ContractsCounsel Logo

Model Release

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 10,572 reviews
No Upfront Payment Required, Pay Only If You Hire.

Jump to Section

What is a Model Release?

A model release is a type of entertainment contract that permits a company to publish the subject of a photograph for commercial purposes.

You may need a model release form and a brand ambassador or social media marketing agreement when working with influencers.

This is a written agreement that allows authorized users to publish an image. The person depicted in your image must agree that you and/or your organization have exclusive rights to modify, publish, and redistribute images with them in it or images they take themselves for promotional content.

Here is an article that reviews the purpose of model release forms.

Purpose of a Model Release

A model release form is a liability waiver and exclusivity agreement. It may be part of an influencer agreement where a creator takes images to promote a brand online.

The business may want to reserve the copyright to any images the subject produces for commercial purposes. The model release form relinquishes the model’s rights to the photography, so the company can freely publish them.

In a social media agreement, a model release allows you to publish and share someone else’s content as your own. But, of course, the content they produce is their intellectual property. Still, the written agreement between you and the subject is an exclusive rights agreement.

Here is an article with a sample model release form.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Scott S.

60 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Matthew S.

14 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Forest H.

199 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

Damien B.

12 projects on CC
CC verified
View Profile

What Should a Model Release Include?

A model release should outline the client’s and company’s rights to publish content taken for commercial purposes. Content includes photographs and videos featuring the model.

The model can also specify how they want the photos or videos to be used. This prevents them from being featured in mediums they are uncomfortable with or having their likeness used to promote goods, services, or ideologies they do not endorse.

A good model release form should include:

  • A distinction between the subject, i.e., the model in question, and the company
  • The business name and address
  • The type of media they will be featured in
  • How their images will be used
  • An exclusive rights agreement to grant the company permission to use their photos or videos for commercial purposes
  • Rights regarding the release of images to other companies for redistribution

It is best to keep your model release form short and easy to understand. Write your release form in everyday English. If the model release is part of a larger promotion agreement or influencer agreement, it can be attached as an amendment to those documents.

Here is an article with more information on what to cover in model releases.

Is a Model Release Necessary?

If you use photos or videos of someone for commercial purposes, then a model release form is a necessary form of legal protection.

Without the release, the model could file a lawsuit against you and your business. They could also demand compensation for your company's profits from marketing featuring their imagery or likeness.

Model release forms can protect you from unfair exploitation as a model or influencer. In addition, you can set boundaries for how companies may use your content and give yourself greater peace of mind when serving as a brand ambassador.

If the models are under 18, they must have their parents sign a model release form. No one underage, even social media personalities, can sign legally binding documents.

Here is an article with more details on why model releases matter.

ContractsCounsel Model Release Image

Image via Pexels by Godisable Jacob

When to Use a Model Release

You should use a model release form if you are:

  • A photographer using someone else’s images for marketing purposes
  • A business using someone else’s images for marketing purposes
  • An individual using someone else’s images for marketing purposes

If you photograph someone and do not sign a model release, they may sue you later if they find their images shared online or in advertising material.

It is essential to be as transparent as possible about where and how imagery will be used. For example, the person depicted in your image may not want to appear on billboards or social media ads. They should be free to negotiate under what circumstances you can share photos of them with the public.

Models may sue companies for compensation for emotional or financial damages if images are shared without their consent. In some situations, being recognized as a model for a particular cause or brand could have negative consequences.

The model release form waives the model’s right to sue by establishing clear guidelines for how their images will be used. In addition to giving them protection, it also protects the company from unnecessary lawsuits in the future.

Here is an article with a lawyer’s explanation of when you need to use a model release form.

How Do You Get a Model Release?

Model release forms are available for free online. You can edit a pre-written template or write one yourself. You could also contact a contract lawyer and have them write a sample model release form for you.

In the future, you can modify the base model release form from your lawyer for all models you work with in the future.

Here is an article with an example of a model release form, including options for video release.

Benefits of Using a Model Release

Photographers can use a model release to protect their name and business. However, if you do not acquire a model’s consent before sharing their photos, you could face lawsuits in the future.

