Frequent mistakes in model releases

posted on 15th of april, 2009

Today I am going to talk about some frequent mistakes I come across in contributors' model releases.
This blog is meant first of all to help contributors have less refusals based on model releases.
These are the steps you should take when dealing with people photography:
1. Print model releases
2. Let your models read the document and explain it to them when necessary, some of the legal information may be hard to understand
3. Filling in all the legal data
4. Signing of the model release in the presence of a witness
5. Scanning or photographing of the completed document.

Now, the actual process of filling in the model release. When you go to your photo shooting sessions, make sure your model(s) fill(s) in all required areas fully and most of all correctly. We see a lot of documents that lack the telephone number or have only the city listed in the address field whereas it should have a complete address. Remember that this is a legal document and has to be dealt with carefully.
After your model adds his/her data, your witness must write his/her full name as clearly as possible and sign the release. This is also very important because your MR is not valid without witness.
At the end, you fill in your name and signature to have a complete and correct document.
Another mistake that may result in refusal is uploading model releases taken from agencies other than Dreamstime. There are many documents governed by specific laws of an area or country that we cannot accept because they do not legally cover our agency or the photographer working with us. So when you have a general model release uploaded make sure it doesn't mention another agency and that it is valid worldwide. Also, your model release can not be in a language other than English unless it's a Dreamstime official model release.

The two instances mentioned above are the most encountered MR mistakes but there a few others I would like to mention briefly:

- An ID of your model has to be scanned or photographed together with the MR document to prove that he/she is over 18 and able to participate in such photo shoots for nudes images;

- Any person recognizable seen in an image from the front or from the back has to have a model release attached. Photographers often don't attach a model release when the person in the image is backwards. Remember, if the person is the main subject of your image, back or front, your photograph will be refused without model release;

- When you have two or more people in images, add a model release for each of them and select them individually from the documents list. Do not scan releases together;

- Do not attach model releases when you photograph body parts like hands, feet, or others. Only attach the model release if you have a nude body part, in which case the scanned document should also contain the ID of the model.

- Make sure the information you enter in the model release library is correct, age, gender and ethnicity. People tend to overlook this aspect as non important but it is very relevant for specific searches, so you must pay attention to this as well.

- Don't mix property releases with model releases. Upload the documents in the specific areas where they should be uploaded.

One final advice is to keep your library clean and organized, don't upload more than one model release for a model unless he/she gets older and moves to another age group - from teen-ager to your woman for example. Delete all the releases you do not use and have no images attached; yes, you can do that in your MR library.

Last, but not least, good luck, good light and be happy.

Comments (19)

Comment by Nikitu on March 26, 2012