Intellectual property is described and equally defined with man’s natural right. As such, anything that stems or a product of a person’s ideas or anything that is an extension of its soul is considered as part of his intellectual property. Artwork—paintings, sculpture, literary works, and music—and a person’s image and likeness are examples of intellectual property. And, in today’s world where almost everything is subject to the commerce of man, intellectual property is legally protected by internationally through documents, like a photo release form along with many others.

FREE 30+ Photo Release Forms in PDF | MS Word

1. Student Photo Release Form

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2. Photo Release Form Sample

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3. Photo Video Release Form

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5. School Photo Release Form

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6. Simple Photo Release Form

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7. Photo and Publicity Release Form

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8. Photo Media Release Form

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9. Printable Photo Release Form

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10. Generic Photo Release Form

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12. Standard Photo Release Form

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13. Library Photo Release Form

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14. Photo Release Form for a Minor

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15. Image Photo Release Form

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16. Social Media Photo Release Form

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17. Photo Release Authorisation Form

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18. Photo Event Release Form

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19. Photo Service Release Form

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20. Talent Photo Release Form

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21. Photo Model Release Form

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22. Photo Visual Release Form

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23. Photo Subject Release Form

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24. Commercial & Photo Release Form

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25. Youth Workshop Photo Release Form

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26. Client Photo Release Form

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27. Basic Photo Release Form

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29. Photo Use Release Form

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30. Photo and Student Release Form

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31. Photo Release Statement Form

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What is a Photo Release Form?

The Mona Lisa is perhaps one of the most recognized and easily uttered masterpiece when one speaks about the subject of art. The iconic painting of the lady with a subtle smile, quintessential of what women of those times should be, is the masterpiece of no other than Leonardo Da Vinci himself. It is said that the woman behind the image commissioned⁠ the master artist for the painting. However, it was not until the 20th century that the image itself became legally protected, prohibiting its use without consent from its owners.

A photo release form is a legal document that photographers, businesses, and even the image’s owner sign to permit the use of a person’s image and likeness for commercial and non-profit purposes. This document functions much like an agreement or waiver wherein the model or the image’s owner gives consent to release publicly and the free use of its image and likeness. The owner may also request payment and royalties every time the image is used, depending on the specifications of the contract or agreement.

Photo Release Forms: It’s Many Kinds and Why it Matters?

A photo release is a written authorization, which legally gives its users permission to use a particular image from its respective owners. Businesses and organizations, from big media companies, advertising firms, and charitable groups, use photo-release forms whenever they incorporate images in their marketing and awareness campaigns. On the other hand, the image’s owners may opt to ask for payment or royalties from the party who wishes to get their permission to use such an image.

There are many kinds of photo release forms in existence. Each of them is used for different purposes and to obtain the legal use of such imagery protected by another set of laws. Written in the list below are the kinds of photo release forms and its applications:

  • Employee Photo Release: Employers will do anything in their power to ensure their employees’ welfare. To protect their dignity, employers require third parties to sign a photo release form whenever the latter expresses an intention to use any of their employee’s image. The parties involved in the signing of an employee photo-release are the consenting party, the employer and employee, and the party that wishes to use an employee’s image for commercial purposes. Both parties involved should sign the agreement for it to take effect.
  • Minor Photo Release: In today’s present time, where heartless individuals prey on the innocence of minors and children alike, their images are ever more vulnerable to such acts of exploitation. As with anyone aged 18 and below, their image and likeness are equally protected by the law, as well whenever business entities or individuals wish to use pictures of someone’s children, a photo release form signed by the child’s parents and the interested party to legally use the child’s image and likeness.
  • Pet Photo Release: Pets are like one’s little children to their owners. Animals, especially pets, are legally recognized to have the same rights as that of a human being. Pictures and videos of pets are circulating in social media sites, giving people a way to relieve their stress and worries through their unintentional antics and pure adorableness⁠. Such images of pets found in facebook requires a pet photo release to be signed before being uploaded—cat videos, anyone?
  • Photo Copyright Release: Ever wonder how celebrities, dead and living, make money through royalties? A photo copyright release makes this possible by requiring the parties to pay a fee every time their image is used commercially. The royalty fee will depend on the amount agreed by the owner and the requesting party.

Advertising or the subtle art of enticing the masses to buy products or services, the clever use of images along with the play of words positively contributes a lot to its practitioner’s success. The US, which remains the most significant global ad market, has seen a total of 243 billion dollars in ad spending this year alone. Solid proof that a little tinkering and playing with images and words could do for a business, and the lengths that businesses are willing to go through just to stay ahead from the rest.

Why Use a Photo Release Form?

Photo release forms enable you to have the legal right to use any image for commercial or professional purposes. Since a person’s image and likeness, and a business’s products are subject to laws concerning properties, anyone who wishes to use a particular image must obtain permission from its owners first. The owner may require the requesting party for a small compensation or royalties a condition for granting the right to use the image.

Using a photo release form is done primarily for one reason only, and that is to request and obtain permission to use a particular image legally. The legality behind the use of photo release stems from the fact that the image alone is considered as intellectual property, therefore subject to the laws governing it. Aside from that, some laws affect the legal use of image and likeness. Some of these are laws concerning the protection and employment of anyone who is not of legal age such as children and minors, while some of them are laws that protect the animals form any form of abuse and exploitation.

