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Old Jan 4, 2011, 9:27 AM   #1
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I've recently been duscussing photography ownership and model releases with a friend, and I realized I should get a few for when I have a more formal photo shoot.
Is there a website that has a standard contract available, whatever that may be, for a basic photo shoot? I suppose a model release will cover most things, but what if it is a party or a family photoshoot? Something that would give me ownership of the photos, etc.
I know I may have to change it around, but I would like something to start off on.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 1:27 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mrpete View Post
... Something that would give me ownership of the photos, etc.
...
As I understand it, you own the photo as soon as you click the shutter release. What you can do with that photo is where it gets sticky.

Is the photo of something that has a copyright?
Does anyone in the photo object to it being used in a hemorrhoid commercial?
etc.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 8:37 AM   #3
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It sounds like you're confusing two different (although related) issues. A model release: In the US, a model release is needed only if the person's image will be used for commercial purposes - generally speaking this means advertising. A model release is not needed to post on your website or to sell prints or any other editorial use. But if Wheaties wants to use their image on a cereal box they need a model release.

The contract is a bit different - the general idea is to clarify what is being purchased and what is not. You'll want to specify exactly what they're buying (images or prints or both), what they're allowed to use the images for (for example - personal use only - i.e. not allowed to submit images for publication, advertisement whatever). Specify that you retain copyright of all images. Now, your contract can certainly contain the model release clause but only if the person in the photo is signing the contract (or the parent / legal guardian of a minor). Your contract should specify terms of payment and under what conditions the customer can get a full or partial refund. You really don't want any misunderstandings about who gets paid when and what you're going to deliver and when the customer can get money back.

Remember - don't over-sweat a model release - if you're doing a family portrait it's not like you're going to sell that image to a company for advertisement. So just boilerplate language that allows you to use the image in your portfolio and / or display on your website.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 8:56 AM   #4
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John hit the nail on the head.
Model releases are only necessary for publication, whether it be advertising or newspaper article.

As for a contract I never let go of copyrights, ever! The best I will do is provide a digital image for personal use only (cost is a premium over prints). Depending on the image and who is buying it a single image can net some serious $$$. If you let go of the copyright any further publication income goes to who bought the image. Ive had only 1 extremely large earner that I sold limited publication rights to and retain the copyright and expressly noted that any future revenue is subject to royalties. To date Ive netted ~$10K on this single image. Womens professional Soccer. Christie Rampone of NY SkyBlue taking out Marta of LA SOL.

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Old Jan 5, 2011, 9:02 AM   #5
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John hit the nail on the head.
Model releases are only necessary for publication, whether it be advertising or newspaper article.
I'm afraid I'll have to disagree. You do not need a model release to print a photo in a newspaper. That is editorial use and releases are not required. Imagine a photojournalist asking everyone in a photo to sign a model release - no need. Magazines and national publications will ask for them because it makes life easier on them - it's risk avoidance. But you can imagine the local politician being shown in hand-cuffs after a conviction is not going to sign a model release so the newspaper can run the image.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 9:33 AM   #6
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Not to be a PITA but I had to provide releases for all people in the photos for an article last year that was very simple, Tball opening day that were all posed people shots. May be just particular papers but the ones that I have worked with required releases for publication. The Tball article was in the NJ Star Ledger. It may possibly be the fact that they were all minors and it was on private property for risk avoidance, never the less I had to provide releases.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 9:52 AM   #7
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Justin - I can only think it must be the paper. Around here, the major daily newspapers don't require model releases for sports images or any other freelance PJ images. Here are some links of interest:
Primer on model releases (good explanation of what is at play with regards to model releases):
http://www.danheller.com/model-release-primer
Model release examples:
http://asmp.org/tutorials/forms.html

Again, I think the paper in your case was just trying to avoid problems - they don't want complaining calls/letters from parents - why did you print a photo of my child without my permission? It's just not worth the headache to them. But newspapers in the US are not required by law to get a model release for any subject they post a photo of - media would grind to a halt if that were true. But I think media outlets are a bit touchy when it comes to minors now.

But for HS athletes I've never had to give a model release when I've been published.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 12:56 PM   #8
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Okay, so if i was doing a wedding, what would I ask the b&g to sign so that I know I wouldn't have any trouble putting them online or whatnot?
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 1:11 PM   #9
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Okay, so if i was doing a wedding, what would I ask the b&g to sign so that I know I wouldn't have any trouble putting them online or whatnot?
A contract. In the contract you state you retain all copyright and by signing they acknowledge and grant you the right to use the images you make as part of the contract, in print or on your website as part of your "portfolio" to display to perspective clients.


You can word smith the above - but that's the general concept.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 2:26 PM   #10
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Thanks! Makes sense now.
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