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Utilizing Adobe Stock: From Shoot to Sale

Lesson 5 of 6

Intellectual Property and Release Forms

Mat Hayward

Utilizing Adobe Stock: From Shoot to Sale

Mat Hayward

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Lesson Info

5. Intellectual Property and Release Forms


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2 Examples of Mat's Stock Work Duration:19:22
3 How to Shoot Stock Duration:11:03
4 How to Submit Stock Duration:07:18
6 Making Money with Stock Duration:11:10

Lesson Info

Intellectual Property and Release Forms

This is a big one. You upload your content, you own the copyright. It's non-exclusive, you can sell through other agencies, you can sell through your website, you can do whatever. It's your content, we are an outlet for you to sell, to monetize your work, but you can continue monetizing it in any way, shape, or form, that you see fit, right. So, that's a big one. The content needs to be created by you, so, no public domain images. You need to own all of the elements of the content. So, you can't download images created by other people, create a composite, and then sell that as your own. You need to be the original artist. That's super important, the copyright. But, again, it's your content. Any image that shows a recognizable person must be accompanied with a signed model release. We've got a few ways you can do model releases, this is the paper version. You can print this out, and have everybody hand sign, which is effective, and easy to do. There's three main criteria. And, I will gi...

ve the disclaimer, you can use your own model release as long as the legal language is, you know, your covery of the same protection as our release provides you. But, we will require a printed name, legibly printed name of the model, and a signature of the model. You, the photographer, need to legibly print your name, and sign your name, and the name on the release needs to match your name on your account. So, don't put your studio name on the release if it's your studio name on your account. And then we require an adult witness to have printed, and signed their name. If the model is a minor under 18 years old, then we need the printed name of the model, but then we need the name, and signature of the parent. Right, it can be confusing at first, and the moderators are looking at those line by line, making sure they're compliant. The release is for your protection, as much as it is ours. It's very important, and so, there is a checklist in the learn and support page, and I'll show you where that's at in here. But, this is a good. When you're doing these for the first time, just go through the checklist to make sure that you've met all the criteria. The same applies to property releases, recognizable private property. Like, you would know that was your home, and so you need to get permission from the people to sell pictures of it. Again, the paper release, I use an app for my releases called easy release, this has no affiliation to Adobe, but it's super convenient. I've copied the language from our release into that, and I just got it in my phone, and they just sign they're name right on there, and all the details, and that's perfectly valid as well. So, you're exporting a JPEG, you upload JPEG versions of the releases, no PDFs or anything like that, just a JPEG. We also have Adobe Sign. So, from within the Contributor Portal you can generate a release, email it to your model, and then they can click the sign. It comes back to you, you click to sign, and then that's automatically populated in the Adobe Stock Contributor Portal for you, and that's attached to the image that you generated it from. And then you can reference it if you submit 20 pictures of the same model, there's a drop down menu where you can just select that release, and use it for each image. You don't have to submit a new release for every single picture. Hopefully that makes sense. This is what that looks like. This really pretty straight forward. Name, and email, all that good stuff. Then again, I click to sign, send it back to you, you sign it, and so on, and so forth, right. Any questions on that? Yes ma'am. Just wondering about releases for artwork, or tattoos, or anything like that might come in. Yeah, great question. So, I can't take a picture of somebody else's art, and sell that as my own, I would need a property release signed by that. And, I'll show you an example in a little bit here. But, if even if you're the original artist, if you draw a sketch, and you take a picture of that, you upload it, it's gonna get kicked back to you saying, "Hey, we need a property release for that." And say, "Well, I drew that myself." We don't know that, and so you would need to sign a property release as the contributing artist, and as the property owner, the artist. Same with tattoos, if the tattoo is the focus of the image, then you would need a property release for that. Examples that I see, you can submit pictures of people with tattoos without a property release for the tattoo, but if it's at a tattoo parlor, and