Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Model Release...

I am no legal professional but I study it to ensure I have all my legal processes in check. So for those models and photographers who do not know or have a model release (as a photographer) this blog post could help.

Official Definition
"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."

Basically a model release is you as the model, you sign away your individual unique likenesses that were photographed that day and production to the company/person (generally photographer) to have full or whatever amount of ownership to the rights of the photos created (generally its 100%). 

A likeness is basically your face as it is generally very unique to 1 individual. This could mean other things to when you have a brand like Hulk Hogan's likenesses is also performing a certain signature moveset like the leg drop, or wearing yellow & red clothing in the wrestling ring.

The reasoning behind to signing a model release as a model is purely because you are being paid by a client (generally a photographer or agency), because it gives them (the copyright owners) to have power to use for whatever reasons that were mentioned on the model release contract. So they can resell the images for prints, licensing, advertising their own business or advertising another business, anything, but again depending the contract. You may be allowed to redact the contract, but you are also risking on not being paid for that day, so if you want to risk this I strongly recommend asking the photographer/client to send a copy of the model release to your email (as a model) for your can review and if needed edit/redact or add some restrictions of your own onto the contract which many models have issues of their images being used for adult websites. Clearly place this restriction in legible handwritten onto the model release and if signed by the photographer (which you'll need a copy of with this edit and their signature to be a valid release).

Of course other reasons are considered to being hired as a model such as your looks, your skills, and of course professionalism which is mentioned in this similar blog post I posted a while back.

Some photographers have model releases designed for trade/test shoots where they are not paid by the model or anyone else (or paid very minimal) and may agree to give you 10-15% of commission if sold/sales come in on the photo. I know right now I have 10-20% on trade/test shoots.

As for photographers its simple and straight to the point, if you don't have a model release there is a very strong chance that whole shoot you shot is gone or can be gone with a simple say of the model saying "don't use my photos" or "remove my photos". This could cost a ton of money if you do not have the model sign a model release. Either both straight cost of production and/or potential earning you'd lose from the photos. So keep that in mind when shooting with a person. If its a client then I'd add this clause to your terms of service but I'd still get permission from the client(s).

I'll post some sample model releases of my model releases I use, which you may use and just edit out my name/companies and add yours but most of mine are generic.

Check out more similar blog posts about model and photographer tips here.

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