What is a Model Release form for photography?



So what is a model release form?


A model release (or photo release) is a formal dated, and signed document photographers use for their business. A model release protects the photographer by showing the person in the image gave permission for their image to be used for commercial purposes.


If you don't want your images to be seen by others, you can decline signing the release. Personally, I understand if a client doesn't want to sign. Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their photos. If you do happen to come across a picture with you in it and you didn't sign a model release, then you can contact the photographer and you can demand the removal of all media.


If you do sign a model release, you're giving the photographer permission to use your images for commercial use. Some commercial purposes include: Publicity, Illustration, Advertising, Portfolios and Web Content.


  • Publicity


Publicity typically means your photos may be used for social media purposes. This helps the photographer because they can share their work online to book new clients. This is one of the easiest ways for us to market our business.

Everyone pretty much knows all of the different channels for advertising. There's social media, google, email marketing, etc. When signing a release, you're giving the photographer to use your image for advertising their brand.

This also benefits the client as well. If a client agrees to a model release then they may get a sneak peek from their session. I try to do this for my clients. That's why I always suggest a new client to follow my social media.



  • Illustration

Illustration is using images to illustrate an action, story or item that is presented better with some form of visualization. For example, using some of your photos to illustrate a step-by-step guide showing what a session entails.


I don't typically use my photos for illustration but if I do, then it would more than likely be for a blog post.



  • Advertising


Everyone pretty much knows all of the different channels for advertising. There's social medie, google, email marketing, etc. When signing a release, you're giving the photographer to use your image for advertising their brand.



  • Portfolio


This is the main reason most photographers want their clients to sign a model release form. It's important for a photographer to build and update their portfolio as much as they can. I really appreciate it when a client signs the form, so I can use their images for my portfolio. This helps me be more successful as a photographer and it also helps others get an idea of what I do.



  • Web Content


Web content can mean a number of things. One example, blog posts. Whether it be for a cover image or for advertising within a blog post. This can be handy if a photographer wants to create a blog for an upcoming mini session. Another example would include using images for services offered on a website.




So who shouldn't sign a model release?

I wouldn't suggest signing if want to remain private, keep a specific person from seeing you or your family, or if you just don't feel comfortable with the idea of people looking at your photos. Your photographer will understand, and if they don't, then find a new photographer.



Who can sign a release form?

The person in the image(s) or the parent of the person in the image(s). If it's a family, then multiple forms will need to be signed. Keep in mind, if you don't want a photo of your child on social media, then you can simply opt out of signing a form for them. There's always the option of just signing one for yourself.





What if I signed but I changed my mind?

Once you sign, the photographer has the legal right to share your photos. However, most photographers will work with you to figure out a solution. I personally will remove a photo if someone asks me to. If this happens to you, just send a private message stating why you would like your photo removed.



Take away

In most cases, your photos will be seen on social media anyway. The majority of people don't mind if their photos are seen. If you love your photographer, then help them out by signing the form. But they won't think any less of you if you decide not to. We appreciate it when you do, but respect you when you dont.


To the photographer, our work is our art. Your images are what we use to build our brand. By signing, you're helping support the growth of your photographer.



Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post,

Taylor Pierce


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