What are photo release forms?

If you take pictures for work or as a hobby, you should know how and when to use photo release forms. They’re not complicated, but there are a few things to consider before using them.

A photo release form — sometimes called a media release or consent form — is an agreement between a photographer and an individual (most often, the subject of the photo), which gives the photographer the right to commercialize the picture. But the form doesn’t always have to for an individual; a photo release form can also apply to the owner of private property, such as a pet, home or commercial building.

Read on to learn more about when and how to use them.

Photo release forms: When are they needed?

You should always get a media or photo release form signed by any person that is identifiable in a picture or video you plan to use for commercial purposes. The same rule applies to getting a release from any property owner identifiable in your shot. The release form can be simple and should spell out what you can do with the media.

Release forms are usually not needed for photographs you take for editorial purposes, such as news reports or journalism articles — but it never hurts to get a release form signed just in case. On the other hand, pictures of large crowds in a public place usually don’t require those subjects to sign a release form.

You never know when you may need a photo release form so many photographers find it convenient to keep and use a digital form on their phone or tablet. Plus, it’s easy to access online tools that allow you to fill out forms and gather e-signatures from anywhere, at any time.

Get photo release forms and other documents signed quickly and securely using Adobe Acrobat Sign.