As mentioned briefly in professional photographer, model releases are a necessary evil of the job.

Basically, a model release is a legal document, which outlines the rights of a model and a photographer. Without a model release, if a picture of a model is used, he or she automatically has the right to a part of the takings, as s/he is, in fact, as much the artist as the photographer who clicked the shutter.

"But that's not fair", you may say. Well, true, but that's the way it is. And that is why model releases exist.

Model releases should include at least the following: The model's name, the photographer's name, the date of the photo shoot, and a quick explanation of what the pictures are ("Fashion shoot at skateboard park", for example). Then, it should include a declaration of the age of the model (especially when working with nude photography, but also otherwise), what the pictures may be used for (usually "any use", excluding possible "touchy" subjects, such as sex / sexual health / abortion issues / drug use, etc), and the release itself, which confirms that the model has received their "Valuable Consideration" (usually money), and which confirms that the model will not claim any further imbursements for their work.

Sample model release

Below is a sample of a typical model release I use, usually:

Model Release Form
Model release number: (release nr)
Model release date: (date)

This is a contract between SharQ (photographer) and ........................................ (‘the model’), concerning the photographs or other media recorded on the abovementioned date

For valuable consideration, hereby received, the model irrevocably consents to and authorizes the use and reproduction by SharQ, or anyone authorized by SharQ, of any and all photographs which have been taken of the model on this day, negative or positive, mechanical or electronic, for any purpose whatsoever, without restrictions other than mentioned in this document, and without further compensation to the model.

All negatives, positives, video or audio tapes, electronic files, together with any prints shall constitute the property of SharQ, solely and completely, as outlined in the Terms and Conditions.

The model hereby releases, discharges and saves harmless the photographer, his representatives, assigns, employees, or any person or corporation acting under the permission of the photographer, including any firm publishing or distributing the finished product, even though the finished product may be distorted, blurred, altered or used in composite forms, in conjunction with factual or fictional text, either intentionally or otherwise and subject the model to indignity. The model hereby waives any right to approve the finished photograph or any copy which might be used in conjunction with the finished photograph, other than the restrictions outlined under “special use” in this document.

Special use (*** insert special use details here ***)

The material recorded on this day may not be used in connection with the following subject matters (check the relevant boxes):

() Sexual and sexual health issues
() Alcohol
() Tobacco and drugs
() Gambling
() Guns and weapons
() Political fanaticism
() Medical and mental health issues
() Negative financial portrayal
() Religious fanaticism

Model below the age of majority

The model is below the age of majority in the legal jurisdiction applicable to this agreement (usually 18). This agreement has been signed or approved by the model's parent or guardian.

() I hereby certify that I am the parent or legal guardian of the model, and for value received I do give my consent without reservations to the forgoing on behalf of him, her, or them:

_________________________________(signature) _________________________________(name in block capitals)
Signature and name, signed on the beforementioned date

Model’s signature

Signature, signed on the beforementioned date

Witness’ signature

() As a witness, I hereby certify that the model has signed this model release of their own free will.

_________________________________(signature) _________________________________(name in block capitals)
Signature and name, signed on the beforementioned date

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