Contracts and Legislations

Contracts are entered into everyday by people in any different situations, the purchase or lease of an item becomes contractual, for example; purchasing a train or bus ticket. Most everyday contract are oral and all business contract should be in writing.

What one person’s understanding of something can be interpreted as something totally different by another person. Always write things down & make a contractual agreement, use post, email or fax. Confusion can be frustrating so if you have written everything down, nothing can be misunderstood.

Contacts are a legally binding agreement enforced by the court of law, contracts can be made between two or more people, they must be a common meeting of minds. Contracts don’t have to be in written form, but this is strongly advised. A contract is not legal if it involved an illegal act.

‘A photographer agrees a daily rate based on the client stating that the usage was to be a small run of leaflets; the work was actually to be used on a poster, therefore the contract was fraudulently induced.’

Terms & Conditions

You must state your own terms & conditions within your contract, it must accompany all paper work (on reverse) and serve to protect both parties, this includes any third parties. AOP terms & conditions protect the photographer, these are registered with the Office of Fair Trading.

Estimates (to be stated before the job commences)
Estimates are based on initial instruction from client, which can become the job offer, they can form the basis of confirmation of a general enquiry (should always include Terms & Conditions). If accepted confirmation will be made by phone, letter, email or
through an agent, if made by phone you must confirm in written form.

Licenses will be given by the copyright owner, usually from the photographer to the client, they should always be in writing, this forms part of the Contract’s terms & conditions. Licenses should be included with the estimate. Licenses must be agreed before the job commences.

Licenses include:
• Contact details
• Usage
• Territory
• Time period
• Right to credit
• Exclusivity clause
• Terms & conditions (on back)

Important points to look for and to include in contracts and terms and condition are, the copyright assignment, media usage, the duration of license, the territory of use, a clients confidentially, the indemnity clause, the right to credit (attribution right) and the syndication for editorial work (usage across all companies)

If an order received from a client includes an assignment of copyright clause and you have not agreed to this, it is imperative that you point this out. Don’t ignore it, by working on it you are accepting the terms and conditions of the contract.

Third parties to the contract and licenses are;
• Model/ models
• Set builder
• Model maker
• Background/ scenic artist.
• Stylist
• Hair & make up artist
• Home economist
• Location finder
• Laborites
• Agent
• Hire studio
• Assistant
• Suppliers
• Art director

A photographic shoot can include many third parties, the photographer has a subcontract with each third party and they will usually be responsible for their payment.

Professional Models license the use of their image (or their agent does). They are paid for media, territory and usage.


Major exposure of a model’s face can deplete their earning potential, agencies are careful when considering payment. When booking be sure you are clear on the terms & conditions that you are booking under. Agencies rely on the photographer to discover previous campaigns/products model has been involved with.

Example 1:
‘The model has been paid for editorial use and the client uses the shot for advertising. The model has a right to further payment; the photographer could be liable if they booked the model and the order included an indemnity clause.’

Example 2:
‘The model has been paid for the excusive rights to advertise a shampoo product for two years, Herbal Essence for example. A photographer then uses the same model to advertise Pantene within that two year time scale.’



Copyright is protected in the UK under the Copyright Design & Patents Act 1988 (as amended). This law came into effect on 1st August 1989. The 1956 or 1911 Act will still apply to some older works. Since the 1988 Act, it has been changed a number of times. The most important amendment that has taken place, has affected the duration of copyright for photographers’.

Photographs are protected for 70 years after the death of the photographer. However if they are subject to Crown copyright then it applies for a maximum of 125 years; if subject to Parliamentary copyright it applies for 50 years from the taking of the photograph. Copyright in a photograph lasts for the life of the photographer plus 70 years. The law protects photographs as artistic works, so what is meant by a photograph?

The definition in the 1988 Act reads as follows:

“‘Photograph’ means a recording of light or other radiation on any medium on which an image is produced or from which an image may by any means be produced, and which is not part of a film’.”


Authorship & Ownership
The creator of protected work is it’s ‘author’. This term applies to creator of any protected work and has a legal meaning of it’s own. In photography the author is the person who creates it, the photographer, not the assistant (who might load the film/compact flash card, or even press the button), the art director (who came up with the concept), the stylist but the photographer. Photographers have not always owned copyright & these old rules still cause a great deal of confusion. Under 1911 & 1956 Copyright Acts, The commissioner (company or person) owned copyright. ‘The author’ was the person who owned the film. Thankfully this is no longer the case, however some clients still think this old rule applies.


