|When we think of people photography, an image of a formal
studio often comes to mind. But there are various approaches.
Outdoors using natural lighting, possibly placing a person in
the surroundings of their home or hobby, in order to convey a
story. Indoors using natural light streaming through a window
for example. Indoors with artificial lighting in a natural
situation, or in studio-type surroundings with a special
backdrop. A good people picture captures natural expressions and gestures
that convey the subject’s character without any form of
self-consciousness. This means that the photographer has to
build up a rapport with the subject to put him or her at ease.
It also usually means taking numerous shots to try and capture
that all important instant. Another way of obtaining natural
expressions is to take candid shots – photographing people who
are unaware of the camera – so-called street photography.
When taking head shots, use a medium-long lens of about 100mm. A
standard lens of 50mm will distort the face by enlarging those
elements closest to the camera, such as the nose. A wide-angle
lens increases this distortion even more. A wealth of literature
on people photography is available for those interested in
Photography and the law
Here is a brief guide, but as laws vary from country to
country, this guide must not be regarded as authoritative and is
by no means complete.
In general there is no requirement to obtain a person’s
permission to take his or her photograph. However, certain
situations can infringe social interests, security, child
protection, privacy etc. and these situations are strictly
controlled. In addition, even though a photographer may be
within the law, some photographs should not be taken for ethical
reasons. Also, a picture taken legally should not be used in
a way that causes the person concerned to take legal action.
Although people as such are not protected by intellectual
property rights, what he or she is wearing may be protected by
copyright or trademark rights; for example a company logo. Under
normal circumstances it is permitted to photograph someone in a
public place, but to surreptitiously photograph someone within
their private domain is a violation of privacy and is illegal.
It is also illegal to use a photograph of a person for
commercial purposes without consent. This particularly applies
to celebrities, who are very aware that their identity has a
||In all cases, whether a celebrity or a member of the general
public, a signed photographic release should be obtained from
the person(s) portrayed. Photo release forms are found on
Internet. If a photograph is used for which permission has not
been obtained, it is advisable to add a disclaimer, stating that
the photograph may not be modified in any way, copied or
distributed without the written consent of the photographer.
This may limit your liability in the case of legal proceedings.
Images used in consumer or trade magazines, newspapers or
educational books are generally exempt as these are considered
educational, however caution is advised. A photograph of a
person may not be used in any way that reflects unfavourably on
that person or exposes him or her in any way to contempt.
Great care should be taken when publishing photographs, videos
and even written content on social networking media. Before
joining such a media, make sure that you are in agreement with
the General Terms and Conditions of Use. You may find that you
are agreeing to pass on - free of charge - a non-exclusive,
transferable and sub-licensable world licence for the use of all
contents falling under intellectual property that you have
placed on the specific social networking website.