Tip of the Day: When You Need a Model Release

A: The general rule is that you only need a model release if the photos are used for commercial purposes, which includes advertising, endorsement, or trade. If never intend to sell your images for these purposes, then anyone photographed in a public place (minor’s included) is fair game. If you end up selling fine art prints of your photos, or if they are used in an editorial context, you are still fine without a model release. To read up on the law as it applies to photographers, check out atto

Q: I like the candid aspect of street photography, and want to put my images on my personal website, do I need model releases for the people in the photos?

A: The general rule is that you only need a model release if the photos are used for commercial purposes, which includes advertising, endorsement, or trade. If never intend to sell your images for these purposes, then anyone photographed in a public place (minor's included) is fair game. If you end up selling fine art prints of your photos, or if they are used in an editorial context, you are still fine without a model release. To read up on the law as it applies to photographers, check out attorneys Carolyn E. Wright's (www.photoattorney.com) or Bert P. Krages' (www.krages.com) websites, they both specialize in photography law and have written books on the subject.
—Kathleen Davis
Assistant Editor

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