The photographer owns the copyright and can do whatever he/she wants with the images. Obviously, blanket statements like this are seldom correct. First of all, the photographer does not always own the copyright. There are many cases where the photographer will not own the copyright even if he/she shot the picture. If the photographer is under a work for hire contract, the copyright may have been assigned to the client. In Canada, copyright belongs the a client who commissions and pays for a shoot unless there is a contract stating otherwise. Now let’s assume the photographer does own the copyright. Can he do whatever he wants with the images? Of course not. If he shoots a picture of a rock in his garden, he can do almost whatever he wants with the picture assuming the rock is not in the exact shape and color of a trademarked Coca Cola logo. But if he shoots a picture of a person, that person has very strong rights to the use of his/her likeness for publicity. Every State has some laws regulating a model’s right to privacy and publicity. Those laws govern what the images can be used for. In general, limited art prints and use in a printed portfolio does not require a model release. Basically all commercial use for advertising requires a model release. Editorial use, depending on content and who the subject is, may or may not require a model release. Just because you call it editorial use does not make it editorial use. Just as a side note, all those celebrity sex videos of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and the latest from Kendra Wilkinson, they were all signed off by the subjects of the video. They can protest all they want in the press and make all kinds of claims and threats of lawsuits. The fact remains that without a model release, those videos will never make it to the market. They may get released in the black market, but you’ll never see them distributed by the millions without a model release. Learn more about copyright and model releases.
All professionals reply to all emails regardless of interest level. I hear complaints often from photographers or models about someone they contacted about a shoot who does not respond. No response means they are not interested. It’s a myth that professionals reply to say not interested. Casting agents don’t do it, modeling agencies don’t do it, and for the most part, employers don’t do it. Only those selected are contacted. You can call it rude, you can bitch about it but it’s not unprofessional. Why? Because people much more professional than you don’t do it. So if professionalism is defined by actions taken by professionals, then no, it’s not unprofessional. Just accept the fact that they were not interested and move on.
Photographers charge deposits but don’t pay deposits. The person in the power position can charge a deposit. If there is a deposit in play, the person who wants the other person more pays the deposit. It has nothing to do with title or policy. Photographers and models who are in high demand and fully booked can charge a deposit. Other factors which may also affect a deposit are expenses and risk. Traveling models are much more likely to charge a deposit because experience traveling models know most photographers are blowing smoke out of their ass when they talk about shooting when the model is in the area. The majority of them will never come through so the smart traveling models book ahead of time and charge a deposit to make sure their travel expenses are covered. Stupid and inexperience traveling models pay out of their own pocket in hopes of a pay-day. They learn their lesson pretty quickly. Likewise, a photograph who is about to incur considerable expenses may charge a deposit for things like studio time, permits, etc. Deposits don’t work in trade shoots because no money is changing hands and the person being asked to pay is much less likely to part way with money in a shoot that does not involve money. If you are afraid the other person will flake, do better research and don’t agree to shoot if you don’t trust the person to show up.