A Minor Photo Release Form is a written permit that allows a photographer to take and use images of a child for private or public purposes. A photography release form is a signed agreement between a photographer and clients specifying how certain images can be used, who can use them, and the terms and conditions concerning copyrights.
To summarize, a minor photo release form is used when a photographer wants to use children’s pictures for commercial purposes like advertising or modeling. In photography for artistic purposes, a minor photo release form is not required since an artist’s first amendment rights usually take priority over a person’s right to manage their image. The First Amendment protects artistic expression as a form of speech. Therefore, federal, state, and local authorities may not impose restrictions on artistic expression based on its purpose, ideas, content, or material. However, restrictions on artistic expression could be imposed by the federal, state, and local governments.
Need for a Minor Photo Release Form
Minor release forms are important because they grant a photographer legal permission to use and publish the photographs they capture of minors. They also specify any restraints that a client may have on using the photos of their child. Release forms also help the photographer avoid legal complications when using a minor’s photo for adverts, commercials, etc. Below are some reasons why a photographer needs a minor photo release form:
If the photographer doesn’t plan to use images commercially, there is no need for a minor release form to be signed. However, if the photos will be used for advertising or business purposes, and the person portrayed in the image is a minor who is recognizable, there is a need for a signed photographic minor release form, also known as a commercial model release form. For example, if a photographer produces an internet advertisement for a business and a minor is in the photo, they should obtain a release form for the minor.
Right of publicity
Everyone is entitled to a right to publicity, including minors. This means that a photographer cannot use an individual’s image for commercial purposes without permission. However, the laws governing the right to publicity differ by state. Therefore, it’s important to check the laws of the right to publicity applying to the photographer and the clients in a specific state.
Characteristics of a Minor Photo Release Form
A minor photo release form is in more ways like a permission slip. The form states the permission granted to the photographer and the approval for using the child’s photos in simple words. Below are some of the characteristics of a minor photo release form:
- Statement of consent – The minor photo release form states the permission granted to the photographer to use a minor’s photo for certain purposes such as advertising. In addition, the photographer may be permitted by a parent/guardian if the parent/guardian feels that they have been given enough details, for example, the venue for the shoot, the parent and the minor agree to do the shoot, etc.
- Medium of publication – The medium of publication includes the types of mediums where the photographer will publish the photos. These mediums may include newspapers, websites, posters, etc.
- An expiration date for release – The expiration date for release is when the photographer can no longer release or publish the photos. The expiration date is agreed upon by the photographer and the parents/guardians involved.
Crafting a Minor Photo Release Form
A minor photo release form is a straightforward legal document. A photographer needs to know how to use a minor photo release form if he/she intends to work with a child who is not of legal age. Knowing how to use the minor photo release form will save the photographer from legal issues that may arise from using a minor’s photos for commercial purposes, such as unlawful publishing of minors’ pictures. The release form validates a photographer’s copyright ownership of the images that he takes of the minor. In addition, the minor photo release form permits the photographer to use the specified photographs as they see fit. The following are the essential components of a minor photo release form:
Name of the parent/legal guardian/releaser
The photographer asks for permission from the minor’s parent or guardian, also known as the releaser. In addition to their legal name, their mailing address (including the city and the state) must be specified.
Identification is important since only the minor’s parent/legal guardian can sign the minor photo release form. Identification also ensures that there are no other family members or frauds using the child for financial gain.
I, ___________________________ (name of the parent/legal guardian)
Name of the releasee/photographer
In this section, state the legal name of the photographer who wants to use the image of a minor.
Provide the photographer’s full name requesting permission to photograph the minor. Ensure that this is the photographer’s legal name.
____________________ (photographer’s/releasee’s name) has the permission to use the photographs.
Name of the child/minor
In this section, the photographer writes the legal name (and, if any, stage or performance name) of the minor in the image whose photograph will be taken. In addition, write the minor’s full name whom the parent/guardian is permitting to photograph.
__________________(name of the parent/legal guardian) the parent/legal guardian of__________________ (name of the minor)
Description of the photos
The photographer should describe the photograph, picture, likeness, or video, for example, passport, professional headshot, family portrait, or yearbook that is to be captured —these aid in identifying the image, likeness, or video. Only one photo, image, likeness, or video should be described per-form.
By identifying the types of media publications, the photographer explains how the photos will be used to the parents/legal guardians. Even though the minor photo release form gives general permission, it is important to explain the publication plans in detail to the parents/legal guardians of the minor so that the parents/guardians know where their child’s photos will be published.
____________________ (the photographer’s/releasee’s name) has permission to take and use the photographs described as________________________ (photo description) for any legal use.
Details of permissions given
The photographer should give details about the permissions being given to him. Provide the parent/legal guardian with the option to choose how the images can be used here. For example, the parent/legal guardian may only grant the photographer permission to publish in a certain location or grant the photographer license to use the images for promotional purposes on their website, studio, or portfolio.
__________________(the photographer’s/releasee’s name)has been given permission to take and use the photographs described as________________________(photo description and publication mediums) for any legal use, including_____________________________(the granted permission, for example, advertising, web content, copyright purposes and publicity).
A photographer should write the photography plans on the minor photo release form. For example, when and where the shoot will occur. This informs the parents/guardians of a minor on the photography plans.
Note: It is important to check with parents to ensure that the shoot will not interrupt their schedule, for example, planned vacations, family gatherings, etc. All parents/guardians like to be involved in their child’s day-to-day activities.
_____________________(the photographer’s/releasee’s name) permission to take and use the photographs described as_______________(photo description and publication mediums), which will take place on_______________(day), ________________(date).
Date and signatures
Finally, the photographer and the parent/guardian must date and sign the release form. In addition to the signatures, printed names should also be included in the minor photo release form. After the form is signed, the photographer should keep a signed copy for their records. Once it has been signed, the photographer should keep it in a safe place if a need for it arises in the future.
Parent’s/guardian’s Signature: ______________________
Parent’s Guardian Name: _________________________________ (printed name)
Child’s Name: ___________________________________________
Phone Number: _________________________________________
Free Minor Photo Release Forms
Special Rules for Minors
When working with minors, there are special rules that a photographer should look into. They include age, adult consent, and clarity of the document. In this section of the article, we have explained these special rules.
- Know the legal age – The photographer should inquire about the age of the model. If the model is a minor (below the age of 18), the photographer should obtain the signature of the minor’s parent/legal guardian.
- Seek consent of both parents – The photographer gets consent from both parents of a minor to avoid conflicts between the parents concerning permission to use the minor’s photographs.
- Provide a clear document – The photographer should provide a clear minor photo release form relating to the relevant state law, which allows a parent/guardian to sign on behalf of their child.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a minor release form?
A minor release form is a document that permits a photographer to take and use photographs of a minor for private or public purposes.
What should a photo release form say?
A photo release form should outline the permission that a parent/guardian gives the photographer to use a minor’s pictures for public or private purposes—for example, advertising.
Why is a photo release form required?
When a photo is used for commercial purposes, a photo release form is required. A simple approach to tell if an image is being used commercially is to ask if it is making money, promoting a product, event, or idea. If this is the case, a photo release form is needed.
Do photographers own the rights to the photos they take?
The photographer will typically own the copyright, though this can vary based on circumstances such as employment, licensing deals, or whether the photo was authorized. For photos commissioned before July 30, 1998 – the person who commissioned the photo will hold the copyright, regardless of the purpose.