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Photo Release Form Template

By: Steve Stormoen / Monday, March 25, 2013


A photo release form, also known as a model release or photography waiver, is a document signed by the subject of a photograph. The signed form grants permission for a photo to be published for certain uses, such as promotion or advertising.

Generally, it is the task of the photographer to get model release forms signed for their photos. However, lugging around a stack of paper contracts can be onerous during a photography shoot. If a shoot requires heavy equipment, easy mobility, or exposure to the elements, paper photo release forms are a burdensome distraction. To address this problem, new technology such as RightSignature online signature software makes getting your model release forms signed easier than ever.

Read on for a sample model release template, as well as some tips to write your own and get it signed online or on a mobile device, quickly and easily.

4 Keys to Crafting the Perfect Model Release Form

Contrary to a popular misconception, photography release waivers are not required when a photograph is taken, but when it is published. In addition, these waivers are only required if the published photograph is used in an advertisement or endorsement for another product or idea. However, the photographer's access and proximity to the subject most often make it their task to collect these documents. For professional photographers, a model release form template is a must, as these forms greatly expand the range of markets in which a photo can be sold.

Also consider that your photo release form template will change slightly based on your use. If your photos include subjects under 18 years old, the photo will have to be signed by their parent or legal guardian. If the photo contains multiple subjects, you must get signatures from each person—either on separate photo release forms or all together on the same document.

When creating a model release form template, be sure to include the following necessary clauses:
  • Release of likeness. This is a sentence in which the subject consents to have his/her likeness published.
  • Discussion or waiver of compensation. Photographers may choose to allow for compensation for their subjects in the event that the photo is sold or published. Otherwise, this clause can be used to acknowledge a waiver to any claims for compensation.
  • Acknowledgement of age of consent. This clause certifies that the model is above 18 years old, and legally able to sign the document independently.
  • Permitted uses. Since photographers often don’t know in advance to where their photos will be sold, this clause usually provides a range of permitted uses. Additionally, some model release forms specify whether cropping, retouching, or other editing of the photo may be allowed.

View a Sample Photo Release Form Template

Professional photographers have a constant need to get photo release forms signed—sometimes dozens in a single day. For these active professionals, paper documents can become uncomfortable to carry, expensive to print, and easy to mix up. Electronic signature software can help solve these problems, as well as cut down on duplicated work: with an electronic signature service such as RightSignature, you can set up your model release form template once, then use it as many times as you need.


This sample photo release form template, hosted with RightSignature, turns your release form into an online, fillable, and signable pdf file.

To use our photo release form template, you can click the link above and select the “PDF Download” button, or sign up for a free trial of RightSignature. Then you’ll be able to:
A concise, legally-defensible photo release form is an important part of a successful photography business. By including the most critical clauses, and using clear language to avoid confusing the subjects of your photos, you can preserve the right to sell your photography to new potential markets. Online signatures provide a vital next step, allowing you to efficiently build a photo release form template and get it signed—quickly and easily—with a legally binding signature.

Disclaimer: This was not written by an attorney and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about the legality of your photo release form, please consult your attorney.

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