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Q: Photo Permissions ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Photo Permissions
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: photographer116-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 16 Feb 2005 13:51 PST
Expires: 18 Mar 2005 13:51 PST
Question ID: 475646
I'm trying to figure out some issues around photo permissions.

I take photos at a public events (competitions) where I have a Press
Pass.  I want to produce posters, books, etc of these photos.  Some of
the photos are of hundreds of people, some are of individuals.

Do I need the individuals permission to use thier image?  Even if they
are in a competitions?  What about in the photos with dozens or
hundreds of people?  Do these people need to sign a release?  Do I
need to pay them?

Do I need permission from the events?  Do I have pay the event for
rights to use images from thier event?

Subject: Re: Photo Permissions
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 16 Feb 2005 14:25 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello photographer116~

It is legal to photograph in public places, without permission. That
includes photos of public places, and people within those public
places. However, many photographers ask permission, anyway, as a

If you?re shooting a large crowd, you cannot ask everyone?s
permission--and (as already mentioned) legally, you are not required
to do so.

In private places, you?ll need to ask permission to photograph the
site; however, it would be rare that you'd have to pay a fee for this.
In addition, anyplace a person might feel the right to privacy, you
must request their permission to photograph.

Whenever possible, the permission should be obtained in writing?just
in case. Nothing fancy is required. Something as simple as ?I, John
Doe, grant photographer Jane Smith the right to photograph me and use
my image. I acknowledge that I?ll receive no compensation for this.?
Then have them sign and date it.

For a sample of a more elaborate permission form, see the Iowa State
University website:

or this form, used by the Scouts:

For further information on photographing buildings, see ?Starting
Architectural Photography? at

For a more detailed explanation of the laws regarding photographing in
public, I recommend ?Legal Handbook for Photographers? by Bert Krages:

The author of this book also offers a brief handout about the rights
of photographers:

I hope this answers your question fully; if, however, something is
unclear, please don?t hesitate to request a clarification before
rating this Answer.

Kind regards,

Photographers legal
Photo permission form

Request for Answer Clarification by photographer116-ga on 17 Feb 2005 05:57 PST
So I can take thier picture, but can I use it commerically?

And what are the issues around the event sponsors?  For example, if
I'm at a NFL game, do I have to have those teams permission?  If I'm
at a Rodeo, do I need the arena or sponsoring groups permission?

Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 17 Feb 2005 07:48 PST
Yes, you can use the photos commercially.

If you?re at an NFL game you will absolutely want to request
permission, because the NFL is very tight with such things. For other
events, if they are public, you legally don?t need to ask, but you may
wish to, out of courtesy. Also, I have found that if I request
permission, I am sometimes given special advantages?like better,
closer seats.

The general rule is: If it?s public, no permission needed. If it might
be construed as private, get permission. (Government areas usually
also require special permission.)

I hope this clarifies things!


Request for Answer Clarification by photographer116-ga on 17 Feb 2005 12:46 PST
Ok, so how do you define public verus private event?  

If the public is invited but has to pay an admission, is that still public?

Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 17 Feb 2005 14:11 PST
I don't believe there is a pat answer to what is public and what is
not. (This is discussed in great detail in Krages' "Legal Handbook for
Photographers.") But generally, if people must pay to get in, I would
call it private.


Request for Answer Clarification by photographer116-ga on 18 Feb 2005 07:49 PST
I'm still confused on the public/private.  I've ordered the book, hope
that clears it up.

Thanks for the help.

Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 19 Feb 2005 16:00 PST
It's understandable that you may find this confusing, because the fact
of the matter is, there is no hard and fast rule. But if people pay to
get into the event, or if you feel it is probably not a public place,
then you should cover your behind by asking for permission.

photographer116-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

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