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Model releases?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by rgugler, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    Photography is a hobby for me, though I've gotten a bit more serious in the last few months. I was looking at the Nat Geo photography contest, and it talks about needing model releases for people in the photos submitted.

    I was wondering how this works out in real life? What if you take a photo of a festival crowd or people in a parade or pretty much any public event? How do people keep track of it all while traveling? Do you need a release for each photo, or can you cover a group of photos?

    I'm not taking photos with the goal of selling them, but if somebody should want to buy one, I don't want to miss out on funding my photography habit or entering a contest because I don't have a release.

  2. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 13, 2011
    As for private events, depending on the size or nature of the event, the organizers may include a clause about photo releases in the wavier to enter/participate.

    When I was a student worker for my school's multimedia department, we had the clause in our Freshmen / New Student orientation wavier, so basically every student's photo could be used for promotional material.

    As for public events like parades, I am not sure how you would go about obtaining photo releases of all participants?
  3. peterpix

    peterpix Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 8, 2010
    So. Maine
    Peter Randal
    In the US, anybody in a public place is fair game to photograph and even publish in an editorial piece without a model release. Certainly you can sell a photo of someone or exhibit said photo without a release. Nat Geo is likely concerned about portraits and perhaps have their own rules regarding publication, but I doubt if they are worried about crowd shots. If you sell a photo of a person for an ad, then releases are necessary.
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It can become complex, as the requirements for a model release is dependent on the use of the photograph. News, documentary, personal etc photographs that will not be used for commercial gain require no model release; however, if there is to be some commercial advantage from the use of the photograph, it may require a model release. If, for example, a photograph is used for advertising a product and contains clearly identifiable individuals, a model release will absolutely be required. But if it's for a competition, it can become a grey area and that's possibly why Nat Geo wants a model release, so that they can't, on the off chance, get sued by someone in the photograph using a smart lawyer arguing that it's for commercial gain ie, selling of Nat Geo.
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