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Model Release Forms

Amanda Lock , Jan 11, 2007; 04:38 p.m.


I was wondering if you have every one that you shoot sign one. Obviously you have them sign it for a wedding, but what about for an engagement session? Do you ask them to sign it before or after the session? Is there a standard form that gets used? Have you ever run into problems when you didn't have a couple sign one?


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Sarah Quiara , Jan 11, 2007; 05:04 p.m.

I just did a family shoot right before Christmas that came back to bite me in the butt. I posted a thread about it. Here's a link to it :


My suggestion : GET A RELEASE! For all non-wedding stuff! All the time!! I learned the hard way :(

Neil Ambrose , Jan 11, 2007; 05:14 p.m.

Obviously you have them sign it for a wedding, but what about for an engagement session?

I think you'll run into problems if you're intending to ask everyone you shoot to sign a release, especially in a wedding. It would be disruptive, invasive and frankly rather rude - especially to the guests. I wouldn't even consider it. Plus, no one has to sign a release. If people do give you a release they're doing you a favour, but it's certainly not an obligation and it's quite reasonable for anyone to refuse.

Nancy Stock , Jan 11, 2007; 05:46 p.m.

"Always get a model release" is the advice I was given. If you take photos of anyone who is recognizable in the photo and you put it up for public display, you should have a release from the individual. That is what I have heard.

Now, I have never seen anyone get releases from guests or, for that matter, the bridal party. Photographers put the photos on their websites etc. However, if asked to take them down, you must.

Another good rule of thumb is to never post any photos of children under age 18 w/o a release from the parents.

I would get a model release from any non wedding shoot as well (such as portrait sessions). If the client will not give you a release you know where you stand.

Amanda Lock , Jan 11, 2007; 06:11 p.m.

I didn't mean ask every single person in the wedding to sign a release, just the groom and bride and it would be worked into my actual contract.

Sarah, thanks for the link to your question!

I guess I just want to know if I can get in trouble legally having pictures of couples (no children) up on my website without having had them sign a model release. If they ask me to take them down, I will, but I wanted to make sure that they can't sue me for just having them up. (not that I think any of the couples I've shot would- they were all very nice) :)

Michael Axel , Jan 11, 2007; 06:16 p.m.

I've modified my model release to generally include digital rights, including web, email, etc., etc. and any time I shoot anyone, I get them to sign one before the shoot. A friend who is a well known magazine photog advised me to put a mini-release on the back of my cards that can be signed by street subjects, etc. It's really been handy. Legal? Who knows, but it's all a matter of "how much" protection, and I always have some form of release to carry around with me.

Anne Almasy , Jan 11, 2007; 06:47 p.m.

Check out this site for some great info on model releases. There's also a sample release at the start of the article.

http://www.danheller.com/ model-release.html

William W , Jan 11, 2007; 07:32 p.m.

We have a `Release Form`, not an exclusive `Model Release Form`

A Release in obtained prior to any `professional photographic engagement`.

When a group of people is involved in an engagement, then a Release is obtained from the main stakeholder, or person responsible for the account.

For works of `journalism` or `artistic endeavour` in public places, no release is obtained.

Although a lawyer might see areas of grey between these two categories, we thankfully, have not had a problem.

Regards WW

William Morgan - Columbus, Ohio , Jan 11, 2007; 09:44 p.m.

Put model release information in contract so that if they sign the contract they are agreeing to the terms of model release and the engagement session is part of the wedding contract.

All taken care of in one document.

John H. , Jan 12, 2007; 06:48 a.m.

"When a group of people is involved in an engagement, then a Release is obtained from the main stakeholder, or person responsible for the account."

The fact that a "main stakeholder" or "person responsible for the account" signed a release is completely meaningless when it comes to the other peoples's likeness being published for commercial purposes. The release will be effective for those who signed it and no one else.

This should be obvious. Do you want others to automatically be able to sign away the all the rights and restrictions to using your likeness to use in advertisements just because you are in the same photograph as them? According to your logic, that's perfectly fine.

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