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Lets say a business pays me to do 8-12 business type of shots so they have some nice photos they can use on their own website - and they pay me for the shooting. Copyright stays with me, they get some JPEG files and the right to use them on the web (or whatever they want to do with them).

I know this is more a law question and I live in Switzerland so this might be different in other countries (but please then tell me about how it is in your country). Am I allowed to use some of the photos also on my own photography business website e.g. for promoting myself, my website, my photography business. I'd like to make a blog article and use some of the photos with some kind of backstory (did photo session with company xy, we had great fun (I hope so :-) ) and here are some examples, followed by some of the photos.

Also I would share this blog article to facebook.

I believe as I am the copyright holder this would be OK, even if there is no model release, right? Or would I have to make them sign a model release so I could use the photos of them on my site?

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    What does your contract say about it? – Caleb Feb 11 '16 at 19:30
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    Possible duplicate of Do I need a model release to post a photo on an online portfolio? – Michael C Feb 11 '16 at 19:49
  • @MichaelClark, actually not sure that's a duplicate, as we're talking about the photos requiring commercial usage rights for the shooter, but those rights were also sold to the client (i.e., "the right to use them on the web or whatever they want to do with them). This isn't a model release issue. But possibly a conflicting rights issue--it all depends on whether his contract granted them exclusive commercial rights or non-exclusive ones. The model release should have already been acquired in order to sell the commercial rights to the client. – inkista Feb 12 '16 at 18:34
  • As long as the rights granted the customer here are non-exclusive pretty much everything in the other question applies from a legal standpoint. Absent that clarification this probably isn't a duplicate. – Michael C Feb 12 '16 at 19:11
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I believe as I am the copyright holder this would be OK, even if there is no model release, right? Or would I have to make them sign a model release so I could use the photos of them on my site?

Regardless of what you can get away with under your local laws and the terms of your contract, why would you use those photos against your client's wishes? As a photographer, you should have no shortage of good images to use in promoting yourself, but paying customers are a little harder to find. There are all kinds of reasons that clients might not want their photos appearing in public, e.g.:

  • The local office likes you but doesn't want to be obvious about the fact that they're working with a photographer not approved by headquarters.

  • The photos you took are part of a product launch, and they don't want that information made public before they're ready.

  • Your images of a fancy corporate party might not send the wrong message to customers, clients, suppliers, or investors.

  • They actually didn't enjoy working with you as much as you think they did, and they'd prefer not to be portrayed as endorsing you.

I'd like to make a blog article and use some of the photos with some kind of backstory (did photo session with company xy, we had great fun (I hope so :-) ) and here are some examples, followed by some of the photos.

If they really did enjoy working with you, and if there's no reason they might object to making some of the photos public, then why not ask before using them? If they say yes, then great -- you've got your blog post. If they say no and you accept that decision graciously, then they'll appreciate the fact that you respected their wishes. You look good either way, and the only thing you stand to lose is a blog post that you haven't even written yet.

In the future you could discuss the possibility of your using some photos ahead of time, possibly even taking some shots specifically for that purpose. That'd give them the ability to agree to your request, but at the same time making sure that the photos that you might use are okay for public distribution.

I know you were probably looking for an answer based on the legality of the situation, but it really seems to me that building a strong relationship with your clients and giving them the courtesy of approval will put you in a much better position in every way.

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    Of course I would not publish photos of them if they don't want me too. But I get your point and you are right, this is the right way to do. But also I think I should add a line to the contract stating that I can use the photos of the shooting for self promotion unless the customer does not approve. Just to make sure that I'm on the safe side when the people at the shooting accept that I use some of the pictures but maybe months later their boss comes to me and says I cannot use it. – Shihan Feb 12 '16 at 7:48

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