Model Release

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,801 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Model Release?

CREATE A FREE PROJECT POSTING
Post Project Now

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

Elbert T.

1 project on CC
View Profile

Brad H.

8 projects on CC
View Profile

Christopher M.

12 projects on CC
View Profile

Anand A.

11 projects on CC
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.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Model Release Lawyers

Paul S. on ContractsCounsel
View Paul
Member Since:
August 4, 2020

Paul S.

CEO
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Cincinnati, OH
36 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, OH
Boston University

I focus my practice on startups and small to mid-size businesses, because they have unique needs that mid-size and large law firms aren't well-equipped to service. In addition to practicing law, I have started and run other businesses, and have an MBA in marketing from Indiana University. I combine my business experience with my legal expertise, to provide practical advice to my clients. I am licensed in Ohio and California, and I leverage the latest in technology to provide top quality legal services to a nationwide client-base. This enables me to serve my clients in a cost-effective manner that doesn't skimp on personal service.

Matthew S. on ContractsCounsel
View Matthew
Member Since:
August 5, 2020

Matthew S.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Flemington, NJ
38 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University)

I am a 1984 graduate of the Benjamin N Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University) and have been licensed in New Jersey for over 35 years. I have extensive experience in negotiating real estate, business contracts, and loan agreements. Depending on your needs I can work remotely or face-to-face. I offer prompt and courteous service and can tailor a contract and process to meet your needs.

Tim E. on ContractsCounsel
View Tim
Member Since:
August 12, 2020

Tim E.

Founding Member/Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Cleveland, OH
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in OH
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Tim advises small businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-ups on a wide range of legal matters. He has experience with company formation and restructuring, capital and equity planning, tax planning and tax controversy, contract drafting, and employment law issues. His clients range from side gig sole proprietors to companies recognized by Inc. magazine.

Curt L. on ContractsCounsel
View Curt
Member Since:
August 13, 2020

Curt L.

Business Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Houston, TX
32 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
South Texas College of Law Houston

For over thirty (30) years, Mr. Langley has developed a diverse general business and commercial litigation practice advising clients on day-to-day business and legal matters, as well as handling lawsuits and arbitrations across Texas and in various other states across the country. Mr. Langley has handled commercial matters including employment law, commercial collections, real estate matters, energy litigation, construction, general litigation, arbitrations, defamation actions, misappropriation of trade secrets, usury, consumer credit, commercial credit, lender liability, accounting malpractice, legal malpractice, and appellate practice in state and federal courts. (Online bio at www.curtmlangley.com).

Jaren J. on ContractsCounsel
View Jaren
Member Since:
August 13, 2020

Jaren J.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Minnesota
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MN
University of South Dakota School of Law

Real Estate and Business lawyer.

Davis S. on ContractsCounsel
View Davis
Member Since:
August 16, 2020

Davis S.

Founder
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Minneapolis, MN
19 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MN
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Davis founded DLO in 2010 after nearly a decade of practicing in the corporate department of a larger law firm. Armed with this experience and knowledge of legal solutions used by large entities, Davis set out to bring the same level of service to smaller organizations and individuals. The mission was three-fold: provide top-notch legal work, charge fair prices for it, and never stop evolving to meet the changing needs of clients. Ten years and more than 1000 clients later, Davis is proud of the assistance DLO provides for companies large and small, and the expanding service they now offer for individuals and families.

Braden P. on ContractsCounsel
View Braden
Member Since:
August 18, 2020

Braden P.

Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Kansas City, MO
20 Yrs Experience
Licensed in KS, MO
University of Kansas School of Law

Braden Perry is a corporate governance, regulatory and government investigations attorney with Kennyhertz Perry, LLC. Mr. Perry has the unique tripartite experience of a white-collar criminal defense and government compliance, investigations, and litigation attorney at a national law firm; a senior enforcement attorney at a federal regulatory agency; and the Chief Compliance Officer/Chief Regulatory Attorney of a global financial institution. Mr. Perry has extensive experience advising clients in federal inquiries and investigations, particularly in enforcement matters involving technological issues. He couples his technical knowledge and experience defending clients in front of federal agencies with a broad-based understanding of compliance from an institutional and regulatory perspective.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

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

Request a call