Model Release?

Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Blog, Legal, Model | 13 comments

I’m the first to admit, that in the past, I have been very VERY laxidasical when it comes to having models sign model release forms. There’s a lot of confusion that surrounds the concept of model releases, copyright and publishing rights; indeed, depending on which part of the world you live in or where your work is published, the copyright and publishing laws of that place may differ, but fundamentally, a release is not required to grant a photographer copyright of an image and a photographer automatically has the right to publish (within limits) his/her work, again without requiring a signed model release form.

But chances are, if you are submitting your work to stock libraries or for publication to magazines, they will ask for signed model release forms. Also with the advent of the internet and social media like Facebook and other model network sites, I’m finding more and more models using my work without permission and even granting permission to other photographers to use my images, which is where model releases can also play an important roll in protecting our work.

There’s a plethora of different model release forms on line, but I thought I’d share the content of mine here on the blog for you all the use freely and indeed for any models that will potentially work with me in the future, to review: (pdf version here)

For Consideration herein acknowledged as received, and by signing this release I hereby give Ciaran Whyte and Assigns:

1 Permission

1.1 the unrestricted right and permission to copyright and use, re-use, publish, and republish the Content, in which I may be included intact or in part, composite or distorted in character or form, without restriction as to changes or transformations in conjunction with my own or a fictitious name, or reproduction hereof in color or otherwise, made through any and all Media now or hereafter known for illustration, art, promotion, advertising, trade, or any other purpose whatsoever.

1.2 Permission to license the Content and to use the Content in any Media for any purpose, which may include, among others, advertising, promotion, marketing and packaging for any product or service. I agree that the Content may be combined with other images, text, graphics, film, audio, audio-visual works; and may be cropped, altered or modified.

1.3 I also permit the use of any printed material in connection therewith.

1.4 I hereby release, discharge and agree to save harmless Ciaran Whyte and/or Assigns from any liability by virtue of any blurring, distortion, alteration, optical illusion, or use in composite form whether intentional or otherwise, that may occur or be produced in the taking of said picture or in any subsequent processing thereof, as well as any publication thereof, including without limitation any claims for libel or invasion of privacy.

2 Right To Content

2.1 I agree that I have no rights to the Content, and all rights to the Content belong to Ciaran Whyte and/or Assigns.

2.2 I hereby relinquish any right that I may have to examine or approve the completed product or products or the advertising copy or printed matter that may be used in conjunction therewith or the use to which it may be applied.

2.3 I acknowledge and agree that I have no further right to additional consideration or accounting, and that I will make no further claim for any reason to Ciaran Whyte and/or Assigns.

3 It is agreed that my personal information will not be made publicly available but may only be used directly in relation to the licensing of the Content where necessary (e.g. to defend claims, protect rights or notify trade unions) and may be retained as long as necessary to fulfil this purpose, including by being shared with sub-licensees / assignees of Ciaran Whyte and transferred to countries with differing data protection and privacy laws where it may be stored, accessed and used.

4 I represent and warrant that I am at least 18 years of age and have the full legal capacity to execute this release. I have read the above authorization, release and agreement, prior to its execution; I fully understand the contents thereof. This agreement, which is irrevocable, worldwide and perpetual, and will be governed by the laws of Ireland, shall be binding upon me, my heirs, legal representatives and


Assigns: means a person or any company to whom Ciaran Whyte has assigned or licensed rights under this release as well as the licensees of any such person or company. It also includes his heirs, legal representatives and those acting with his authority and permission

Consideration: means at least €1 or something else of value I have received in exchange for the rights granted by me in this release.

Content: means all photographs, film, audio, or other recording, still or moving, taken of me as part of the Shoot.

Media: means all media including digital, electronic, print, television, film, radio and other media now known or to be invented.

Model: means me and includes my appearance, likeness and voice.

Shoot: means the photographic, film or recording session described in this form.



  1. I always feel a bit funny asking models to sign the stock releaase form that “Getty Images” insist that you use. It has stock images plastered all over it and models in the past have even said “well, do i get money from this”!
    How would you deal with that or what do you think my response should be? It always make me uncomfortable.

  2. Yeah, I’ve been there in the past. But to be honest, now I’m just very matter of fact about it.

    I let the model know well in advance that a release will be required (often sending them on a copy). I have been told by some that they charge more for a release to be signed. In that case I’ll either cut the conversation VERY short and tell them that they’re no longer going to get the work or if I’m in a charitable mood, I’ll explain that in the “real world” releases are part and parcel of professional shoots. Either way, it’s required and I’m not paying more for it.

    The most important thing is that it’s not sprung on them at the shoot or worse still, after the shoot. If discussed in advance, it helps to ensure there’s no awkward moment.

  3. 🙂 Thank you, Ciaran! I must start getting them signed before shoots, that is a good idea!
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  4. A good article Ciaran and a timely one too – Iused to be religuous about getting a model release signed, but in recent times I’ve been far more relaxed about it, although I’ve started tightening up on it again.

    Unless I missed it when reading it, you didn’t mention when you get the release signed, although I noticed Deirdre Marie’s comment about getting them signed before a shoot. This is often a topic of heated debate, but I wait until after the shoot before asking the model to sign the release. If a model signs a release before the shoot, it increases the risk of questionable images being taken and subsequently used as the model no longer has any right of revocation.

    By waiting until after the shoot before asking a model to sign the release, I hand back some control to the model. If the shoot went well (and there’s no reason for it not to) the model is quite happy to sign the release as she knows what she has done during the shoot. But if a model signs before a shoot and the shot doesn’t go well, then that’s not good for the model or the photographer.

  5. The wording of most releases suggests that the model can only sign it after the shoot anyway. Even the opening statement: “For consideration hereby acknowledged as received” suggests that payment has been made prior to the release being signed. Of course you could pay a model in advance of a shoot.

    For me, I send on the release in advance, but ask them to sign at the end as they’re being paid.

  6. Excellent post Ciaran. There is one clause that I’ve found that I have to add to my releases (which I still have yet to complete (sigh)). I once had a model that fancied herself a retoucher and took it upon herself to take my finished images and “play” with them. Unfortunately she knew just enough Photoshop to be a danger to herself and the images. The result was not a professional finish. I’ve since been working on wording a clause for my releases which prohibits that. Any suggestions on how to word something like that?


  7. I think 2.1 pretty much covers it Richard?

    2.1 I agree that I have no rights to the Content, and all rights to the Content belong to xxx and/or Assigns.

  8. do you mind if I use this? I trust that this would be a good one to use… thank you.

  9. Colour is spelt color in your version… 🙂 Color is American no? 🙂

  10. No not at all… Please do. And thanks for the correction 😉

    American/English spelling are often used interchangeably. But yes, I’ll update the PDF. Thanks

  11. Yes, wasn’t sure if you were using color for a purpose or not.
    That’s great, thank you so much! I have a shoot on Sunday and need one so remembered your blog here.
    🙂 Have a nice day!

  12. Ciaran, Just want to say thanks i’ve found your blog both informative and entertaining. Really appreciate the generous nature you have for sharing such wonderful images and information how you got started and how you create images. I like your approach to dealing with the subject of model releases as I struggle with that a bit. Thanks Jason

  13. Thanks for the feedback Jason, it’s appreciated. And glad I could help

Care to share your opinion?