is a commercial endeavour.

That said, if it's pretty small-time (a dozen kids?) I wouldn't sweat it.


It is a commercial endeavor, but it is NOT a commercial USAGE of a photograph. There's a difference. Selling photos to a newspaper is a commercial endeavor, but it's not a commercial usage.

Again, somebody call a darn lawyer. None of us know what the poopy we're talking about, really.
05/05/2006 03:30:37 PM · #8
Originally posted by nards656:

Again, somebody call a darn lawyer. None of us know what the poopy we're talking about, really.

You're doing fine. : )

Law books (USA only) for the "regular person" are available at Nolo Press
05/05/2006 03:54:05 PM · #9
this is actually one case where I do know what I'm talking about (even tho usually I don't!!!) :0P
I've worked for an editorial/commerical/assignment/stock/allthatkindastuff photographer for over 10 years now & do these kind of contracts all the time. I just sometimes have problems explaining myself so if you have any questions feel free to PM me :0)
~Laura
05/05/2006 04:05:48 PM · #10
Originally posted by oOWonderBreadOo:

this is actually one case where I do know what I'm talking about (even tho usually I don't!!!) :0P
I've worked for an editorial/commerical/assignment/stock/allthatkindastuff photographer for over 10 years now & do these kind of contracts all the time. I just sometimes have problems explaining myself so if you have any questions feel free to PM me :0)
~Laura


I think you and I agree about this, but I know that popular perception can sometimes be warped, which is actually the root of most frivolous lawsuits.

And on top of that, I am very often, simply, wrong. :)


Message edited by author 2006-05-05 16:11:02.
05/05/2006 04:06:44 PM · #11
Originally posted by oOWonderBreadOo:

you need a release if you (or the ballet studio) plan on using them commercially. (in other words to promote the studio) if you're just selling prints to parents then no. :0)

edit to say- you might want to ask for a release after the fact. some parents are thrilled at the idea of their children going into print or a brochure or something.


great! thank you, it's just for like 10-12 parents but I hope to pick up some side work from it all (the parents hiring me for other stuff or referring me to friends).

If I wanted to use some of the pics in a portfolio to show potential clients, would that be considered promotion and therefore require a release?

Having dealt with these parents in the past I know some of them can be kind of skid-dish and I just don't want to mess up a good opportunity.
05/05/2006 04:13:05 PM · #12
Originally posted by Megatherian:


If I wanted to use some of the pics in a portfolio to show potential clients, would that be considered promotion and therefore require a release?


Definitely. No question. Get a release, and make sure they sign AND print their full freaking name. Make sure the release indicates that they are a parent with custody rights or a full legal guardianship.

Seriously. Never publish anything promotional without full releases from any recognizable person.
05/05/2006 04:20:54 PM · #13
OK, here it goes.

You don't need releases to sell prints to the parents.

IF, you want to use them to promote yourself and your business you WILL need a parental release form.

But, that can be done after the fact. Offer the parents a couple of free prints for signing the release. This works out real well for both you and them.
05/05/2006 04:46:54 PM · #14
I need a release big time!

Oh... hold on a sec... Hmmmm... Ahhhhh... Uh, never mind!
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