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How to Write a Photo Copyright Release Form

Securing a photography copyright release form is crucial for photographers.
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A photograph is considered intellectual property and is automatically copyrighted to the photographer as soon as it created. Therefore, it is important for both the photographer and the subject to have a photography copyright release form signed to document the release of rights on certain photographs for a certain amount of time or for a specific purpose. This is important so as to avoid copyright infringement.

Provide space for the following information to be filled in when you create your photography copyright release form: photographer's name and photographer's business (if applicable); name of the person or business who will be using/printing the photos; name, number or description of photo(s) that will be used and what format they will be used in; photographer's contact information; photographer's and subject's signatures; date of signatures. Not having this information on the copyright release form for photography could be troublesome later if the photos are used improperly.

Be as specific as possible pertaining to where and how the photo will be used in the copyright release form for the photography. Include the specific format and location where the photos will be reproduced, such as a company's website or newsletter, whenever possible.

Include a sentence such as, "I **** (photographer's name), hereby grant permission to *****___* (client or company name) to use the photos listed below for use on their website and in their brochures for a time period of_ ____."

Check with a lawyer and/or get your photography copyright release form notarized (if photographer and customer can sign in person with a notary present) to increase the legality of your form. Try to locate an attorney with a background in copyright litigation or copyright infringement to assist you.


Include a copyright notice on all photographs (i.e., "© 2009 Susan M. Photographer") as extra copyright protection.

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