Need A Free Source For Unique Models? VonWong: Costume Parties Are The Answer

If you're like most of us photographers out there, you don't always have a budget for a costume designer and money for a nice wardrobe for models. For paid projects, this would be covered, but for personal endeavors, the budget simply is too much for most shooters to afford. Ben VonWong has solved this problem by learning to approach people who have already done the work for us.

With Halloween just a few short weeks away, take this opportunity to stock up on cheap makeup and accessories, not to mention finding deals on costumes. VonWong has been able to find groups of costumed individuals and provide some tips on working with them to get some really interesting portraits on a budget. Read more about his process here on his blog.

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So do i need to make them sign the model release form? *laughs*

Sean Molin's picture

"At the risk of over-simplification, the only time a release is needed is if a person can be seen as supporting or advocating an idea, product or service. True, there are often disputes about whether a given publication of a photo of someone could be construed in such a way, but the dispute gets closer into the safety zone when that publication is a form of artistic expression. The First Amendment of the US Constitution protects "artistic exhibitions" (and publications) as a form of free speech, so consent from anyone else—by definition—is never required. Money or profit has nothing to do with whether a work is published or "depicted in an artistic manner."

Again, people argue frequently about whether such depictions are, in fact, artistic in nature, which leads to a complex argument: is it art, and if not, is it a promotion, and if so, is it the type of promotion that should have required consent from the person in the photo?

While these are all good questions, the reality is that no one has ever successfully won the argument that a model release was necessary for a photo that was used in a book, in an art gallery, or at a fair, or any of the items in the above list. In short, the law is on the side of the First Amendment by default - a claimant bears the burden of proving otherwise, and that's a difficult and very expensive bar to clear. While is indeed a very deep and complex subject, those wishing to seek quick answers can feel relaxed: "don't worry. You're fine.""

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

Yet again, brilliant work!

the wide angle distortion is too heavy

Alex's picture

What I like best about Von Wong's videos: simple, relatively short yet informative.