Fair Use

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Development Photography Ethics | Photoshare Terms of Use 

Responsibilities of Photoshare Users

Photoshare - an editorial photography collection

The Photoshare collection falls under the category of editorial photography. Unlike commercial photography, which is usually obtained for promotional purposes through contracts with professional photographers and stock agencies, editorial photography calls for a journalistic approach to taking and using photos. In other words, editorial photography is intended for objective, accurate representation or illustration of a real situation, subject, or physical location.

Photoshare images are available strictly for non-profit, educational use promoting international health and development, under the principles of editorial photography. They may be used to visually portray the people, stories, and issues referred to in Photoshare captions. Above all, we expect Photoshare users to respect human photo subjects and take into consideration whether photo subjects may experience negative consequences of having their photo used. The value and importance of using a photograph should always be weighed against regard for the photographic subjects' reputation, privacy, and integrity.


Fair Use Guidelines  |  Fair Context

There is currently a high demand for photographs of persons affected by HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, and other highly sensitive and personal issues. However, the Photoshare collection contains very few relevant and appropriate photos on these topics. We cannot approve any request for photos if they will be used in a way that falsely or harmfully associates, or seems to associate, a particular health status, attitude, or behavior with any person who appears in the photographs. Photographing and using photos of vulnerable populations requires extreme care and sensitivity. If you request such photos, please be prepared to answer additional questions about your request or provide a draft copy of your document. Common examples of misuse include:

  • Using a photo to illustrate persons affected by HIV/AIDS (or any other issue) when there is no evidence to support a connection between recognizable individuals and the content of the material.
  • Using a photo of another organization's activities to showcase your own organization's program without disclosing the true content of the photo.
  • Using a photo of people in one country to represent people in another country.
  • Making a false or unfair, presumptive statement about a human photo subject in an explicit or implicit manner (e.g. captions, text, headings, document layout). For example, it is impermissible to use a general photo of a woman breastfeeding on the cover of a report on "Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission" or next to a caption that highlights statistics on HIV transmission, even if the text does not make specific reference to people in the photo.



The best way to avoid delays and further inquiries into your Photoshare request is to edit your photo selections carefully with respect to captions, and provide detailed information about your document and the context in which you wish to use photos. We suggest the following:

  • Send us a pre-press copy of your material with thumbnails or notes on where you wish to use Photoshare images.
  • Never distort the true context, content, or meaning of a photograph. If, however, your purpose is to protect the identity of vulnerable populations who may be put at risk of reprisal, violence, or rejection in their communities as a result of telling their story, it may be appropriate to leave out detailed information about the content of the photo.
  • Use the original caption when possible. When adapting captions, send us your draft captions for review. Do not make false statements about the photo content or context in your captions. If you are unable to place text alongside the photo, consider including the original caption with your photo credits.
  • Carefully consider the implications of your document layout. Is the reader likely to misinterpret the subject of a photo based on its placement? Ask yourself, "will the nature of this photo and its proximity to the headline lead our readers to infer that persons in the photo are ---- [fill in the blank, e.g. HIV positive, actual clients, program participants, etc.] when in fact they are not?"

If your request is denied, we will do our best to identify alternative, appropriate photo choices. In some cases, we may ask you to incorporate original captions and/or a disclosure statement. If we are unable to help you with your request, we recommend that you work with a stock photo agency, professional photographer, or other photo resource to obtain appropriate photographs.

Feel free to send an email to [email protected] or call 410-659-6280 to follow up on your submitted request with additional information or questions. Please allow 1 business day for us to process your request.  If your request is approved, you will receive an email with instructions to download free copies for one-time use.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.