Photo / Photography Release Form

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photo release form is a legal document between two parties in which one party, the Releasor, consents to let the other party, the Releasee, use his or her image in a publication. By signing the Photo Release Form (also known as a photography release form), the Releasor also gives up any claims he or she may have against the Releasor regarding the use and publication of any images.

As a reference, it is also known by other names:

  • Photo Consent Form
  • Video Release Form
  • Likeness Release Form
  • Model Release
  • Photo Copyright Release Form
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Event organizers or business owners will often use photographs in a brochure or videos on their websites to promote their business. Even a professional photographer might want to use past photographs of clients to try and get new business. However, to use these photographs or videos, these businesses will first need to get permission from the people in them.

Individuals have the exclusive right to control the commercial use of their name, image, likeness, and other aspects of their identity under the right of publicity. Anyone who uses a photograph or recording of an individual for commercial use or advertising needs permission or a release to use that photograph or recording.

Sometimes, a photographer may be able to use a photo through implied consent. If a subject knows he or she is being photographed and does not object, a reasonable person might assume that he or she is consenting to the photograph. However, that implied consent to be photographed may not extend to consent for the photograph to be published.

The best practice is to obtain consent from anyone whose image or likeness you plan to use or publish. A signed Photography Release Form grants you this permission and protects you from challenges down the road about your use of these photos or recordings.

Consequences of Not Using a Photography Release Form

 

Without a signed Photo Consent Form, a business may be limited in how it can advertise itself or run the risk being sued in court for improper use of a person’s likeness.

Here are just a few of the possible consequences the form can prevent:

RELEASOR RELEASEE
Lost Time
– time spent fighting legal battles
Lost Time
– time spent fighting legal battles
Lost Money
– legal fees to defend lawsuits
– not paid consideration or royalties for photograph taken
Lost Money
– legal fees to defend lawsuits
– can’t market photographs to advertisers or publishers
Mental Anguish
– embarrassment of having unwanted photographs published
Mental Anguish
– fear of using photos or videos in advertisements

 

Common Situations to Use a Photo Release Form

 

RELEASOR RELEASEE
Model Photographer
Concert Goer Concert Ograniser
Gala Attendee Gala Host
Skydiver Skydiving company
Customer Store owner
Student School or University
Sports fan Sports team
Event participant Event organizer

 

What Should be Included in a Photography Release Form

 

A standard photo release form will identify the following basic elements:

  • Releasor: the person giving permission to use the photographs and/or video
  • Releasee: the person receiving permission to use the photographs and/or video
  • Photos: date and event where the photographs and/or video were taken
  • Parent or Guardian Signature: signature of a parent or guardian if the Releasor is under the age of 18

It may also include some of these additional provisions:

Approval: the Releasor will not have prior approval over the use of the photos
Claims: Releasee will not sue Releasor regarding the use of the photos
Governing Law: the state’s law that will govern the Release
Modifications: any changes to the Release must be in writing
Ownership: all photos belong to the Releasee and will not be returned to the Releasor
Parent or Guardian Signature: if the Releasor is under the age of 18
Severable: if one part of the Release is not valid, the rest of the Release is still valid

Consider the following when creating a release form for photos:

  •      Who is granting permission to use his or her photo?
  •      What if anything is the grantor receiving as compensation?
  •      Where are the photos being taken?
  •      When is the agreement being signed?
  •      How can the company use the photographs?

Photo Release Form PDF Sample

The sample photo release form below details an agreement between the releasor, ‘Jerome K Shive’, and the releasee, ‘Kathleen S Harper.’ Jerome K Shive agrees to allow Kathleen S Harper to use his likeness in photographs, video, or other digital media forms.

Specification: Photo / Photography Release Form

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