A photo release, however, is no longer necessary if one wishes to use a particular image from the public domain. The public domain refers to the materials or artwork that are not protected by copyright, trademark, patent laws, or more collectively known as intellectual property laws. The images within the public domain are publicly owned and don’t require permission to use them legally.

Image and Likeness: A Question of Property

Intellectual property rights aim to protect a person or business entity’s intangible property, which gives credit for such work as originally theirs, or, from which revenue and profit can be derived from. Aside from that, it also prevents anyone from the unlawful use of a person’s image and likeness without securing its owner’s permission. More importantly, it also imposes the idea of fair competition among businesses by discouraging unlawful acts of copying and credit-grabbing.

A person’s image, likeness, and other inherent attributes are regarded as his, and his only, valuable intellectual property. The protection of one’s image and likeness means a lot to a person’s reputation and social standing. Aside from that, it also means protecting oneself from any acts of identity theft. Celebrities and influential people are known to do that and made tons of money out of it.

Protecting the Image and Likeness of Minors

The innocence and naivety, stereotypical of how minors are described, made them more susceptible to all forms of commercial exploitation. The entertainment industry, for example, has a long history of exploiting children and minors during employing them as actors. Child actors and actresses have long been made to work long hours and unjustly compensated, something that has been an open secret in show business.

Child celebrities, whose images and likeness was used both in the entertainment and advertising industries, didn’t enjoy the same rights as their adult counterparts did. But, since the issue of such malpractice was brought to the forefront recently, laws that aim to address it came into existence. The legal use of these kids’ images and likeness means that these kids enjoy the same rights as the grown-ups did, such as adequate compensation, intellectual property rights, permission to use their images, and many others.

How To Use a Photo Release Form

In the field of marketing, the adage that a single picture paints a thousand words is indeed, very true. Most humans are visual learners. We tend to quickly understand images more than words and numbers. 90 percent of the information that our brain processes come from visual stimuli than those of other senses. Images, infographics, font pairing, and videos are frequently used by advertisers to bring goods and services closer to the market. More often, to a greater degree of success.

If you’re in the profession of photography or advertising, the images or pictures that you use should be obtained legally. The use of photo release forms allows you to legally use images of objects and persons with permission from its respective owners. Photo release forms come in different formats, each for a different purpose. For you not to be left behind by the high speed, low drag world of your profession, here are the ways on how to prepare photo release forms as well as how to use them.

Step 1. Prepare the Appropriate Photo Release Form

Preparing the appropriate photo-release form for your upcoming photo shoot will let you avoid the legal consequences resulting from failure to make the correct form or from not preparing them at all. There are many kinds of photo release forms, each specifically for the legal use of pictures of persons, animals, inanimate objects, and anything that’s considered as intellectual property. To help you with preparing a specific photo release form, you can choose from a list of templates that you can readily customize and use.

Step 2. Discuss the Details with your Client

A business, first and foremost, is the meeting of the minds between a business owner and the client. It means that interacting with your clients through a series of discussions and meetings allows you to zero-in and meet their needs. And, closely interacting with your clients also will enable you to establish a good rapport with them, earning their trust and confidence, which inadvertently lets you build a strong client base.

During your meeting with your client, it is essential to ask them some basic questions, such as how they want their photo shoot should be, what’s the photo shoot is for, or how the pictures will be used. Doing so lets you paint a picture of want the client truly wants and allow you to map out the process involved. And, it is during this time that you can discuss and agree on the details like payment terms and the dos and don’ts during the photo shoot. This also lets you plot the schedule of the photo shoot itself more effectively.

Step 3. Sign the Photo Release Form

Once you and your client finalized the agreement and the details of the photo shoot, the next step is to have the photo release form signed by both of you. But before that, make sure that you have enough photo release forms to go around. If you, however, don’t have any forms left in your file cabinet, you can always print a new one out from the templates stored on your computer.

Upon signing the photo-release form, make sure that your client fully understands the terms, from A to Z. You can do that by giving them a detailed explanation of each word it contains. Aside from that, helping clients understand its parts enables them also to know how a photo release itself works. And finally, make sure that you and your client sign the photo release in order for it to take full effect.

Step 4. Schedule The Photo Shoot

After signing the photo release, the next and final thing to do is to agree on the date of the photo shoot itself and where it will be held. Both of those should depend on what the photo session is all about, which includes the theme or ambiance that the client wants for the picture, or the line of business that the client is into.

On scheduling the photo shoot, the thing that you should consider most is the kind of weather on the day of the session itself. So it is important to monitor weather forecasts a few weeks before the day of the photo shoot. Another thing to consider is the location of the photo shoot. It is wise to fill in the location’s booking or reservation forms months or weeks before the agreed date. All of these are for you and your client to have some time and space to make the necessary preparations beforehand.

A person’s inherent attributes—image and likeness—and the products that stem from his ideas are his natural property. Thus, it is also natural that he as undeniable rights over it including the right to grant permission, credit, and compensation out of the use of his intellectual property. Disregarding and disrespecting such a natural and inalienable right should be considered as theft and a crime against humanity.

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