View Full Version : Question about giving credit for fotos

12-24-2007, 03:31 PM
I have been looking at pics on the internet and have found several that I would love to paint. I have gotten permission from the phtographers to use their photos. All, of course, want to see the final product.

However one wants to be given credit for the photo. I have no problems with that, except how do you guys do that? Do you write on the back of the painting where the reference photo came from, or just how do you handle it? If you did prints from the painting, how would you handle it then?

Also, I just did a quick painting of a horse and it turned out pretty good. I have no idea just where I got the reference photo from (downloaded from the internet, of course). Can I still use this as a promotional item, not for sale, since I do not know the photographer?



12-24-2007, 04:22 PM
I can't advise you on the first question. I have no idea how to attach credit for the source to a painting or print except if you display your work on a website, or if you give out certificates with your artwork as some artists do. Hopefully someone else can help you with that.

As for your second question (the horse painting). Copyright infringement isn't limited to financial gain. You can't reproduce -- or work from -- someone's original art (in this case, a photo) without infringing on their rights, whether you intend to sell it or not. Sorry. In the case of a past master or someone who's been deceased long enough that their estate isn't managing their copyrights, you can copy and give credit to the source if it's a photo (which refers back to your first question that I can't help you with), or if the source is a painting or drawing you can write "after Degas" or some such thing in the title (or on the piece). But for a source whose author is most likely still alive (or staus unknown), if you don't have permission to use it, you can't use it.

12-25-2007, 06:27 AM
Laws and regulations vary from country to another. Here you can make a painting from photo without any broblem if painting is not exact copy of that piture. But if you make photograpf then you violate copy rights. So as long as picture is not protected registered brand you can reproduce it in differend medium.

Here photogaphers have sued painters for using their photograps. Painters have always winned if they ghanged something in picture while painting.

I ask always permit from photographer even if that would not be necessary. Or then I have used the photo so that even the photographer will not see that his picture is used.

12-25-2007, 11:31 AM
Actually, there've been cases in the US of artists (painter or sculptor) reproducing other artist's (photographer, painter, or sculptor) work and winning lawsuits because they changed the original image enough to have it judged a unique creative expression. In some cases, the "fair use" aspect of copyright law allow for the use of copyrighted material to produce something unique if it doesn't reduce the original work's value or cut into the originator's market.

Still, you're better off not copying from the work of someone whose permission you don't have unless you have plenty of extra cash laying around to hire lawyers with. It's possible -- and in some cases, even likely --that you can come out on top in a legal battle, but is the piece important enough to you that you're willing to risk that battle? It would be an expensive position to defend. (It is possible, depending on where you live, that you can recover attorney's fees if you win your side, but I wouldn't rely on such things.)

When there are so many copyright-free images out there on the web, it just doesn't make sense to even look at the ones that aren't, especially if there's no attribution. Why bother? I guess if you can identify the originator and ask permission it makes sense, but, seriously, don't even look at the ones that are just "out there" in cyberspace on random, non-photography sites.

This is a huge issue just waiting to bite an artist in the butt. It's better to be safe. Maybe you should just call your horse painting good practice and try to find another, similar photo to work from that you can ask permission to use, then make an even better version from that. Good luck.

[Edit: now that I've given you the advice in that second-to-last paragraph, I'll admit that I have 2 folders in the My Pictures directory, one labelled "References" and one labelled "Sources". The References folder contains non-attributed photos that I use to see exactly how feathers lay or muscles flex -- training material, basically. The Sources folder contains images that I'd be interested in reproducing whole cloth; in this case, I have the website where I found each piece, and the originator's name and other info in the Properties of the image so that if, in the future, I do decide to use one, I can safely ask permission first. I've deliberately not saved any images in the Sources directory that I can't identify the originator of, and I make a point of not reproducing images (even in practice drawings) from the References directory. It's a constant reminder of what images are off limits. So far, it works for me.]

12-25-2007, 12:17 PM
Ask the photographer how he would like the credit to be given. He may have an idea of the best way to do it or a way that satisfies him.