Understanding what a model release is and why it is important for your photography business

My heart just dropped. I had just delivered an amazing session, seriously some of my most favorite work, and I couldn’t wait to share. It was then that I realized this family hadn’t signed their model release. These photos wouldn’t see the light of day, and I was heartbroken. 

First off, let’s discuss the actual model release. The client signs a model release, the client's guardian if they are underage, and it gives the photographer permission to use their photographs for marketing. This could mean social media, website usage, presentations, postcards, etc. Those terms are defined in the actual release.

These model releases can be daunting. I completely understand that some families don’t want photos of their children out in the world. Trust me, I get it, and I respect it. However, I do think many don’t sign because they don’t truly understand the difference between this and their contract. It is your job as the photographer to educate your clients on the difference. 

Model releases are vital for any marketing that you plan on doing for your business. Imagine buying a house, sight unseen, for your family. That’s terrifying. As is booking a session with a photographer that doesn’t have an example of their work! These releases allow you to show off your talents, use them for educational purposes, and marketing to potential clients.

I suggest in your communication prior to the session you include a little blurb on the difference between a contract and a model release. The more your client knows, the more comfortable they will be with the verbiage you use. Remember, your business can’t virtually exist with model releases!

To understand how to fully utilize your model releases in your business, check out my online course, “A Fresh Look at Referrals to Book Your Calendar”! Click the button below!