Suggestions on photos and permission for use...
by Gary Cole

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Many have asked how does one go about receiving permission to take a photo and use it for their own commercial purposes. Therefore, I'm going to tackle this topic from two viewpoints. The first will be how I deal with it and the other is perhaps how someone that is more meticulous than I might handle it. Between the two everyone should receive what they want. Of course modify the form to your liking. With that said, I remind you I am not an attorney and if you have real concerns you should seek the advice of legal counsel.

In this day and age of creeps taking advantage of little children, I can understand how some mothers (or fathers) would not like to have a photo of their child posted to an internet site or posted in a face painting book that is going to be used by the public. In our case, we generally like to take photos of those faces that best represent the myriad of faces we can paint on a child. Every once in a while the child will make a special request to have their face painted like a "whatever" and you are in a good mood so you do it. Once done you look at your "whatever" and say, hmmm, that is a pretty good "whatever" I'd love to have a photo of it to 1) add to my photo book, 2) add to my web page, 3) send in to one of the SNAZAROO photo contests (see ) or 4) put on my company card or brochure. Legally, you should not print ANY photo to any printed document or to a web site without the permission of the child AND the legal guardian.  The question from that point is...  just how formal do you wish to get when you receive permission. If I planned on using the photo on my business card or a brochure I would receive written permission. But more often than not, you would just like to add it to one of your photo books, keep it as part of your face painting journal or you have a desire to send it in on one of the open contests. Some options certainly seem less permanent than the others.

If I just wanted to add the photo to my photo book or a photo contest, this is what I would do. Lets say you just painted your "whatever" on a little girl. You held up the mirror and the child and the mother both have just said in unison, "that is the cutest whatever I have ever seen". I know most of you have heard this before. Generally it is followed by, "oh, darn, it is so cute and I forgot to bring my camera". This is your opener. Now all you have to do is say, "I carry a digital camera with me. If you give me your e-mail address or your physical address, I'd be happy to send you a copy. Would you mind also if I added this new face to my photo book or enter it into a photo contest?" If the mom (or child) has any hesitation, then add, "I would not use the child's name in any form". If the mom (or the child) has any hesitation then simple tell them that there is no problem. Never take the photo unless both the child and the mom give approval. However if they say sure, as far as I am concerned you are home free. Ninety-nine out of a hundred will let you take the photo and use it. The mom and child are generally flattered that you would want their photo and add it to your book. On top of that they are elated that you would be willing to send them a photo for no additional charge. The worse case scenario is they would say no or at a later date they see their photo in your book and say they changed their mind and would prefer that it be removed from the book. To that simply follow their request immediately. Again, it is very rare that they would be hesitant as long as you do not use the child's name.

If you live on the paranoid side, like to dot all of the "i's" or cross all the "t's" or you just have a gut feeling that you would like to receive permission, then get them to sign the following simple form. I'm telling you right now, your odds will drop significantly in getting permission. You might feel more comfortable, but you immediately will put the mom and child on the defensive. I would definitely receive permission if you were planning on using the photo on something like your business card or something that would be costly to print. If you were going to put together photos for publication then you definitely would want permission from every single person. Ok... so here is the form...

Date: ________________________________
Location: ____________________________
Event: _______________________________
Name: _______________________________
Address: _____________________________
City: _________________________________
Zip: __________________________________
Phone: _______________________________

I _________________________________ give permission for (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE) to take a photo of my child _______________________ to be used in the following venues. (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE) has agreed to _____ use or _____ not use, my child's name in any way.

_____ I agree to allow the photo(s) to be used in their personal face painting book
_____ I agree to allow the photo(s) to be used in the companies' face painting books
_____ I agree to allow the photo(s) to be used on their business card or company flyer
_____ I agree to allow the photo(s) to be used on their business web page
_____ I agree to allow the photo(s) to be submitted to a photo contest
_____ I agree to allow the photo(s) to be used in any commercial format for publication

Sign your initials in every section above that is applicable. Then sign below as an adult (for your own photo) or as giving permission for the use of your child's photo to whom you have legal guardianship.

signed _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 I hope this is helpful.


Gary Cole

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