Guest Post by Jason Anderson, Canon Blogger
When starting a photography business, there is so much to consider that is completely unrelated to photography and actually taking pictures. Topics range far and wide, including everything from financials to marketing, advertising, demographics, and of course, the legalities of the business. If you don’t take measures to protect yourself and your business, things can get dangerous and fast! It helps to have the help of an attorney for your legal needs. It’s just like having a financial advisor, a web guru, or any one of a number of tasks that are just beyond the scope of your main craft. However, we can’t always afford the big bucks of paid professionals, so how does one start?
The bare bones forms to have in your wheelhouse are:
- The Model release (adult, child, and commercial)
- The Event Contract
- Standard Licensing Agreements
Today, let’s take a look at #1 – the Model Release
The model release is usually used in portrait sessions, and the model signs this form which allows the photographer to use their likeness in advertising, promoting and marketing their business. Often times, the model release also includes the permission to re-sell the photographs elsewhere for commercial purposes. These can be customized, but as always, customizing forms takes a bit of legal awareness to protect yourself and your business.
Variations on the model release include adult releases, child releases, and commercial use releases. While the adult and child releases may be more self-explanatory, the commercial use release is a bit different. Usually photographers who also write will have models sign the commercial variant because the images will be used to sell something else (books, magazines, eBooks, etc.).
If you are a portrait photographer, the commercial release is probably not as important to have around, but wouldn’t it help to have one in the event you do need it? I maintain a few copies of each of these releases in my camera bag, and on my smart phone. With advances in technology, you can even have models sign the release with their finger on your phone, and then email them a copy! For a cool app that lets you do that, check out Easy Release for the iPhone, iPad and Android. For desktop versions, many kits are available to choose from depending on your needs and budget.
Visit Jason Anderson at his blog “Canon Blogger” for more tutorials, articles and photo nuggets!