Artist asking if they can use my photos

TwinbeesTwinbees Beginner grinnerwww.cassiopeiafall.comPosts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
I wasn't sure where else to post this so apologies in advance if this in the wrong place
For some time now I have been putting up photos on my wordpress blog as inspiration for my work (I'm a jewellery designer and like taking photographs of woodlands and landscapes). Well today i had a landscape painter contact me after I liked one of her painting she put up on her blog. She asked if she could use my photographs and I'm stuck on how to respond! I haven;t had this happen to me before and I'm flattered but whether this is a good idea?

If anyone has any advice or experience of how to approach this feel free to share

Comments

  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Posts: 1,082Registered Users Major grins

    Are you asking whether you should try to make money from it?

    Or just whether to allow someone to share in your art?

    The latter seems a matter for you, really; how could we know?

    The former is a can of worms depending what you want to do, etc.

    Here's the question only you can answer: if you say yes, and they do something grand and sell it for thousands of dollars, will you feel happy and complimented, or short changed. How you answer that may provide the underlying answer to give.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,228Registered Users Major grins

    I'm a little surprised that a painter even asked (Most people wouldn't bother to ask).

    Painters rarely make exact duplicates of a photo, more often use them as inspiration, so selling the image is not the easiest thing for the photographer.

    In all my years I've only had 1 painter ask for a photo for their inspiration and I simply gave it to them for a copy of the final painting.

    I personally believe that you should always charge for an image, whether that is cash or barter or something else that you value.

    Now to idea that Ferguson put forth about what happens if the painter is successful using your image as inspiration is not something that I would suggest that you bother to consider. If she markets her paintings better than you can market your photos, that is your fault, not hers.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Posts: 1,082Registered Users Major grins

    As best I can tell from the OP's site, she is not a commercial photographer (as in sells photos now). So taking money for them is a decision to become a business. Maybe I misunderstood, of course.

  • TwinbeesTwinbees Beginner grinner www.cassiopeiafall.comPosts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    @Ferguson Thats correct, I'm not a commercial photographer, I currently do this as a hobby. To have someone inspired by your pictures enough to want to paint them is definitely a compliment. I guess what i would like (if their intention is to sell their paintings based on my original work) is that they acknowledge me in some way. If they can make lots of money from it then thats great for them!

    > @"Cygnus Studios" said:
    > I'm a little surprised that a painter even asked (Most people wouldn't bother to ask).
    >
    > Painters rarely make exact duplicates of a photo, more often use them as inspiration, so selling the image is not the easiest thing for the photographer.
    >
    > In all my years I've only had 1 painter ask for a photo for their inspiration and I simply gave it to them for a copy of the final painting.
    >
    > I personally believe that you should always charge for an image, whether that is cash or barter or something else that you value.
    >
    > Now to idea that Ferguson put forth about what happens if the painter is successful using your image as inspiration is not something that I would suggest that you bother to consider. If she markets her paintings better than you can market your photos, that is your fault, not hers.

    It would be nice to have a copy of their painting, that would be a nice exchange. My fault? not really sure what you mean. if someone can be inspired to make great paintings based on it and is linked back to my work then that can be a good for both of us.
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Posts: 1,082Registered Users Major grins

    @Twinbees said:
    @Ferguson Thats correct, I'm not a commercial photographer, I currently do this as a hobby. To have someone inspired by your pictures enough to want to paint them is definitely a compliment. I guess what i would like (if their intention is to sell their paintings based on my original work) is that they acknowledge me in some way. If they can make lots of money from it then thats great for them!

    Exactly. There are some who would be greatly bothered by that, threatening law suits. Others would be greatly complimented.

    Sounds like you are the latter (who I think are nicer people also!). Sounds like the answer (+/- asking for some token/acknowledgement) is "go for it".

    Who knows, you might like the result so much YOU buy it!

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,228Registered Users Major grins

    @Twinbees said:
    My fault? not really sure what you mean. if someone can be inspired to make great paintings based on it and is linked back to my work then that can be a good for both of us.

    My point was not to worry about what someone else can do with their image (painting/photography/etc) even if you were the inspiration. Do what you do, do it better than others and don't concern yourself with the what if's when it comes to others.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 18,921Super Moderators moderator
    edited May 1, 2017

    The one caveat I would be concerned about, in addition to what has been discussed so far, is the limit of rights including transferability of said rights.

    If you don't explicitly and expressly limit rights, the artist may attempt to further expand upon their gains by making copies of their artwork. If, for example, you give them rights to make an original sketch, painting, etc., they may also infer that they can photograph/scan their artwork to use for derivative work, greeting cards, for example. Selling a photograph of their artwork could also become part of stock photography as well, unless you restrict that use. You should also limit transferability at most to only that individual, and not to any studio, heirs, or other individuals.

    Whatever you decide to do, put it in writing and have them sign a copy to return to you (making sure that it is written not to be construed as a contract until you receive the signed copy). A contract, either simple or complex, defines these things into a tangible document, which protects both yourself and the artist wishing to derive from your work.


