What is a model release?

Model release, or model release. All this is a translation of the special Model Release agreement. It lies between the photographer and the model. In practice, the photographer makes an agreement to get the model's consent to publish the photograph. For example, photo banks require you to attach a model release when uploading photos. How to compose a model release can be found in this article.


Why conclude a model release 

The photograph is subject to copyright, therefore, the person who created it acquires copyright. Copyright refers to the exclusive right, which owner decides how and to whom the photo can be used. The photographer has exclusive rights. However, images of a citizen are also subject to legal protection and are of non-property value. Thus, the absence of any agreement between the photographer and the model will inevitably lead to a dispute: the photographer cannot upload photos without consent to the use of the image, and the model cannot publish, since she does not own the exclusive right. To avoid this conflict, a model release is needed.

Necessity of obtaining model consent 

As a general rule, the use of a citizen's image requires his consent. However, there are exceptions to this rule, in particular, consent is not required if the person posed for a fee (subparagraph 3 of paragraph 1 of article 152.1 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation). However, this cannot be equated with the paid consent of the citizen. As practice shows, the courts ignore the exception when posing for a fee, which once again confirms the need to obtain the consent of the model for the use of photographs.

What conditions should the model release contain? 

Granting Image Rights

The classic case when the photo shows the model. A prerequisite is the ability to identify the person in the photo. A separate issue is the image of certain parts of the body, one or more. If they can identify a specific person, then consent to the use of the image must be required. Foreign practice also tends towards a broader understanding of the image of a citizen, so if the photo is used not only in Russia, the release of the model can reduce the risks of violation of the model's rights.

Also pay attention to the age of the model. If the model is under 18, then she cannot independently sign the release. In this case, the release is signed by the parent of the model.

Specifying a survey target in a model release

The purpose of the shooting affects the content of the model's release, since the person depicted has the right to consent to the use of the image only for specific purposes or in specific ways, for example, for advertising purposes. Therefore, it is better to define the main goals of use in the release. It is worth considering all possible options for publishing a photo, even if they are not expected at the time of shooting. If, after a certain period of time, the gallery wants to publish a photo, but this method is absent in the consent of the person depicted, you may be refused.

The use of the image also includes the issue of the possibility of photo editing, retouching, color changes, etc. This is also a mandatory release point. 

It is also not worth neglecting the release of the model in the case of TFP (time for print) shooting. With this model, there is a mutual benefit for the photographer and the model: there is no monetary payment, while the portfolio of each party is replenished. In this situation, none of the parties can subsequently use the photos for commercial purposes, however, a model release may solve this problem.

Using an alias in a model release

A model release may involve the use of an alias for the model or photographer when publishing a photograph. 

What language is the model release compiled in? 

Depending on where the photo will be published (in a foreign photo bank, gallery), it is worth choosing the release language. To make it easier in the future to post the publication regardless of the country, it is better to sign the release immediately in English.

Thus, the release of the model can reduce the risks for both the photographer and the model. It resolves a large number of conflicts that may arise in the future. Particular attention should be paid to the purpose of using the photograph in the future.


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