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A photo release form will be used to secure the use of an individual's likeness either with or without identification. This likeness is typically in a photograph. An organization or website may use this form in order to ask an individual for permission to use a photograph that contains their likeness.
For the form to be complete, it must include information about both parties - the organization that wishes to use the photograph and the individual represented in the photograph. The individual will need to make a sworn statement allowing the organization to use the photograph. Before it is official, it must be signed and dated.
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A photo release form is a form that grants a photographer permission to use a model’s image . It is not necessary for every photograph a photographer may take, but it does serve as a precaution, if not a necessity, when trying to avoid legal issues.
When do I need one?
Photos used for informational or education purposes, such as photos placed in newspapers or textbooks, generally do not need a photo release form. However, any photograph used in a website, ad, poster, greeting card, brochure, kiosk display, trade show or other commercial purpose does require a photo release form.
What constitutes a “commercial purpose?”
This is a slippery subject, as technically speaking “fine art” photography is not considered a commercial use. However, what if you sell a photo? Generally speaking, the judgment for this lies in to whom or what you sell your photo. If it is sold to a newspaper or art patron, that is not technically considered a commercial use. However, if the photo ends up in a commercial publication, that constitutes commercial use. Since in some cases you cannot even govern where your photo will eventually end up, it’s best to play it safe and avoid liability by having your models sign a photo release form.
Here is a checklist to help determine whether you should use a photo release form.
· Is the person clearly the subject of the photo?
· Can you foresee the photo being used for any commercial use, either immediately or eventually?
If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you need to put a a photo release form together.
Are there different types of photo release forms?
There are two different types of photo release forms. The first is the general photo release form, used for models who have reached adult age. This type of form includes simply the information of both involved parties, details of the photos being taken, signatures and the date. The second kind is used for minor subjects, and must be signed by the subject’s parent or guardian. This type of photo release is often called a “model release form.”
How do I create a photo release form?
A photo release form is generally pretty simple and does not require the input of a lawyer. However, to be sure you have a complete and formally correct document, it’s a good idea to hit the internet and find either a free photography release form template or a sample photo release form that you can use as a model. There are plenty of good examples out there – just be sure that you do your research and use a reputable website.
Legal Considerations of a Photo Release
Whether you’re the mastermind behind the camera or the subject of a professional photo, it’s a good idea to know your way around a photo release form. The following article is geared towards new professional photographers – what you are going to need to know in re the legal considerations of a photo release.
When is one needed?
It’s a good idea to use a model release at every opportunity. Drawing one up doesn’t take much time or effort, and can smooth out a lot of potential legal rumples.
Generally speaking, if a photo is going to serve any commercial purpose, it’s worth the use of a photo release form. Commercial purposes include sale and promotional use of images, for both your own and your model’s purposes. This is true even if the photo itself generates no direct revenue. For example, if a photo goes up on a photo blog, it can be considered commercial use because you are showcasing your work. Whether this interpretation is backed by law varies from state to state, but generally speaking it’s worth having the photo release in place to save yourself the trouble.
Strictly speaking, you do not need to use a photo release form form for “fine art” usage. However, since the gap between “fine art” and “commercial” is ever-shifting, you can’t really rely on this. Furthermore, if you are taking photos that pose a threat to your model’s right to privacy – for example, nude photos – it’s a really good idea to have your model sign a photo release to ensure they can’t come back at you later with a lawsuit.
Adults vs. minors
The photo release form process is slightly different for adults and minors. A regular photo release form dictates the responsibilities and expectations of the client and the photographer. It needs to include the following:
· Parties’ names
· Details of money changing hands, including full fee, payment method and deposit amount
· Promised results, including final product, due date, quality, and delivery method .
· Policy for cancellation or lateness.
· Copyright overview
For minors, the form is slightly different. The components are the same but the photo release form must be signed by a parent or guardian, and is particularly important if the minor’s image will be featured in a public medium, such as a portfolio or a website.
How to be sure it’s complete
When drawing up legal or paralegal documents, it’s easy to leave out important clauses. I suggest trolling the internet and digging up a photo release form template or some other free photo release form to work from. It will make life much easier if you have a prototype. Be sure you acquire said free photo release form from a reputable website, however – there are plenty of duds out there.
The Main Components of a Photo-Release Form
A photo-release form is a relatively simple legal document. Essentially, it verifies a photographer’s copyright of photographs taken of you and/or your children. It grants that photographer permission to use said photos as he or she sees fit. This is handy for photographers wishing to expand their portfolio or jazz up their websites with examples. A standard photo-release form includes the following main components:
Names of entities giving and receiving permission and actions permitted, as well as subjects of the photos.
Entities can be individuals or companies.
I, Donald Donaldson , hereby give my consent to Phillip Photographer and other associates of Photos By Phil, Inc . to photograph, film, videotape and then use, reproduce, and publish the following images of me and/or my child/children, Alison Janine, Bethany Melissa and Bickey Bourke.
Any pertinent details about images being produced.
“Family portraits taken in Photos by Phil on June 16 th , 2012.”
Details of permission being granted .
Here, you may give the signer the chance to specify the ways in which the photographs may be used. For example, the signer may only give the photographer permission to publish in a certain place, or you may give him or her free reign to use the photos for promotion on his website or in his studio or portfolio.
I grant permission for Photos By Phil to use the aforementioned photographs at will in the following contexts:
· PhotosByPhil.com (for promotional/portfolio content)
· In-studio promotional use
These photographs may be used in any manner the aforementioned photographer sees fit, with or without identification of the subjects.
Include a statement saying, “I have read and understood the above.” Include spaces for the printed name, organization, address and signature of the person or persons granting photo use permission, as well as the date.
Name: Donald Donaldson Signature: Donald Donaldson
Organization: Donaldson & Donaldson, LTD.
Address: 45 Fortyfive Street, Fortyville, NY, 45455
Date: June 4, 2013