Model Release – why, what + PDF form to download

What is model release?

Model release is a simple form, signed after a photoshoot to give photographer rights to use the photos after the shoot. It’s highly recommended to obtain a complete model release after any shoot – without a release your ability to do anything with the photos can be sharply limited.

“A model release, known in similar contexts as a liability waiver, is a legal release typically signed by the subject of a photograph granting permission to publish the photograph in one form or another.”

Why should you have one?

If you are a hobby photographer shooting for fun not planning- ever- to do something “commercial” with a photos, you are fine. But if you would ever think about selling your photos to either stock photography websites, submitting them to magazines or just showing them on your website, editorials or selling them otherwise – you always need signed model release.

Not just because its protecting you and your work, also stock websites and magazines will probably want to see a signed release from the model too (due to her age, especially if it contains nudity.)

Model release consists of model’s details such as name, birthday – because of the year of birth; she needs to be above 18, otherwise parents need to sign the form; address and phone number or email, and, of course, a signature. She will be signing a short text about giving you as photographer all rights to use the photos for a reason such as marketing, stock photography or selling.

When it is super important:

  • if it contains nudity (need to prove she is above 18)
  • if you paying your model (you have all rights for photos afterwards)
  • if your model is beginner (explained below.)

In one form there is a statement written which says:  “I acknowledge and agree that I have no further right to additional consideration or accounting, and that I will make no further claim for any reason to Photographer/Filmmaker and/or Assigns. “

It means that if your model would get crazy and might want you to put the photos down from somewhere without normal explanation, you have the last word – you have the release. I don’t know anyone who experienced similar, but it’s always good to be ready, especially if your model is beginner and might not understand the rights properly.

In the form, you can add your logo or watermark and predesign the form with your details so you can just print it out and bring with you.

Good suggestion is to tell your model before a shoot that you would like to sign a model release – most of models would be very ok with that as it is common thing. If she would hesitate, explain to her you need one signed as a proof of age and rights to photos – not planning to stalk her or anything.

The very last thing – very IMPORTANT for release:

You might add a special row for her nickname or ask her what name you should use afterward – it is very common for models to use nicknames when shooting nude. You should never use her real name, which she filled in the form -just ask her and avoid all misunderstandings which might happen.

PS.: There are two forms for you to download – both are quite similar, so you can choose which you personally like better and then use it as it is (they are ready to use) or just use them as an example. Just click on link below called Model and download should start straight away – forms are in PDF and in English.

Download model release