Aside from the camera, one of the most useful tools in stock photography is a small but very important scrawl. This signature on a Model Release form, which states that the subject of the photograph consents to being photographed, is extremely important - it can catapault your content from just the "editorial use only" sector into the full stock market of advertising, promotion, trade or product endorsement.

If you have the relevant releases your images can be used for commercial purposes, if not, what a pity! They may be licensed as editorial use only.

Understandably, at times this signature can be difficult to obtain. Sometimes it's difficult even just asking for it.  You may be shy, you may be busy, you may be in a foreign country where language barriers mean that you can barely ask for a glass of water let alone explain what it is you will happen to your images when you get home.  But we encourage you, & you´ll see it in your sales reports at the end of the month -  it's worth making the effort!

So how should you go about it?

A few weeks ago staff at age fotostock were impressed by a submission by our photographer Jorge Fernández Garcés, which included stunning images of people in Africa with complete model releases. Here follows some words from the wise:

Approaching the model:


"How I approach the signing of a model release depends on each situation and each model. My first concern when asking for a MR is if I will somehow create an unpleasant situation or mistrust, if so, I don’t try. Otherwise, if the subject is open to listening, I attempt to have someone there who speaks their language, to explain what they're really signing.

In distant countries and cultures so different to that of Western culture, I consider it essential to bring along a local guide and translator to help me to contact with people, as it is not always easy to convince someone to let you photograph, and much less for them to sign the MR. The most important thing here is undoubtedly find a guide who understands the needs of the photographer.

In my case I always ask the models to sign a paper rather than a electronic document. That’s firstly because I do not yet have a smartphone or ipad, and second because I think it is quite difficult to get anyone to sign a paper, let alone a electronic device. Although I am aware that in some cases it may arouse the curiosity of the person and facilitate the process."

Model reactions:


"There are people who are afraid to sign a paper and there are people who really do not care at all. I think it has much to do with the cultural environment. Westerners usually distrust anyone who asks them to sign a document. Other cultures that do not have so much contact with the bureaucracy do not give signing a paper very much importance.

In regards to these model released photos that I recently took in Africa,  I was traveling with my partner, along with a guide. In addition to helping with the preparation of the scene (flash illumination, etc..) she was responsible for identifying and organizing the signed MRs. For me this was very important, because sometimes we work with several models at once and things get busy - had I been alone, as I was taking the photos, probably many of the pictures would not be accompanied by MR."

Some advice?

"If you are in a foreign country, it is important to have an assistant who is in charge of organizing the MRs once obtained, especially if you are working in the street with several different subjects. And of course it may seem silly, but always carry spare MRs and a pen, as it is not always easy to find a pen when you need one!"

- Jorge Fernández Garcés

To all our photographers out there, what are your experiences of obtaining Model Releases? Any suggestions you´d like to share?


Actions: E-mail | Comments (0) |

Really, it's not so scary.  Before you run for the street to take yet another unreleased image of "The Window Shopping Old Lady in a Red Coat" or "The Large Woman in Bikini at the Beach" or "The Hungry Looking Street Child in the Third World"… listen for just a moment.

Models are people too.  The difference between them and the characters mentioned above is: they know that you’re taking their photo, they want you to and most importantly of all, they sign a release which gives you permission to license that image.

Why bother to shoot model-released images of people?

Good images of people will sell. The general consensus across the industry is that people, lifestyle, and business/industry are stock’s all-time, consistent top sellers.    That is the positive reason.  The negative reason is that nowadays, photographs of random people without releases are becoming more and more risky for stock agencies to show, even when marked for editorial use only.

What do clients want and buy?

Clients want model-released images of people that convey a message and thus help sell a product, be it a vacation, a retirement fund, a heating system or a magazine.  And usually (but not always) they want the image to be a good photograph, well composed and with good copy space for the client’s message.  Logically, it’s easier to sell with a positive message than a negative message, so generally the images should communicate positive ideas such as happiness, confidence, peace, health, etc. 

Are you up to the challenge?

Could you make a model-released image that communicates an idea like the following? Senior enjoying golden years.  Connected teens.  Good customer service.  Those images could be used to advertise medicines, investment plans, phones, universities, insurance, hospitals and much more.  If you don’t think you could make an image like this, but you would like to try, stay tuned to the blog.  In upcoming posts, we will talk about how to photograph (people) models.  We will give you shoot preparation do’s & don’t, talk with a lifestyle photographer, examine the ever elusive client request for “real people” and give you lots of ideas.

 

age fotostock images of happy seniors, connected teens, good customer service.


Actions: E-mail | Comments (2) |

Top 5 signs that your model release might be a ticking time bomb…

  1. If you have moved to another state and left the release behind in a box in the garage.

  2. If your well-intentioned assistant got the release signed by the wrong person… the guy who didn´t appear in the photo.

  3. If you signed a model release for photos you took of your girlfriend… and then you dumped her.  Revenge is so sweet.

  4. When you flashed a release and a few coins in the face of a third world subject, who cheerfully signed a document that wasn´t in her language and that she can’t understand.  But her cousin in New York knows what´s the deal…

  5. If you told your agency that you have the release, but you don´t.

You might laugh, but all of these situations happened to real people, photographers at age fotostock.  And some of these photographers found themselves in very uncomfortable legal and financial situations, trying to explain how they could make such a mistake.

This issue is becoming more and more important nowadays for two reasons:

  1. Our world is increasingly global and interconnected, which means that everything becomes visible.  The old distinctions between editorial uses and commercial uses are not always a safe defence because displaying the image on internet to potential buyers allows it to be visible around the world, and in places where the rules of editorial usage are different.

  2. During tough times, everyone will try to pull a dollar out of any place they can find it.  Crisis makes people litigious. Those people might be your models…


Don´t get caught by a ticking time bomb of a release!

Read our legal basics here (http://www.agefotostock.com/phroad/ingles/phroad03a.asp) and pay close attention to the differences in editorial use between the United States and many European countries.

 


Actions: E-mail | Comments (2) |

Google Translator

Calendar

«  September 2014  »
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
25262728293031
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293012345
View posts in large calendar

Tag Cloud

Disclaimer
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

© Copyright 2014 age fotostock