PhotoCoach Radio 006 - Your photography ethics

"The Neighbors" and your photography ethics

Click to listen to the episode.Imagine you are in your home looking out your window toward your neighbor. Through the window, you see a couple sitting at a table having a meal. It looks like breakfast. There’s something artistic about the scene. You also happen to have your camera nearby with a telephoto lens. You can sneak a photo of the stolen moment. Would you? If you took the photo, would you be comfortable displaying it?

These are issues Arne Svenson must have considered when he faced the same situation. Arne took those photos of his neighbors, and they are now on display at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York City. 

As you might expect, when his neighbors found out their lives were on display, they were upset. They complained about the invasion of their privacy and wondered what else Arne might have photographed when they were unaware.

Check out this NBC news article and another feature shoot article.
This raises a number of ethical questions that I discuss in this podcast. What Arne did might have been legal but was it ethical? Proper? How would you approach it?

We started this conversation on my Facebook page, but I want to share four questions that I use to help me decide in a photographic gray area.


What should I charge a magazine to use my photo?

In the last couple weeks, I received about four inquiries from clients who had a similar question: What should I charge a magazine to use my photo? Editors or publications found their images online and contacted them to get permission to use the pictures. My clients weren’t out marketing these images for sale, so the request caught most off guard. Now what do you do? How much should you charge?

I’ll share questions you should ask to help you make a good decision.


Here are some resources you might also consider.

PhotoShelter ebook Pricing Your Work - Magazine Photography - One of their many useful and free guides for starting and marketing a photography business.

ASMP Pricing Guides - American Society of Media Photographers (I know... I said professionals rather than photographers) has pretty useful resource with their membership.

Pricing Photography - The Complete Guide to Assignment and Stock Prices - Newly updated.

2013 Photographer's Market - Not specifically on pricing but a useful resource


You might also be interested in these blog posts:

The ethics of street photography. When does no mean no?

PhotoCoach Radio - Copyright for the photographer

What do you think about the ethical issues? How would you decide whether to take or display a controversial photo. Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Listen to 006 - Your photography ethics