Why do I ask clients to sign a model release?
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
When one of my clients decides to book a session, I send a proposal with a contract and a link to pay half the session fee. Within that contract is a model release to help clarify how I am allowed use your images.
"Photographer will own the copyright in all images created and will have the right to make reproductions for, without limitation, marketing materials, portfolio entries, sample products, and use or for display within or on Photographer’s website and studio. If Photographer desires to make other uses, then Photographer will not do so without first obtaining the written permission of the Client, which may not be unreasonably withheld or delayed. It is understood that any duplication or alteration of original images is strictly prohibited without the written permission of Photographer."
Almost all of my clients book a session because they have seen and enjoyed my work in online portfolios. Maybe they found my photos on Yelp.com, Facebook, Instagram or my website and then they felt connected to my work in some way. All of the people in those photos are my previous clients, rather than paid models. As such, it's tremendously important for my business.
For fine art photography or editorial work (example: photos that help illustrate newspaper or magazine articles) photographers are not required to get model releases. They are required to have model releases if they want to use someone's likeness for a self-promotion or advertisement.
I do not include a model release that allows me to sell the photos to a third party. So, you don't have to worry about your image being sold to a stock agency and appearing in an advertisement for another company.
My best clients are those who want to support my studio with positive reviews and referrals and by allowing me to use their photos to maintain and build my business. Displaying a variety of my best work in online media is one of the ways that my business can continue to thrive. I understand that there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that do not allow for shared photos, such as families with foster children. Please let me know if you have restrictions because of this type of situation.