What is a Model Release?
As a photographer, when you shoot photos using models and/or in a private property, and you intend to further sell these photos for profit, you need legal documents where the models and/property owner cede the rights to use their personal and/or their property's image in your photos.
Model and Property Releases are documents stating the agreement between the person (model) whose image is in your photos and/or the owner whose property is seen in your images, and you, to grant the use of their likeness in your photos. If you got found then you might be ending up on a list of the most selling stock photo model on the planet ;-).
These documents have to be signed preferably before the photoshoot takes place (to save you the risk of shooting and then not getting the signatures needed) and in the presence of a witness. Plus, you must make sure the Releases have the right format and content to be valid at most stock photo agencies.
Releases are key for you to sell your photos safely, providing you and the buyer legal protection against any possible claims from models or property owners regarding the photos they or their property appear in.
Here you will find the best mobile apps to create and sort Model and Property Releases in a simple and convenient way. Check out our comparison and detailed list:
- Full Comparison List of the best 7 Apps for Model Releases
- Detailed List of the best 7 Apps for Model Releases
Main Types of Releases:
- Model Release supports the permission of the person (model) to be photographed by you and to let you use their image in your photos in a determined way (which includes sale purposes). There are two major subcategories of Model Releases usually used: Adult Release (for adults) and Minor Release (for minors). In the case of Minor Release, the minor's parent or tutor must sign the document on behalf of the minor.
- Property Release confirms that the owner of private property (buildings, mechanisms, wares, artworks, pets, etc.) allows you to take a photo of their property and use the final image in a determined way (which includes sale purposes).
Who Creates and Regulates Releases?
You may design your own Release forms, making sure the format and content are right and legally accepted.
But as a photographer, it doesn't make much sense to spend time and effort in creating these documents when there are various resources to get standard versions of Releases that you can then customize or simply fill in and use.
Various photography-related companies and organizations have their own custom-made Releases documents available. Most of the top stock and microstock photo agencies, like Getty Images, have their own Standard Releases, and the ASMP also provides Release templates. Many photographers find these documents to be appropriate and sufficient, given they are backed by big photography associations and leading companies, and are using them.
When contributing to stock photo agencies, you must attach the appropriate Releases to your photos (as well as vector illustrations and other media files) if you want them to be sold under a Commercial license. Preparing these documents for submitting to stock agencies is a process that has its own specifics for each company, and we tried to consider this in our review.
Mobile Apps for Release Management
As you can imagine, creating and maintaining a database of Releases is a quite laborious task, especially for photographers who work without assistants. Appropriate tools and efficient procedures solve this problem successfully. Mobile apps that are reviewed below (combined with advanced modern gadgets) replace inconvenient paper Releases with a more productive digital workflow.
Nowadays the procedures of drawing-up, signing, and storing the Releases have become incredibly fast and easy. There are a plethora of applications for mobile devices that can help photographers organize their work with Releases. From this variety of offers, we have chosen the 7 most frequently mentioned apps for the iOS platform (some of them also exist for Android). Our choice was determined by the need to review them in terms of functionality required for efficiently create and work with a simple Model Release and/or Property Release.
Key Features and Functions in Release Apps
In our opinion, the most relevant and useful capabilities in a Release management application are:
- supported types (also subcategories in case of Model Release) of Releases
- quantity and quality of built-in Release templates, as well as their suitability for stock agencies (e.g. presence of Getty Images Release templates, which are the “gold standard” model release for the stock industry)
- ability to modify the standard text of the Release
- ability to create model release form templates in different languages
- ability to sign Release directly on the mobile device (electronically)
- ability to add a model’s photo to Release
- output file format (PDF, JPEG, or both)
- advanced storage features and Release management
- extra customization features (e.g. defining your own brand symbols, adding additional fields to Release form, etc.)
Comparison List for Model Releases and Property Releases Apps
Releases by Snapwire
Releases by 500px
Apple iOS/ Google Android
|Supported types of Releases:|
Model Release/ Property Release
|Approved by||Getty Images, iStock, Alamy, Dreamstime||Alamy||Snapwire, Getty Images, Shutterstock, ASMP||500px|
|Ability to modify Release text||+||+||+||+||-||-||+|
|Multi-language support for:|
Releases text/ User interface
Photographer/ Model/ Witness
|Output file format:|
|Integration with Adress Book||+||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Add model’s photo by means of:|
built-in camera/ choosing from gadget’s photo library
|Local Release library/ Cloud sync/ Desktop application sync||+/+/–||+/–/–||+/–/–||+/–/–||+/+/–||-/+/+||-/+/+|
|NO LONGER AVAILABLE||Website:|
Releases by Snapwire
Releases by 500px
|NO LONGER AVAILABLE|
Details and Screenshots of our tested Model Release Apps
Here is a more detailed list of the 7 model release apps reviewed, with screenshots and links.
Easy Release App
Easy Release Screenshots
Image Release App
Image Release Screenshots
Release Me App
Release Me Screenshots
Release App by Snapwire
Release App by Snapwire Screenshots
Releases by 500px
Releases by 500px Screenshots
Shake App Screenshots
Original Article by Vera Lubimova, freelance photographer, illustrator, and a bit of a copywriter. Microstock contributor since 2009.