Whether you’re shooting for stock photo agencies, commercial interests, or anytime there’s a possibility that the images you’re taking might be used in some commercial context, getting a signed model release is going to be a very good idea. I’m one of those people who likes to make sure all my ducks are in a row so I do get a signed release whenever there’s a question about how photos from a shoot might be used.
Every now and then a photographer will ask about whether or not a model release is always required, or what the wording should be to make sure everything is legal and fair. The truth is, you do not always need a model release, but it’s often a good idea to get one anyway. As for making sure the wording is correct, there’s an easy way to handle that; just work off a well-written model release as a template.
Recently, I started using an app called, Easy Release (ApplicationGap) instead of paper model releases. It works like this:
- You tap a button to start a new release file. It gives you the option of “Model” or “Property” release. Tap “Model.”
- Follow the prompts that walk you through the type of model release (I have two custom ones saved, “Model Release” and “Model Release TFCD”), shoot information, location, date, model’s name, alias/stage name, address, contact info (including email), DOB or “adult/minor,” parent’s name, if minor, gender, ethnicity, etc. The app then prompts you to take a file photo of the model with your device. Note: some, but not all, of these fields are necessary to fill in. Also, if you’ve entered some information about a model before, you can just select her from a list and the app will pre-populate much of her info, including a previously taken photo.
- Next, the app presents the release agreement which the model can scroll through. At the end of the scroll down, she/he is presented with a screen where they can sign their name.
- Finally, you can tap to have the document instantly emailed to both you and the model.
I’ve used Easy Release several times already and it works great. The models love it because they get their copy of the release on their phones immediately after I hit the send button. I purchased the upgraded version which allows me to customize a few things. It’s available for the iPhone/iPad and Android devices, but check the current features to see if there are any differences between the two versions that might be important for you to know about. Check out their website for more info.
Note: I do not sell Easy Release, and am not compensated in any way for mentioning this product. This is just a recommendation based on personal experience.Get tips, inspiration, and discounts in your inbox! Signup for our free newsletter here!