Obtaining a model release is a crucial step when using stock photos featuring recognizable individuals, especially for commercial purposes. A model release is a legal document signed by the person or people depicted in the photograph, granting permission to use the image for specific purposes. Here’s a general process for obtaining a model release:

  1. Identify the Need for a Model Release:
    • Determine whether the stock photo you intend to use features recognizable individuals and whether the usage requires a model release. Commercial uses, advertisements, or situations where the image of the person is a significant part of the content often require a model release.
  2. Contact the Photographer or Stock Photo Agency:
    • Reach out to the photographer or the stock photo agency that represents the image. In many cases, the photographer is responsible for obtaining and providing model releases. Stock photo agencies may have information on whether model releases are available for specific images.
  3. Check the Stock Photo Platform’s Policies:
    • Review the policies and guidelines of the stock photo platform. Some platforms may require photographers to provide model releases for images featuring recognizable individuals, especially for commercial use.
  4. Request the Model Release:
    • If the model release is not already provided with the image, request the model release from the photographer or stock photo agency. They may have a standard release form that they use. Ensure that the release covers the specific usage you have in mind.
  5. Provide Information to the Model:
    • If you are obtaining the model release directly from the individual, provide information about how the image will be used, where it will be used, and any other relevant details. Ensure the individual understands the intended use of the image.
  6. Use a Standard Model Release Form:
    • Utilize a standard model release form to ensure that all necessary legal elements are covered. Model release forms typically include information about the parties involved, the rights being granted, compensation (if any), and other relevant details.
  7. Include Witness or Notary if Required:
    • Some jurisdictions may require a model release to be witnessed or notarized. Check local regulations to determine if this step is necessary, and follow the appropriate procedures.
  8. Retain Copies of Model Releases:
    • Keep a copy of the signed model release on file for your records. This documentation is important in case of any future questions or legal issues.
  9. Submit Releases to Stock Photo Platform (if required):
    • If the stock photo platform requires submission of model releases, follow their guidelines for uploading and submitting the documentation.
  10. Adhere to Legal and Ethical Standards:
    • Ensure that you adhere to legal and ethical standards when using images with model releases. Use the images only in ways specified in the release and avoid any uses that could be considered defamatory or inappropriate.

By following these steps, you can obtain the necessary permissions and documentation to use stock photos with people for your intended purposes while respecting the rights and privacy of the individuals depicted in the images.

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