Model Release – What You Need to Know

In a previous post I discussed legal documents that can be beneficial for you to utilize in your photography business. I wanted to go a little more in-depth on a model release as these are useful when using photographs of clients for purposes that can assist in the marketing of your business, or if you plan to use them elsewhere.

You may remember that a model release is a legal document that provides the photographer permission to publish the photograph as defined by the elements listed in the release. In the cases of minors, the model release is signed by the parent or legal guardian. For adults, the release is signed by the subject. The purpose of the model release is to provide the photographer with permission to use the photographs for portfolio, studio samples, marketing, and internet uses.

You can tailor these documents to what suits you and your business. It is important for both parties to understand what it is they are agreeing to – you can detail further information in your model release to describe any connections the model may have with a product, company, or image.

I turned to the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) for more detailed information on model release forms.

A general model release for adults is used for commercial shoots with professional models. This is used for models of age 18 and older. A sample model release is below.

Sample language for Model Release

In consideration of my engagement as a model, and for other good and valuable consideration herein acknowledged as received, I hereby grant the following rights and permissions to [photographer], [his/her] heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, those for whom Photographer is acting, and those acting with [his/her] authority and permission. They have the irrevocable, perpetual and unrestricted right and permission to take, use, re-use, publish, and republish photographic portraits or pictures for me or in which I may be included, in whole or in part, or composite or distorted in character or from, without restriction as to changes or alterations, in conjunction with my own or fictitious name, or reproductions thereof in color or otherwise, made through any medium at [his/her] studio or elsewhere, and in any and all media now or hereafter known, specifically including but not limited to print media and distribution over the internet for illustration, promotion, art, editorial, advertising, trade, or any other purpose whatsoever. I specifically consent to the digital compositing or distortion of the portraits or pictures, including without restriction any changes or alterations as to color, size, shape, perspective, context, foreground or background. I also consent to the use of any published matter in conjunction with such photographs. I hereby waive any right that I may have to inspect or approve the finished product or products and the advertising copy of other matter that may be used in connection with them or the use to which they may be applied. I hereby release, discharge, and agree to hold harmless Photographer, [his/her] heirs, legal representatives, and assigns, and all persons acting under [his/her] permission or authority or those for whom he/she is acting, from any liability by virtue of any blurring, distortion, alteration, optical illusion, or use in composite form, whether intentional or otherwise, that may occur or be produced in the taking of such photographs or in any subsequent processing of them, as well as any publication of them, including without limitation any claims for libel or violation of any right of publicity or privacy. I hereby warrant that I am of full age and have the right to contract in my own name. I have read the above authorization, release, and agreement, prior to its execution, and I am fully familiar with the contents of this document. This document shall be binding upon me my heirs, and legal representatives, and assigns.

C456apture

model release for a minor child is designed for a parent or guardian to give permission on behalf of a child or teenager. If you can, get both parents to sign, which reduces the risk that one parent will try to revoke the consent given by the other. A minor, in most states, is persons under the age of 18, who do not have legal capacity to sing contracts in their own name.

Sample language for Model Release for a Minor Child 

In consideration of the engagement as a model of the minor named below, and for other good and valuable consideration that I acknowledge as having received, I hereby grant the following rights and permissions to [Photographer], [his/her] legal representative and assigns, those for whom Photographer is acting, and those acting with [his/her] authority and permission. They have the absolute right and permission to take. use, reuse, publish, and republish photographic portraits of pictures of the minor or in which the minor may be included, in whole or in part, or composite or distorted in character or from, without restriction as to changes or alterations from time to time, in conjunction with the minor’s own or a fictitious name, or reproductions of such photographs in color or otherwise, made through any medium at Photographer’s studios or elsewhere, and in any and all media now or hereafter known, including the internet, for art, advertising, trade, or any other purpose whatsoever. I also consent to the use of any published matter in conjunction with such photographs. I specifically consent tot the digital compositing or distortion of the portraits or pictures, including without restriction any changes or alterations as to color, size, shape, perspective, context, foreground or background. I waive any right that I or the minor may have to inspect or approve any finished product or products or the advertising copy or printed matter that may be used in connection with such photographs or the use to which it may be applied. I release, discharge, and agree to hold harmless and defend Photographer, [his/her] legal representative or assigns, and all persons acting under [his/her] permission or authority of those for whom [he/she] is acting, from any liability by virtue of any reason in connection with the making and use of such photographs, including blurring, distortion, alteration, optical illusion, or use in composite form, whether intentional or otherwise. that may occur or be produced in the taking of said picture or in any subsequent processing thereof. as well as any publication of them, including without limitation any claims of libel or violation of any right of publicity or privacy. I hereby warrant that i am a legal competent adult and a parent or legally appointed guardian of the minor, and that I have every right to contract for the minor in the above regard. I state further that I have read the above authorization, release, and agreement, prior to its execution, and that I am fully familiar with the contents of it. This release shall be binding upon the minor and me, and our respective heirs, legal representatives, and assigns. 

3Capture

A Pocket Model Release is a quick and easy alternative that you can carry with you readily and that is likely to be singed with minimal resistance. The document does not provide nearly the level of assurance that the more intricate releases do, but it should provide at least a reasonable level of protection.

Sample languages for Permission for Photography for a pocket model release

For valuable consideration received, I grant [Photographer] and [his/her] legal representative and assigns, the irrevocable and unrestricted right to use and publish photographs of me, or in which I may be included, for editorial, trade, advertising, and any other purpose and in any manner and medium; and to alter and composite the same without restriction and without my inspection or approval. I hereby release Photographer and [his/her] legal representatives and assigns from all claims and liability relating to said photographers. 

1Capture

simplified model release may be used in place of the regular adult model release due to the length, complexity and occasionally intimidating legal language. Some photographers prefer to use a simplified version. They trade-off some protection for a simpler document and one that people who are not professional models may be more willing to sign.

Sample language of Permission for Photography for a simplified model release

For valuable consideration received, I grant to [Photographer] the absolute and irrevocable right and unrestricted permission concerning any photographs that [he/she] has taken or may take of me or in which I may be included with others, to use, reuse, publish, and republish the photographs in whole or in part, individually or in connection with other material, in any and all media now or hereafter known, including the internet, and for any purpose whatsoever, specifically including illustration, promotion, art, editorial, advertising, and trade, without restriction as to alteration; and to use my name in connection with any use if [he/she] so chooses. I release and discharge Photographer from any and all claims and demands that may arise out of or in connection with the use of the photographs, including without limitation any and all claims for libel or violation of any right of publicity or privacy. This authorization and release shall also inure to the benefit of the heirs, legal representatives, licenses, and assigns of Photographer, as well as the person(s) for whom [he/she] took the photographs. I have read this document and fully understand its contents. This release shall be binding upon me and my heirs, legal representatives, and assigns. 2Capture

What kind of model release do you use? How has it helped your business?

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