If you’re an aspiring portrait photographer and you want to start working with models, you should probably familiarize yourself with some basic elements of a simple model release form.
Essentially, a model release document is a clearly printed and signed agreement between a working photographer and his or her subjects. In this agreement, the people you plan to take pictures of are basically giving you, the artist, full rights of ownership over the images, as well as permission to use said images for all clearly defined commercial usages of your choosing.
If you’re the kind of photographer who carries your camera with you all the time and often unexpectedly pulls it out to capture cool shots when the opportunity arises, we highly recommend you make a couple copies of a simple model release form, and keep them handy in your camera bag should you ever need them.
Learn more about legal forms for photographers.
Let’s say you’re spending the day in a nearby city and you capture an awesome shot of a pedestrian hailing a taxi cab. It might behoove you to grab some signed permissions from the aforementioned subject if ever you decide to sell this image or pitch it for commercial use. If you’re traveling internationally, it might also be wise of you to have your typical model release agreement quickly translated and re-printed in the native language of whenever you expect to be exploring. That way, you can provide locals with said agreement form if need be, and you won’t have to worry about any miscommunications or improper translation.
It’s crucial to remember that if you happen to photograph a subject under 18 years old (let’s say you capture an adorable candid of a baby blowing bubbles in Central Park), you’ll need said baby’s parent or a present guardian to sign a minor’s model release on behalf of the child as well.
Below, check out this sample general release form. Feel free to copy it and use it on your own professional jobs.
Note: NYIP’s attorney advises us to inform all readers that we accept no responsibility for any liabilities you may incur on any of your jobs, and we hereby do so. If ever you’re hired to work a more high-profile job for a larger client, our attorney also suggests that you consult legal counsel of your own to specifically ensure that that the Release Form you use for the job covers all the points that are applicable to the very specific role you were hired for.Model Release
In exchange for consideration received, I hereby give permission to _______________ to use my name and photographic likeness in all forms and media for advertising, trade, and any other lawful purposes.
Print Name: ______________________
Date: _______________________If Model is under 18:
I, ____________________, am the parent/legal guardian of the individual named above, I have read this release and approve of its terms.
Print Name: ____________________
Want to start your own portraiture business? Check out this link to see NYIP’s course curriculum outline.