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Photo Release Forms For Minors: Template and Guide

A child posing for a professional photographer.

When it comes to capturing photos or videos for commercial purposes, you need to have the image and likeness consent of all models through a model release form. Without having the legal consent to use their performance for a commercial purpose, you leave yourself open to legal action. This liability is particularly true when working with minors.

All professional photographers or videographers will likely end up working with minors in their work at some point.  Minors, considered those under the age of 18 in most places, lack the legal ability to sign a contract. Instead, you need to have the consent of their parents or guardian. 

Even if you’re taking photos or videos of minors for your portfolio with no intent to use them for any commercial purpose, you still need to have a video or photo talent release form for minors signed. This guide explains the circumstances when you definitely need a release signed, who is allowed to sign on behalf of a waiver, how they’re written, and some templates to use as a jumping-off point. 

When do you need a photo release form for minors signed?

All people, adults and minors alike, are entitled to their right to publicity – the ability to prevent people from using their image and likeness for commercial purposes without their permission. Image refers to the actual physical appearance in your media, and likeness refers to other aspects like their voice or unique aspects of their performance that are a trademark of their persona and skills.

You must get your subjects to sign release forms for any photo or video where the subject is clearly identifiable and you intend to use it for a business purpose, even if no money will exchange hands. 

It’s not just principal actors that need to sign a release form – background actors, voice actors, or even people who appear in a photograph within a movie need to give full permission to use their likeness.

You may be wondering if this means that when you’re taking photos in public you need to chase down any person who incidentally appears in the background of your photos. Thankfully, there are different rules to account for this. When in public, the “right to privacy” that we mentioned before doesn’t apply since you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when out and about. However, if the minor in your work is clearly the subject, they still need to have consent signed on their behalf.

In summary, you should always get a waiver signed on behalf of a minor in your work, if: 

  • The minor in the photo or video is the subject and easily identifiable.
  • The minor present in a “private” location – aka anything not considered a public space. If you take promotional photos in a trampoline park, for example, any child in the shot would need to have a consent form signed.
  • If you foresee your photo used for any commercial purpose, even if it’s in the future.

Not just anyone can sign a waiver on behalf of a minor child, however – it has to be a parent or legal guardian. In fact, it’s beneficial to get consent from BOTH parents in the event of future conflicts between them.

How do you word a release form for minors?

For a model release form to be legal, it needs to contain several standard clauses tailored to provide consent to the photographer. It’s also crucial that your document addresses the who, what, where, when, and how:

  • Who is the subject of the photo, and which the agreement is with (you)
  • What form of compensation is the subject’s guardian(s) are receiving, if any
  • Where the photos taken
  • When the photos taken
  • How you are planning to use the photos

In terms of specific clauses, here are the ones that you should look to include in your photo release agreement:

1. Assignment of Photo Copyright

This clause states that the photographer owns the copyright to the photo of the parent or guardian’s child.

2. Explicit Mention of Possible Promotional and Commercial Uses

Grants express permission for the photographer to use the photo for commercial purposes and lists examples such as editorial trade, product advertising, or other business purposes in any manner and medium.

3. Digital Manipulation Clause

Grants permission for retouching or digital manipulation of the photo before commercial use.

4. Dissociation of Personal Identity From Photo

When you use the image for promotional or stock photo purposes, this clause states that the subject’s name will not be associated with the photo in any commercial or promotional use. As a result, you ensure that their representation gets viewed as that of an “imaginary person.”

5. Exculpatory Clause

The most important clause of all – the parent or guardian agrees to waive the photographer and their agents from all claims and liability related to the photograph’s use. It expressly states that they decide not to prosecute or institute proceedings, claims, or demands against either the Photographer or his or her agents.

6. Signature Fields For One or Both Parents or Guardians

Lastly, you should have a line that allows one or both parents or guardians to sign and date the contract, ensuring this copyright release form is legally binding.

Looking For Photography Release Forms?

Get Access to Photo Release Form Templates Here

How to keep your actor release form organized

Whether you’re working on a big production or regularly need photo or video release forms signed, you need a way to keep these legal documents organized and secured. WaiverForever was designed to streamline the digital form creation and signing process to make your life easier. 

Our app is available on both Android and Apple devices and lets you display talent forms on your phone and sign anywhere, even with no active internet connection. Our drag-and-drop form builder lets you create releases that are easy to read and just as long as they need to be, and our template manager lets you display different waivers for different situations.

We even have a photo and video consent waiver template that is a great starting point for building out your actor release form.

Give WaiverForever a whirl and see just how easy it is for both you and the actors.

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