Model releases release you from any liabilities and responsibility for damages the model might face after your photoshoot. For example, suppose you post pictures online, and the model does not like how they are received. In that case, you won’t be held accountable for any emotional or personal damages.

Furthermore, the model release permits you to publish the photos for personal or commercial use. Your release form can outline precisely how images will be used. What compensation, if any, is the model entitled to?

A model release form is necessary if you plan to post your photos online, even in your portfolio.

For businesses working with influencers, model releases can establish boundaries between your company’s marketing material and the model’s photos. By having them sign a model release, you can clearly explain how the images will be used and what rights your company has to edit, share, sell, and publish them.

Here is an article on model release forms for photographers.

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive flat fee bids from lawyers for your project. All lawyers have been vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to explore before hiring.

Need help with a Model Release?

Create a free project posting

Meet some of our Model Release Lawyers

Donya G. on ContractsCounsel
View Donya
4.9 (59)
Member Since:
July 11, 2020

Donya G.

Contract, E-Commerce Attorney & Dispute Resolution Specialists
Free Consultation
United States
24 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT, NY
Pace University School of Law

I am a licensed and active NY and CT Contracts Attorney, with over 20 years of diverse legal and business experience. I specialize in reviewing, drafting and negotiating commercial agreements. My practice focuses on working with small business clients as well as clients from international brokerage firms on acquisitions, especially in the Ecommerce space; drafting, negotiating, reviewing and advising on business agreements; ; breach of contract issues, contract disputes and arbitration. I am licensed to practice in New York and Connecticut, and am a FINRA and NCDS Arbitrator. My experience includes serving as General Counsel to small businesses. This entails reviewing, updating and drafting contracts such as employments agreements, asset purchase agreements, master services agreements, operating agreements and a variety of business and commercial contracts. Additionally, I assist clients with business strategies, contract disputes and arbitration. My diverse experience allows me to give my clients a well-rounded approach to the issues they face. I have been at top AML law firms; a Vice President at an Investment Bank, a Civil Court Arbitrator presiding over cases in contract law, commercial law, a Hearing Officer, presiding over cases and rendering written decisions, and a Judicial Clerk to a Civil Court Judge. It would be a privilege to assist you and your business with my services.

Ted A. on ContractsCounsel
View Ted
4.9 (19)
Member Since:
August 10, 2023
Ryenne S. on ContractsCounsel
View Ryenne
4.9 (368)
Member Since:
October 11, 2022

Ryenne S.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Chicago, IL
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
DePaul University College of Law

My name is Ryenne Shaw and I help business owners build businesses that operate as assets instead of liabilities, increase in value over time and build wealth. My areas of expertise include corporate formation and business structure, contract law, employment/labor law, business risk and compliance and intellectual property. I also serve as outside general counsel to several businesses across various industries nationally. I spent most of my early legal career assisting C.E.O.s, General Counsel, and in-house legal counsel of both large and smaller corporations in minimizing liability, protecting business assets and maximizing profits. While working with many of these entities, I realized that smaller entities are often underserved. I saw that smaller business owners weren’t receiving the same level of legal support larger corporations relied upon to grow and sustain. I knew this was a major contributor to the ceiling that most small businesses hit before they’ve even scratched the surface of their potential. And I knew at that moment that all of this lack of knowledge and support was creating a huge wealth gap. After over ten years of legal experience, I started my law firm to provide the legal support small to mid-sized business owners and entrepreneurs need to grow and protect their brands, businesses, and assets. I have a passion for helping small to mid-sized businesses and startups grow into wealth-building assets by leveraging the same legal strategies large corporations have used for years to create real wealth. I enjoy connecting with my clients, learning about their visions and identifying ways to protect and maximize the reach, value and impact of their businesses. I am a strong legal writer with extensive litigation experience, including both federal and state (and administratively), which brings another element to every contract I prepare and the overall counsel and value I provide. Some of my recent projects include: - Negotiating & Drafting Commercial Lease Agreements - Drafting Trademark Licensing Agreements - Drafting Ambassador and Influencer Agreements - Drafting Collaboration Agreements - Drafting Service Agreements for service-providers, coaches and consultants - Drafting Master Service Agreements and SOWs - Drafting Terms of Service and Privacy Policies - Preparing policies and procedures for businesses in highly regulated industries - Drafting Employee Handbooks, Standard Operations and Procedures (SOPs) manuals, employment agreements - Creating Employer-employee infrastructure to ensure business compliance with employment and labor laws - Drafting Independent Contractor Agreements and Non-Disclosure/Non-Competition/Non-Solicitation Agreements - Conducting Federal Trademark Searches and filing trademark applications - Preparing Trademark Opinion Letters after conducting appropriate legal research - Drafting Letters of Opinion for Small Business Loans - Drafting and Responding to Cease and Desist Letters I service clients throughout the United States across a broad range of industries.

