Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Lesson About Model Release Forms

A lesson I learned from holding free engagement photography mini sessions in Tower Grove Park this Spring was that I should have let couples know upfront that they would be required to sign a model release form in order to download their photos in full resolution. For those unfamiliar with such a form, this both protects the model (or in this case, the engaged couple) from my use of their images without permission and also allows me to use their images on this blog, my web site, and other places.

For these free engagement photography sessions, I granted the couples rights to download, use, and print photos I took in exchange for signing model release forms. In my excitement to get these sessions filled and to meet with couples, I inadvertently - not intentionally - failed to mention the model release form when booking sessions.

The third couple I photographed during my two days of sessions elected to not sign the form. They asked that I not even mention their names here. Thus, this touching yet not personally identifiable moment is about all that I can share from their session:

I apologize to them and to other couples for the confusion I caused by not mentioning the model release form upfront. Because I realized the error here was solely mine, I've since given the third couple full access rights to their gallery and they will be able to download photos directly. I hope that they will accept my apology, enjoy the gallery, and ultimately choose to use me as their wedding photographer.


  1. I hope they do too! Good lesson on the day!

  2. Lou,

    I'm not sure what you're getting at in your comment, but I think that free is wonderful or I wouldn't have offered these sessions in the first place.

    I feel that it's perfectly reasonable to ask couples to sign a model release form in exchange for receiving photos from their session. Apparently, all but one couple who took advantage of the free sessions agreed with me.

    Please elaborate on what you were trying to say, as I'd love to understand why you don't think that free is good and address your point.

  3. Live and learn, and don't take it too hard. It's a great and fairly safe thing that this lesson came early on in your long and prosperous career!