Obtaining a model release from your clients is an important step for any photographer. This type of release can protect photographers and ensure you have the proper documentation in place for the use of the images you take. This tutorial will help you to understand what a model release is, why you need one, and how to use it.

Model Release

What is a Model Release?

A model release is a document that is signed by the subject of a photograph, giving the photographer permission to use the images taken of him or her. It is a legal document between the subject and the owner of the photograph (which is you, the photographer) in which the subject gives their permission for you to use the images for your marketing, website, blog, etc.

Why do I Need a Model Release?

Utilizing a model release prevents you from legal action being taken against you for the use of the images you take of another person. It protects you as the photographer as well as the person being photographed, by stating where and how the images may be used.

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Using a Model Release

Implementing a model release into your client workflow is not difficult, but there are a few things that are important to know:

  1. Know the specific laws of the state or area you live in, as these vary by location.
  2. Have the release signed before the images are taken. Before you ever shoot photos for a client, you should obtain a release from them.
  3. Ensure you have a new release signed for every photo shoot or session. The release does not carry over to a new session.
  4. Always keep backup copies of your signed release, just as you would your contracts.
  5. Make sure your client has a copy of the release.

Ensuring you have a model release signed for every photo session will go a long way to ensure both you and your clients are protected. As the photographer, it is important that your clients understand how you may use the images, and that they have given their permission for you to do so. Having this release in place makes sure there is no confusion down the road, and clears the path for you to use your images for your marketing and advertising!