A Collection of Free Sample Legal Forms for Photographers

If you’re looking to make money from your photography, it’s important to have the correct legal forms signed by the correct people, whether it’s releases by models that pose for you or contracts with gallery owners who will sell your work. To get you started in figuring out what your contract needs to say, legal contract service Docracy offers samples of some of the most common and important legal forms that photographers use.

The documents were written by professional photographers, photography associations, and lawyers for photographers in the United States.

While you might need a lawyer’s help in polishing and customizing the forms for your specific purposes, each one contains basic drafts of three critical agreements: the services you’ll be providing, the amount you’ll be paid for those services, and who owns the copyright of the photographs produced.

Here’s a list of the forms offered. Click each screenshot to be taken to the full printable form:

Model Release

This is a sample Model Release used in connection with a sales/marketing campaign for an e-commerce website. Photographer/Company friendly,

Minor Model Release

This is a model release for a minor to be signed by his/her parent or guardian, granting rights to the model’s image as specified.

Portrait Photography Agreement

This is an agreement between a photographer and a client for portrait photography to be shot during a session or an event.

Contract for Wedding Photography Services

An agreement used for wedding photography services.

Music Artist Portrait Session

This is a contract between a photographer and a major recording artist, with the photographer hired to take photographs of the artist for a specific publication. Warning: This contract has several photographer unfriendly clauses

Gallery Contract for Sale of Photography

This is a contract between a photographer and a gallery in which the photographer consigns to the gallery certain works and the gallery agrees to offer the works for sale.

Contract for the Sale of Fine Art Photography

This is a contract between a photographer and a buyer for the sale of fine art photography to the buyer.

Licensing Contract to Merchandise Images

This is a contract through which an artist grants an organization or person the merchandising rights to an image or artwork belonging to the artist for use in specified types of merchandise.

(via Docracy via Reddit)

Image credits: Just Sign This Release by garryknight, Model Release signed – “before the shoot” by Vox Efx

  • fernando

    there should be an ipad version

  • Dave

    Jaysus Christ this wasn’t enough for you? If they had an iPad version would you have wanted one beamed to you through mental telepathy? You can’t download and send to your iPad?

  • eraserhead12

    When do you need a model release? When the work is used for commercial purposes? What if you’re a street photographer selling prints of random people?

  • Dave Vaughan

    I think they are really handy. I already have contracts setup but anything like this to look through and see if I have missed anything is welcome.

    As for an iPad version, yeah, mine are on my iPad, but I made them myself. If these had come pre setup in iPad/Android format and were un-editable apart form the intended areas, more people would have complained.

  • Dave Vaughan

    I dont know about street photography as I have never done any but I always get anyone I shoot to complete a basic contract.

    This is mainly to cover me, but also to ensure that the model or myself do not use the finished works in any way other than the intended or further set out within the contract.

  • Jeff Willey

    Contracts depend on how you intend to use the photograph. For personal or editorial use, or to sell in your gallery, you don’t require any forms. If you sell the photo for commercial use (including stock) it will require a release to protect you from lawsuit if they feel that the ad negatively depicts the individual. But these are the basic ground rules for the US – not sure where you are operating.

  • Mansgame

    There ARE apps but I don’t think there are any good free ones. Android has even less options :(

  • Mitch Labuda

    Have to wonder, a contract for the sale of fine art photograph? I’ve bought vintage photographs, late 1800’s and early 1900’s and wondering if there were contracts or are we trying to enforce something that is going to be difficult to enforce,

  • photosforus

    WOW, I think it was just an idea, not a demand. Calm down.

  • harumph

    That’s an odd one that I’ve never seen before. I’m a fine art photographer, and I’ve signed plenty of contracts with galleries, but never with a buyer. On the flip side, I’ve also bought plenty of fine art photos, and I’ve never once been asked to sign any sort of contract. I’ve never even heard of this happening before.

  • Steph

    Awesome. This free portrait contract is leagues better and far more comprehensive than the (garbage) Photographer’s Toolkit contract that John Mireles peddles as “the best in the business”.

  • eraserhead12

    Thanks for the clarification. I’m just a hobbyist and don’t engage in street photography myself, but I was just curious where the line was drawn. So if someone takes an unflattering photo of a stranger without their awareness/consent and sells prints in a gallery–they have no right to have the image removed unless it’s sold commercially?

  • ElChuco

    So what happens when a model uses a photo in a newspaper article? Would the model be at fault or the newspaper?

  • Paul Watson

    I do allot of Street Photography .. Thing is HOW do you know who to get a model release form to..LOL.. You cant.. I fire off hundreds of photos of people in the streets , . If you don’t want your photo taken in a public place wear a hood and cloak.. You are fair game if you are doing something stupid in Public. Sure i have Morals , My pictures use people to enhance Architecture or surroundings . Its about shooting off the hip , capturing that moment in time.. Sorry , you are more than welcome to run around after people waving forms. IF a person is the WHOLE photo , i will get a model release form if i am able.. or if its for commercial use and not artistic use then i will GET A MODEL…. There is a difference….

