Design/Photography Release for Portfolio?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by elizabeth_m|2, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Hello!
    My name is Elizabeth and I have a few questions. I don't really know the technical terms for a lot of these things yet but I was wondering if anybody could help me understand a few things regarding the legal proceedures of both graphic designing (if you do that) and photography.
    Here's a little back story: I would like to add a few designs and photos to my portfolio. The designs have been created by me and verbally approved by the cilent for me to publish it for commerical use but I would like to stay safe and get them to sign something. What exactly can I give them to sign? Is there something like a model release for design work?

    Also I took some photos and proceeded to retouching it, these have also been verbally approved by my cilent, but my second question would be: Is a model release the appropriate form to ask them to sign in this case?
    I don't really know if I should be aware of anything else, but those are my two questions for now. If anybody could help me understand it a little bit more, I'd be very grateful!
    Thanks a lot!
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If you have recognizable people in them, it would be useful to get model releases. It is unlikely anyone would complain if the images have been used elsewhere, and if your portfolio is online, they would probably just ask you to take them down.
    Regarding the design work, do you have a contract for it? Was it done as a freelancer or as an employee or work-for-hire? If done as a freelancer without giving up any rights, it's yours but you should be careful about trademark usage. Best to get approval from them if there are trademarks in them or if there was any kind of contractual relationship that doesn't explicitly say it's yours.
  3. Here is the release I use for nudes [link], a lot of others are available online for free or small fees though you'll want to make sure they're legally binding wherever you are!
  4. If you created the graphic design, you OWN the copyright, you do NOT need any approvals from the client. It's a nice gesture, but not necessary.

    UNLESS it specifically states that you relinquish your ownership of the graphics, then it is yours forever. This is true of any creative works, including photography. For photography, you need a release ONLY if you are showing the person, but if they paid you to shot a flower, you would not need a release, you OWN that image and it's copyright.
    In my contracts (I've been a graphic artist and had my own company for 14 years now, photographer for about half that) I state that my company owns all rights, but grants the client unlimited usage. That's contrary to what a lot of photographers do, however. This applies to all the work provided during the project. I do get a release signed by any person that may appear in the photographs.

    You do NOT need to state you own the copyrights, that is implicit in your creation of the work. It can't, however, hurt to state it as some clients will think they paid you for the actual item and not the service.
    Hope that helps a little
  5. Hello!
    Thank you Jeff Spirer, Spencer Lange and M B for your help and advice. I found a model release online yesterday after hoping I was on the right track in the case of my photograph, but the advice for my graphics were answers I had yet to find so THANK YOU!
    I was just concern about what are the lengths of protecting myself in a portfolio. I will be giving these links to any future possible cilents so I didn't want to wake up one day with a lawsuit and an unhappy cilent calming I never asked for permission.
    The works I created are done freelance. I'm still new and learning a lot about freelancing so with this cilent, she was my first proper one, we didn't draft a contract since we kept it more easy. She pays me a simply amount and allows me to use it to fill up my portfolio. So I don't have a contract drafted that already states that I have all the rights.
    I didn't sign over anything to her either but my work for her was a visual indenity project, so is that where your question about trademarking comes it? It's a logo and everything.
    So to just repeat and hope I understood everything: The graphics I designed are mine, so to simply put them on my portfolio would actually be all up to me. Including photographs that I am paid for, unless there is a person involved that follows the rules of needing a model release, I could actually just take a picture (of a flower like you said) and use it? Okay... That makes things easier to understand. Phew.
    That is of course as long as I haven't relinquish my rights to the work. Yes that actually really helped a lot. Thank you all again so much. Would it be to much to ask if maybe you could help teach me how to draft a proper contract for any future cilents? Haha
  6. Go to the AIGA website, they have extensive, up to date contracts with a ton of options. It's really pretty great stuff.
    There's ones for photography specifically too. Others can probably give you better links for that.
  7. Thank you M B! I will definitely look into every corner of that webpage. :')
  8. I found a model release form I quite like but there's this one part I don't quite understand:
    This authorization and release shall also inure to the benefit of the heirs, legal representatives, licensees, and assigns of the Photographer, as well as the person(s) for whom he/she took the photographs.
    I agree that the above mentioned photographs and any reproductions shall be deemed to represent an imaginary person, and further agree that the Photographer or any person authorized by or acting on his or her behalf may use the above mentioned designs or any reproductions of them for any advertising purposes or for the purpose of illustrating any wording, and agree that no such wording shall be considered to be attributed to me personally unless my name is used.
    Provided my name is not mentioned in connection with any other statement or wording which may be attributed to me personally, I undertake not to Prosecute or to institute proceedings, claims or demands against either the Photographer or her agents in respect of any usage of the above mentioned photographs. I hereby release the Photographer named above from all claims and liability relating to images, video or photographs taken of me.
    What exactly does it mean by other statement? The bold parts are the points I don't particularly understand. :/

Share This Page