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The San Diego Photography Collective Message Board › Waiver/Copyright question

Waiver/Copyright question

A former member
Post #: 7
My apologies if this has already been asked and answered, but I didn't see anything in the archives.

If you agree to do a portrait shoot for someone, do they need to sign a release form for you to keep the rights to the images for website/portfolio?

Thank you for any information.
Jerry V.
San Diego, CA
Post #: 54
The caveat - I am not a lawyer!

You own the copyright unless you sign it over.

I would recommend model releases if you intend to use the images as a part of your business.

Copyright and model releases are two different animals and are not interchangeable. You, for instance, could give your clients the rights to use the photos in a limited way and still own the copyright but, depending on what rights you allow them, they could not sell the pictures. On the other hand, you using their image in a commercial way requires their permission. There are some exceptions to this but the smart thing to do is get the release.

A way to think of it is that copyright is protecting your rights as an artist while model releases are protecting the rights of the clients.


BTW, I think Ken Cohen may be giving a talk on these topics at an upcoming meetup.

A former member
Post #: 115
if some one has a good copy-right forms i would like to have a copy to keep with me thank you
copyrigh will always help because when you do post it you are better covered YES
A former member
Post #: 54
Yes - in simple terms Always safe to get a model release if you think you want to use the pictures.

A hot shot lawyer could sue you for using the pics commercially where you are making money even if you used them on your blog or facebook or portfolio.

I always have a clause that says I can use the picture in any way I want to . And state that I own the copyright and the model can use it for personal work but cannot sell or transfer for commercial use. Not exactly in those words.

There are tons of samples out there. Try PPA or ASMP or even this group.


My apologies if this has already been asked and answered, but I didn't see anything in the archives.

If you agree to do a portrait shoot for someone, do they need to sign a release form for you to keep the rights to the images for website/portfolio?

Thank you for any information.

Stan L.
user 12222888
La Mesa, CA
Post #: 9
You've gotten some good advice here... one more point to consider. Although you own the copyright, unless you register with the US copyright office, it's really not worth a lot. If someone uses your image without permission, and the image is not registered, it will likely cost more in attorney fees than you'd recover. If you register your image, you can get damages and attorney fees, in addition to what you might have charged for the use. Check Jack Reznicki's blog for info on how to register. I'm not an attorney, and this is not legal advice....
A former member
Post #: 116
A former member
Post #: 117
if you can join in on this web site qa what is this site copyright fighting for us so please check it out thanks

user 4110268
San Diego, CA
Post #: 12
I teach Copyright law--although let me first state that by my reply we are not establishing an attorney-client relationship and this does not constitute legal advice, :-) That said, if you want to use anyone's image for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, including posting a portrait on your website, you have to have a model release--or your contract with the individual must state that you own the copyright and you can use the image for whatever purpose you want, including posting it on your website, advertising, exhibits, etc. The mere fact that you own the copyright of a portrait does not grant you permission to use that image unless you have contracted with the individual to use that portrait.

As for registration, you do not need to register any of your images with the copyright office. The moment you click the shutter the image is copyrighted. You don't need registration to sue someone for copyright infringement--registration becomes important really only in criminal copyright infringement cases.
A former member
Post #: 55

Thanks Gigi
Good to hear if from somebody with credentials.

For others this might also be useful

A good video about "The Basics of Copyright, Licensing and Pricing with Susan Carr"­

San Diego, CA
Post #: 467
Thank you Gigi!

We should always remember that a contract is useful when planning a joint venture.
I shoot a lot of people, many kinds, many models or wanna be models.
I use a release, but would want those unsure to realise that the relationship you have with the subject is what matters most.


if someone agrees and approves the images afterwards, you won't be likely to have a problem . . . Unless they change their minds in the far future and you still want to use their image!

Bear in mind that a contract is not going to be needed unless there is a dispute and you are going to court.
If not going to court tho, it isn't going to get used, except for reference, where an email of your agreement terms will do just as well.

A model release can say anything, BTW.
''Standard'' is rarely equitable to the models and I do always change them where possible to make them fairer to the model. Around the world for the last 30 years its been OK most of the time.
That does have to be done before you agree the shoot of course and explained well, to be agreed.

But fear not - If NOT being used for commercial profit you will not in real life 'always' need anything even thi it's obviously advisable.

Again sucks for the subject / model - if they don't like the image but legally I have always been advised that you can get away with using the image, so long as it is not sold to a 3rd party.

It's worth considering too that if the photographer has the right to sell the image - perhaps very lucratively - without cutting their model in, the model might also be allowed to make sales.
Perhaps for useful exposure for both parties... or at least for the $25 she might get for it when signed by her at a party!!


Just a thought.

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