How To Create a Model Release Form

First of all, what is a model release form? A model release form, in simplest terms, refers to a form that models sign where they allow their images to be shown in published media.  This form contains the allowances and restrictions that all parties (the model and the photographer, etc) agree to. Usually, it’s the photographer who obtains and keeps the model release form, so that he could sell the image to a publisher. Model release forms are used for the purposes of privacy; separate forms are required for copyright protection. If you’re a photographer and you’re looking to find out how you can create a model release form, read on:

Consult an attorney. First of all, know that in most cases a simple model release form will usually suffice. If you’re involved in a major photography project, however, it might be safer if you consult with an attorney about creating a model release form, specially if there are clauses and special restrictions you will have to specify. For example, will you need to distort or edit the image heavily? Will you need to use the name of the model too? It may be cost-efficient for you if you hire an attorney to create a template of the form to suit your needs, and then use this template for all your future photography projects.

Know the parts of a simple model release form
. For your regular photography projects, usually, a simple model release form will do. The form should contain the following statement (which you can rephrase as necessary):

“I hereby give permission to _________ (insert photographer’s name) to use my photographic image in all forms of media for any lawful purposes.”

Afterwards, the model should print her name, affix her signature, and write the date. With this model release form, you are able to use the photograph basically forever.

Know how to create a model release form for minors. If your model is a minor (20 years old and below), it’s important that you get his guardian’s signature as well. Apart from the basic model release form illustrated above, you should have another form containing the following statement (again, rephrase as necessary):

“I _________ (insert name of parent/guardian here) am the parent/guardian of the individual above and I agree to all terms and conditions of the release.”
The parent/guardian should then print her name, her signature and write the date.

Create a professional look to the model release form. You would want your model release form to look professional and legit, and thank goodness for computer programs which can help you do this easily. You can use Word to create the form, and make sure that you include your logo in it. Be careful about choosing the font – it should appear polished (no Comic Sans, please!) and be highly readable. Consider using high-quality paper as well. For cost-efficiency, print the model release form as well as the parent/guardian form on one sheet of paper. 

Once you obtain your model’s signature, make sure that you file it in an organized manner. Chances are, you might not be needing it, but you can never be too sure. Good luck!


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