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Model Releases For Selling Pictures Online

Mar 13, 2008
Have you ever taken a photograph of a person, uploaded it online, and had the person contact you saying they were filing a lawsuit because they did not want their picture online? Well, this has never happened to me but if I did I'd be devastated! Having a model release will prevent you from having this problem. If you are selling pictures online then having a model sign a model release form of authorization will be an essential step you will need to take.

A model release is basically a legal document that the model signs saying that they give away all their rights for the photo. They give total control to you the photographer. This means you can edit the photo however you want without having to worry about the model coming back and suing you because you made him or her look too fat and ugly!

Model releases are not long documents and are usually only a page long. There is the information and at the bottom they sign and date the paper. Make sure when they sign it that it is signed in their actual name.

If you are selling stock photos or any other type of photography with models be sure to save your model releases. Make back up copies and scan them into your computer as well. Laminate the forms and hang them up on your wall! Protect those files with all your might.

Most of the models I photograph I end up becoming good friends with. Having one of my models try to sue me would be absolutely surprising to me and would never happen. If you have models that are close friends or family still get the model release! Some companies require that you upload model releases with photos that you submit. If you're submitting stock photos, loading the model release means that those that purchase the photo will have access to the model release as well. This protects them from legal issues as well.

For a person that is under the legal age of adulthood, a model release is still required. The only difference is that you need to have their legal guardian sign the form as well. Definitely get model releases for minors.

Overall lesson today is to get model release and don't skip out! It's very easy to fill out a model release form. Your model should also be very used to filling out these papers. It should be a usual formality that they do all the time. New and unexperienced models may be somewhat cautious about the releases but that's because they're new to it. It has nothing to do with their trust for you.

There are many other forms that you should fill out for other types of photographs. For example, if you take a picture of a building that isn't owned by you then you will also need to get a release of the property. Some stock photo agencies even require you to have a property release when taking pictures of dogs and such!

You have the legal right to take pictures wherever you want. This, however, does not mean that you are able to take these pictures and sell them as well. This is why you don't need model releases for certain editorials and such. It is the freedom of the press and that is what lets people have pictures of celebrities without having them sign model releases after sneaking in to get the scandalous shot.
About the Author
Al Sanchez has a great program that teaches how to sell pictures online .
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