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Photographers photo release form

Free Photo Release Forms (7) - PDF

Updated September 13, 2022

Or use an attorney at ContractsCounsel to draft this agreement.

A photo release form allows an individual or photographer to obtain consent from the other party in order to use photographs for personal or commercial use. The releasing party, the “releasor,” can choose to give away the rights to the images for free or charge a fee or royalty. In the case where there is payment involved, the rights of ownership to the images do not become final until the payment has been made and the release form has been authorized.

Table of Contents

  • By Type (7)
  • What is a Photo Release Form?
  • When is a Photo Release Form Needed?
  • How to Make a Photo Release Form
  • Using with Minors
  • How to Write

By Type (7)

What is a Photo Release Form?

A photo release form is a legally binding document that grants a photographer, business entity, or specified individual (the “Releasee”) authorization to obtain photographs for personal or commercial use. The model or specified individual (the “Releasor”) provides authorization, can request payment, royalties or can provide the rights to future use, free of charge.

When is a Photo Release Form Needed?

A photo release form is needed when a recognizable image of an individual will be utilized in an attempt to receive profit. Profit may be defined as money, promotion of services, or publication (i.e. a brochure or business card). Anytime an individual is hired as a model (can be defined as an employee or independent contractor), a photo release form will be needed in order to distribute and use those photos for profit.

A photo release form is NOT needed when taking photos in public. If a photo release form was needed for every individual captured in a picture, YouTubers and most media outlets would be in serious trouble. Normally on public property, it is perfectly legal to take pictures without a photo release form.

How to Make a Photo Release Form

This type of release is designated for individuals seeking to obtain ownership of photos they have requested or were taken. If the photos were taken by a photographer, the form grants ownership of the form to the buyer which usually involves removing any copyright watermarks.

If the photos were of someone else, the form acts as a release allowing someone else to use the individual in the image for commercial or promotional use.

Step 1 – Download the Appropriate Photo Release Form

There are many types of photo release forms depending on the subject being photographed. The most popular form being the Model Photo Release Form. Most forms include the following general information:

  • Name of Photographer or Releasee
  • Name of Model or Releasor
  • Address and phone number
  • Description of specified photographs
  • Longevity of the validity of the form
  • Detailed intent of photographic use
  • Conditions of participation

Step 2 – Give Clear Instructions to the Client (Releasor)

The Photo Release Form should be discussed between the Releasee and the Releasor to confer and ensure understanding of the intent of the photographic image and distribution intention (i. e., advertising, commercial business purpose – calendar, website, poster, etc.) as well as how and when the payment (amount and date of payment must be specified) will be made or what will be exchanged, if applicable. Additionally, instructions should be provided to the client if revocation of the Photo Release Form is allowed, and under what circumstances it can be done, any royalties to be received by the releasor should be identified on the form, along with where to sign and who is required to sign.

Step 3 – Sign and Begin Taking Photos

A photo release form is easy enough, typically 1 page in length, that a lawyer is not needed for consulting. A photographer will normally have a large batch full of model release forms in a folder when showing up for a job. A model will typically sign the form just prior to the shoot being filmed. Once signed, the photographer should safely store the form away in their bag or folder.

Using with Minors

When a Photo Release Form will be involving a subject not of legal age, at least one parent or legal guardian will be required to also sign and be in agreement with the form. Adulthood determining age is defined by each state and local laws should be referred or legal counsel can be requested. An emancipated minor will not require the additional signature of a parent or guardian.

How to Write

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word, or OpenDocument

(1) Releasor. The Owner of the photograph this release discusses will (generally) be the model, the photographer, or both. This form will seek the release of rights to a photograph from one person but can be modified for more than one Party to grant this release. Make sure that each Party who intends to release their rights to a photograph is listed as the media’s “Releasor.” Each Person named will be expected to sign this release to place it in effect.

(2) Mailing Address. Document the mailing address where each Releasor named above can be contacted (officially). This can be the Releasor’s business address or home address. It is not recommended to use a PO box address unless absolutely necessary.

(3) Releasee. The Party or Entity that wishes to gain the right to use, display, or publish the photo must be identified as the Releasee in this agreement. If this is a Business Entity such as a PR Firm, then include its applicable status suffix if applicable (i.e. “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “LLP.”).

