RELEASE FORMS – Have ’em, Use ’em, Get ’em Signed!!!

Today has been interesting to say the least.  It started off like any other beautiful day here in California.  I was checking email messages, looking at pictures and eating breakfast before getting some work done.  But before I could get busy I received an email someone questioning my ability to use of one of the images I created.  As I started getting more and more into a back-and-forth conversation, I was comforted in knowing I had a signed, legally-binding release in my possession to back up my statements.  Once that document was brought forth, the conversation ended and I was happy.
Model Release Form

This is a sample of a photography release form

That's what brought me here today to talk about the importance of having and using Model Release Forms.  People will and do forget conversations they have had or what they meant when they said something.  Over time people can change what they meant to say to take something completely different than what was intended.  That is why you need a signed and documented release form from the model/client.  I don't care if the model is a scantily-clad female a six year old child or a Fortune 500 business; a release form is YOUR best friend.  A release form is explicit in its intentions and meanings and there are no blurred lines or misconceptions about who owns what and what images can and will be used commercially, on a site, in a magazine or in a portfolio. As an artist and businesses person it is important, check that - imperative, to make certain I am always thinking about my work and how it will ultimately get used.  If you are in the media industry then please have your lawyer draw up release forms.  It doesn't matter if I am walking down the street photographing people, on a TV production set or shooting a model in a studio.  Before we get started I have the person(s) sign a release form.  Once all the legal stuff is out of the way then we can focus on creating something great. Here are some great resources for getting release forms if you don't have an attorney to draw those up for you - Model, Talent and Minor Release Forms Kelby Training - This site is a paid training site but provides some great advice on all kinds of release and copyright issues. Until next time... Happy Shooting!

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