there's the tattoo gun, and there the art, and then the art couldn't be a picture of Superman, or whatever, because that's trademarked in itself, but the photo is of the tattoo, then you need a property release for that. And, there was another question. Yes, Ma'am. What if you get a property release for a house, and then it's sold to somebody else? Yeah, that's a, as far as I know, this question just came up recently, and it was passed around. The release is binding, like, it's good. They had the rights to sign it, you have the rights to sell the picture. I am not a lawyer, so, I wouldn't, If you have a real concern about that, I would consult an attorney, but I've not ever seen a case where that has come back, and said, "Hey, that was okay, but now it's not." I think you're good to go. That's a tough question, but it was a good one. Yes, Ma'am. What about pets? Do owners-- Hudson does not need a release. Well, because I know people will... If you spend $1,200 on your dog, or something. I know people in my family who would be like, "Hey, "you don't have my permission to make money off of this." Yeah, but most pets are similar enough to other variations of those breeds, and what not, that you really just don't need a release. If there's a collar identifying the pet, then you would need that. Generally, if it's a famous dog, you know, Lassie, or, oh, my gosh, am I that old? (laughs) (audience laughing) You know what I mean, if it's a famous dog, recognizable; but if it's a golden retriever like Hudson, he, arguably, is the best looking Golden Retriever in the history of all Golden Retrievers, but I've seen others that look pretty close to him, too. Hard to frame this question, graffiti, street art. Graffiti is art, even if it's vandalism, it's trademarked, the artist owns that. Great question, so yeah, you can't shoot it. And then, also the building, it identifies the building as private property, and so yeah, whether it's commissioned street art, or it's some gang tagging it, it's their intellectual property, and so you need to have their permission to do it. Just like, I was in the Louvre in Paris, not that long ago. And, I'm just like a kid in a candy store, taking all these pictures, and my wife's like, "What're you gonna do with those?" Like, "Well, nothing, but it's, oh wow!" But, you can't take pictures of other peoples art, and sell it as your own like, I took the picture. Yeah, but you didn't create that art. And, art is subjective, right? Yes, Ma'am. What if the artist is no longer alive? They need to be dead for 75 years, and with art, I don't think you would be able to do it. But, if it was a picture of a person, they would need to be deceased for more than 75 years. But, I don't think you could ever sell their art. Like, the Louvre has the rights to all that stuff that's in there. You guys have tough questions, good. (audience chuckles) 'Kay, so Seattle has a unique thing called the Gum Wall. But, that's not one persons art. Yeah, that's just gross, that's not art. (everyone laughing together) I'm kidding, it's beautiful. But, the market you'd have to have a release? Pike Place Public market is really strict, I've been there doing photo shoots, and their security has come out, and said, "Hey, you can't take pictures here." 'Cause they want you to pay for a permit, and what not, and you can't sell pictures of that. But, the Gum Wall is just gum stuck on a wall, so you could sell pictures of that, yeah. [Female Audience Member] What about something commercial property, like restaurant, bar, food? Yeah, you would need, generally speaking, a commercial building, that's recognizable, if it's the main subject of your image, then you need a property release signed by the owner for that. And, I'll show some examples of that, to better illustrated it. But yeah, we air on the side of caution when it comes to intellectual property, and release requirements. Yeah, better safe than sorry. Okay, so here's a good example. I didn't take this shot, but this was at the Orlando. I was recovering from the swan attack while this photo was taken, it was there. And so, this shot, it looks like, okay this could be used for stock, right? She's signed a release, he's signed a release, we're good to go, but, there's one thing. I'd be curious to see if you guys could spot the problem with this shot that caused it to be rejected. Yeah, you're pointin', the shoes. The New Balance logo, right there. It's totally small on that, and then the Reebok logo is recognizable enough. And so, that's a deal breaker. Now, you can clone that out, and then it's totally fine. And, you'll see on her shoes, I put gaff tape on her shoes, and we had it on his too, but it kept falling off. And, I like to go through a shoot before hand, and tape up as much as I possibly can. While that's not super appealing, you don't really notice it. Again, this wasn't my image, but usually it's easy to clone tape out a little bit easier than it is logos, and if I forget, or miss it then I'm still covered. Somethin' to think about. This shot, here's Diego again, from the Customer Service Team. And so, he