(4) Photo To Release. Naturally, the photo being discussed must be defined. This can be done with a specific description of its content however, if possible make sure to include the date the photo was taken, the location of the shoot, and any metadata or EXIF (exchangeable image file format) data the Photographer may have assigned when the photo was taken.

I. Payment

(5) Payment. Oftentimes, payment will be required of the Releasee to the Releasor prior to being given the right to access and use the photo. In such a case, this release will need to define such a payment. To do so, select the checkbox corresponding to the first statement in Article I. This statement will only apply if a record of the amount of money that must be paid is produced to the space provided.

(6) No Payment Required. If the Releasee will not require a payment, then select the second checkbox of the choices presented in Article I.

II. Royalties

(7) Royalty Fee. Whether a release fee is required, some photographs may warrant that royalty payment is submitted to the Releasor whenever the photograph is displayed or used by the Releasee. Such payment must be established in this release. To this end, review the options in Article II, select the appropriate statement, then dispense the amount of royalty payment the Releasee must submit to the Releasor whenever the photograph is displayed or used.

(8) No Royalty Fee. If the Releasee will not be obligated to pay a royalty to display or use the concerned photo then, select the second statement made in Article II.

III. Revocation

(9) No Revocation Allowed. If this release will be considered finalized upon its execution and there will be no option for the Releasor to revoke or cancel it, then select the first checkbox from the third article.

(10) Option To Revoke. Select the second statement from Article III if the Releasor intends to retain the right to revoke or terminate this document in the future. This will allow the Releasor to renegotiate the terms of release or withhold release of the image if needed in the future for any reason named so long as such revocation is made in writing.

Photo Release Execution

(11) Releasor’s Signature And Printed Name. This document will only become effective if the Releasor reviews the completed form then signs his or her name. This signature will be considered proof that the intent to release the photo to the Releasee is genuine.

(12) Signature Date Of Releasor. The Releasor must date the document he or she has signed. This date must represent the day the Releasor provided the required signature.

(13) Releasee Signature And Printed Name. The Party or Entity that wishes to use or display the image being discussed must also sign this paperwork. If this is a Business Entity (i.e. Advertising Agency) then a Representative (i.e. an Agent or Officer) of this Entity may sign this paperwork to accept the release terms.

(14) Signature Date Of Releasee. The signature made by the Releasee must be dated. He or she should dispense this calendar date once the Releasee’s signature section is satisfied.



Free Photo Release Form Template - PDF & Word

Use our free Photo Release Form template to request consent to publish someone’s image commercially.

Updated May 25, 2022

A photo release form is a legal document between two parties in which one party, the Releasor, consents to let the other party, the Releasee, use their image in a publication. By signing the Photo Release Form (also known as a photography release form), the Releasor also gives up any claims they may have against the Releasor regarding the use and publication of any images.

As a reference, it is also known by other names:

  • Photo Consent Form
  • Video Release Form
  • Likeness Release Form
  • Model Release
  • Photo Copyright Release Form
Table of Contents
  • When a Photo Release Form is Needed
  • Consequences of Not Using a Photography Release Form
  • Common Situations to Use a Photo Release Form
  • What Should be Included in a Photography Release Form
  • Sample Photo Release Form

When a Photo Release Form is Needed

Event organizers or business owners will often use photographs in a brochure or videos on their websites to promote their business. Even a professional photographer might want to use past photos of clients to try and get new business. However, to use these photographs or videos, these businesses will first need permission from the people in them.

Individuals have the exclusive right to control the commercial use of their name, image, likeness, and other aspects of their identity under the right of publicity. Anyone who uses a photograph or recording of an individual for commercial use or advertising needs permission or a release to use that photograph or recording.

Sometimes, a photographer may be able to use a photo through implied consent. If a subject knows they are being photographed and does not object, a reasonable person might assume that they consent to the photograph. However, implied consent to be photographed may not extend to consent for the photograph to be published.

The best practice is to obtain consent from anyone whose image or likeness you plan to use or publish. A signed Photography Release Form grants you this permission and protects you from challenges down the road about your use of these photos or recordings.

Consequences of Not Using a Photography Release Form

Without a signed Photo Consent Form, a business may be limited in how it can advertise itself or run the risk of being sued in court for improper use of a person’s likeness.

