A portrait agreement outlines the responsibilities and expectations of both parties — the photographer and the customer. The portrait agreement acts as the foundation for all photography services provided and steers the entire business transaction. At a minimum, a portrait agreement should include specifics (parties’ names, photographer name, monetary exchange, promised product/services, deposit amount), cancellation/late policy, expectations (turnaround time, guaranteed quality of product, how/when products will be delivered, etc.), and a notification of copyright.
A model release is signed by the subject of the photography or the parent/legal guardian if the subject is a minor. This document provides the photographer with the necessary permission to take and display photographs. A model release is not an essential requirement for fulfilling a photography services contract, but it is required if the photographs are used on public mediums such as social media, websites or portfolios.
This is another optional form needed when digital files are sold to clients. A print release is the legally operative document in which the photographer provides the client permission to reproduce the purchased digital files. The document should outline the restrictions and privileges given to the client. Note: This document does not release copyright. Ownership rights still are intact.
This isn’t required to be a separate form, as it should be integrated in the portrait agreement. But a copyright notice is critically important in the digital age. Copyright is the ownership rights to the photography produced, and copyright is retained by the photographer until the photographer contractually relinquishes ownership. A notice of copyright can be given to clients when products are delivered to remind them of federal copyright laws.