Why We Don’t Share Event Photos, With One Exception

//Why We Don’t Share Event Photos, With One Exception

Why We Don’t Share Event Photos, With One Exception

Help-Portrait founder Jeremy Cowart addressed why we do not want to see photos from H-P events in a response to a question in last week’s creativeLIVE video chat (join us Tuesdays at 11am ET). We thought we’d recap it here.

There are two primary reasons for this:

  1. We want to respect the privacy of people we’re shooting. Some people may not want their photos published on the internet or in a media outlet. Being identified with this event may imply that they are in need or not in a good place, and some people may not appreciate the association.
  2. The goal of a Help-Portrait event is to give photos. We want the focus to be on the people receiving them, not on the photographer. This isn’t about free photography and it isn’t about building a photographer’s portfolio. It’s not about skills or art. It’s not about good lighting or Photoshop. It’s not about us. It’s simply about giving back.

For these reasons we drew a line from the very beginning that we do not want to make it a practice to share the photos that come from this event.

But here’s the problem, as Jeremy shared on the simulcast (see the archive of the chat). For three weeks after the event last year, people were emailing Help-Portrait their personal stories. Franky, it’s mind-blowing what happens at these events. Simply phenomenal. As a team we would love to show the photos and share the stories.

So we understand there are amazing stories happening at these events, and that amazing photos come out of them. With that in mind, if the subject is absolutely okay and in favor of their photo being shared, ask them to sign a model release form (a sample is available on our downloads page). Cover your bases. Then, by all means, share it appropriately.

If the story is powerful and if it helps get the Help-Portrait story about there, we are all for it.

By |2016-12-03T07:45:43+00:00November 15th, 2010|H-P Tips|10 Comments

About the Author:

Cara (@carandavis) is the online editor for Help-Portrait and lives in Nashville, TN.


  1. Jessica D. November 15, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    I was thinking today about the propsed book idea from last year. I would LOVE to see a behind the scenes book, with storeis from the families. We don’t need any of the actual portraits in it, but I think it would be so cool, to see what went on and to remind us why we spend 14 hours that day doing what we do! It’s kind of like a wedding it’s crazy busy and you get through it, but then what? You don’t get to savor it. I for one would purcahse one with proceeds going toward next years hp.

  2. Armand November 15, 2010 at 10:11 PM


    I looked at the release form and it seems not to be a release form for the people being photographed but more about the photographers being ok with the usage of the pictures (basically free licensing our pictures).

    So far, I have my own release form for persons willing to sign them but I ‘m not sure the document pointed at above is the one for the ‘models’.

    Am I correct?


  3. Heraldo November 17, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    With all the Behind the Scenes videos and news coverage of the event last year, I dont understand the difference in showing images to promote future events and video coverage. Last year several of my images were used in a CBS news coverage, no releases were signed and there was never a issue of confidentially. Im not sure if this is a double standard where as as long as it promotes the event and future events its ok, but photographers should not use images for personal use.

  4. uriela overend November 19, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    We had a model release for our 2nd event that happened in April and used the photos to promote the need for affordable housing in our area with a photo show where we showcased the photos. We interviewed everyone and asked them what they loved about the city and what they would change and put these quotes underneath the photos. It was lovely and some of the participants even came to our event. It was a nice way to showcase the amazing photos while still respecting that not everyone wants their photo used. We made sure to tell people that we didn’t require them to sign a release and some declined to do so. I think it’s important to make sure that the participants understand that there is an option and that we give them that option. Some people just are not ok with having their picture shared and that’s ok!

  5. Sam Lee November 30, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    Could someone explain the sample model release form (basically the same question as Armand)?
    I feel we have two different case:
    1. photographers release their rights to the subjects to make reproduction freely, without, say, being questioned by the photo stores: that seems to be the sample photo release form ( http://help-portrait.com/docs/HPPhotoRelease.pdf ) the way I understand it as a layman.

    2. subjects agree to have their photos being shared, which is the purpose of this post: on download area, I can’t find any form that seem to serve this purpose.


  6. Jeff Cruz November 30, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    What about video? We need to capture video to get more donations for next year. I think if we cover our basis by asking for permission from the subject and display the video properly it should still be about giving… thoughts?

  7. Stefanie Felix November 30, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    The release is not specific enough. It should state how the photograph can be used – such as to promote Help-Portrait and/or for editorial/educational use depicting this event. This may require a little more explanation to the subject but is much more secure for all parties.

  8. Michael Burr November 30, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    I agree w/ Armand, Sam Lee & Stefanie Felix. This is not a model release form but rather a form from the photographers giving permission to Help-Portrait to reproduce our work. A release form needs to be created for the subjects as explained by Uriela Overend. Signing is optional.

  9. Donna December 1, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    I am looking for the model release form mentioned available on the downloads page, however, did not find one.

  10. ioyusas3222 August 21, 2012 at 12:23 PM

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