What Is a Model Release Form and Why Do I Need One?

Brandon Lake
Brandon Lake

A model release form is a legal document that permits a photographer or other artist to use a person's likeness in a work of art. The form typically asks for the person's name, age, contact information, and a description of the work that will be created. It also requires the signature of the person giving permission.

Model release forms are often used in advertising and other commercial contexts, where the use of a person's likeness can be valuable. However, they can also be used in different contexts, such as when a photographer wants to use a person's image in a portfolio or website. With WaiverSign’s online waiver software, you can make your model release forms so much easier to manage.

  1. What is a model release form and why do I need it?
  2. What data should I include in this form?
  3. Why should I make this form digital?
  4. Why should I customize my model release form?

What is a model release form and why do I need it?

People are often surprised to learn that they need a model release to use a person's name, photograph, or likeness in advertising, marketing, or other commercial purposes. So, what is a model release form? The form should state the specific permissions the person is giving you, such as the right to use their name and photograph in advertising and marketing materials. It should also state the right to use their name and photo on your website and the right to use their name and photograph in connection with product endorsements.

It's important to note that a model release form is not the same as a release form for use in television or film production. A release form for television or film production permits using a person's name, photograph, or likeness in connection with a particular project.

If you want to use a person's name, photograph, or likeness in your advertising or marketing materials, you need to get a model release form from that person. If you're not sure whether you need a model release or a release form for use in television or film production, it's best to consult an attorney.

Tanned Blonde Model

What data should I include in this form?

When creating a simple model release form, there are a few specific pieces of data that you will want to have. This information will help ensure that you protect yourself and the model.

These four pieces are the most important:

  1. Name - Seems obvious, but just in case. The full legal name of the model is a good idea, along with any model alias’ they may have. This will help to identify the individual if something happens and you need to track them down. It also protects you if they are representing themselves falsely.
  2. Description of the photo or video - You will want to include a description of the photo or video. This will help ensure there's no confusion about the release. Be as detailed as possible and include photo editing rights so you can manipulate the photo however you need.
  3. Signature with Date - You will want to include the date the release is signed to help to document when the release was signed and ensure that it's still valid. Always make sure the signature matches the name given.

Contact Information - Include contact information for both the model and yourself, to ensure that either party can reach out if there are any questions or concerns. It’s a good idea to include phone numbers, email addresses, and current mailing addresses. Your information can, of course, be added directly to the model release language. The model’s information will be added in the online form during signing.

Why should I make this form digital?

As your business grows, so will your priorities. Digitizing these files is the easiest way to track, check, send, and verify model release forms right when you need them. Focus on what you’re amazing at, and let WaiverSign handle all the forms and waivers you’ll need.

With WaiverSign, you can easily store them on your computer or cloud-based storage service and access them from any device with an Internet connection. This makes it easy to find and use release forms when you need them.

Having all your release forms on hand would be valuable in a sticky situation where someone claims you stole their likeness for marketing purposes. Many times, models don’t understand what they are signing away, so having proof of release a few quick taps away on your phone or computer can help put your mind at ease.

Filing, storing, and maintaining paper files can be both costly and time-consuming. When you have a digital release form, you can quickly and easily send it to models, other people involved, or people who need it. This can save you time and money on printing and postage costs.

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Why should I customize my model release form?

While many professional photographers and businesses use a generic model release form, there are several reasons why it’s a good idea to customize a simple model release form to fit your specific needs.

Sometimes custom release forms can protect you from potential legal problems that using a generic form may pose. You may not be covered by all the specific legal protections you need. For instance, a custom form can include language that protects the photographer from legal claims that may arise from using a person's likeness.

With WaiverSign, photography businesses can create custom fields, modify the document as needed, and select the inputs they need. WaiverSign also enables companies to track who has signed the waiver and when. This gives businesses peace of mind that they have the documentation they need in the event of an accident or incident.

Try your model release form with WaiverSign

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Brandon Lake

What Is a Model Release Form and Why Do I Need One?

By Brandon Lake

Brandon is the founder and CEO of RESMARK & WaiverSign. He also runs Western River Expeditions and Moab Adventure Center, two of the most successful tour businesses in America. Brandon loves cycling, skiing and traveling with his wife and 4 children.
*All information is accurate as of December 2022.