If you intend to use photographs or images in your book, it’s important to ensure you have the necessary permissions to reproduce them. Below, we scratch the surface on the topic.

If your photographs were taken by someone else, you will need to obtain their permission to reprint them in your book. We recommend obtaining their permission in writing, even if it’s a simple email. Adhering to any special requests they may have (such as including an image credit) is a must.

If your photographs contain copyrighted material (works of art, for example), you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holder (in this case, the artist). Take a look at the below image of Balloon Dog (Blue) by artist Jeff Koons. As a lover of contemporary art, I wanted to use an image of this installation on my website. I contacted Jeff Koons’ gallery to request permission, and in turn, received this image along with the required credit, which I’ve included beneath it.

Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Blue), 1994-2000 (c) Jeff Koons

Even if you own the copyrighted material, the copyright itself is almost always retained by the artist. For example, I purchased the below painting, Double Bed, by artist Susan Bennerstrom from a gallery in Seattle. While I own the original painting, the copyright is retained by the artist; thus, it was necessary to obtain her permission to use it on this website.

Susan Bennerstrom, Double Bed, 2014 (c) Judith Kindler

Image permissions is a complicated subject with far more requirements than the couple we examined. To avoid heartache down the road, we recommend studying up on local laws and consulting with an attorney knowledgeable in the field. Additional information can also be obtained from WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). They post helpful resources on their website, including this white paper: Legal Pitfalls in Taking or Using Photographs of Copyrighted Materials, Trademarks and People