The importance of Model Release Forms

If the photographs you take contain humans, then you need to read this.
Quintin Mills Pphotography model -release

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Smile you are on camera.

There is no direct reference in any South African laws that stops a photographer from taking photos of anyone BUT all of us have a basic right to privacy.
The use of the photographs you have taken of a person or where a person is visible in is where a Model Release Form plays a role. In a general sense, you may use these photographs for private use, editorial or fair use but if you publish it on your business social media page, it is likely seen as an advertisement and not private use. Whenever there is a commercial use element (any sort of business-related use or use that may lead potential business), you must get a Model Release Form signed.

Do not accept verbal consent. “Sure, no problem” can easily turn into “I would never” when money is involved. Do not underestimate the importance of Model Release Forms.

What exactly is a Model Release Form?

It is a written agreement signed by a person who will be identifiable in the photograph when you want to use such a photograph for commercial use. It protects the photographer by obtaining permission to use the person’s image and the right to commercially license the photograph/s.

What about public spaces?

Public spaces may be photographed and any person in that public space is basically waving their right to anonymity or privacy by appearing in such places. However public spaces also contain areas where privacy will be a reasonable assumption (for example bathrooms).
It should however be noted that should one be able to identify or recognise a person in a photograph of a public space and you wish to use the photograph for commercial use, you must obtain a Model Release signed by the person/s who can be identified.
One can often recognise a person without seeing their face so it is a grey area but if in doubt, rather get them to sign your Model Release Form.

Quintin Mills Pphotography model -release


When a photograph contains a child (anyone under the age of 18 years) that is identifiable or recognisable, that child’s legal guardian needs to sign a Model Release Form before you can use such a photo for commercial use.

Quintin Mills Pphotography model -release


When you can identify or recognise a human in a photo and the plan is to use it commercially (either by yourself or the person/entity who commissioned you to take it). Get your pen out, let them sign on the dotted line.

Please click here to purchase the two model releases on the Hunter of Light shop.


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