Photography Contracts

A variety of free photography contracts are available as templates
to assist you in formalizing typical agreements required in your photography business.

It makes sense to have the relevant documents for your photography business in place and to keep them on file, should you be required to produce them at a later date.

A practical tip for your record keeping is to attach thumbnail prints of the photographs to the applicable photo release forms.

camera and photographs

Review the legal guidelines before using the available free legal forms.

A Model Release or Photo Release Forms

The basis in law that necessitates the need for these legal forms is an individual's right to privacy. It boils down to how photos will be used. If it is used publicly i.e. published in any way - whether for financial gain or not - you may need a signed model release form.

The photographer may not need a release for photos that are viewed in private. You generally do not need a model release if the person is not identifiable, if it is for a news article, educational material or photo exhibition. If you are unsure, consult with an attorney or get a release anyway.

When is a Model Release Agreement Necessary?

The moment the photographer uses the photo publicly, or sells or licenses it to a third party for public or commercial use, a model release becomes necessary. Examples of this use would be websites, brochures, advertisements, posters, calendars etc.

You will need a release whether the person being photographed is a professional model or not and even when they are unaware of being photographed.

If they are identifiable in the photo, you need a release for public use. A written agreement offers the best defense in a lawsuit and unlike a verbal agreement, cannot be easily disputed.

It is also preferable to get the release signed after the photo session, to avoid later claims by the model that he/she did not know the extent of the photos captured.

Free Photography Contracts and Related Free Legal Forms:

Photo Copyright Release

You may provide your clients with a digital copy of photographs, with the understanding that they may have additional copies printed from time to time for their personal use.

If this permission to print is not in writing, your clients may run into objections at the lab.

stitching photographs

The lab or photo store need to protect themselves against a claim of copyright infringement (making unauthorized copies) and may demand a "copyright release form".

In actual fact, you will not be releasing your copyright, but will license your client to reproduce your work and you will release the lab from liability when they produce these reproductions.

It has become a widely accepted term for this though, so we provide here a free:

Photography: Assignment of Copyright

Should you choose to sell or transfer your copyright in a work, you can use our free:

Photography Contracts - Photo Sales Agreement

photo contact sheet

When entering into a sales agreement for photographs, it is a good idea to produce a printed sheet of thumbnail images covered in the agreement and to attach it thereto.

The annexure (attachment) must be initialed by both parties.

You may also want to consider adding a clause (whether there is a model release in place or not) such as the example wording provided below, to protect the photographer against invasion of privacy or defamation claims by a model:

"The Buyer agrees to release the Photographer from any and all liability arising from the use of the photographs.

The Buyer acknowledges that the photographs are accompanied by a model release/property release, a copy of which was supplied to the Buyer and agrees to abide by the terms therein, and accepts all responsibility for violation of privacy or publicity or defamation and infringement of copyright or trademarks associated with the use of the photographs".


"The Buyer acknowledges that the photographs are not accompanied by a model release/property release and accepts all responsibility for violation of privacy or publicity or defamation and infringement of copyright or trademarks associated with the use of the photographs".

The photography contracts and various model release forms are provided for informational purposes only and you use them at your risk.

You may want to refer to our other Free Contract Templates for more Independent Contractor Agreements.

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