  • Nadia

    if someone snaps a pic of you and publishes it on-line, in a book or sells prints at a gallery, you do NOT have the right to force the photographer to remove it, but in some states you can stop the photographer from using your face in commercial advertisements that use your image to sell products, that’s what I understand, but I don’t give legal advice.

  • Nadia

    when i buy printed photos i always make the photographer sign a contract with me

  • Nadia


  • eraserhead12

    that kind of sucks.. though I assume they would draw some sort of distinction between public vs. private space, right? kind of unnerving to think you’d have no control if someone decided to publish photos of you, say, in your own home–highly unlikely, but some street photographers are pretty damn brazen.

  • Nadia

    i believe privacy within one’s home with closed windows/doors, is protected, the idea is that if someone can see you from a public street then you’re part of the public space since you didn’t hide to protect your privacy it means you were OK to be photographed, but not when using a bathroom etc i think and also not when you take measures to hide yourself with closed windows/doors etc, that’s how i understand it but it’s not legal advice.

  • peterblaise

    No fault — newspaper publishing is not a permissioned activity, it’s news in the public interest, not commercial representation, so no release needed.

    A release is not required by law in any circumstance anyway, but merely indemnifies a photographer against successful suits against them for prior agreed-to publishing.

  • peterblaise

    For what? A sales receipt?

  • peterblaise

    Contract for what?

    There is no copyright past the original photographer’s term.

  • peterblaise

    You never NEED a release according to any law, it’s just smart to ward off potential law suits should you ever want to sell an image for commercial use.

  • peterblaise

    Photographs on book COVERS are being recognized as “commercial use” since it sells the book it’s attached to — a tricky interpretation successfully argued and decided in some court somewhere, now a precedent.

  • peterblaise

    Why would you have superior rights over someone else’s speech?

    If someone wrote a story about you, a song, painted a picture, maybe made it fictitious, or hyper-realistic, why would you have control over that?

    Authorship is just that — authorship.

    YOU did not create your image, the photographer did, so they get the copyright, not you.

    Can you imagine an apple suing because someone “took” it’s picture?

    Or the owner of the apple?

  • Stevie

    Would anybody know if a photographer can enter a contract with a client – although the photograapher did not form a company of any sort yet. I’m looking to deliver photographs for free for some financially challenged situations – but do I need to worry about any legal ramifications.

  • flower

    so you dont sell any of your street photography? what about posting it on the internet is that fair game too?

  • Paul Watson

    Depends , People have the options to take down their photos , I am a email away. Also If its nudity or compromising , i will not post on the “open” internet. I will submit to private groups , but only if its compromising and the face is showing.

  • Nia

    LOL I almost spat out the water I was drinking laughing at your comment.

  • Alexandra G.

    You can find more on the ASMP website:

    Just remember: if an IP attorney doesn’t look these over and customize’s them per your city/state+what you offer to that client, they are all for nothing.

    These are not bluffing forms.

  • Alexandra G.

    It’s not a law to have/use them, it is common business sense! Ever seen those used by Verizon?

  • internet user

    Photographers rights in the U.S. for personal matters are mainly set into public and private distinctions. In public you can photograph anything you want as long as you don’t step onto private land or somehow threaten national security. Now with private matters all you need is the land or building owners permission to take photographs of the space and what’s included. That can be verbal. But it is generally curtious to ask the people your taking pictures of.

  • peterblaise

    There are three statutory situations where a photographer legally needs permission before photographing, and you haven’t zeroed in on them.

    Photography cannot “threaten national security” — you perpetuate a bad presumption.

    No one needs permission to photograph on private property, but the owner of the property may make “permission” a condition of trespass.

    So, take the pictures, and leave or risk arrest if the owner asks you to leave and you don’t.

    But permission is not needed to photograph in private.

    You might be subject to eviction.

    Maybe even subject to charges of trespass.

    But there is not and cannot be a charge of “illegal photography” or “photographing in private without permission”.

    Don’t confuse courtesy (note the spelling) with permission — photography is not a permissioned activity, public or private.

    “Asking” is for participation and cooperation, not permission.


    Has anyone found the 3 US statutory prohibitions against photography itself?

  • peterblaise

    It’s called free speech.

    What country would you prefer to live in?

  • peterblaise

    Believe what you want, but photography is not a permissioned activity, and cannot be made illegal.

    See Title 18 for 3 exceptions, having to do with photographing someone’s privates in private without their permission, especially children, and includes only self-declared certain specified contained military facilities, but nothing generalized.