The ASMP model release has been an industry standard for decades. I remember photocopying the ASMP model release out of the ASMP Business Bible as an assistant member in the mid-1980’s. In the early days of the world wide web, the ASMP posted model releases that photographers could use online at www.ASMP.org/releases along with a tutorial on how to use them. ASMP has also led the industry on model release language for sensitive issues and digital manipulations.
On behalf of the ASMP, I have given a dozen or so lectures on Trademark and Privacy Rights to photo industry groups. A key take away is that a model or property release adds commercial value to a photograph. That additional value may come at a price – in the form of “valuable consideration” provided to the model or property owner – but it gives you the ability to license your images for commercial use without fear of violating anyone’s property or privacy rights.
Early last year, ASMP released two promotional videos that describe the best practices of being a professional photographer. Getting properly executed model releases was one. I like to think of a model or property release as a conversation starter between the photographer and the subject about the photograph that I want to make. I use this conversation to clarify what I am trying to do – making certain that we both understand the purpose of the photograph, my intentions in using the image and any restrictions or concerns that the subject may have in that use. The release should represent both parties’ intentions and understanding as well as allowing you to collect contact information about the subject or property in case you need it later.
The ASMP Releases App for the iPhone/iPad is a way to have that conversation starter with you in your pocket at all times. It is still a work in progress – we plan to have updates to other OS platforms and to add more useful features as well. I would love to hear your wish list for this app. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.