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When do I need to get a model release?

This article applies only to Unsplash+ submissions

Annie Spratt avatar
Written by Annie Spratt
Updated over a week ago

You need to get a model release when there is a person in the image. When in doubt get a model release, otherwise your entire shoot runs the risk of not being accepted.

Even when people are not recognizable, they should sign a model release.

A tattoo is considered and identifying feature, and always requires a model release.

What’s a model release and why is it required? A model release is a written permission from an individual, allowing the use of their likeness for commercial purposes (to sell, promote, or endorse a product). Releases protect you, and the customers who license your content for their projects, against the future possibility of a claim from people depicted in your content.

Is a model release always needed? A model release is required for each recognizable person, regardless of whether they are the main subject of your shoot or in the background. Keep in mind that a person may be recognizable by the clothes they wear, or the people they’re with.

Model releases for people in large crowds are only needed if a person or a few people are the focus of a shot or can be digitally isolated.

When using a release, we recommend that you also have a paper-based copy of your privacy policy handy, should your models request to see it.

Please always remember to give your image and model release files corresponding filenames.

Find model releases here.

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