Most people, especially aspiring models, do not understand the copyright law pertaining to professional photographers. A photographer, by federal law, owns every picture that he or she takes. Period. Please understand that just because you pay for a photo shoot does not mean you own your images. When you pay a photographer for a photo session, you are only paying for their services. A photographer has the right to express how they want their images used and can even exact a time frame on the usage of those images. For this very reason, you must understand the photographer’s terms and conditions before you step in front of the camera. Not all photographers operate the same so make certain you know exactly how you may use your images prior to your session. In some cases, you may be asked to sign a model release.
Now, you might be thinking, ”That’s unfair!”. Unfair or not, that’s the law. It’s no different from you taking pictures on a family vacation and posting them on Facebook. By law, you own those images and by law, you have the right to legally pursue anyone who uses your images without your permission. The same applies to photographers. If you use a photographer’s images without their permission or in any way that exceeds the boundaries of an agreement, you are breaking the law. It’s called copyright infringement.
The link below will better help you understand copyrights. The biggest mistake that aspiring models make is not knowing how the industry works. Do your own research. Know what you are getting into before you agree to any terms.
For additional information: Common Questions and Answers About Copyrights