How to Use a Photo Release Form Template

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Beautiful photos can be powerful marketing tools, but first, the people featured in these images must consent to them being shared. Hence, the need for a photo release form. This key document allows subjects to provide permission for their images to be published. Without it, they could potentially demand that images be removed from marketing materials — or that they receive royalties in exchange for their photos being featured.

At first glance, a typical photo release form seems simple. These documents can be more complicated than they appear, however. To highlight possible areas of concern, we've compiled a guide that covers the following:

  • Essentials That Every Photo Release Form Should Include
  • Photo Release Form Best Practices
  • Errores a evitar

You'll also discover the value of using a photo release form template and an eSign solution.
Essentials That Every Photo Release Form Should Include

The goal of a basic photo release form should be to explain how and where photos might be used — and to authorize such usage without the need for royalties. As such, each form should include these essentials:

  • Authorized rights. How will photos taken of the subject in question be used? This section should list everything from editing to copying. Subjects should be well aware that their images might be altered or manipulated before they are published.
  • Where photos might be published. Feel free to include examples of situations in which photos might be shared. For example, the release form might indicate that photos could be used in both print materials (such as brochures or pamphlets) and digital content (such as emails or social media updates). Introduce these examples with the phrase "includes but is not limited to."
  • Waived rights to royalties. If you don't anticipate paying subjects prior to publishing photos of them, it's important to indicate as much in the photo release form. For long-term protection, consider also adding a release of rights for claims involving executors or heirs. 

Photo Release Form Best Practices

Once you know what to include in a photo release form, you can start drafting the document or customizing a template. Keep these best practices in mind as you proceed:

  • Use separate release forms for minors. Photo release requirements can differ somewhat based on the age of the subject. When minors are to be included in photos, it's best to use a specific form that takes their age — and the need for parental permission — into account.
  • Look to a photo release form template for guidance. If you're not sure how to phrase the specific stipulations you hope to include in your photo release form, a template might help. This provides helpful guidance but can easily be adapted based on your specific intentions for using images of the subject.

Errores a evitar

Even if you stick with the best practices outlined above, it can be easy to make mistakes that seem small but have huge consequences. Missteps to avoid include:

  • Not customizing your photo release. Because photo release forms tend to be succinct, it's tempting to assume that the language already included in the template will suffice. While this approach sometimes works, it's important to analyze the document carefully to determine whether any changes are needed. Sometimes, slight adjustments may be required to account for unique circumstances. 
  • Not considering document security. How you get your photo release form signed matters as much as what the document contains. You'll enjoy extra peace of mind if you take advantage of an eSign solution such as Nitro Sign.

Getting the Photo Release Form Signed

Once you've done the hard work of preparing and customizing a photo release form, it's time to get it signed. You can count on Nitro to remove all guesswork while also improving security every step of the way. Get started with a free trial today.

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