Jo Ann J. on ContractsCounsel
View Jo Ann
5.0 (6)
Member Since:
February 23, 2021

Jo Ann J.

Free Consultation
Boston, MA
28 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MA
Suffolk Universtiy Law School

Jo Ann has been practicing for over 20 years, working primarily with high growth companies from inception through exit and all points in between. She is skilled in Mergers & Acquisitions, Contractual Agreements (including founders agreements, voting agreements, licensing agreements, terms of service, privacy policies, stockholder agreements, operating agreements, equity incentive plans, employment agreements, vendor agreements and other commercial agreements), Corporate Governance and Due Diligence.

Don G. on ContractsCounsel
View Don
4.9 (21)
Member Since:
March 1, 2021

Don G.

Attorney at law
Free Consultation
Oklahoma City, OK
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
Texas Tech School of Law

Texas licensed attorney specializing for 22 years in Business and Contract law with a focus on construction law and business operations. My services include General Business Law Advisement; Contract Review and Drafting; Legal Research and Writing; Business Formation; Articles or Instructive Writing; and more. I am able to draft and review contracts, and have experience with, contract law and business formation in any state. For more insight into my skills and experience, please feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile or contact me with any questions.

Meghan P. on ContractsCounsel
View Meghan
4.8 (6)
Member Since:
February 15, 2021

Meghan P.

Free Consultation
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of Dayton

I am a licensed attorney and a member of the California Bar. I graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law's Program in Law and Technology. I love IP, tech transfers, licensing, and how the internet and developing technology is changing the legal landscape. I've interned at both corporations and boutique firms, and I've taken extensive specialized classes in intellectual property and technology law.

Charlotte L. on ContractsCounsel
View Charlotte
4.6 (2)
Member Since:
February 25, 2021

Charlotte L.

Self-Employed Legal Consultant
Free Consultation
Arlington, VA
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, VA
University of Virginia School of Law

I hold a B.S. in Accounting and a B.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Tech (2009). I received my J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2012. I am an associate member of the Virginia Bar and an active member of the DC bar. Currently, I am working as a self-employed legal consultant and attorney. Primarily my clients are start-up companies for which I perform various types of legal work, including negotiating and drafting settlement, preparing operating agreements and partnership agreements, assisting in moving companies to incorporate in new states and setting up companies to become registered in a state, assisting with employment matters, drafting non-disclosure agreements, assisting with private placement offerings, and researching issues on intellectual property, local regulations, privacy laws, corporate governance, and many other facets of the law, as the need arises. I have previously practiced as an attorney at a small DC securities law firm and worked at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLC. My work experience is dynamic and includes many short-term and long term experience that span across areas such as maintaining my own blog, freelance writing, and dog walking. My diverse background has provided me with a stong skill set that can be easily adapted for new areas of work and indicates my ability to quickly learn for a wide array of clients.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Need help with a Model Release?

Create a free project posting
Business lawyers by top cities
See All Business Lawyers
Model Release lawyers by city
See All Model Release Lawyers

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Release and waiver agreement
Location: Texas
Turnaround: Less than a week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Release Form
Number of Bids: 4
Bid Range: $245 - $899
User Feedback:
Bryan did a great job clarifying and tailoring the document to meet my complex requirements.

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Release Form Drafting
Location: Kentucky
Turnaround: Less than a week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Release Form
Number of Bids: 4
Bid Range: $249 - $650
related contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

Need help with a Model Release?

Create a free project posting

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city