Which Form to Use and When?

Guest Post by Jason Anderson of Canon Blogger

When starting a photography business, there is so much to consider that’s completely unrelated to photography and actually taking pictures. Topics range from financials to marketing, advertising, demographics, and the legalities of the business. If you don’t take measures to protect yourself and your business, things can get dangerous fast! It helps to have the help of an attorney for your legal needs. It’s  like having a financial adviser, Web guru, or any of a number of tasks that are  beyond the scope of your main craft.  However, we can’t always afford the big bucks of paid professionals, so how do you start? The bare bones forms you should have in your wheelhouse are:

  1. The Model release (adult, child, and commercial)
  2. The Event Contract
  3. Standard Licensing Agreements

Model Release

Today, let’s take a look at #1 – the Model Release

The model release is usually used in portrait sessions and the model signs a that allows the photographer to use their likeness for advertising, promoting and marketing. Often the model release includes permission to re-sell the photographs for commercial purposes.  These can be customized but 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 adult and child releases may be more self-explanatory, the commercial use release is different. Usually photographers who also writes will have models sign the commercial variant because the images will be used to sell something else, such as 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 keep a few copies of each of these releases in my camera bag and on my smartphone. 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.

Visit Jason Anderson at his blog “Canon Blogger” for more tutorials, articles and photo nuggets!

Author: Joe Farace

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