signed a release, it's all good. This is a little more obvious with intellectual property, right? The iPhone, so that iPhone specifically. How can you tell this is an iPhone? You don't see the the Apple logo. The button is trademarked, and highly protected. So, clone that button out, and I would clone out the cameras as well. Then that can be any kind of phone really, and it's totally fine to use. But, that button is enough to identify it as an Apple product, and that's trademarked, and heavily protected. Does the UI also pertain? Oh, your talkin' bout the font? Maybe, I mean, I just took this picture for a demo of that, and I shoulda had it off, so it very well could, I don't know, specifically, if that would be enough for them to say, "Hey, I recognize that interface as ours." Better safe than sorry. Better safe than sorry, air on the side of caution. Here's an example where the shoes are totally fine, the phone is totally fine, she needs a model release, this street art is not really part of the image, and so that's gonna be okay. This kid, probably does need a model release. You wouldn't be able to recognize him, if it was that photo, we wouldn't accept it. But, given the context, and the people, he would recognize himself, and so I would just recommend getting a release from him, but these two guys, no releases required, right. I'm asked all the time, "Street photography, "I can shoot on the street, it's totally legal, totally fine, I can shoot at anybody I want." Yes, that's totally true, but you can't sell licenses for commercial use of any people. So, here's an example where you can't recognize the people, it's street photography. But, even street photos, you need that model release. Take for example, if Lady Gaga is walking down the sidewalk, you took her picture, put that up online for stock, and then some laundry detergent company buys it, and they do this national ad campaign. She doesn't get a nickel for it, she's not gonna be super happy about that, right? So, you have to have written permission from anybody that's recognizable. There are ways to get around what's recognizable. This shot. So, this speaks to the art, right? And, art is subjective, like this could be called a doodle. But, this requires a property release. The hand is fine, but whoever sketched that needs to give permission, and it's likely the photographer that did that. But, we would reject that if there wasn't a property release signed with it. But, the hand is generic enough, could be anybody's hand, no release is required. In this particular case, the hand is very identifiable, and requires a model release. Now, this speaks to the tattoo question. No property release is required for this tattoo, because the tattoo isn't the photo, it's the hands doing the typing. It's kinda gray, it'd be better if you had the release for that, but this is okay. But, definitely, the tattoos identify a person. You can't see her face, but a face is not the only thing that's required to be recognizable, okay. Grandma's hands, so unless she has this sick tattoo, of like a skull, or whatever, you can take of your grandma's hands without a model release. It's gonna be totally fine, no release is required. The Eiffel Tower is the perfect example of how weird intellectual property rules can be, and it's impossible to know everything for every building, and every property in the world. The Eiffel Tower is obviously very iconic, and so you can take pictures by day of the Eiffel Tower, it's more than 120 years old, it's public, you can shoot this, you can sell it for stock no problem. The sun goes down, and the lights turn on, you cannot, because the light bulbs, the light scheme is trademarked by the people that applied 'em. And there's a light show that they do every hour, on the hour, and so you can't take pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night. That's like a super obscure rule, but it illustrates the fact that there are lots of rules out there. As a photographer, you really should do your due diligence, and make sure that you have the necessary rights, and permission. We have a moderation team, you add those key words, you add that title, you add those releases, you submit it for review. It goes to our moderation team, they check it, they make sure that it meets all of our technical requirements. They're also looking for intellectual property violations, but they don't know every piece of property in the world. And again, I said it before, we'll air on the side of caution, but you should also do your due diligence, and just don't even submit a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night, 'cause you know that you can't, right. And so, a lot of that information, I've referenced learn and support page, and so I just wanted to add this in. At the bottom of the Contributor Portal, again it's, it's the learn, and support link, and so, if you click that that is gonna open up a whole world of information about contributing including legal terms. There's a list of known image restrictions, and so its got the Eiffel Tower listen on there. So, if you navigate