The ASMP Member Code of Ethics provides professional guidelines for members as they deal with colleagues, subjects and clients. The Code describes the recommended responsibilities of working photographers to their profession as well as to the individuals they work for and with.
Responsibility to Colleagues and the Profession:
- Maintain a high quality of service and a reputation for honesty and fairness.
- Oppose censorship and protect the copyrights and moral rights of other creators.
- Foster fair competition based on professional qualification and merit.
- Never deliberately exaggerate one’s qualifications, nor misrepresent the authorship of work presented in self-promotion.
- Never engage in malicious or deliberately inaccurate criticism of the reputation or work of another photographer.
- Never offer or accept bribes, kickbacks or other improper inducements.
- Never conspire with others to fix prices, organize in illegal boycotts, or engage in other unfair competitive practices.
- Donate time for the betterment of the profession and to advise other photographers.
Responsibility to Subjects:
- Respect the privacy and property rights of one’s subjects.
- Never use deceit in obtaining model or property releases.
Responsibility to Clients:
- Conduct oneself in a professional manner and represent a client’s best interests within the limits of one’s professional resonsibilities.
- Protect a client’s confidential information. Assistants should likewise maintain confidentiality of the photographer’s proprietary information.
- Accurately represent to clients the existence of model and property releases for photographs.
- Stipulate a fair and reasonable value for lost or damaged photographs.
- Use written contracts and delivery memos with a client, stock agency or assignment representative.
- Give due consideration to the client’s interests before licensing subsequent uses.
- Do not manipulate images for use in a journalistic context in a manner that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
Addendum (added 01.04.2018)
Photographer’s Responsibility to Assistants & Employees
- Conduct oneself in a professional manner while adhering to local, state, and federal laws of employment.
- Ensure a safe working environment (defined as: any instances of sexual harassment, violence, threats, or other similar behavior that would lead a person to feel unsafe in such an environment.) Inform the crew of any safety issues that may be encountered on the project. On projects that have the potential to reasonably involve or subject the crew to dangerous conditions, activities, or other reasonable sources of danger, have a safety briefing prior to the shoot day to discuss what safety gear and industry certifications that may be required and who will provide safety gear. Many companies have rules about the color of hard hats and flame-retardant clothing, FRC, and some require reflective tape on the FRC’s.
- If traveling overseas vaccinations may be required or highly recommended. In such cases, the client should cover vaccination expenses.
- For some industrial facilities, facial hair, hair length, and piercings may present safety issues such as the inability to fit an air mask in the event of a poisonous gas leak. The photographer should find out in advance and if such issues will be present and if so give the crew a heads-up so they can decide on whether or not to accept the assignment.
- Maintain liability insurance for all crew and talent on set.
- Pay fair wages and industry standard rates to employees and independent contractors. Assistants should be paid within 30 days regardless of when the photographer is paid. If this is not possible, the crew should be advised on when they can expect payment. Out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the crew should be reimbursed within 5 days. Crew should receive an advance on trips longer than 21 days so that they may take care of bills that may come due while on location.
- Protect the moral rights of assistants or employees when engaging with each other under your direction.
- Respect privacy rights, dietary needs, religious beliefs, cultural differences and physical limitations of assistants and employees.
- Use written contracts with assistants and employees including second photographers working under your direction.
- Photographers should explain the basic scope of the shoot when booking crew such as: start time, end time, type of project, expectations of what to wear, possibility of the shoot running long.
- Photographer should explain the policy for each assignment on what is and what is not allowed as far as taking pictures/videos, asking for autographs, or discussing any aspect of the project with anyone who is not directly involved in the production.
- If traveling to a foreign country, the photographer should explain to the crew legal and cultural differences, as well as how to stay safe. Staying safe should also include a discussion about what foods, beverages and sources of contaminated water to avoid.
Assistant’s Responsibility to Photographer or Employer
- Conduct oneself in a professional manner and represent the photographer’s brand and best interests within the limits of one’s professional responsibilities.
- Use written contracts with photographers and employers defining the terms and conditions of each job.
- Maintain photographer and client confidentiality and proprietary info.
- Respect and protect moral rights of colleagues.
- Maintain a safe working environment (defined as: any instances of sexual harassment, violence, threats, or other similar behavior that would lead a person to feel unsafe in such an environment.)
- Assume there could be a nondisclosure agreement involved on the project. Ask the photographer for permission prior to taking any photos/videos, asking for autographs or discussing any aspects of the shoot with anyone not directly involved in the shoot. Leaking info of product rollouts, corporate secrets or celebrity appearances can have huge financial consequences.
- Never post any photos of client’s products, property or facilities on personal media sites without prior permission even if the shoot was done months ago. Clients, production companies, design firms and advertising agencies will often search media sites for leaks.
- Never shoot pictures of a situation that a photographer setup and claim the picture as your own.