Here are just a few of the possible consequences the form can prevent:

Lost Time
- time spent fighting legal battles
Lost Time
- time spent fighting legal battles
Lost Money
- legal fees to defend lawsuits
- not paid consideration or royalties for photograph taken
Lost Money
- legal fees to defend lawsuits
- can’t market photographs to advertisers or publishers
Mental Anguish
- embarrassment of having unwanted photographs published
Mental Anguish
- fear of using photos or videos in advertisements

A Photo Consent Form does not affect the photographer’s copyright of the photo or video. The copyright gives the photographer the right to reproduce the photograph, distribute copies, and otherwise display the photo publicly. The Photo Consent Form provides the photographer with permission to use the photo’s subject matter.

Common Situations to Use a Photo Release Form

Concert GoerConcert Ograniser
Gala AttendeeGala Host
SkydiverSkydiving company
CustomerStore owner
StudentSchool or University
Sports fanSports team
Event participantEvent organizer

A business might use a photo or video in various advertising mediums – printed brochures, email flyers, website promotion, Instagram posts, and Youtube videos.

What Should be Included in a Photography Release Form

A standard photo release form will identify the following essential elements:

  • Releasor: the person permitting to use the photographs and/or video
  • Releasee: the person receiving permission to use the photographs and/or video
  • Photos: date and event where the photographs and/or video were taken
  • Parent or Guardian Signature: signature of a parent or guardian if the Releasor is under the age of 18

It may also include some of these additional provisions:

Approval: the Releasor will not have prior permission over the use of the photos
Claims: Releasee will not sue Releasor regarding the use of the photos
Governing Law: the state’s law that will govern the Release
Modifications: any changes to the Release must be in writing
Ownership: all images belong to the Releasee and will not be returned to the Releasor
Parent or Guardian Signature: if the Releasor is under the age of 18
Severable: if one part of the Release is not valid, the rest of the Release is still valid

Consider the following when creating a release form for photos:

  •      Who is granting permission to use their photo?
  •      What, if anything, is the grantor receiving as compensation?
  •      Where are the photos being taken?
  •      When is the agreement being signed?
  •      How can the company use the photographs?

A Photo Release can be a separate form or included in a general Release or Waiver Agreement.

Sample Photo Release Form

The sample photo release form below shows what a typical one looks like:

Photo Release Form

Download PDF

Download MS Word

Ermolova A.A. ARTISTIC PHOTOGRAPHY AS A FORM OF AESTHETIC COMMUNICATION -2017. Issue 4 (19) (July-August) - Issues of magazines

An unprecedented increase in the influence of visual factors stimulates research interest in visual communication, including various areas and aspects of the functioning of photography, which was a kind of visual turn engine.

The advent of the digital camera has made photography very accessible. On the one hand, this had a positive effect on the speed and convenience of obtaining an image, and on the other hand, it significantly lowered the overall visual culture of artistic photography. The transformation of the language of modern photography makes it necessary to consider its communicative capabilities.

In defining the boundaries of artistic photography, we rely on the position of V. V. perception, or, in other words, an event of aesthetic experience” (2, p. 3).

Aesthetic communication is understood as the process of transferring intuitive and any other information that cannot be translated into verbal language that can accompany, support and reinforce logical or semantic information (4, p. 107). For any visual arts, including photography, it is typical to convey emotional and intellectual information through exclusively visual images. According to S. Dzikevich, Doctor of Philosophy, there are basic communicative elements: line, color, volume, composition, perspective. In turn, any other visual elements of communication are various modifications and combinations of basic communications (5, p. 109). Thus, the language of photographic art is based on its expressive means: lighting, tonal and color solutions, as well as on the composition of a photograph, which can be represented as units of speech and its syntactic constructions. Accordingly, the communication process between the author and the viewer is carried out primarily on the basis of these expressive means that “work” in the space of connotative semiotics (1), referring to certain socio-cultural meanings, associations, symbols.

