If a photographer will be publishing a photograph which contains a recognizable image of a person, a photo release is often required. Yes, there is a large exception to this rule if a photograph of a person’s image is being published for newsworthy purposes; however, what qualifies as newsworthy is a gray area and can vary state to state. Using your photographs for commercial purposes increases the likelihood that a photo release will be required. Save yourself from a headache down the road by having people that you are photographing sign a photo release at the time you take their picture. Believe me, tracking people down after the fact, can be difficult.
A few other things to remember about photo releases:
- Children or other people that do not have the ability to sign contracts for themselves will have to be signed for by their guardian.
- Occasionally a ‘location’ and/or ‘materials’ release may also be required if your photo includes a famous building, like Yankee Stadium or artwork.
- Photo releases apply to both still photography and film.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.