D*I*Y Planner Photo Release Kit

Hipster PDA Photo ReleaseWell, all those tales of photographers being sued for images containing the barely-recognisable faces of sue-happy individuals have instilled within me an unhealthy sense of paranoia. Seeing that I’ve been delving far more into photography lately, I decided to round up a few D*I*Y Planner templates to serve as photographic releases.

In this kit (a part of the forthcoming Creativity package), you’ll find:

  • Photographic Release (pocket form), in Hipster PDA 1-up, 4-up, and graphical versions
  • Photographic Release: Adult, in PDF 5.5×8.5 format
  • Photographic Release: Minor, in PDF 5.5×8.5 format
  • The adult and minor releases in an OpenOffice.org Draw source file (1.1.4 and up)

The pocket releases are for both adults and minors, and suitable for printing onto index cards, à la my Hipster PDA Edition. The adult and minor versions are also provided in a source file so you can modify them to suit your needs; this will allow you to insert your name, change the size (say, to A5), jigger the margins, or change the wording per the advice of your lawyer. If you want to use the OpenOffice.org file, please download and install the free Blue Highway font first, which is used for the title. (There is no public source file for the Hipster PDA variants, but you should be able to use the included OOo file to create your own with a bit of elbow grease.)

These templates differ somewhat from the usual D*I*Y Planner gear, but mainly for the sake of readability — remember, you want your model to be able to read and sign the form without any legibility issues. Aesthetics is a secondary concern.

These forms are based upon releases provided to Popular Photography (see original text here) by the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). These templates are provided here simply as a courtesy, and all applicable rights belong to the original creators and owners: any objection to their distribution in this form by said owners will result in the withdrawal of this offering. As always, check with your lawyer before using any legal forms: they may not be valid in your area or for your purposes. There is no guarantee, implied or otherwise, that accompanies these forms, either on my part, or the part of Popular Photography and Imaging Magazine, or the ASMP.

Whew. In other words, use at your peril, and please check with your legal representative first. Remember, I am not a lawyer, nor do I claim any legal knowledge.

Download: D*I*Y Planner Photographic Release Kit 1

Feedback, especially from those with real legal opinions and knowledge, are quite welcome.

9 Replies to “D*I*Y Planner Photo Release Kit”

  1. Thank you! I’ve been avoiding taking photos of people for lack of a photo release form (that I didn’t want to type up myself). Now I have no excuse! Best. Planner. Ever. I only hope that some of your organizational skilz rub off on me!

  2. In general it’s good to get a model release, however, from my understanding as a pro, you need it mainly if you want to sell your images for commercial uses like advertising.

    If it’s news or editorial, a model release is not necessary.

    But it is good advice to talk to a lawyer as Doug has mentioned if you plan on selling your images and don’t want to get sued.

  3. Ken, I’d heard that there is such a thing as allowance for journalists, but had to wonder about the history of great photography and all the candid moments that were captured. Greed is crippling art. (People actually try to patent colours?!) I can understand both sides of the picture and agree that people should have a right to fight exploitation, but why are there “allowances” for paparazzi, but not for great “art”. Is it because tabloids have big business behind them? I know of one amazing photographer who has given up taking pictures of people altogether. I’m sure he’s not alone. Just a few thoughts…

  4. I am not an expert in this field of law, but from my hazy recollection from law school, these releases look legally deficient.

    It is not enough to just say that consideration (payment or something of value) was given, such an exchange must actually happen. Otherwise there is no contract. This leads to the legal formalism in some contracts of contracting in “exchange” for $1; i.e. “In exhange for consideration of $1, I sell my house to X”.

    I agree with the above poster that as a practical matter releases aren’t unnecessary except in the context of advertising or sale of the image.

    To be safe, if you take a picture of someone that you think is going to make you money somehow, I would suggest actually paying that person a token sum and clearly specifying that in the release.

    And as always be sure to consult with an attorney about legal issues and never rely on legal “advice” from the internet.

  5. T Edwards, I agree completely with all your points.

    A number of people I know or have read about will vary their “consideration” and offer things like $1, copies of the picture, a copy of any book that has it published, etc.. Some will go out of their way to make tokens to give out to people (such as small signed posters) as the contractual consideration. And never trust advice from the Internet (even the well-regarded ASMP, from which these were taken) without checking with a lawyer. That includes me, of course. 😉

    The source for the full releases has been provided, so you can modify them to suit your legal purposes, including noting the consideration offered.


  6. Here are two websites with other legal advice to carry with you:

    The Photographer’s Right – A Downloadable Flyer
    Your Rights When You Are Stopped or Confronted for Photography

    Photographers Rights
    A short guide to photographers rights in the UK.

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