Who owns the copyright on photographs?

Under law, it is the photographer who will own copyright on any photos he/she has taken, with the following exceptions:

If the photographer is an employee of the company the photos are taken for, or is an employee of a company instructed to take the photos, the photographer will be acting on behalf of his/her employer, and the company the photographer works for will own the copyright, and if there is an agreement that assigns copyright to another party.

In all other cases, the photographer will retain the copyright, if the photographer has been paid for his work, the payment will be for the photographer’s time and typically an allocated number of prints. The copyright to the photos will remain with the photographer, and therefore any reproduction without permission would be an infringement of copyright.


• If Bill Smith asks Peter Jones the photographer to photograph his wedding. Peter Jones will normally provide a single copy of the prints as part of the fee, but any additional prints Bill or his family and friend want must be ordered via Peter as he is the copyright owner and controls who can copy his work.

• If Bill Smith engages the services of XYZ-Photos for the same job, and Peter is an employee of XYZ-Photo who instruct Peter to take the photos, XYZ-Photos will be the copyright owner and control how they are used.


Copyright registration
Why register?

The purpose of registration is to ensure that you have proper, independently verifiable, evidence of the date and content your work. This ensures that if another party steals your photos you have solid evidence to prove your claim, without registration it can be very difficult, and often impossible, to prove your ownership if another person claims the photo belong to them. Copyright protects whole collections for a single fee and it is possible to submit many photos within a single registration, and only pay a single registration fee.

As with all copyright work, you should first obtain permission from the copyright owner before you use someone else’s work. You should also be prepared to pay a fee, as many photographers will charge you for using their work. Only the copyright owner, (or his/her authorised representative), can give permission, so you should contact the photographer, or his/her company, directly for consent. For images published on the Internet, it is typical to contact the webmaster of the site in the first instance, unless the site provides contact details for the owner of the images. The copyright owner has no obligation to allow you to use their work, and can refuse permission for any reason.


Marking your work

The two primary reasons for marking your work are to ensure that those accessing your images are clear that copyright exists and that they know who to contact to obtain permission.


Contact information

People often receive enquiries from individuals and organisations wishing to use specific photos, but who are unable to trace the owner. It seems that many images are marked as ‘copyright image do not reproduce without permission’, but that the photographer omitted to include their contact details. This is frustrating to the person wishing to use the image and also means that the photographer may miss out on reproduction fees and exposure.


Copyright notices

People do recommended that you mark your work with a copyright notice, as this makes it clear that copyright exists, and helps to deter infringement. Please see our fact sheet P-03: Using copyright notices for information on wording you notices. For traditional prints, it is customary to use a stamp to mark the copyright notice and the copyright owners contact details on the back of the print. If you display your photos online, you may choose to use photo editing software to place a simple copyright notice across the image, (typically this will appear in the bottom corner). Ideally it should include the address of the web site so that it is clear where to go to find contact details. For electronic images, it is also possible to include the copyright/contact details in the file properties. Under Windows for example, right clicking on a image will allow you to bring up the properties dialogue where you may enter details about the file, (though this will only work with certain file types). More typically, your image software will provide a way to insert comments into the file; this is preferred as these are harder to remove. Watermarking may be worth considering if you have a lot of valuable images on your site.


Model release forms

An individual has certain rights to control the use of their image. The specific details will vary from one country to another depending on national legislation, although the general rule seems to be to protect a person against defamatory or offensive use of their image. If you intend to sell or distribute images that include people, then it is worth getting your subjects to sign a model release form as this will protect you against any comeback. Model release form for children under 18 need parents/guardians to sign.


Employed photographers

Do not hold the copyright of any work produced in the course of their employment. The copyright is owned by the employer. An employee in the UK: is someone who works under a contract of employment, whose tax & National Insurance are deducted before receipt of payment. Be careful when working as an employed photographer, as using equipment and/or darkrooms of your employers outside office hours, the copyright could still lay with the employer.


Dealing with Copyright, transferring ownership


A person occupies the whole of their house, they rent or lease the whole of their house, that person rents out a room or a flat and the owner can sell the freehold to their house.