    If you should decide that your work may be considered "public domain", that's OK and very altruistic, but it should be your choice and not a byproduct of misuse by others.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,228Registered Users Major grins

    @ziggy53 said:
    The one caveat I would be concerned about, in addition to what has been discussed so far, is the limit of rights including transferability of said rights.

    If you don't explicitly and expressly limit rights, the artist may attempt to further expand upon their gains by making copies of their artwork. If, for example, you give them rights to make an original sketch, painting, etc., they may also infer that they can photograph/scan their artwork to use for derivative work, greeting cards, for example. Selling a photograph of their artwork could also become part of stock photography as well, unless you restrict that use. You should also limit transferability at most to only that individual, and not to any studio, heirs, or other individuals.

    Whatever you decide to do, put it in writing and have them sign a copy to return to you (making sure that it is written not to be construed as a contract until you receive the signed copy). A contract, either simple or complex, defines these things into a tangible document, which protects both yourself and the artist wishing to derive from your work.


    If you should decide that your work may be considered "public domain", that's OK and very altruistic, but it should be your choice and not a byproduct of misuse by others.

    Now you've just opened a brand new can of worms :p (this is why I love the business side so much).

    If you choose to limit rights (which is a good idea most of the time) you now have to monitor those rights, on top of getting the contract correct. Always remember that any ambiguity in a contract favors the person who did not write it.

    Not only do you have to watch the person who is buying the image, but potentially anyone else who may be using it, especially those bigger commercial entities that love to scoop up images hoping that no one notices.

    I personally never recommend that a photographer write their own or grab some random contract off the internet specifically for that reason. Should there be a contract dispute, someone is going to have to argue that point in court and rarely do lawyers argue something that they didn't write.

    On top of all that, once you charge, technically you are a business and can be subject to the rules that apply to businesses. Should the argument over rights get ugly (and yes it does happen from time to time) then other cans of worms get opened up and it never ends well for those who were only looking to make a couple of bucks.

    If the business of photography were easy, everyone would be doing it.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Posts: 1,082Registered Users Major grins

    Or decide it's just one of many photographs you have, that you are not in the business to make money, and if it got a bit more widely used it's just a bigger compliment.

    It's really up to you.

    There are real, serious damages some photographers incur when their valuable photos are stolen and/or mis-used. Loss of profits they could have actually made. There are nasty people out there who have no ethics, and many of the "people" are big companies. Cases of outright, explicit theft, often because they figure their deep pockets thrump the photographers' rights. Awful.

    But... and not to minimize that... for most of us, if someone steals a photo and uses it because it was good, we actually do not incur any real monetary damage. We might be annoyed, we might be complemented. Depends. But constructing elaborate licensing, especially retaining an attorney, to protect what we are not using for a business can be quite expensive, complicated, and ultimately... do you care enough for that expense and trouble? Would you really sue? Will the painter just see what's happening and run away?

    Another option is say "thanks for the compliment, please don't use it for other purposes", shake hands, and be happy.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,228Registered Users Major grins

    @Ferguson said:
    There are real, serious damages some photographers incur when their valuable photos are stolen and/or mis-used. Loss of profits they could have actually made. There are nasty people out there who have no ethics, and many of the "people" are big companies. Cases of outright, explicit theft, often because they figure their deep pockets thrump the photographers' rights. Awful.

    Perfectly said.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • Ball3011Ball3011 USPosts: 10Registered Users Big grins

    This one has been quiet for a little while, but interesting story...

    I read this one with interest... I had a crazy situation, where a Tattoo artist in Las Vegas actually contacted me to let me know (sort of ask permission) that he had a client that had one of my instagram photos (not one that is on my website) of Yellowstone that she wanted to have on her calf. My initial thoughts were all over the place from being impressed that the Tattoo artist took the time to go from instagram to my webpage to my contact info and reach out before starting, (he could have lost $$), then interested in how it would turn out and then the business side. Also, the lower falls of the Yellowstone are far from "uniquely" photographed. I simply thanked him for reaching out and asked him to shoot over an image of the final product!

    My longer point here is that there are multiple "situations" and each must be managed individually based on the information available. A local paper looking to use my image in a story is different than a one off individual in a Tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. :)

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,228Registered Users Major grins

    @Ball3011 said:
    My longer point here is that there are multiple "situations" and each must be managed individually based on the information available. A local paper looking to use my image in a story is different than a one off individual in a Tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. :)

    Life would be easier if there were a one size fits all answer. On every forum sooner or later someone will bring up a topic like this. Someone either wants to use their image or someone stole their image.

    Lots of people love to jump on the easy answer, charge them or sue them. There is nothing wrong with these answers, but they are not exactly simple. Getting paid for a generic image isn't all that easy. Suing someone is never easy, quick or cheap.

    The best answer is to do what is right for you. Sure I wish that every photographer would severely punish the thieves, but I also know first hand how hard and expensive that is.

    Steve

    Website | Gear
  • toragstorags Major grins Posts: 4,019Registered Users Major grins

    Maybe the cost of enforcement of a copy-write image should be considered

    I don't think it's worth the cost.

    If they make gazillions on it then sue them, at least you have an upside

    Big companies frequently use other companies patents without permission and the injured companies wait until they can prove value lost

    Apple vs Samsung comes to mind, but there are many others

    Rags
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