General News Blog


What is a model release, and how should you get one for your commercial photography?

A model release is an essential aspect of commercial photography that you will frequently encounter if you photograph people in your work. It’s an important document that gives permission to the photographer to use the images for any intended commercial purposes that might be explicitly stated in terms of the model release form.

Without a model release form, the use of any images of a person can be considered a breach of privacy of that person. Without this document in your hand, the person whose photo you’ve used for commercial purposes can sue you for using their likeness without their permission.

When should you get the model release form signed?

You need to have the signed model release forms either before the start of the shoot or right after so that your rights as the photographer who has worked on the shoot are safeguarded. Some photographers make it a point to have the model release form signed right after the shoot is finalized. That way, they have the legal formalities done long before the shoot begins.

What are the usual things that are mentioned in a model release form?

The exact legal terms will vary from country to country and considering the governing laws in this regard. However, the model release form must briefly state that the model authorizes you to use the images for commercial purposes. It should also mention that they’re allowing you to publish the photos.

In some cases, a model release form can also state the intended purpose/ad / commercial messages for which the images will be used. This safeguards the model if the photographer uses the photos for purposes other than those conveyed to the model.

Also, a clause states that the model is compensated for the images as per the agreement and that nothing else will be paid to them.

Share a copy of the signed form with the model

Please ensure you’ve multiple copies of the model release form with you at all times so you can use them whenever and wherever necessary. When you’re a model, sign the form, and make it a point to give them a copy of the signed form. And in my case, I immediately digitize the hard copy using my phone so that I have a reference of the signed form in electronic format with me.