View Full Version : Question.

11-08-2000, 09:27 AM
I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but I have a question about the use of photos, and copyright. Some of us might be limited in our access to zoos where we can photograph the animals. We may not be able to find a source of photos from a photographer. What exacly are the limitations with using photos from magazines as reference? How much do we have to change the image in order for it to be acceptable to use it?
The reason I ask is because I have a painting that I used a magazine photo for. It was only practice for me but it didn't turn out too badly.(I can improve it with some work) The bird itself is in the identical pose, but I eliminated the ruffled neck feathers. I also completely changed the branch he is sitting on. But if you put the photo and the painting side by side, there is no question it is the same bird. Can I still use it? Can I change it enough to make it 'mine'? I'm not clear on the laws of copyright, and want to be sure what is acceptable and what isn't.

11-08-2000, 01:07 PM
Bev, on the "Art Business" forum Bluespade has a link for copyright basics. I say copy all you want for your own practice because that's how we learn, but when you want to sell your work or call it original it can't be "identifiable" as somebody elses work.

11-08-2000, 05:40 PM
As far as I understand it bev...sharii is right....you can practice all you want from pics in magazines and books...but if you sell one of those works, you are leaving yourself open to copyright infringement.
I take thousands of pics every year....in zoos and safari parks for the animals that I have no other access too. Sometimes I contrive the pose based on several of my pics. The painting of the lion that I recently did has features from several different lions I shot this summer at the zoo. If you don't have access to zoos to take your own pictures...you will have to change the magazine picture so much it may not be of any use for your own reference...will not ring true...a dilema indeed.
here's a thought...if you like to paint birds...go to a big pet store and ask if you can take some pictures of the different birds there....ya never know!


11-08-2000, 07:57 PM
Thankyou for your responses. I just wanted to know exactly what the legalities were on that. I actually just stumbled across this very subject on one of the other forums, so I am now clear on what is correct. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

11-09-2000, 12:37 AM
Bevl, I`m not sure of this either. but i think if it is altered enough it probably would be acceptable but i`m not certain. I`m not certain if there are laws saying that artists can`t use photographs from ads/magazines/books/internet???

11-09-2000, 01:48 AM
An acquaintanceship of mine is a photographer of whitetail deer, and has had many awesome photos in Outdoor Life magazine, and a number of others...including some exclusive calendars. He shared with me that an average of 90 photos are shot for every one image that is accepted into a magazine.

Imagine the work on the part of the photographer, and level of commitment required to find regular employment! I found that if you contact the photographer, they often have thousands of wonderful slides that go unpublished, that they would be willing to sell...

...some are willing to send you a lot of slides at one time, pick the ones you want, send the rest back, and some charge perhaps $10 for a slide.


11-09-2000, 10:41 PM
Thank everybody. I hope this is right. As long as you alter it enough and don`t sell it to anybody you are not open to copyright infringement??

11-09-2000, 11:24 PM
There is actually a lady right here that photographs parrots as a sideline. Her photos are beautiful and she has offered any I want to use for painting. But my only problem with that is that the birds are so beautifully posed. I mean, they sit on the perch so perfectly, like good little birds- looking like little angels. Parrots are not like this in real life! They are bratty, goofy, always into things and acting like little clowns. This is what I am looking for, for my future paintings. I though of asking her for all the photos that she rejected because the bird was 'being a bird'. She probably didn't keep those ones, but I will ask.
I still await an email back from the behavourist/photographer. He readily agreed to loan me as many photos as I want, but he is a busy man and I have to be patient. Sure hope he comes through for me, because he was about the best source of photos I could have hoped for.