Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Signing the modeling release- when and why

A girl recently asked me if she could use the photos from a test shoot with a photographer if she did not sign the release:

My answer comes by sharing a few ways model releases and modeling booking vouchers are used:

Test shoots:
You can use the photos if you did not sign the release in a "photo testing situation". Signing a release usually happens when the photographer wants to sell the images or for publication, or is using them for a nude website, and has to prove the models age, or the product the model is modeling has not been distributed and the company wants the shots to be private before the ad campaign is released, and in that case the models do not get photos ahead of time. ALl of this should be discussed ahead of time. If the photographer can use the shots for publication, if you can. How many photos you get from the shoot, etc.

On the job: When you are shooting a modeling job through an agency for an editorial or ad campaign you will have a voucher/ release from the agency which the art director will sign, you will sign it as well. A signing a release / voucher is also proof that you worked, and then you give the agency the voucher you signed and that is how you get paid. You should keep a copy, the agency and the client. Keep your records.

Paying a photographer:
If you are paying a photographer for headshots then you should not be prevented from using ANY of the phots, because typically you are paying for the film and the film is yours. You should however get this writing somehow. Or discuss it ahead of time.

When it comes to models seeking out and creating their own modeling portfolio photos, she must be careful and speal ahead of time about usage and releases. You do not want to be prevented from using the photos but you also should be aware that professional photographers and those who have a photography business may want you to sign a release, which allows them to use the images. But, you should also speak about releases ahead of time and if you are not comfortable don't sign it, and do not work with them. And there is nothing wrong with you as the model having a release as well for the photographer to sign. Take yourself and pursuits seriously. Photography, with digital can be damaging if you take the wrong photo and it gets out there, because on the web thigns stick. So, be picky about who you work with and read the fine print!

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