A photo consent form, sometimes also referred to as a photo release form or media release form, is a document used by photographers to ensure the consent of a photographed subject. This type of form is often used in commercial photography to demonstrate that a subject understands his or her rights regarding the pictures being taken, and releasing any sort of ownership of his or her image to the photographer for the images being taken. A photo consent form can be used in journalistic photography as well, though it is less common and often unnecessary.
Photographs taken of a person can often involve partial ownership of the image by the subject of the picture. This is especially true of commercial photography, and images taken of a person cannot be used for commercial reasons without the consent of that person. Professional photographers often employ a photo consent form to demonstrate that a person was aware of the picture being taken of him or her and has released the image for use in commercial applications by the photographer.
This type of form is often used for glamour photography and advertisements. It is usually a simple, single page that indicates who will retain ownership of the photographs and any compensation that may be required for the use of the images. For minors or children who are the subject of a photograph, a parent will typically have to sign a consent form to allow the images to be legally used in commercial applications.
The photo consent form for a minor will also often indicate whether the name and other personal information of the child can be used in conjunction with the image. Journalists typically do not need to use a consent form with a subject as long as the picture is taken in a public space where the subject did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the image is not used for commercial purposes. The picture can be published in a commercial publication, one that sells space to advertisers, so long as the image is used in a journalistic context within the publication and not as an advertisement.
A photo consent form is also typically not required for images taken during sporting events, even smaller scale high school athletics. So long as the image is highlighting a play during the game, and the action on the field, rather than a specific player, it can usually be sold without the written consent of the participants. It is important to note that a photo consent form is typically only required with regard to publication of a photograph, and taking a photograph of a person does not require written consent so long as it is taken in a public space where the person did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.