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Surprise! 5 Types Of Photos That Require A Model Release

Ah, fine print. Reading, preparing, or getting permissions through legally bound contracts aren’t always fun. Yet stock photographers are bound by these contracts, as it’s best to always have something to cover you legally. While we know photos with models require a signed release, we still have questions about how far this release extends.

There really isn’t a way for you to slide out of submitting a model release – save for editorial pieces that you shoot. For example, imagine you’re in Tibet snapping photos of monks going about their daily rituals. You can’t interrupt them to get their signatures on your model release forms, so the best way is to file them under editorial. But what about other things, like having certain body parts present in photos?

Let’s Cover 5 Types of Photos That Require A Model Release


Surprise! 5 Types Of Photos That Require A Model Release - 123RF Blog

The logical thought process is that when you can see a model’s face, only then a release is required. But sometimes when certain body parts are easily recognizable, a stock image reviewer might tell you that a model release is needed. Whether it’s photos or footage of someone’s hands, particularly if they have tattoos or other familiar features, submit a release just in case.


Surprise! 5 Types Of Photos That Require A Model Release - 123RF Blog

Even if it’s a blurred or dimly-lit shot, photos with a model that’s easily recognizable will require a release. This includes scenes of a celebrity performing at a concert, even while covered in smoke effects or dim lighting. While you obviously can’t ask the celebrity to sign your model release, file this under Editorial to be safe.


Surprise! 5 Types Of Photos That Require A Model Release - 123RF Blog

Anything you put on the Internet will eventually be found. People will most likely recognize the tattoo art, and also the artist who did the design. It’s always best to have a model release on hand in case someone decides to take legal action against you.


Are kids under 18 are present in your photo? At the time of the photo shoot, they don’t have the legal capacity to approve contracts on their own. Be aware that you’ll need to have the model release form signed by their parent or guardian. Should anything happen, you’ll have that form standing between you and a lawsuit.

Certain Street Photography

Surprise! 5 Types Of Photos That Require A Model Release - 123RF Blog

The rule of thumb is that you aren’t actually required to have a model release for street photos. But that’s the thing… If you want to use those street shots for a commercial or advertising a brand’s products, you’ll need the people in the shot to give you consent. That’s where a model or property release comes in. This is because some of these photos will have faces in them, or there are store signs present in the shots. It’s safer to file them under Editorial and avoid the hassle of getting requests by people/property owners in the photos asking you to take it down.

As a stock photo contributor, you’ll want to keep these model releases forever, by the way, just in case. The best part is that they don’t expire, and will only serve to benefit you in the long run. Do you need a more in-depth feature on model releases? Check out this article that breaks things down for you so you can better digest the stock content legal cake.

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