The goal of artistic photography, like any work of art, is not just to display this or that object, but to make it a carrier of meaning (8, p. 299). The overcoming of automatism in the reproduction of reality and the subordination of the technical possibilities of photography to creativity created the basis for the emergence of photographic art. Reality becomes for the photographer both a source of aesthetic experience and the "substance" from which the author constructs new images and meanings. Showing objects of reality directly from nature, it is more difficult to achieve a generalized image. The search for expressive means for artistic generalization largely explains the turn of photographers of the late 19th century to pictorial aesthetics and the emergence of such a movement as pictorialism (7) - a movement that opposed itself to the main commercial trend and the interests of the market. Pictorialism sharply contrasted itself with applied photography, taking a guideline to create an artistic image. Not display , but expression is the key point for understanding pictorialism (9, p. 311). Slowing down the rapid technical development of photography for a couple of decades and focusing on its artistic potential, pictorialism created a starting point for the development of all photographic art. Pictorialism took photography away from the utilitarian path of development, focusing its gaze on itself as a source of beauty, aesthetic experience, and artistic understanding of reality. As noted by the well-known Soviet historian of photography S. Morozov, speaking about the work of the pictorialists: “The masters of photography at the beginning of the century showed that in photography the object of the image becomes the content of art if it is “passed” through the mind of the master and ideologically comprehended” (9, With. 160). In their work, the pictorialists relied both on the painting of the old masters and on new, newly emerging artistic trends: realism, symbolism, modernity, impressionism.

Of course, the goal of pictorialist photographers was not to imitate painting in itself, they tried to use the techniques developed in it to generalize the photographic image. The elimination of detail that blurring provides helps create a coherent image. The pictorial works made with the monocle look like memories, dreams, archetypal images that lack clear details, but capture a recognizable form. They have something similar to Platonic eidos. A similar impression is achieved through the totality of the expressive means of photography.

For pictorial photography, the tonal solution of the photograph becomes the main means of expression. The pictorialists were the first to pay close attention to the tonal culture of the image. Due to the ratio of light and dark spots in a black and white photograph, the author establishes communication within the frame space. The tonal culture of a black and white image is based on the peculiarity of visual perception of light and dark areas of the frame. So light areas with an equal ratio with dark ones will appear more voluminous, protruding above the plane of the frame. Dark areas, on the contrary, visually appear smaller in area and seem to go deeper into the frame space. This ratio of dark and light areas of different tones is located over the entire area of ​​​​the frame in accordance with the rhythmic ratio of different elements to create a holistic composition. The rhythmic ratio of tonal spots in this case works almost the same way as in music. The composition of that photograph will seem monotonous and boring, on the pictorial plane of which sections of the same tone, of the same size, will be located throughout the plane of the frame. Therefore, the monotonous rhythm must be "broken" by including tonal spots of different sizes, as well as establishing relationships between them.

Let's turn to the work of the famous pictorialist of the early twentieth century N. Andreev "Spin", made in the technique of bromoil in 1924 (Photo 1). The image acquired the softness characteristic of pictorialism through the use of special optics and further printing of the image on chromic acid salts, followed by the application of oil paint. Due to the overall dark tonality, the main plot is created by means of light tonal spots. We see 4 main light accents: a window, a woman's head, a spinning wheel and bright rays of light. The head, inclined to the spinning wheel, the shoulder of the woman, in shape, echo the wheel of the spinning wheel, visually creating a single whole. The rays of light flooding the main subject of the photo reinforce the symbolic image of the spinning woman, common in many cultures and mythological texts. Appeal to archetypal images was characteristic of N. Andreev, and this plot is no exception. Thanks to the means used, the viewer receives a holistic image of calmness, creative work, and the measured movement of life.

In the 20th century, photography received an active development associated with experiments and the search for “pure photographicity”. Photography abandons the pictorial canons of pictorialism and begins to search for its own language. These searches were reflected in new avant-garde trends, for example, constructivism, as well as in the photo reportage that actively developed in the war and post-war years.

Let's turn to the works of one of the most famous representatives of constructivism A. Rodchenko. His photographs are made using an angle that is unusual for classical photography. The angle in the works of A. Rodchenko is due to a different view of familiar things. This view is as dynamic as the new urban environment is dynamically changing. A look at high-rise buildings, the view from the window of a tram or car. In the journal "New LEF" A. Rodchenko wrote: "A modern city with its high-rise buildings, special facilities of factories, factories, etc., two-three-story storefronts, trams, cars, illuminated and spatial advertising, ocean steamers, airplanes .. . all this involuntarily shifted, though slightly, the habitual psyche of visual perceptions" (10, p. 106). In contrast to pictorialism, in constructivism the line becomes the main expressive means, as an expression of the “internal forces” that make up the depicted objects. By means of clear direct directed lines, rigor and laconism of the composition, a new revolutionary system and the way of life of a person in it are shown (photo 2).