The photographer holds copyright and noone else is granted the right to use the photograph, the photographer licenses someone to reproduce their work in any media, in any territory or for any period of time. The photographer grants a publisher the right to publish in a single edition of a consumer magazine within the EU, or the photographer licenses an advertising agency to run a 48 sheet poster campaign on 90 sites in the UK and Australia over a two year period. The photographer assigns the copyright in their work.

The ownership of artists work is quite separate to the ownership of materials. If a photographer sells a photograph for a sum of money, the buyer does not own the copyright, with the right tohang the work. The copyright remains with the photographer.


Copyright Infringement

Commissioners and clients who use the photographs but don’t pay or comply with contractual terms, also commissioners and clients who use the photographs outside the terms of the original license. Other users who copy photographs without clearing rights:

i. either by making an exact copy of original
ii. or by getting another photographer to re-take the photograph or imitate it too closely.


Reproducing/copying takes place without the photographer’s permission, and  when a photograph is used without permission and put onto a t-shirt, or another unlicensed photograph is made into an ‘art’ poster.


Other aspects of trade in the pirated or infringing goods, where the infringing t-shirt and ‘art’ posters are sold from a market stall, even if the market trade did not make them their self.


I wasn’t sure what a super 8 camera was, which is why I was interested to take the course for my complementary studies option, when I was shown the cameras and inducted I was interested in how you can control the speed of the film in camera rather than having to wait until the post production side of things. Knowing that the camera could speed up and slowdown in camera I wanted to experiment with that feature and see what I could do. Unfortunately at the time of taking out the camera to test it out I pressed the wrong button which ended up messing up the film.

My initial idea was filming a busy road of traffic at a roundabout, I wanted to do this because I thought it would be fun to experiment with the speeding up and slowing down of the cars, but I also wanted to do this in digital so that I could pick up the light trails of the cars by using a slow shutter. I thought the light trails idea would look better in the film as it would catch the viewer’s eye more, also I could do two in one if I were to speed up or/and slowdown the cars in post-production.

With this course being ‘Collisions with Super 8 I obviously had to use the Super 8 camera and include some, if not all of the footage from the Super 8 film in my final film, this is where I had to try to decide what would be best to do in Super 8 and which would be good for digital.

Picking up light trails I would have to do in the night as that’s when it would be best to do the slow shutter speed, with the car lights being more noticeable in the dark. I didn’t think the Super 8 camera would pick up the car lights quite as good as the digital camera would as it would be in black and white and also I wouldn’t have the slow shutter option with the Super 8 camera, because of this I thought it would be best to use the digital.

The light trails idea came to mind as it’s something I’d always wanted to experiment with in the past with my photography but I’d never found the time to, also the opportunity hasn’t arose yet as that particular photography wouldn’t fit into any of my past or current assignments. Because I’ve never tried to do light trails in my photography before I would obviously have to experiment beforehand so that it looks its best and works effectively in the film. Although I was very keen on this idea I unfortunately couldn’t find the time to get out with my camera in the night to experiment, this is due to working a lot and trying to get other work for my current assignments on my photography course up to date and finalised for deadlines.

This is where my idea slightly changed, I wanted to keep to the idea of speeding up and slowing down as I thought it would make a good effect but as I didn’t find time for the light trails idea I changed my idea to something else. I’ve always travelled a lot, hour long buses to my college when I was in Bridgwater studying my BTEC, which I travelled by bus for the whole two years I was there and then also hour long buses to Weston Super-Mare when I was at college there studying my Foundation degree. I also travelled on the bus to visit my Dad, who lives in Bath, these journeys were another hour on the bus.

Anyway, I travel a lot and when I’m travelling on the bus or train, or even in the car if I’m been given a lift somewhere, I find myself gazing at the view through the window whilst listening to my music, and when I gaze through the windows I always found it interesting how the view looks, blurred and distorted due to the speed that the vehicle is going. Thinking of these moments it came to mind that that sight could be interested when sped up or slowed down and that gave me another idea for the film. Obviously the reflection from the windows could be a problem, unless I had a UV filter for my camera, which I don’t. But then I thought that the reflections may work well in the film as the unknown subject which may come up every now and then could add to the blur and distortion of the view, not quite knowing what it is you’re seeing.

