06. Legal Matters

01. Legal Basics

What is a model release?

A model release is a written document signed by the subject of the photograph which states that he or she consents to being photographed and, more importantly, that the photograph may be used for the purpose set forth in the release.

When is a model release required?

A model release is always required for any photograph portraying any recognizable person and which is used for commercial purposes. In general, a person will be considered to be recognizable if at least one other person (other than the person depicted in the photograph) is able to recognize the person portrayed in the photograph.

What is a “commercial use”?

This term refers to the use of a photograph in advertising, promotion, trade or product endorsement.

What is an “editorial use”?

In many countries photographs of persons can be published without permission for uses that have been defined in the industry as “editorial use”. This term refers to the use of a photograph to illustrate a factual article, book, news broadcast, documentary, or film, concerning a matter that is newsworthy or of public interest.

Images with model releases are clearly indicated on our website. Many clients will do image searches for Only Model-Released.

Release information