There are many different photo releases and other documents available here at Jim's Photos. Each document has a specific use. Read the description below and choose the document best suited for your needs Some situations require more than one. If you have the lastest version of Adobe Reader, you can now fill out and sign the form(s) online and e-mail them directly to me! Also, see my photo session e-mail if you didn't receive on yet.
WHAT IS A PHOTO RELEASE AND WHY IS IT NEEDED
Experienced models are familiar with model releases (perhaps more familiar than photographers are) and will expect a photographer's request to sign the papers. Others may be surprised by such a request, and the photographer may need to do some explaining, or even some bargaining, to get the signatures. Basically, the releases give the photographer permission to photograph the Model/Subject in connection with some promotional consideration. Additionally, it shows that both the Photographer and the Model/Subject are serious about doing the photo session. Here is an explanation as to why the photo release is important and beneficial to both the photographer and to the Model/Subject.
Along with the Subject’s signature and a date, these two statements would be enough to constitute a bare-bones, but entirely legal contract. In actuality, a contract records a “meeting of the minds” and, to be complete, must contain three elements:
Offer. Often, the subject is offering to give the photographer permission, along with a promise not to complain about things later on. Most of the words in the release are there to describe exactly what the subject is willing to permit and not complain about.
Acceptance. Where the photographer is using unpaid subjects, their behavior (their making or using the photos, or accepting the signed release) indicates their acceptance. Where they are paying their subjects, your signatures show that the offer was accepted.
Most releases have space to write the subject’s address and to place a witness’s name. These are not legal requirements, however. If there are no witnesses and the subject declines to give an address (or gives you only an email address — it has happened), the signed release is still a contract. It is useful to get the subject’s address. The photographer my may want to contact the subject later on. For another, you want to make it clear that the John Smith who signed your release is the same John Smith whose photo you took.
Consideration. A contract is complete only if value is exchanged. Consideration is the legal term for whatever the subject has gotten in return for the permission. A TFD/P session would be a good example of value that is exchanged.
When shooting in the field, it can be awkward to approach people and ask them to sign a release. But it becomes less awkward if the photographer offers something tangible, yet tasteful - sometimes it can be handing out business cards and offering to mail a print from the shoot. Not only might this engender some good will, but it could lead to future business for the photographer.
Formal language. Most releases are longer and more formal-sounding than the bare-bones statements above. There are a couple of reasons why.
Further points of contract law
Competence. Not everyone is legally able to make a contract. Signers have to be able to understand the consequences of their acts. That means they must be of legal age and of sound mind. A minor who signs a release can repudiate it when he becomes an adult, or his parent can repudiate it for him. In general, the legal age for entering into valid contracts is 18, though younger persons can, in certain circumstances, get a court order that makes them legal adults.
Illegality. The courts won’t enforce a contract for illegal activity, or one that is contrary to public purpose. For instance, in some circles, a few dollars’ worth of hashish might be welcomed as the “consideration” element of your release — but a court of law isn’t likely to see it that way.
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