In parallel with the avant-garde direction, photojournalism began its active development. Reportage and genre photography retained their leading positions in photography until the 1970s. XX century. Despite numerous disputes regarding the nature of reportage photography, photography theorists by no means exclude the artistic aspect of this trend. Thus, the well-known theorist of photographic art An. Vartanov casts doubt on the opposition of the document and the image. Pointing out that, referring to life phenomena, overcoming the specific fact of any event, photography is capable of deep generalizations and figurative comprehension of what is depicted (3). Yu. Lotman very accurately expressed the essence of documentary art in the following words: “Art requires a double experience - at the same time forget that you have fiction in front of you, and not forget it” (8, p. 302). The “truth of life” and the psychologism of the situation, as well as the value of the moment captured by the photographer, become the main criteria for evaluating a reportage photograph. So the photographs from the “Blossoming” series by Romualdas Rakauskus (Photo 3,4) are filled with philosophical reflections on youth, old age, and the cyclical nature of life. Flowering here acts as a powerful symbol and, intertwined with images of people and animals, constructs an artistic image. The documentary basis of such photographs is just the material from which the author creates a complete picture of his understanding of reality.

In reportage and genre, the originality of the language of photography is most clearly manifested. Life itself becomes the subject of aesthetic contemplation in it, and from this its boundaries become wider than the boundaries of classical aesthetics. Let's turn to the works of contemporary Russian Moscow photographer Dmitry Zverev. Many genre works of the author are often built on the basis of visual associations: the repetition of forms, rhythms, textures. An interesting technique is the inclusion in the frame of both living people and their images on billboards, shop windows (Photo 5). A little girl, shown among the huge posters from which female models advertising cosmetics look at us, feels uncomfortable, which is read in her pose, her gaze turned towards the light part of the frame. Compositionally, she is shown very dynamically, it seems as if a few more seconds will pass, and she will leave the frame. Despite the fact that the women on the posters, on the contrary, look static. Two vertical dark lines on the face of a girl looking directly at us from a shop window are perceived as a lattice or a frame, which becomes an additional accent that sets the reading of the entire picture.

In addition to the main expressive means, some other communicative properties associated with spatio-temporal aspects are also distinguished in photography. Henri Cartier-Bresson" (11). The "Sudek Line" is accordingly subordinated to the main features of the work of the famous Czech photographer Josef Sudek, who used long exposures in his works, and also often returned to the same subject. “Sudek's frame is like an object heated by the sun” (11, p. 157). A shot taken at a slow shutter speed, as if absorbing the numerous properties of the object, accumulates the state of the reality being filmed. It seems that we are carefully examining some object, while the time in the frame seems to slow down.

Classic reportage photography Henri Cartier-Bresson's approach to working with time is radically different. So according to the conviction that any life phenomenon that develops in time changes in each subsequent temporal phase: it is constantly transformed, and not all phases are equally outwardly expressive and equally convey the essence of the phenomenon. The photographer, taking a picture from an infinite number of moments that make up the temporal coordinate of the phenomenon, chooses one - exactly the one that, in his opinion, most fully and vividly embodies the characteristic features of the event. The photographer gave this phenomenon a name: “the decisive moment” (6, p. 15). The value of this approach is the moment seen and caught by the photographer. In this case, time is compressed to the moment the shutter is released - a moment.

Two different approaches to the transfer of spatio-temporal characteristics in photography also become a kind of communication, showing the different attitude of the photographer to the depicted time.

In working with space, the photographer is like a sculptor who cuts off all unnecessary, creating the shape of his work.

