What is model release form?

Stock photography gives you virtually endless options for quickly finding the perfect image for your project. However, when the photo you want to use contains one or more recognizable people, the image likely requires a model image release form. This form is for legal purposes and determines how a photo can be used.

In basic terms, a model release form is a signed contract in which the person or people who are depicted in the image release it for particular types of use and waive your liability.

This form also dictates how you can use the photo. For example, some photos may not have the appropriate release for commercial use. In cases such as this, if you use the photo for commercial purposes you may be liable for violating the terms of the contract.

Some images on Shutterstock are marked "for editorial use only." If you decide to use one of these images, it is important that you understand how to use editorial content.

When you use images that you yourself have shot, you are likely the one who is responsible for producing this form and ensuring it is signed by the people shown in the photo. If you need to produce your own version of this form, you may want to seek appropriate professional assistance in drafting it so that you can be sure it is legally sound.

Shutterstock provides a wide variety of images that already have model release forms on file. When you find a photo that you want to use and you aren't sure if one of these forms has been completed, simply check on the page where the photo is displayed. If the release has been signed, there will be a statement in the upper right next to the photo that reads: "Signed model release on file with Shutterstock, Inc."

Stock photography with Shutterstock therefore provides you a quick and easy way to use photos without having to worry about the legal requirements of gathering a liability release form. For more information about how you can subscribe to Shutterstock, visit the subscribe page.

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