through, this is the link to the User Guide, so start there, and go through. That's gonna answer technical questions. How big does the photo need to be, what's the minimum file size? It's 2,400 by 1,600 pixels at 300dpi. You can find that in the Learn and Support page, along with massive amounts of other information. The full video series of that video I showed you of the kitchen, and the models, and the house, and what not is linked there as well. But, this is a great reference tool. There's no way you'd want to sit here and listen to me for 14 hours talking about everything here, right. So, you can go at your own pace and do that. Again, you submit your content for review. You're gonna get some rejections. That's just the facts of life. It's part of the process. It's inevitable, it's how we all learn. It's hard sometimes to accept. You look at it and say, "My gosh, this is the best picture of a rock "that has ever been taken, "how could you possibly reject this?" Don't take it personal, it's the best advice I can give you. Look at it as objectively as you possibly can. We all fall in love with our own work. We thought it was good or we wouldn't of submitted it in the first place. But, just take it for what it is. It might be a great photo, but it's not great for stock. And, so, learn from that and move on. But, these are some of the rejection reasons that you'll get, and here's the thing, they're pretty vague. The goal of the moderation team is to review your content as fast as they can and get it online as quick as they can. We tell people it will be reviewed within three to five days, usually we're a lot faster than that. We try to be as quick as possible. But, there comes a trade with that. They can't take the time to right out a detailed note, this is rejected for intellectual property because, there's a Nike swoosh on the shoes. They just don't have the time to type those notes out. So, you're just gonna get a rejection message that says "intellectual property." and the, that's when you look at it and see if you can find it. If you're really stumped you can send an email to me and I'll take a look at it. Intellectual property stuff, but some of the other ones, noise, all images have noise regardless of your ISO100, or 6,400. How much noise, how much of a distraction. We're pretty lenient on it, but if it's like so noisy that it's gonna get rejected. Artifacts, we need like sensor tests, traumatic abarasha, you know, whatever. There's any number of artifacts that can be there. Exposure, is it over-exposed, is it under-exposed? Is part of it under-exposed, and the rest of it perfectly exposed, it can be kind of subjective, right. The technical issues is the one that's like, "What the heck does that mean?" That could be any number of things. It's super vague, I totally get it. Again, just it's one of those things you have to accept and move on. Intellectual property violations, again, that's more tangible. That's something that I can look at for you and answer. "Hey this is the problem." Or, whatever. And then the hardest one, like I said at the beginning, is lack of commercial value. It cuts me deep. I mean I get rejections all the time. And then non-compliant is if you submit an image and it's got a person and you didn't attach a model release, or your model release didn't have the necessary information, but otherwise the image is fine, the moderators gonna kick it back to you and say in a mode that's called remind to complete mode saying, "Hey, there's something wrong "with your model release, fix it, and re-submit it." If you then get that and you send the picture right back to them and you don't make the necessary changes, then they're gonna say, "Ah, this "is just not compliant with our needs" and reject it. 'Cause it can't keep going threw that cycle over and over again. They kick it back to you, and you send it back, 'cause then again it just slows the review process for everybody. And so just for some public humiliation, and self, you know, I've had 2,580 images. This is from a snapshot from my account, over 2,500 images rejected. So again, I've only submitted 2,590 pictures. And so, do the math. (laughing) You know, it's a humbling process. This is what you're gonna see, right. Like, technical issues. And then it gives you a link to some more detailed possibilities, but it's not specific to your content. Any questions on that stuff before we move on? Yes, ma'am. What about questions, do things every get rejected based on the legalities of the content? So, if I went into a marijuana facility and took stock photos of pot, and the process of growing pot, because it's not legal in every single state, would that be an issue? Or, if I were on the street and I got a model release from a crack head in an alley 'cause it's an interesting photograph, but they're participating in illegal activity, is that sort thing that could be rejected? That's a great question. I get the marijuana question every time I speak in Washington State, it's so weird. (laughing) I mean there's a market for it, right. If a crime is being committed, there's a violent act, or something dangerous, a literal act taking place, that's one thing, that's not gonna be accepted. There's a big market for marijuana images out there. It is becoming legal in more and more states. There are pot shops popping up. There are news articles about it all the time. So there's a market for that. So we will take that. It's gonna be a judgment call, if some kid in an alley way, it's crime, and it's a dangerous situation. We're not gonna endorse that right. It's gonna be looked at image by image. But, there are images of drug paraphernalia and what not. 