1, ,_______________, am the parent and/or guardian of the minor named above and have the legal authority to execute the above release. I approve the foregoing and waive any rights in the premises.
Use only the release portion (the first part) for anyone over 18 years of age. Have a parent or adult sign the consent form for anyone younger.
Don't panic every time you photograph someone without getting a release. First of all, as an artist you have considerable protection. It is only when you begin pursuing photography as a business that releases really become necessary. The laws vary from state to state, so it would be a good idea to check things out with a knowledgeable editor or lawyer if you plan to sell your photographs for publication.
On a more technical note, it's important to know how publication will affect the quality of your photographs. An offset printing press can't generally print gray. Instead, it reduces the gray tones in a photograph to varying densities of black dots. The dots are close together in the dark areas and far apart in the light areas. This creates the impression of a continuous tone photograph (which is what your original is called).
A photograph prepared for publication is called a halftone. It has been screened—copied onto high-contrast (lith) film through a screen, which produces the dots. This process has two effects.
First, it increases the photograph's mid-range contrast. All the subtle grays get separated out into a few basic values. The lightest grays become white (or almost white) and the darkest ones become black (or almost black). Second, the screening process decreases the photograph's overall latitude—the total range of tones from black, through gray, to white. This is because a halftone normally cannot produce either pure black or pure white. There are always some white spaces in the black areas and some black dots in the white areas.
Both these effects are most extreme when the photograph is printed on newsprint, which requires very large dots. Good quality magazine paper is more responsive, but still a far cry from photo paper. Some art books come quite close to matching the quality of the original print . . . but you're probably a few years from that yet.
In essence, this means that in most cases your photograph won't look nearly as good in a magazine as it does on your wall. A contrasty print—with clear blacks and whites— will look fairly similar, though the contrast will increase. A low-contrast print may turn into a smudge, especially when printed on newsprint.
You can minimize the damage by shooting with publishing's constraints in mind. Always try to have your central subject fill the frame (so it gets as many dots as possible). Try to photograph your subject against a contrasting background. A white wall will set off someone's face and hair better than a gray or black one.
The standard format for black-and-white is an 8x 10" glossy print (5x7" for newspapers). The print should have a label taped or glued to the back with your name, copyright (i.e. © 1988), when and where the photograph was taken, the name(s) of any identifiable person(s) in it and a note indicating that you have a release if you do (i.e., Release on File).
With color, the rules change a bit. The photograph is still reduced to dots, but this time the dots are in the 4 primary colors (yellow, magenta, blue and black) and they overlap in a sort of daisy-shaped pattern. Color photographs actually tend to repro-
Photographs that are reproduced by standard publishing techniques, such as all of the photographs in this book, are first "screened." This reduces all tones-white, gray and black—to dots of varying sizes. This is an enlargement of a photograph used elsewhere in this book.
duce much more accurately in a publication than black-and-white. In general, bright and saturated (strong) colors will work best. Good contrast will help make the focus seem nice and crisp. The problem area generally is shadows, which tend to become murky and blotchy. For this reason, it is especially important that faces and other key features be well lit.
For color work, most publishers prefer to receive 35mm transparencies. The films that produce the best results are Kodachrome (ISO 25 or 64) and Fujichrome (especially ISO 50), both of which have very fine grain and good contrast. Ektachrome is weak on both counts (grain and contrast) and is not recommended for general publication work.
On the slide mount you should write your name, copyright, when and where the photograph was taken, the name(s) of any identifiable personA) and a note about a release if you have one.
Finally, before you abandon your most prized transparency into the hands of a stranger (or a friend, for that matter) it's a very good idea to get a signed contract stating what rights you have if the original is damaged. Generally, you should expect to receive some extra payment if the transparency cannot be printed again. Anything from $50 to $200 is a reasonable starting point. A publisher who values your photograph enough to use it should be prepared to guarantee its safekeeping.
Cropping L s. Trace these templates onto paper, then mount on cardboard to make your own cropping "tools." (See page 65.)
Mat frame. Trace this frame, cut it out, mount it on cardboard, and use it to select strong photographic compositions. (See page 64.)
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