At the moment, in the professional photographic community it is customary to separate such concepts as fine art photography and modern photography as a component of contemporary art. The content of modern photography quite often dominates the form, the contemplation of beauty or the problems of conveying this beauty are not the goal, rather, they do not even bother her. The emphasis of modern photography is shifted to the transfer of a certain philosophical concept. In its turn, artistic photography is also turned to the aesthetic side of the display of forms and phenomena, but it is a heterogeneous phenomenon, which is characterized by a large number of different styles and trends that have developed on the basis of previous forms of language. The process of transformation of the visual arts and the emergence of its new forms can be viewed as a chain of successively emerging new practices that do not replace the previous ones, but become their harmonious continuation. The appeal to pictorial techniques and plots, the use of avant-garde techniques and various stylizations, the appeal to the languages ​​of artistic styles of the 19th and 20th centuries - all this points to the expansion of the communicative function of photography both in the aisles of its own language and through dialogue with other fine arts: painting, graphics and cinema.

In the context of the "visual turn" and the growing role of photography, the appeal to the form of aesthetic communication becomes a hot topic. Through visual perception, we receive information that cannot be fully translated into verbal language. At the same time, the “messages” that art photography conveys to us are formed both at the level of visual perception and at a deeper, socio-cultural layer capable of transmitting information through a “code”.

1. Bart R. Photographic message. - M.: Publishing house. Sabashnikov, 2003. - P. 378-392

  1. 2. Bychkov V.V. Artistry as an essential principle of art // Questions of Philosophy. - 2015. - No. 3. - P. 3-14.
  2. 3. Vartanov An. Documentary and fiction // Soviet photo. - 1980. - No. 2. - S. 18-19
  3. 4. Gavrilina L.M. Aesthetic communication in the space of culture (on the example of the Kaliningrad regional subculture) // Vestnik MGUKI. - 2015. - No. 4 (66). - S. 105-111.
  4. 5. Dzikevich S.A. Aesthetics of advertising. – M.: Gardariki, 2004. – 232 p.
  5. 6. Cartier-Bresson A. Imaginary reality. - St. Petersburg: Limbus press, 2008. - 128 p.
  6. 7. Kolosov G. The Art of Depicting // Soviet Photo. - 1990. - No. 4. - S. 25
  7. 8. Lotman M.Yu. About art. - St. Petersburg, Art, 2005. - 704 p.
  8. 9. Morozov S. Creative photography. - M.: Planeta, 1989. - 413 p.
  9. 10.Rodchenko A.M. Articles. Memories. Autobiographical notes. Letters. – M.: Sov. artist, 1982. - S. 105-109.

11. Stigneev V.T. Photo. Problems of Poetics. - M.: LKI, 2007. - 294 p.

Ermolova Anna Alexandrovna - Post-graduate student of the Department of Theory of Culture, Ethics and Aesthetics of the Moscow State Institute of Culture (field of study 47.06.01 - Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies, profile 09.00.04 Aesthetics).

[email protected]

Top of issue

Laws of street photography (Know your rights in every country!)

Street photography is one of the most popular types of photography. The street is an exciting environment for the creativity of the camera.

But taking pictures on the street is not always as easy as picking up a camera and taking a picture. When photographing in public places, it is necessary to take into account the laws of the country in which they are located.

Street photography and the law is a complex topic. But we want to shed light on this situation.

Photo by Yunming Wang

Use of freedom of expression

In the United States of America, the First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to free speech. Thus, they can express their beliefs without fear of government persecution. This includes freedom of the press and the right to public expression.

This freedom is not unique to the United States. For example, in the UK and other European democracies, people also have the right to publicly express their opinions. These rights are part of the European Human Rights Act 1998 years.

This gives street photographers the right to take pictures in public places. Photographers may take photographs of people and buildings, provided they are on community property. This includes police or government buildings.

As an example, we can take the following statement from the England and Wales Metropolitan Police:

Authorization is not required for filming and photography in public areas by members of the public and the media. And the police have no right to prevent them from filming or photographing incidents or police officers.

Every country is different. But freedom of expression is considered a vital aspect of a healthy and strong democracy. It ensures the freedom of the individual and limits the powers of centralized authorities.

Photo by Dim Hou

Be mindful of limits and limits

Street photography laws give photographers more freedom in public places. But they are not unlimited. There are some exceptions and limitations.

Crime scenes are prohibited for unauthorized photographers. Even if the crime scene is in a public place, you are not allowed to take pictures of it. This is because it may affect the course of the investigation. Or the photographer may incriminate himself.

