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Thread started 30 Aug 2009 (Sunday) 02:14
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Model release form needed?

31 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Aug 30, 2009 02:14 |  #1


I'm looking for advice on what to do as I'm trying to get into portrait photography. I don't have anyone that is willing to let me take pictures to practice so I posted an ad on Craigslist asking for models willing to work on a tfcd basis. I originally arranged for someone for tomorrow to work with me, but they had to cancel on Friday due to unforseen work commitments. This is alright and I try to arrange for someone else to take his place.

I post another ad to get a replacement and get a response this afternoon. Now please understand, I'm not trying to play up what I can do and clearly state in the ad that I'm new to portrait photography. I get a response within a few hours and arrange to meet this new model tomorrow afternoon. She asks if I have a studio and I tell her I don't and the shoot is going to be on location. Everything is going smoothly until I mention that I need a model release form so that I can use the photos in my portfolio. This is when she freaks out and tells me that she refuses to sign a release form for a "test shoot". She called it a test shoot because there would be mua, stylist or hairdresser along with "dubious" lighting at best. I tell her that release forms are standard practice and I couldn't see why any photographer wouldn't ask for the same thing.

In any case, she writes me back at 12:30am to tell me she isn't signing a release for what is essentially a test shootand she tells me to get in contact with her once I get a studio. Now I'm stuck without a model because she wasted my time.

I guess after all this rambling, I want to know if I was wrong in asking for a signed release form for what basically would have been my first photoshoot.

Thanks for reading! …p?p=2508699&pos​tcount=393Gear List

Lightworks ­ Imaging
1,525 posts
Joined Jul 2008
Location: West Allis, WI USA
Sep 08, 2009 12:29 |  #2

Yes, IMO, if you desire to post the pictures or otherwise use them for promotional or other use, you NEED a release.

As far as the model goes, don't sweat it, get another one.

And since when is the sun "dubious lighting"?

Just the humble musings of a beginner...
Lightworks Imaging (external link)
MM (external link)

Senior Member
575 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Location: Belgium
Sep 11, 2009 03:36 as a reply to  @ Lightworks Imaging's post |  #3

I always let them sign a model release. If they don't want to sign, I pack my stuff and leave.

Maybe you could ask her the reason why she didn't want to sign. Then adjust the model release so you both are ok with it.

For a first photoshoot, it might be better to ask a friend as a model. You spend a lot of time experimenting and might get one or two really good shots. The better you become, the more good pictures you will get.

Or look for beginning models. As they have little experience themselves, they can't pe very picky on photographers. And if the photos end up bad, you can always blame the model :lol:

gear - modelmayhem (external link) - facebook (external link) - blog (external link)

Senior Member
771 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 3
Joined May 2009
Location: Tampa Bay , Florida
Sep 11, 2009 03:53 |  #4

Set up an account on (external link) (or other site like it) and then post a casting call for your area. You should get plenty of new models willing to work with ya. New models are also looking for Photographers and post their own casting calls you can reply to.

Ay Hombe !

Adorama says I'm "packed."
14,351 posts
Gallery: 3 photos
Likes: 1356
Joined May 2004
Location: USA
Sep 13, 2009 10:13 |  #5

A. As mentioned, you do need a model release to use in your portfolio. There are some shadowy areas in some US states that may or may not require releases for photographs shown in hardcopy portfolios, but that is a dicey area.

B. A prints-for-time arrangement normally includes a model release, otherwise the only person who gets use of the prints is the model...presuming you give her a license to use them. That's the quid pro quo.

But also, the arrangement implies that you're good enough to produce worthwhile work. While you're still learning the basics, it may be better to use friends and family. Prints for time is more effective when you can turn out good basic work, but you want to experiment with new techniques or locations.

TANSTAAFL--The Only Unbreakable Rule in Photography

1,430 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
Likes: 9
Joined Mar 2009
Sep 19, 2009 18:02 |  #6

It depends on your state laws:

http://www.photoattorn​ …ers-persistently-are.html (external link)

I get oral consent on my shoots and the model sitting there posing for the photo is generally considered consent enough. I have never had a problem is 15 years of shooting and publishing. A few times I have been politely asked to take a photo down for whatever reason and I did.

Of course some magazines require model releases with two proofs of ID and in that case you have no choice but to get it.

Teddy Smith, SOC
IATSE Local 600 Cinematographer

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Model release form needed?
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