- Do I need to get a model release when photographing people?
- How do I put together a model release?
- What should a model release include?
- Who does and who doesn’t need to sign a model release?
All of these questions are regularly asked by readers over at our forums and here on the blog – so one of our wonderful forum moderators, Nicole, put together the following great primer on the topic of Model Releases (with links to some other great resources on the topic) that will hopefully answer some of the basic questions on the topic.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a model release?
A model release is basically a contract that says that you’re allowed to to publish a photograph. It is something that you have the subject sign to show that they are ok with it. Read up on Dan Heller’s primer on the subject for more information.
So, what does this model release look like?
Model releases don’t have to be complicated, but they can be, especially when people start requesting particular things (like a clause that says you can’t photoshop the image). There have been several threads discussion the actual model release document.
- Model releases… are they really needed? (has a complicated example in the first post)
- Model releases (talks about a non-photoshop clause and gives an example of a model release)
- Examples of actual model releases:
Do I really need a model release?
That question is not nearly as clear as the first one. The answer is that it depends. The more complete article by Dan Heller explains that there are 4 questions you should ask yourself. But there are several other things you should probably look at as well, including whether or not the image is being published, or if it’s being published commercially.
- Model Releases: A primer
- Photographing strangers
- Do you own images of yourself?
- Copyright and model release advice (what happens when someone else publishes a photo that you don’t have a release for?)
- Anonymous People
- Photographing People When Traveling
This is one of those questions that has no easy answer unfortunately, so it requires a lot of thinking about your particular situation.
Are there any other situations where I need releases to take a picture?
Short answer: Yes.
Long Answer: Yes, and it depends on what or where.
So, if you’re not totally confused by now, congrats. If you are, well, that’s OK too, because lots of people have the same sort of questions. So, keep asking, and feel free to add any other knowledge about model releases you have to this thread.