We field many requests for information from submitters on a daily basis. Some of the most frequently asked questions deal with Model Releases. Remember, if there is a person (or people) in your photo that have any recognizable features whatsoever, a Model Release is mandatory.

Why is a Model Release important?

It is always in your best interest to secure a model release whenever possible. A Model Release protects you in case a question comes up regarding the legality of a commercial use of an image.

How do I attach a model release to an image?

1) A Model Release must be submitted as a JPG file.

Currently, as you upload an image for submission you will see the drop down option (pictured, right).

As part of your submission workflow, you must prep the Description (Caption) field, keywords and category fields. When you select “I want to upload release now” this option will prompt you to upload your model release after you hit the submit button on that page for all of your images. So, say you set ‘upload release’ for two out of ten images, after you hit the submit button those two images will be available on the very next page for you to actually upload each Model Release.

As you upload a Model Release, that file automatically is saved into your account’s ‘archived’ area. So, say you upload 25 images and only need one Model Release for all 25 images, all you have to do is upload one Release and then associate that Release to all of the images that you have uploaded.

Types of Model Release:

Shutterstock offers two free Model Releases for all submitters to use. One Model Release is for an Adult and the other is for a Minor.

An Adult Model Release requires the model’s signature, your name (as the photographer) as well as a witness signature. The witness must also print their name legibly in case a question arises about an image later on.

Ex: Adult Model Release signature area:

The main difference between a Minor Model Release and an Adult Model Release is that a Parent/Guardian must also sign the Release.

Ex: Minor Model Release signature area:


Pictures of adult nude models must, of course, have a Model Release, but also a picture ID with proof that the model is at least 21.

Remember, a properly signed Model Release is essential when posting photos of individuals.

Click on this link for Shutterstock Model Release samples: /legal.mhtml – these are available in your submitter account area under “Tools and Resources/Legal Forms.”

You may also click on these links below for the Model Releases:

[PDF] Adult (18 or over) Model Release

[PDF] Minor (Under 18) Model Release

[DOC] Adult (18 or over) Model Release

[DOC] Minor (Under 18) Model Release

For more information on Model Releases, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us at support@shutterstock.com