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Part 1: What Is A Photo Release Form?

A photo release form, also known as a photography release form, like the video release form, is a legally binding contract between the photographer, business entity, or specified individual (the Releasee) on the one hand and the subject being photographed, the client commissioning the photography, or the owner of the subject being photographed (the Releasor) on the other.

Under the contract, the releasor is to authorize the releasee to use photographs for commercial or personal purposes in exchange for payment, royalties or benefits in other forms.

A release form ensures no grey areas when it comes to using images.

Part 2: When Do You Need a Photo Release Form?

An image release form is required when the image will be utilized for commercial purposes, such as raking in money, promotion of services, or publication.

Without a photo release form, the individual or the owner of the property in the image may stake his or her claim to the revenue it brings.

Though a photo release form is not required when the picture is used in a news article, there may still be confusion regarding whether a picture is used for commercial purposes or journalistic purposes. Therefore, it’s necessary to state the license limit of the image in the photo release form.

Also, a photo release form becomes necessary if the individual or subject in the image is highly recognizable.

In general, it is a good idea to have a photo release form signed for any picture you click as a commercial photographer, to always be on the safe side.

Part 3: Types of Photo Release Forms

There are many types of photo release forms that vary in details, suitable for different scenarios, including:

Photo Release Form:

As a catch-all term for all types of release forms, the photo release form describes the relationship between the photographer and the client or the model. It details how the photos can be used and who will own the final work of photography.

It may also specify whether or not the photographer is granted the consent to use the pictures in his or her portfolio, if the client claims the ownership of the above-mentioned pictures.

Other requirements can be added in the photo release form as well, if agreed upon by the parties mentioned in the photo release form.

Model Release Form:

Signed between the photographer and the model, a model release form is a specific type of photo release form. It lays out the photographer’s rights to publish the images in any commercial space, or license the images to any third party.

Print Release Forms:

A photo print release form is an agreement required when one party (the client) wishes to print certain images. The photographer hereby grants the client print access to those images by signing the photo print release form. It shall outline how those photos can be used, who can use them, as well as the terms and conditions concerning the photo copyrights.

Without a print release form signed with the photographer, it may constitute a violation of law for the client to print out those photos.

This type of release form is optional, dependable on the what are the images intended for, like to be included in a company brochure or to be posted in an e-commerce website.

Photo Release Form for Minors:

When the subject of the photography is a minor, the aspect of the photo release form changes quite a bit.

This type of photo release form can only be valid when it is signed by the parent or guardian of the minor.

Photo Copyright Release Forms:

A photo copyright release form refers to a legally enforceable document that transfers all the rights of certain pictures from their owner to the client or publisher, authorizing the latter to copy, distribute, or use those pics for other purposes.

This type of release is often signed when it comes to non reusable photos such as branding product photo shoots or anything that may not bring the photo owner any extra benefits in the long term.

Part 4: What Should be Included In A Photography Release Form?

The common inclusions in a photo release form are:

Identification of the Photographer, the Model or Client:

A photo release form shall include the legal names contact information and signatures of all parties involved in the photography

Photography Description:

A photo release shall include a detailed description of the photo, likeness, or video covered within.

How long the photographer, business, or individual will retain the right to use the photo, likeness, or video

Rights to the Final Work:

The photo release form also describes who is going to own the photographs once taken. Furthermore, if the photographer grants license of the pictures to the client, the photo release form shall detail the length of the license as well as the license limit.

Consideration for the Model or Property Owner:

The photo release form may specify if the model or property owner is signing over his or her rights to the image, likeness, or video; or if there is any sort of payment being made to the model or the owner of the property in the photo to obtain the release, as well as the type of payment and the amount of payment. Whether the model shall receive royalties shall be explained also.

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Wrapping Up

Now you know all about photo release forms, who uses them, and why they are necessary. Time to personalize your own photo release at CocoSign's contract library!


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