I've been struggling with "Model Release" forms for a while now. Most of the "boilerplate" releases I've come across are biased - heavily - toward protection of the photographer/ publisher - and contain clauses that, frankly, I would object to, if I was a model - and *I* would not sign that release.
I have been close to an unfortunate incident - a model I worked with subsequently worked for another photographer - she said he was "pushy". After the session, he presented her with a model release. When she tried to read it, she was told, "Look, I'm in a hurry - it is only a `standard' release... don't worry about it" - and she signed it.
When she returned home, she accessed his web site and found terribly demeaning , explicit images of her (yes - the session involved nudes - and he shot furiously with a d******* camera). She called him and objected. His answer was on the lines of "Look, you signed the release. You have absolutely *NO* right to object. Anyway, you posed nude - ALL girls who do that are sluts - so what are you worried about?"
As a result, her friends and family found out about those images and accessed that web site - and she has requested that ALL nude images of her - everywhere - be deleted... and has given up modeling - along with a number of others who have been victims of the same treatment by this SCUM.
I am dedicated to the idea of NOT harming anyone, NOT causing anyone grief. ALL of her images that I control have been deleted.
End result - I am trying to compose a FAIR model release - with protection to both photographer AND model.
In searching for examples, I found a very interesting article about Model Releases ... on:
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
I draft and revise releases as a part of my usual working day - although they aren't usually model releases.
I think the problem you and others are struggling with flows from the fact that you are attempting to draft a "standard" release.
The unfortunate example you cite relates more to the fact that the shoot was unusual, and the use of the results was even more unusual, than it does from the wording of the release.
To make your goal accomplishable, you probably need a number of standard form releases (or at least standard form clauses) to choose from, according to the nature of the shoot, the clients (or lack of them), the expected use of the result, the stature of the model, the stature of the photographer, etc.
As an example, if you are doing a product shoot, for a plumbing manufacturer and a national advertising programme (ooh, aren't these faucets sexy!!!!) you need to have the model sign away just about everything.
If, however, you are taking photos on spec, and they are beautiful, evocative and so damn mysterious that they could be used for just about anything, you may decide that it is only fair that the model (who isubsequently becomes the spokeswoman for the latest kids breakfast cereal) has a say in their use.
I know people complain about us lawyers trying to make things complicated, but this isn't necessarily simple, and is certainly something that can benefit from flexibility.
My $0.02 worth (trust me, this is far less than my normal hourly rate).
Thanks for the timely reply, Matt. Your input is appreciated... a LOT!
I recognize the "uniqueness" here - At the moment I'm not sure that the term "release" is appropriate... an "Agreement" defining the scope and "rules of the road", based on moral behavior and ethics, reached BEFORE the session begins - seems to be the way to go.
In this, my individual philosophies and INTENT would be more clearly defined, and I would (gladly) accept and work within the boundaries of that agreement.
It would provide a future opportunity for the model to review the work PRIOR to signing a LIMITED release - that limited release would indentify specific images, not primarily for legal reasons, but to inform the model of the intended use, and to give the model some "say" as to their content, as well.
In the event that I could not contact the model - it happens - after reasonable effort/s to do so (and I've been told that my reasonable usually is actually "heroic"), it would serve as a Model Release - with images selected by me, and with my best efforts to comply with the intent of the agreement.
If this sounds convoluted and dis-jointed, it is. I have number of thoughts churning in the Mixmaster portion of my mind. Eventually I hope to write something simple and direct.
Interesting that you should mention "Plumbing". Some years ago, Grohe, the German plumbing fixture manufacturer had an advertising brochure with photographic images illustrating the use of their products ... and yes, the people taking showers were all nude (how else would one take a shower?), including one image of an eight - ten year old girl. One might expect a great hue and cry from the more uptight, brittle judges of morality - but ... nothing happened.
BTW ... Did you try the "Dan Heller" site? ... and if so, what did you think of it?
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Originally Posted by MattKing
This reminds me of a story one of my lecturers told at law school. He decided as a young man to buy a new refrigerator on hire purchase. When he started to read the contract, the salesman snatched it back and said, "You aren't supposed to read it!"
