Every once in a while I’m asked where photos from performances I shoot can be found. Here are the “general specifics” of the process I follow, and the ways I distribute.

  • If I’m on a paid gig, images go to the organizers first, as that’s usually part of the agreement. My commitment is to turn images around as quickly as possible. Particularly when they’re used for promotional purposes, that turnaround can be the night of the performance  or the morning after. They go into a password protected area on my site, where the client can review, select and purchase images. Purchase can either be on a per-image basis or a number of images as part of the overall fee. The understanding is that these images are for promotional use by the organizer only, and that performers need to contact me directly to obtain images. In all instances, I retain copyright to the images, and grant specific usage permission to the purchaser. This is the overall approach I use in all situations, paid or unpaid, unless we agree on something different.
  • For other situations and/or once the organizer (on paid gigs) is taken care of I do two things:
    • I post a small selection of images on my blog, a site of mine, or Facebook. This depends on how far I want them to circulate and the extent to which I want (to try) to control their onward distribution. I can exercise better control over image scraping on my own sites, but Facebook gets wider distribution. While Facebook may  remove the images’ meta information such as copyright, etc. that’s embedded in the file, and gives themselves certain distribution rights, that doesn’t change the fact that I still retain the copyright.
    • I post a larger selection of images – often 80 or more – in private password-protected areas on my sites, and provide link and password information to the show organizer to pass on to performers. I do things this way rather than posting links online or leaving galleries unprotected because of arrangements with clients, and to respect performers who may not want some images to be visible to the world at large. Performers also have the option to request removal of any images of themselves they are unhappy with. Finally, in some cases I need performers to sign usage agreements to respect company and union requirements prior to release of images.
    • Posting them all in public areas would also be overkill for my promotional purposes, but I’ve found performers like to see lots of images, and I’m happy to oblige. Usually I post to a restricted gallery and an online store, where performers (exclusively) can purchase images from their performances. I don’t sell images to anyone else without prior permission from the performer. Pricing  (which I think is pretty reasonable) can vary depending on the size, media, and arrangement with the client.

I’ve moved more toward setting up private galleries before a shoot, so that I can provide performers with links and passwords in advance, but I also send an email to the organizer with this information so one way or another, you’ll know where to go, so to speak!

Photo: Adrianne Pieczonka and cast – Canadian Opera Company’s 2013 production of Dialogue des Carmélites.  ©2013 Chris Hutcheson