'Cause there is a need for that content. There are stories about it. You know, help get your friend into rehab, or whatever, you know what I mean. So, it's gonna be judged by the image, but generally marijuana, there's not too much... It's accepted. There's a lot of need for that content. The extreme cases, it's not gonna be taken. Did that answer the question, sort of? [Female audience Member #1] Oh, yeah. Okay. (laughs) [Female audience member #2] When you initially submit a picture does it matter how old it is? No, no it doesn't. We have a lot of photographers starring, they take scans, or slides, and scans of the slides and they submit it. There's a lot of rejection for that because it's gonna be judged on the criteria of the digital file just as though it were taken with a top high-end DSLR. So, it's tricky with scans 'cause there's dust, and all kinds of different elements. There's no restriction on that as long as all the releases are in place and what not, no problem. But, just the quality standards have to be met just as though it were shot today. [Female audience Member #3] Are you excepting 360 degree content? (deeply sighs) Sort of, we're not selling it in the file format that's for the virtual reality head gear, but yeah, there is some 360 content out there. You'd have to look and see. I'm not an expert on that, so I don't, you know, look and see what we have and see if that fits with what you're creating. But, I mean, we're constantly evolving and adding new content types and really trying to be a global market place that provides all asset types. I know I didn't totally answer that question. Okay, so editing tips, I've talked about this already, a bit, but I just want to go over it again. Edit inconspicuously. If you submit a photo and the moderator looks at it and goes, "Oh, that's a really cool post processing." It's probably gonna get rejected if the first thing you notice is the post processing. So, for me, I do all of my raw conversions in light room. I love the vibrance slider. Not so much the saturation, because it just makes it kind of fake and I want my images to pop. But, I don't want them to look fake. Where that's the distracting element. So, we'll take HDR files to, but sometimes those will get rejected 'cause it's like, that's what you're seeing is the HDR not the beautiful scene that's in front of you. Scrub logo's and watermarks. You know, Photoshop is a pretty amazing tool. And I say less is more with post, but that's one of the great advantages. With editorial content you can't delete logos and what not. You're not allowed to do that. But, with commercial, it's game on. You can flip it upside down, do what ever you want. And then take a look at the image at 100%. If you're looking at it on your phone, or tablet, or whatever it might look super clean and beautiful and sharp but then when you're seeing it at 100% on a big monitor; maybe it's really soft focused or super noisy and so, do yourself a favor and look at that. Make sure you're compliant. Because the moderation team is looking at them at 100%. And then, I talked about this already, (mumbles). Submit in color, sharp version and learn and support page has more tips and tricks on that.

Class Description

Want to make some extra money by selling images through a stock agency? Join Mat Hayward, a successful stock contributor to Adobe® Stock® and other agencies, as he shares his tips and techniques for shooting for stock, repurposing images trapped in your hard drives, winning at the search game and more. Learn how to accelerate your career by accessing millions of creatives on Adobe Creative Cloud® who need the work you’re already creating. This class is perfect for photographers of every level, from enthusiast to seasoned professional.


TS Gallant

I have been blindly trying to contribute to Adobe Stock and, honestly, floundering. This was eye-opening (and hopefully game-changing). Before, I was rarely submitting because I thought "well, they won't want this" or "this is too generic" or didn't even submit because I had wasn't inspired in any way. After watching this I was FLOODED with ideas and have filled several pages in a tablet with ideas to photograph. It's almost 2am right now and I don't even want to wait until I sleep! THANK YOU FOR THIS CLASS!

a Creativelive Student

It was really great having someone who works in the Adobe Stock department, at Adobe, teaching the class. Mat knows his stuff! Thanks for making a seemingly overwhelming subject simple.


Excellent class... informative and entertaining.