Dan Heller Photography: Model Release Primer

This looks like some excellent information about model releases, which will probably come in handy for any of you photographers out there who are planning on shooting portraits for groups such as “100 Strangers” on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/)…

Before we begin, let’s test your basic understanding of when a photo needs to have a model release:

  1. Do I need a release for a photo I took of someone in a public place?
  2. Should I get a release even if the person in the photo is unrecognizable?
  3. Does profiting from the sale of a picture trigger the need for a release?
  4. I’m going to put on a public display. Is a release required?
  5. What if the person is dead?
  6. Do I need a release if the subject is naked?
  7. I have tons of pictures of my ex-girlfriend. Can she sue me if I sold them?
  8. I own a portrait studio. Do I need clients to sign releases?
  9. I took a lot of pictures as a hobby, and now I want to sell them. Do I need releases for all my pictures of people?

To score your knowledge, give yourself one point for each item you answered “Yes,” and two points for each item you answered “No.” In fact, make it three points. Now, total up all your points. If your score is above zero, you have a lot to learn about model releases.

Yes, none of these questions have an answer at all, and no, these were not trick questions. These are the most common questions I get from people just like you. The reason the questions have no answer is because none indicate a use for the image in question. Unless and until there is a specific use for a photo, there is no answer. In fact, it doesn’t even make sense to ask the question in the first place. So, if you have already shot pictures, or you are about to shoot them, and you’re concerned about whether you need a release for the pictures you shoot, the answer starts out no. However, if you plan to license the pictures to someone for publication, then a release may be necessary.

And here is where the wonderful world of Grey opens up to you. Is the image to be used in an advertisement? Or, is the image to be used in conjunction with an article in a magazine or newspaper? Understanding the difference between images used commercially or in editorial contexts is only the beginning. And while many people clearly understand that those differences exist, it’s the over-simplification of them that gives a false perception on what you actually need to do. There is a tizzy of what-if’s and exceptions that go to the very core of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. And once you go there, Whoa Nelly! You’re in for some serious, eye-glazingly boring, sleepy time.

To save you from that, I’m going to try to characterize this stuff in ways that are fun, simple, and will make you a millionaire.

Ok, maybe not. But it’ll be easier to understand. The reason why any of this is discussed to the degree that it is, is rooted in one of the most perpetuated fears about photography: that the photographer can get sued unless he gets a signed model release from the people (or properties) he photographs. The source of this anxiety is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the law: they think photographer’s are the ones who are responsible because they take the photo and sell it to someone. But that’s actually not where the real concern is. To address that, let’s ask the most basic question, “who is ultimately responsible for a photo being released?”

(continued via Dan Heller Photography – Model Release Primer)

Scout: William WM

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1. Chihuly, 2. So You Think You Can Dance?, 3. Burden In My Hand, 4. Bold Statement, 5. Shadowplay, 6. The Usual Scene, 7. They Came From Above, 8. The Couple (HDR), 9. City Lights, 10. Orange Slices, 11. Health Notice!, 12. Blue, 13. IMG_3019, 14. IMG_8998, 15. Mt. St. Helens, 16. IMG_6380, 17. Frenchbread Is Coming, 18. Ripples, 19. Blur, 20. Super Macro Purple!, 21. Get in!

dPS: 10 Really Useful Flickr Greasemonkey Userscripts

All of these are excellent scripts, and many of them are available in the Better Flickr extension from Gina Trapani at Lifehacker, but my favorite by far is the Flickr Follow Comments plugin which makes that atrocity of a page into something sane and manageable.

Flickr, are you listening? The “Comments You’ve Made” page sucks hard. (Otherwise, I love Flickr to death, and everything else is somewhere in the range of pretty good to awesome.)🙂

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This post on Useful Flickr Userscripts has been submitted by Martin Gommel. You can see his work at his is a Flickr account and his blog KWERFELDEIN.

Userscripts are add-ons for the Firefox web browser, which dynamically enhance the communication and visualization of certain websites.

To be able to use these scripts you need to have installed greasemonkey on Firefox – this enables and manages the userscripts. If you have greasemonkey in Firefox you can install and use these userscripts instantly.

(via 10 Really Useful Flickr Greasemonkey Userscripts)

Photojojo: DIY Flash Diffuser

I posted a related link back in March (Pop-up Flash), but I just recently tried it out and found it to be so useful that it was worth reposting:

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Harsh, unflattering flash got you down? Grab an old roll of film and make it all better.

Follow Flickr user natuurplaat’s lead, and turn an old film canister into a flash diffuser! A few strategic cuts make it easy to slip the canister onto your pop-up flash, and voila! Soft, beautiful lighting.

Keep reading and we’ll show you how to make your very own little piece of genius.

(continued via Photojojo: Film Canister Flash Diffuser)

Flickr Explore FAQ (from Big Huge Labs)

This is a great reference on what Flickr Explore is, what Interestingness is, and how to understand both:

What is Explore?

Explore is a Flickr feature with the intent of showing you “some of the most awesome photos on Flickr.” Photos are automatically selected by computer according to a secret algorithm called Interestingness (see below for more about that).

Is Explore a showcase for the top Flickr photographers?

No. It’s for photo viewers, not the photographers. It exists so that, at any moment, anyone who wants to view interesting photos can go to Explore and have a reasonable chance of seeing something interesting. Does that imply that photographs not in Explore are uninteresting? Of course not. There are many, many wonderful photos uploaded to Flickr each day that aren’t selected for Explore. But to serve its purpose, Explore only has to include a small sampling of all of the photos on Flickr (currently at 500 per day or about 0.005% of the daily upload volume). And Explore tries to show photos from as many different people as possible to create a diverse selection.

Explore is for the viewers. It’s a way for Flickr to show the world a sampling of what is being shared there. It’s there for those who are new to Flickr, who are lost in the vastness of it all and don’t know where to begin. It is not a “best of” listing of photographers. It is not a popularity contest.

What is Interestingness?

Interestingness is what Flickr calls the criteria used for selecting which photos are shown in Explore. All photos are given an Interestingness “score” that can also be used to sort any image search on Flickr. The top 500 photos ranked by Interestingness are shown in Explore. Interestingness rankings are calculated automatically by a secret computer algorithm. The algorithm is often referred to by name as the Interestingness algorithm. Although the algorithm is secret, Flickr has stated that many factors go into calculating Interestingness including: a photo’s tags, how many groups the photo is in, views, favorites, where click-throughs are coming from, who comments on a photo and when, and more. The velocity of any of those components is a key factor. For example, getting 20 comments in an hour counts much higher than getting 20 comments in a week.

(continued via Frequently Asked Questions / Scout)

Wired Multimedia: Japan’s Hottest Celebrity Bloggers

Do you need any more info?😉

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If you go to Japan and tell people you’re a blogger, they might assume you’re a celebrity. While blogs are making incredible headway as a source of credible information in the United States, in Japan they are mostly thought of as high-profile diaries.

“It’s an evolution of Japan’s diary culture,” which dates back to the 8th century, says Ichiro Kiyota, an editor at Gizmodo Japan. “Celebrities say things on blogs that they can’t tell the mainstream media, and we all read it so we can get to know them better.”

Japan’s celebrity bloggers run the gamut in terms of popularity and topics they write about, but they have several things in common: They’re good-looking, they’re geeky and they love to blog. Here are our 10 faves.

(continued via Gallery: Japan’s Hottest Celebrity Bloggers)