It's interesting the reactions you get when you DO read contracts before you sign them -- and speaking personally, it has also led to my not signing a significant proportion, especially of editorial contracts.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
The Dan Heller site seems quite good - of course some of my opinion might relate to the fact that on some of the issues, he appears to agree with me.
Your description of an agreement makes sense, although I wonder how common such an agreement is in the ordinary course of events.
Normally, releases are just one part of a transaction of this nature, and in many cases just a minor part. For some strange reason, it seems that in the world of relationships between photographers and models, in a lot of cases, even if the terms of the agreement between the parties are much more extensive, the terms of the agreement that are made concrete and clear by reducing them to writing, are frequently much more limited - and often consist of little more than the bill, the cheque, and the release.
I am sure this varies from market to market, and place to place.
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I also wonder whether there is a built in expectation that in a lot of cases, remuneration for work as a model will be a "one off" thing. I don't want to denigrate in any way the work that a talented model does, but it seems to me that for a lot of modeling work, it is a requirement that (at least for the purpose of the shoot) the model subsume much of their personality and individuality in a product or idea.
If the future use of the photograph doesn't wrongly identify the model as having a personal connection with the issue presented (a fake testimonial, for instance) I think that models take the risk of their image being used in association with causes or issues they may not want to be associated with - I don't think that unreasonable, given the "make believe" nature of the process. Photographers take the same risk, although not in the same way.
If a model wishes to limit the use of a photograph, to exclude any connection with a particular issue, they could try to limit that use in an agreement with the photographer, and in the wording of a release, but I really can't see how that would be easy to do.
For releases and agreements to speak effectively into the future, they generally need to either be very general and all encompassing, or to be prepared and executed in the context of a continuing relationship, which provides with it the opportunity to examine and respond to new situations when and if they occur.
You and your models may be best served by:
1) your making the personal decision to take into account the known wishes of your models and to deal fairly with them when questions arise; and
2) your making efforts to learn about those wishes.
The irony is, the fact that you are concerned about these issues, probably means that you will deal appropriately with the interests of your models, whether or not you have in hand a signed agreement or release mandating same.
Hope this is of some help.
The original post here dealt with shooting in public. Does one need a model release and if so in what situations. It is my belief that street shooter s do not need a model release unless the photography is used to advertise or endorse a product.
The use of individual persons for specific modeling jobs a model release is used. A good release form spelling out terms and conditions can be had from modeling firms. Here it is common to use a modeling agency and their contracts and paying the fees stipulated.
Trouble arises when, after the fact, a photographer uses a photo for product sales etc. If you are shooting a specific job, a contracted job, you know the sell and the sale upfront and that should be spelled out in the contract and the model should be paid. Professional modeling agencies will provide the necessary contracts to fit your job and sale. This is so much easier and upfront than having to worry about the "possible" future use.
But this thread was started with a question about street photography and those persons who because of their presence on the street in everyday life will appear in the photograph...I do not believe the photographer needs to worry about the model release in this situation.
There is "worrying about 'possible' future use". and there is INTENT.
Originally Posted by Dave Wooten
Intent *IS* important.
YOu are asking for a simple "blanket" answer to a *very* complex question.
I can only ask you to try Dan Heller's site ... a primer of when and where to use Model Releases - which was your original question. His site, and the "primer" article is at
[ http://www.danheller.com/model-release-primer.html#1 ].
Ed Sukach, FFP.
This is good!
Ed this Dan Heller info site is excellent! Thanks!
I don't have to have model release form here, because that issue is not legally "cleared" here, it is in "gray" area. But, I have my form of, well, not model release but agreement between me as photographer and eventuall model. And it is made in such way that it can be in few minuter changed to suits every situation. But, that is for "posed" shootinh.
But, asking for model release for street photography! That would ruin street photography.
That is why I think if agency or publisher of photograph require model release, then agency or publisher should get it. I am telling professional (and amateur) photographers should act to force agencies or commercial users of photographs, if model release is required, they have to provide it, not photographer. And in any legal issues, agency or commercial user of photograph should be those who are responsibile, not photographers.
I mean, photographers work, then must to deal with model release forms, then to deal with legal issues, then to be afraid of suits or physical attacs, etc... and agencies or publishers of photographs will sit, do nothing and getting money for photographs, and never be in any "sensibile or dangerous" situation...