Putting this idea into action I filmed some of my train journeys and captured the blurred and distorted view that I saw through the window, I also captured train announcements as I thought they could be good sound clips for the video and may mix well with everything going on in the video. Although I’d of liked to of filmed this on the Super 8 camera as it being in black and white would cancel out the colours, which would add the idea of the subjects being unknown, for example; if it was in the colour the blurred/distortion of green would obviously be a bush or a tree, but in black and white you wouldn’t know that. However I didn’t film it with the Super 8 camera as it would be been more difficult to film with whilst in the seat of the train and I wasn’t sure whether the Super 8 camera recorded sounds. I do plan to convert the video into black and white in post-production to create that surreal effect though, I also want to experiment with making parts of the film play backwards in post-production as well.

That was the digital side of the filming done, next I had to work out what it was I could film with the Super 8 camera which would fit in with the digital video. With the camera having that feature of speeding up and slowing down I thought that I should make the most of that feature as filming on Super 8 without using some of the unique camera features seemed pointless. So, keeping to my idea of speeding up and slowing down traffic I thought that I could use my idea that I had for the digital recording initially but bring it to the Super 8 camera as the speeding up and slowing down of the film would probably look more effective being done with the camera rather than by the editing software. Sticking to the idea I filmed a roundabout and sped up and slowed down the traffic as it went by.

I thought this would all link in together as it gives the idea of a busy day and the busy lives that people have travelling places by trains, being stuck in traffic, being frustrated about being late etc. Overall giving the film a story.

I feel as if the project went well as I didn’t give up my first fault with the Super 8 camera and eventually got my recording done, which I thought went well, considering before I didn’t know how to work the camera. Also I think my storyboarding was good as I thought about the video and how it should all link together and came up with the story of the rush and busy traffic which I thought was important for the project, rather than the film being lots of different things which may not link together and therefore wouldn’t be interesting to the viewer. As well as this I feel as if my post-production was effective and the final film flowed together well.

My research could possibly of been stronger as I feel I focused more on the film itself than getting the research from lectures and self-directed research done but the lectures and self-directed research which I did do helped my project as it informed me about the three choreographies of Super 8 film, which became useful when it came to piecing together my story, with the actual event being the train journey/rush of traffic, the movement of 2D form/shape being the movement of the traffic and the shapes and forms where were created from the blur and distortion of the subjects through the window of the train and finally, the illusion of 3D space/action being the illusion of the blurred and distorted subjects and the viewer having to think about what is going in the film and what the blurred and distorted subjects actually are.

Abstract Blurred Landscapes

It’s photography like Randall Talbot’s and Cofiant’s (flickr user) photography series based on ‘Abstract Blurred Landscapes’ that influenced me to work with the blurred landscapes from the train window because at first I wasn’t sure how it would look but then I found one of Randall Talbot’s photographs and thought they were really good and then tried to find others like it, which is when I found some of Cofiant’s photographs and then searched through his Flickr page and found the series that he’s done. I think they’re really interesting photos as the colours blend together really nicely and it’s that which then made me think that the blurred landscapes could possibly work in the video and that it would be worth experimenting with.

I wanted to like video the landscape rather than take stills and put them into the video because I thought that the movement in the landscapes could also add something to the effect of it all and would of liked to of used the Super 8 camera as the wash patterns would of added to the movement of the landscape.


dsc_0041-edit RANDALL TALBOT


Photography by Randall Talbot




dsc_0050-edit SPRINT THAW








Spring Thaw by Randall Talbotdsc_0018-edit RANDALL TALBOT





Photography by Randall Talbot

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Photography by Cofiantdownload

Photography by Cofiant


I found this part of the scene interesting as well as after the fast strips of colour from the train going by, these white lines joined them, quite was obviously a part of the train but I think all these added shapes, lines and patterns adds to the abstract look and complement each other well. It’s a shame that I didn’t capture this particular scene with the Super 8 as I’d really of liked to see how that would of turned out.




Another train came speeding past the window and luckily it was whilst I was still filming, I think this captured the abstract effect I was after best and in the scene it would go from how the landscape looks to this fast strip of colours. I feel as if this would of been a lot nicer if it was captured in Super 8 as the wash patterns over the top of the strip of colours would of added to the abstract look and give a really interesting effect.