The Wise Photographer Podcast

What is a Model Release + Why You Need One!

January 29, 2020

I'm Chelsy, a single mom in a small town, who loves photographing weddings, and helping photographers build their own businesses

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I want to start this off with this disclaimer; I am not a lawyer; this is not a substitute for professional legal advice. I will be sharing where I get my contracts and some great resources for where you can purchase your own!

What is a model release and why do  you need one as a photographer Wise Photographer Podcast
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So let’s start with the basics, what is a model release? 

A model release is a document that is signed by the subject (your clients) of a photograph, giving you 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.

So why do we need a model release? 

By having a model release in place, you are protecting yourself from legal action being taken against you for the use of the images you take of another person. A model release will protect the photographer as well as the person being photographed by stating where and how the images may be used. Without a model release, we could be infringing on your clients’ privacy rights by showcasing their photos- even if it’s just on Instagram or Facebook. 

So how do you ensure you are covered? 

The easiest way to ensure you are covered is to have the model release built into the contract that your client signs when booking their session. If you are in need of a full contract, I highly suggest checking out the Paige Hules Creative Law Shop and shopcreativelaw.com. I love how Paige breaks things down to be understood!  

I use Honeybook to house all my contracts and client communications. I love that I can create contact templates that will auto-populate names, addresses, phone numbers, and packages into the contracts, which I can easily send over to clients to sign electronically. 

When and Where?

There are certain times when you may need to have someone sign a model release after the photograph is taken this, for instance. Paige gives an example if you decide to publish a photo of the bridal party, but you haven’t had those bridesmaids sign anything saying they consent.

Model releases are essential in the case of a stylized shoot where the primary purpose of the session is to create marketing and branding images. The Creative Law Shop offers a complete stylized shoot contract that has the model release built-in!  

Another critical thing to note is that you need to obtain a model release every time you photograph a client. So even if it is a repeat client, you legally need to have a new model release. 

There you have it the short and sweet of model releases! If you haven’t already joined our Facebook group, I would love for you to join us search Wise Photographer Podcast Insiders on Facebook or head to the link in the show notes! That’s it for now. I’ll see you next week! 

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