Some public facilities are also prohibited. For example, military bases are funded by the state, but they are closed to civilians. Unauthorized access is a national security risk.

The photographer can shoot on public sidewalks and highways. But their work cannot disrupt traffic and block footpaths. And they should not behave in a way that poses a security risk.

Some countries have photography laws regarding freedom of panorama. Photography of certain landmarks and buildings is prohibited.

Photography is not allowed in the Sistine Chapel. It is also not allowed in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Austria.

Many countries impose significant restrictions on photographers. For example, in South Korea and Hungary, you are not allowed to take a photo of someone without their consent.

Photograph by Ling Tang

Is there a right to privacy in a public place?

People do not have the right to privacy in public space. For example, a photographer might take a picture of a street scene. There may be many people on it, and some faces may be recognizable. But if one of these people does not want to be photographed, they have no legal right to protest.

Every street photographer has been approached at some point by a member of the public. They often ask what they are doing. Or they will ask you not to take pictures of them.

They may have a personal reason why they do not want to be photographed. The photographer can fulfill their wish if he wants. But they are not required to do so by law.

But photographers don't have the right to do whatever they please. Holding a camera does not give you the right to stalk or provoke other people. In England and Wales, such behavior is a criminal offence.

Texas has an inappropriate photography law. This law makes it illegal to photograph an object without its consent with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of any person.

Public photographers must remain open and friendly. However, if people approach them, they must be ready to listen and speak. This will help reduce any feelings of suspicion they may have.

Photo by Jacek Dylag

Using Model Release Forms for Commercial Photography

When it comes to art and journalism, a photographer is free to shoot strangers on the street. But when photography has a commercial purpose, things are not so simple.

If the photographer intends to use the image for advertising, any recognizable person in the photo must provide a model release form.

The Model Release Form gives the photographer permission to use the image of the model for commercial purposes. Without it, the subject may file a lawsuit against the photographer or the company.

This is an important consideration for any public photographer. For example, if they are photographing a street in New York, there may be hundreds of people on it. And if the photo is for commercial use, they will need a release form that is clearly visible.

Public spaces are often used in fashion photography. And in most cases they use professional models. But they should be aware that any person involved in the filming must sign a permission form. For example, a makeup artist or fashion designer is also pictured along with a professional model.

Photo by Ksenia Varapaeva

Do I need a model release form when showing and selling photos?

Displaying and selling photographs is a commercial activity. This is how many photographers make a living. But selling your work does not make it commercial photography.

A photograph has a commercial purpose if its purpose is to sell or advertise a product. But not when the photograph itself is a commodity.

This means that street photographers do not need permission from the people in their photographs. Their work is still considered artistic and not commercial.

Photograph by Antenna

Be careful when photographing on private property

If you are going to take photographs, you must stay on public property. The main streets of cities and towns are for public use, so you can take pictures freely. Roads and parks are also public property.

Photography of people on private property is prohibited. You can't take a camera on a private estate and start snapping. The same goes for places of business such as hotels and restaurants.

In such places, the photographer will need permission from the owner. If you are filming without permission, the guard may ask you to stop.

Photography laws are not entirely clear. For example, a photographer can take pictures of people in a restaurant through a window. As long as the photographer is on public property, he is within his rights.

Private houses are quite different. Even if the photographer is in a public area, he cannot take pictures through the window of someone's house. We all expect privacy in our own homes. And there are privacy laws to protect that.

Photograph by Ruben Hanssen

What about privately owned public spaces?

These days, street photographers have to be very careful. Many places appear to be public but are actually private property.

There are parks, squares and sections of the central streets of cities that no longer belong to the public. For example, a beautiful park may be open to the public. But it could be owned by a company (perhaps Skynet or InGen!

People who move freely give the impression of a space belonging to society for society. But now many of these territories have been privatized. And the land is now privately owned.

For photographers, this means that laws regarding freedom of expression do not apply. The owner can ask law enforcement to remove them. Some places have private security.

Photograph by Ignacio Bros

Photography laws by country

Here we have put together a few resources for you to learn about the laws and regulations of photography in different countries.

The First Amendment and European Human Rights Law grant private citizens the right to publicly express their opinions.

Learn more

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