Photo Release Forms: What to Know to Create Your Own

May 06, 2024
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Photo release forms are crucial in protecting a photographer's creative rights and a subject's privacy during creative photography projects. Understanding the essentials of photo release forms can help you confidently navigate legalities. 

In this post, we'll cover all that you need to know to create effective photo release forms. We’ll start by understanding a few basics and end with a step-by-step tutorial on how to make one. Ready for a hassle-free shoot? Let’s dive in!

What is a photo release form?

A photo release form is a legal document used to get permission from photographers for the use of photos clicked by them.

What is the use of a photo release form?

A photo release form is a legal agreement between a photograph's end user and the photographer. It outlines the terms and conditions of using the photographs, including their purpose, duration, and distribution rights. 

By obtaining consent through a photo release form, the end user protects themselves from future legal disputes regarding the images. It also clarifies how the photos or videos will be utilized for the project. 

In this manner, a photo release form safeguards the rights, interests, and privacy of both the photographer and the end user. 

What should be included in a photo release form?

A comprehensive photo release form should include the following key elements:

  • Identities of both parties
  • Photos that fall under the purview of the agreement 
  • Purpose of use
  • Duration of use
  • Compensation involved (if any)

Apart from these, there also needs to be a signed agreement to make the form legally binding. We’ll show you how to include all these elements in a form in the section below.

Photo release form vs. model release form

While the two are often used interchangeably, there’s a subtle difference between them. The first thing to know is that both are release forms. A photo release form is signed by a photographer, releasing the photograph they’ve clicked for various purposes. Conversely, a model release form is signed by a model or a talent, releasing their image or likeness for use in various commercial purposes. 

Both scenarios can involve photographs with subjects. However, photo release forms are used when the subject's identity is either not recognizable or not the main focus. These forms are used when the subject is captured incidentally or as part of a broader scene, such as crowd shots or landscape photography. 

A model release form specifically pertains to situations when the model's identity is clear and they’re the main focus of the photograph. It is essential when photographs need to be used for commercial purposes, such as advertising, product endorsements, or promotional materials.

Follow our photo release form example using Google Forms

Step 1: Create a new Google Form

Navigate to your Google Forms.

Click on the ‘Blank form’ button to start a new form.  

Give it an appropriate title. 

Step 2: Enter (in detail) what they’re agreeing to in form description

Enter the agreement statement in the description of the form. Ensure that it contains the following:

  • Name of the party (client/company) to whom the photographs are being released. 
  • Some form of description of images (i.e., name of the project, data on which the photos were clicked, venue, etc.)
  • Purpose of use, whether it’s commercial, promotional, educational, etc.
  • Terms of compensation, if applicable

Step 3: Add a field to enter personal details of consenter

You’ve already added the name of the client/company to whom permission is granted. Now, you can add questions to collect the consenter’s, as in the photographer’s, details.

Google Forms starts with a default question. Enter ‘Name’ in the question field and select a ‘Short answer’ format from the drop-down menu next to it. You can also choose to collect more personal details, such as contact information, address, or even a capacity declaration. 

Click on the ‘Add question’ button to insert another question block.

Insert a capacity declaration and choose the multiple-choice question format to enter ‘Agree’ or ‘Disagree’ as the choices. 

Step 4: Include an agreement (or e-signature request)

With that, your photo release form is completed, but it’s not legally binding until you have some form of signed consent at the end. Consider adding an e-signature request to your photo release form to enhance its validity.

Since Google Forms doesn’t have a native feature for asking for the consenter's e-signature, you can rely on Form Publisher to do so. Learn how to add an e-signature request to Google Forms

Step 5: Automatically create photo release form documents

You don’t just have to stop at signatures. Once you have Form Publisher, your photo release form process gets better in so many different ways. Form Publisher works seamlessly with Google Forms to convert your release forms into separate documents. 

While Google Forms allows you to turn each form submission into a document, the process is anything but straightforward. Ultimately, you’ll get a document labeled Google Forms. 

On the other hand, Form Publisher automatically takes a form submission, turns it into a document, and saves it where you want it to in Google Drive. Plus, you get to choose the file format and customize the document's look to your preferences. 

Need a photo release form PDF? Use Form Publisher

Form Publisher has another invaluable solution for photo release forms. While e-signatures streamline the process, there are occasions where physical forms are necessary. 

Form Publisher simplifies the process of turning Google Forms into PDF documents so you can easily print them out for use. 

Form Publisher adapts to your needs, whether you require digital consent or printed documentation. If you’d like to manage your photo release forms more effectively, try Form Publisher today!

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