Today’s post I want to focus on model releases and the importance of reading things carefully.
A model release is a contract. One that, once you sign, is binding. The single best way to avoid putting yourself into a situation you’ll regret later is to carefully read the terms of anything you sign.
-If you’re shooting TFP don’t sign any release granting the photographer re-sale rights of your photos. If the photographer is going to make money off the images they should be paying you for them
-Know who you’re working with. Terms in a release can be worded generally so that the interpretation can be wide. Be sure you have a clear understanding of the photographer’s interpretation of the release before you sign. If necessary add more specifics to the release before you sign.
-Always read the copy you put your name on. It’s not uncommon to request a copy of the release in advance of your shoot so it can be reviewed beforehand. Carefully read the copy you’re presented at the shoot to sign to make sure it’s the same one (especially if you requested edits to the terms).
-Keep a copy of the release for yourself. Preferable one with the photographers initials on it to prove it’s a legitimate copy in the event you need to use it later.
I’m in no means saying that no photographer should be trusted. There are plenty of us honest ones out there. But you need to be careful. The reality is that there are alot of photographers in photographer and/or working with models for the wrong reasons. New models are easy targets for scams because by and large you want to be successful so badly that sometimes you lose sight of being objective. I see alot of models get taken advantage of by things that, when they look back, can’t believe they “fell for”
If someone’s model release terms aren’t fitting you or you just can’t get the answers or clarifications you need/want about the release – walk away. It really is that easy, and in cases like this it’s probably for the better.