I am a paid model, my work comes from both agencies and portfolio websites such as purestorm.com. Photographers pay me to take photos of me and my question is am I allowed to use these images on a personal portfolio website that I own? Must I ask the photographer permission to use the photos or do I have some kind of ownership as photographers paid me to take them in the first place or can I simply credit the photographer on my website? (and also keep intact any copyright notices they have put onto images they have taken of me). In the future should I write up an agreement with photographers stating that I would like to use the images created during a shoot on my website?

Would you as a photographer feel uncomfortable with the images being displaying on a model's personal portfolio site?

[EDIT] - I'm under the jurisdiction of England and Wales

  • \$\begingroup\$ At the very least, you'll need to tell us which jurisdiction you're in, but the general rule is that, without an agreement to the contrary, the photographer owns all rights and you have none. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Jun 3, 2015 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ my apologies I forgot to disclose that info, I have now edited my post. \$\endgroup\$
    – CornJ
    Jun 3, 2015 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the photographer gave you a CD with a copy of the photos? Or you downloaded it or sanned it from a published work? It can make some diference becouse there is a chance that the photographer has not the rights anymore of the photos, but his employer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Jun 3, 2015 at 19:44

3 Answers 3


I don't think your jurisdiction even matters.

Let's take a common sense approach. You have an image of yourself. It was taken by some photographer. You think this is a very good image and you want to add it to your portfolio.

Here are the possible scenarios when adding the image:

  • You do not need the permission to do this, but the photographer does not like it. He asks you to take it down, but you insist on your rights and he is pissed.
  • You do need permission. If the photographer is concerned about it, he can force you to take it down.

In either way, will you ever get a job again with this photographer, who produced an image that's so good that you deem it worthy to add it to your portfolio, which is an outlet to find future work? Probably not.

I'm not saying that you should be unaware of the juristic status of the copyright, but instead of asking about it, why not define it in a desirable way by signing an agreement with the photographer (for example to link back to his website).

The photographer will probably appreciate your awareness of his rights (if you are not allowed to do it) or your awareness of him and his work (if you could upload it without his permission or agreement). I guess the photographer had his share of experience with "but I found it on google so I can use it". Now if you, as a model show up and ask for an agreement on the whole copyright matter, that would be professional and possibly a reason to work with you again.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like your concept of defining it in a desirable way, your answer is very helpful, thank you very much. \$\endgroup\$
    – CornJ
    Jun 4, 2015 at 11:21

You would need permission as the work is their copyright, however you could propose that you credit back to them. The photographer may feel a benefit in getting additional publicity for their work. I wouldn't mind as long as I'm credited, however I am not a professional photographer


I'm not sure. But you probably signed a "model relese" document. In this kind of documents the model renounces some rights to comercialize, demand, ask for aditional remuneration, complain for the use or ask for removal, etc.

See if you have a copy of that. If this is regarding only for asking remuneration and not "all use" you can use them as a personal portafolio.

If the photographer gave you a copy and you did not signed any "model relese" document, thoose acts can suggest that you can use the photos in your own portafolio.

But probably you can call the photographer and carify. Ask the link to his website or contact information as an excuse and cortesy.

Also there is a chance he has not the rights anymore if he was on a special contract himself.


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