You need a photo release form before you put your work out there. Often mistaken for a model release form, we cover how they differ and provide a photo release form template to get you started.


What is a photo release form?

The photo release form, also sometimes referred to as photo consent form or photo copyright form, is a contract between the photographer and client (or model) that grants the client permission to print hard copies of the photos (i.e. portraits, headshots, or wedding photographs, etc.).

Is a model release form different than a photo release form?

The short answer is yes, they are very different.

As we mentioned, a photo release form is a document signed by the photographer and given to the talent or client so they can print copies of the work. On the other hand, a model release form is signed by the talent so the photographer has permission to license or use the image. In most photo shoots, both agreements should be signed.

How to administer your photo release form?

signing actor release form template

1. Prep your paperwork ahead of time

Print multiple copies if you are using paper. People make mistakes and often need to start over.

2. Make sure that all your information is legible

The wording of the release is important, but so is the information that is captured. Always make sure that all the client’s information is easy to read – especially when it’s handwritten.

Because phone numbers change more often than email addresses, we collect email addresses on our provided photo release templates.

3. Associate each release with the photos from the shoot

You’ll need to know which releases cover which photos, sometimes months, years or decades after a shoot. The best practice is to keep the thumbnails or proofs from the shoot with the photo release form in your files.

4. Create electronic files in the cloud

A lot of photographers scan the original photo release form and manage only electronic files. Plan to retain copies of every executed photo release indefinitely. For greatest ease, make the proofs and release a single electronic document. That way when someone wants to license a photo from you — you’ll know exactly which release form to send.

StudioBinder‘s free photography project management software makes it simple to keep your release forms and photo proofs backed up in the cloud.

5. Utilize email to establish a record

Always countersign, scan, and email a copy to the client after every photo shoot to generate a legal record through email trail. Having an email, or general a backup in the cloud, provides redundancy should your computer or hard drive fail.

Where do I store photo release forms?

While it doesn’t take a high-powered computer to create a photo release form template, photography management software makes staying on top of shoots easy.

Whether you’re using StudioBinder or Iris, always work under one project heading. By organizing your project top down, you store your photo release forms and model release forms in one easy to find place.

You can even save your mood boards and shot lists there as well. By using Shot List Builder, you can easily map out your shots. Add descriptions, write down your lens and setup, lighting and easily print to bring to the shoot day.

StudioBinder Shot List Template and Storyboard Template - Shot List Software

Photo Release Form Template Download

Sign and provide the following photo release to clients to grant them permission to print or display copies for their purposes (i.e. model’s book, comp and zed cards, or websites). Note that some print shops may require a signed photo release from your client prior to printing.

Photo Release Form

The simple photo release form template with no requirements or restrictions.

Simple Photo Release Form Template StudioBinder

Restricted Photo Release Form

This is a photo release form template with restriction requirements (i.e. watermarking, website or photo credit).

Photo Release Form Template with Restrictions StudioBinder

Disclaimer: We love providing resources and templates to photographers. Please remember, this article should be construed as informational, not legal advice. StudioBinder does not provide or offer legal advice to its readers. StudioBinder, its editors and authors will not be held responsible for any legal issues the reader might encounter based on the subjects found in this post. As always, we recommend you consult a legal expert for advice on release forms and agreements. This disclaimer assigns you, our readers, all responsibility for your own decisions.

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Wrapping Up

We hope this article is helpful in providing a better understanding of a good photo release form template. Remember, a photo release is only part of the process. To protect your image rights, you should also have the client sign a model release. If you haven’t already, make sure to read our companion article where we describe The Essentials of a Model Release Form and provide a template to get you started.

Do you have any tips you want to add? Please share in the comments below!

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