Model Release Form

A model release form is a document that is meant to help photographers protect themselves from responsibility and claims regarding licensing they might get from individuals in their photos, that is, models. This is why those photo creators who want to make sure they won’t face a claim related to the usage of photos without proper authorization should have this photo release form signed before or shortly after a photoshoot. To be legally binding, a model release form should be signed by a person in the photo or the owner of the property that was shot. It is relevant for both paid and unpaid photo shootings.

The release of liability form is most often used in the industry of fashion or corporate photography. If a photographer gets a signed form from their model, photo materials they have taken can be used in promotional campaigns or sales, and consequently, the photographer has the right to get profit from such actions.

Why Is a Model Release Form Important to Obtain?

In some cases, a photographer might think that obtaining a signed form is not necessary. For example, they might not plan to license the photos and use them after the shooting. However, they might change their opinion in the future and decide to use photos when advertising their photo shooting services on their website. In such a case, it would be wise to foresee the possibility of using the photo materials for marketing purposes and sign a model release form prior to the photoshoot. This way, a photographer would prevent any future issues connected with the model photo of which was taken.

A standard situation is taking pictures in public. A photographer can take a picture of a random person and use it for personal purposes, that is, other than commercial. It goes without saying that it is impossible to guarantee privacy to literally anyone in a public place. However, if the photographer decides to use the photo with a stranger for advertising purposes or to gain profit in any other way, and they don’t have a model release form gained from the person captured in the photo, they might face legal issues if the person in the photo claims about the violation of their rights. This is why pictures of random people met in the street are never used in advertising materials.

Another risk for a photographer is that if a photo with a stranger is used for actions that might be considered offensive, harmful, or wrongfully portrayed, a model can file a suit against the photographer if they don’t have their signature on a photography model release form.

Private gatherings as weddings or birthday events also require a careful attitude towards taking photos. The thing is that people at such events have a right to privacy which is implied and consequently, they might have issues with being captured in photos without giving their consent.

How Does a Model Release Form Differ from a Photo Release Form?

These two forms might be sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

In a model release form, the signature of the model indicates their waiver of the copyright to the photos. In a standard photo release form, the signature of the photographer is needed. By signing the photo release form, they let the buyer print copies of the images, for example, those made at weddings, portrait shootings, etc.

Quite often, both the photo release form and model release form are signed during the photo shooting. This gives the party taking photographs the right to use the images in their portfolio, while the model can duplicate photos as much as they need. With a properly signed form, they might sell their photos without violation of the creator’s copyright.

If you want to get a free model release form, use one of our templates. We offer a free model release form in three formats so that you can conveniently use one of them by downloading it to your device.

Template Preview
Download your fillable Model Release template in PDF.

How to Fill out a Model Release Form?

A standard model release form is usually a simple document that is easy to fill in.

Step 1 – Information about the photographer

First, the model release form template should cover the name of the person creating the photos, their address, and contact information.

Step 2 – Information about the model

Further, the document should tell who is being the subject in the photo and to whom the rights to the image are released. The address and contact information of the model should be written.

Step 3 – Description of the photographs

The next thing to mention in the generic form is the date when the photos were taken along with the place of shooting.

Step 4 – Payment

The next section of the release form should specify whether the model gets any sort of payment for signing the form. It might be a fee, prints of photos given for free, or another option the parties agree to.

Step 5 – Types of usage

One of the main elements of the document is the rights granted to the photographer. It is common to write that the model photo can be used by the photographer in any sort of publication, including commercial ones. The form might also authorize the creator to use the images on public display or in their portfolio.

A model release form might also include the provision about the right to use the photos to represent an imaginary person.

Any special conditions of the usage of the images should be included in this section as well. If the parties decide to specify them in the release form, the separate signatures of the model and photographer are needed here.

Step 6 – The model’s acknowledgment

The following section should tell that upon signing this form, the model will not file any claims regarding ownership to the images specified in this document.

The model should also confirm they are of majority age and clearly understand the essence of the waiver they are about to sign. Please note that if the model is under 18, the signature of their parent or guardian will be needed to make the document legally binding. Their name and address plus contacts should be also mentioned in the form.

Step 7 – Signatures

The model should validate the copyright assignment by putting their signature on the form. The date of the document should follow the signature.

If you need a well-written model release form template that would let you get proper authorization to use the photos you made, use our online document builder. It will let you get a well-crafted form in less than 5 minutes. Just answer several questions regarding the photographer, model, and photos made, and get your customized document to your device.

Published: Mar 23, 2021