Model Releases

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Model Release Limited
Model Release Unlimited

In the event that you would like to use a person’s name and image in your work, you should probably get a model release. Model releases are not just for professional models; they should more accurately be referred to as a “personal release.”

There are two types of model releases: a blanket model release and limited model release. In the limited model release, the uses must be listed—for example, “for use on a postcard advertising the crafts business.” This release also has limitations regarding territory and term.Insert the appropriate geographic region and term—for example, North America with a two-year term.

The unlimited model release permits you to use the model’s image and name in all forms of media throughout the world, forever. This grant is broad and intended to encompass all potential uses whether informational, commercial or other. The release is the person’s promise not to sue the company for legal claims such as libel or invasion of privacy.

A blanket release permits any use of the photographic image of the person signing the release and is suitable if you want all rights for all purposes. If the model is only consenting to a specific use, for example, in your crafts advertisement,  use a limited release that specifies the particular ways the image and name may be used. Oral releases are generally valid but you should always try to get a release in writing or recorded on audio or video. The release does not need to be signed by both parties, only by the model.

Release agreements usually do not include many of the legal provisions found in other agreements in this book. Instead, releases are often “stripped down” in order to not trigger lengthy discussion or negotiation. So keep your release short and simple. Most photographers obtain releases prior to or directly after a photo session or when the model is paid.

Releases for minors. If the person is a minor, the parent or guardian should sign where it is marked Parent/Guardian Consent. Since issues about release authenticity often crop up many years after a photo was made, an adult witness should sign the agreement to verify the person’s signature or the signature of the parent.  An employee or assistant is suitable. If the model is a minor, you should remove the statement above the signature line.