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Advice on giving proper credit to my current employer in my portfolio

caramelhighrise

Sorry if this has been discussed but I couldn't find much on here or elsewhere. Most everything was more about marketing a previous company’s work as my own when starting up a new office.

I’m prepping my first professional portfolio to apply for jobs elsewhere and have no idea how to legally use any renderings, finished photography, wall sections etc.  If I give credit to the firm or photographer who owns the rights, is that enough? I’d assume so because I’m giving proper credit and not claiming any ownership. This is only to send to potential employers. I’d name the photographer, artist, company’s name, etc and I’m also clearly explaining my role in each project.

Obviously this isn’t  exactly something I can ask my company… Thank you all in advance.

 
Jul 27, 21 12:23 pm
Non Sequitur

Well... while using drawings and renderings you produced in house might be kosher... you did not pay for the professional photographer.  Your current employer did and they may take exception to you using office promotional work.  They might also have an agreement that prevents free use.


Jul 27, 21 12:30 pm  · 
3  · 

Listen to this ^. At my first job, one of my early tasks was to take nice-looking photos of my boss's projects from her old company. This was so that we could use those images on SOQ's.

Aug 10, 21 11:55 am  · 
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randomised

don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness...


if you use company material but give proper credit etc. it is perfectly okay in my book to put that in your portfolio that you send out to potential new employers, just don’t publish that portfolio online and you should be okay...


you might also simply go over your contract with your current employer, this is exactly something they would address in your contract as it is not the first time an employee wants to leave and is wondering what kind of material to take and use in their portfolio. 

Jul 27, 21 1:06 pm  · 
3  · 
SneakyPete

everyone knows it's done, everyone accepts it. put the photog credit, the render credit (if you didn't do it,) and the design credits.

Jul 27, 21 1:19 pm  · 
3  · 
caramelhighrise

That’s what I figured. I’m not the first person to do this obviously. I don't plan to publish it, only send to potential employers . And again, very clearly explain my role and give credit so there’s no room for assuming I’m taking credit for others’ work.

Jul 29, 21 8:18 am  · 
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reallynotmyname

What you propose is reasonable and customary for drawings and renderings, but using any photos a professional did for your former employer without permission could quickly get you in trouble. The idea that job search materials are confidential isn't universally adhered to. I have seen several firms circulate applicants' portfolios all over the community (and sometimes back to the candidate's current employer) without permission.

Jul 29, 21 11:59 am  · 
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SneakyPete

I'd like to meet a photographer who went after a job applicant for infringing copyright. That way I could make sure never to hire them to shoot my projects.

Aug 10, 21 1:37 pm  · 
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reallynotmyname

It's not the photographers that come after you, it's the firms that commissioned the photos. Some people are pretty stingy about ex-employees using project photography. Especially if you don't ask before doing so.

Aug 10, 21 4:14 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

Fuck them. Pay your employees enough money and respect that they won't leave in order to continue gaining financial and professional security.

Aug 10, 21 4:58 pm  · 
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Bottom line, you're probably fine as long as the projects aren't confidential, etc. and you only share it with potential employers that are serious about hiring you. So maybe don't post it online or send it out as an ice breaker. Make one or two copies and bring them with you to interviews and take them when you leave. You can also give yourself some buffer if you find images that have been published elsewhere to include rather than images that might only be in the possession of the firm ... even if the source of the file you include was from the firm. If the main image was also published in the local paper, they can't expect confidentiality of it.

Other advice ... be creative and figure out a way to show the project without relying on the professional photos or renderings. Make it more specific to your role and not necessarily try to dress your portfolio up with work you weren't responsible for. For my last job search I didn't even make a portfolio. I listed some notable projects on my resume and could discuss them as needed but my work wasn't about the flashing images or renderings, nor was I looking for a job that would deal with those things. I know that's a unique and not widely applicable scenario though, but I share it as a way of saying sometimes I think we emphasize the portfolio too much and we don't really need to worry about it. There is some of that sentiment on a recent thread if I recall correctly: ugly old portfolio

Finally, understand that the profession is small and even if you try to keep it secret that you are looking elsewhere ... it can leak. It may suck, but sometimes it might be better to just come out with it and let your employer know that you aren't happy and that you are looking elsewhere. Sometimes this may result in a raise and/or other changes that you'd like to see anyway.

Jul 27, 21 3:10 pm  · 
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t a z

A portfolio with flashing images would be baller.

Jul 27, 21 8:08 pm  · 
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caramelhighrise

Thank you, that thread
is exactly what I’ve been searching for.

Jul 29, 21 8:22 am  · 
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Witty Banter

I think there has already been some good answers so I won't bother repeating them.  However I will add something to keep in mind in the future.  If possible, read the employee manual and ask questions prior to accepting an offer.  My current firm had some language regarding the use of materials that was vague and sounded overly restrictive.  After a follow up it was clarified it only applied to projects requiring some sort of classification or security clearances.  

It's best to have this conversation prior to accepting an offer in the event you don't like the answer but the next best time is shortly after starting.  That way you don't have to worry about broadcasting that you're looking for a new gig if you'd prefer to keep that private.

Jul 29, 21 11:13 am  · 
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reallynotmyname

A portfolio policy for ex-employees is absolutely something all firms should have in their employee handbook.

Jul 29, 21 12:09 pm  · 
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