Photography has been my major hobby since at least 2001, back when we still had to go through the pains of film. Below is the Model Release I used when shooting for my latest photo book, I Am Ladyboy, about transgender Thai models. The release was designed to also cover the behind-the-scenes videos I made for my YouTube channel. I am a big fan of simple model releases. This is particularly important when you are shooting in countries where English is not model’s native language.
Here is why. The more complex you make your model release, the higher the likelihood that:
1) The model will not understand it and refuse/delay signing.
2) It will be misinterpreted. In those cases, any ambiguity is usually interpreted by the courts against the party who drafted the document (normally, the photographer).
So, keep it simple to prevent the above from happening. My Model Releases (US and foreign) normally only have three key elements:
1) Model gets the money.
2) Photographer gets all rights to the photos. You don’t have to enumerate and spell out all the rights you want. Just list a couple of major ones “and all other lawful purposes.” Otherwise, if you make a huge list of enumerated rights, but then you want to do something that is not on that list, you might be out of luck despite all that great effort in drafting a complex release. So, just keep it simple – major ones “and all other lawful
3) Model does not have right to review or approve the edits (otherwise, you’ll have models telling you all day, “oh, make my tummy smaller, fix my arms, don’t use this photo, etc.”).
Even though it’s so simple, I feel it adequately protects me (and is fair to the model) even on pretty complex projects (e.g. when I publish my photo books). KISS.
Some sample pages from I Am Ladyboy: