I was interested if anyone had experience with what laws apply to taking photos underwater with the intent to sell them. I have a few questions for discussion. I'm aware most paid diving seams to be covered by OSHA commercial diving rules, but I have never heard it discussed in relation to underwater photography. I'm aware that few people seam to worry about it, but I live in an area that is very litigious and I'd like to hear some thoughts on the topic.
1.) First do OSHA commercial diving rules apply? If I'm diving with my camera with the intention of selling photos, by most accounts I'm diving with businesses purposes thus being paid. Is this commercial diving as far as the law is concerned? I've read through OSHA rules and the only exemptions seem to be for scuba instructors teaching, scientific divers, government agencies and public safety divers. Many of the arguments for the exceptions granted for instructors would seem to apply to much of underwater photography, but I've seen no opinions on the topic. Moreover they may not apply if you are hired for some specific subject/ location.
2.) Does it mater if I'm diving for my own stock photo portfolio, or if I have a specific job commissioned by someone else?
3.) What about a paid assistant in the water? They are diving as an employee. What about a buddy that is not being paid?