Beginner photography Lesson 7: Contracts and Model Releases

In this lesson, I’m going to discuss with you the importance of always utilizing contracts and model releases. A contract is an agreement between you and the client. It specifies exactly what you are offering the client and what the client is giving you in return for your services. There are many things that you can add to your contract to make sure that you are covered and I will go over some of those.


A model release is a document that the client signs that makes them aware that you will be using the photos of them for marketing, posting to social media, etc. Making them aware of this and having them sign the release ahead of time clears up any confusion. This way if they try to come back and say they never gave you permission to post the photo on facebook, you have proof that they did.




First of all, I want to say, that I am NOT a lawyer so I do not know exactly how to write a contract, I don’t know what you NEED to have in the contract, and each state/country is different. I highly recommend that you contact a lawyer or someone that knows how to draw up a contract and have them sit down with you to go over everything. All I know is that you are really covering yourself by having a contract.


A basic contract is going to show the exchange of services, the fee paid, what the services were and what is expected from each party. For example, my contract stipulates that the client must have sufficient backup of their photos within 30 days, as I am only responsible for storing the photos for 30 days after they are delivered. I also state that the client must show credit to me when posting my photos to social media, they cannot copy my photos, they cannot resell my photos, and they cannot get my photos printed when they purchase the low res digital packages.


Other things to include in the contract are, liability issues, what to do in case of an injury or illness, cancellation policy etc. Each person may have different needs they want to make sure are covered in the contract. Just sit down and make a list of what you want the contract to state.


Model Release


You can have your model release included in your contract, and I do that, however, I also have them sign a separate model release just to make sure that they are crystal clear about the photos.

The model release is important. Please if nothing else always gets a model release. Like I said, though, each area has different laws, so make sure you research the law in your area because there are certain situations where a model release is not required. For example when you’re out in public and you take a shot of someone that is in plain view in public. You wouldn’t need a model release in most places to post that photo. But again, make sure you check the law where you are.


The main point is of these is to cover yourself in an event that a client wants to claim that you didn’t do something you were supposed to do, or they did something they weren’t supposed to do, or they get mad at you for posting a photo that they agreed was okay to post.


I hope that this was helpful. Stay tuned for more lessons.


also don’t forget about our photo blog, send your photos to so I can feature your work in my next Article. 🙂


Lesson 6

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