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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Model Releases: Book with helpful information

Model Releases: A digital Photographer’s Guide to
reviewed by Dr. Eric Flescher, Olathe, KS: (dreric1kansas@aol.com)

Author: Dan Heller
Publisher: Wiley Publishing , Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NY 0703 Released: March 31, 2008
Pages: 288
$30 USA
$ 33 Canada
ISBN-10: 0470228563
ISBN-13: 978-0470228562

Strengths: Comprehensive information about model releases. Full color and additional hints abound through the book. Excellent model photographs highlight nice examples. Vertical tabs at the side of each page highlight main part of the section. Nice yellow like sticky notes are strategically placed throughout the book and the pages, to portray tips and highlight specific concerns or ideas that are relevant to the chapter/ pages or text.

Weaknesses: None


Rating: 5/5


Taking photos of people, places and many types of visuals, for publication, is commonplace. However in many lines of work, the necessity and use of model release forms is misunderstood, to say the least. Sometimes the nuances are not quite understood or well defined in many cases, by photographers or the places of business themselves. The book Model Releases: A digital Photographer’s Guide, helps to clarify the meaning of much of the process and update advanced in print media and more in recent years.

The author has been a freelance photographer and photo industry analyst. His works have been featured in publications from news and business media to fine arts books. This book is the result of over five years of his research to model releases. He is well versed in the changing trends that have transformed books, the press, music and much more, in recent years. His knowledge is transmitted to this book in a very readable and understandable way.

The seven part book covers a wide range of important topics within its 288 pages. The titles of the parts of the book highlight the necessity of model releases. These are : Everyone’s doing it ; So what’s wrong; What’s a model release ; Understanding “use”; Analyzing the need for a model release; Dealing with photos of property; The business of Licensing. The book makes it much easier to clarify when releases are needed and not needed. What buyers need in the way of model releases, and those who don't need releases are summarized. Also included is information for marketing and licensing all your photos, whether they have been released or not. Also the author does the best he can in accumulating years of information and distilling helpful information in one book.

The book is relevant to those in the United States and abroad. The author helps to define in clear terms, what should be initiated and followed through, under many situations and circumstances. He is clear and concise so that misinformation does not occur and clarity of the releases are understood. The well illustrated text is a very comprehensive book available on the subject, covering everything you would to know about model releases. The releases pertain to people, places and additional circumstances. Much has changes in light of a photographer's role in the creation of photographs that may be uses on or in conjunction with the internet, with digital photography. newspapers, books and magazines.


This important book is both insightful and a pleasure to read and understand. The book is useful for everyone from professional photographers whose work involves photography to those amateur photographers who take vacation pictures on vacation, take photos of at their children' s teams/games, schools or more. This book also includes information about models themselves and what they can learn about their rights concerning how they can protect themselves and when that is not possible.

The importance of this book is highlighted by the fact that a well known technology firm “stole” (or should we say “did not secure properly”), music from my daughter’s business/ firm. Whether it was on purpose or not, she had to set them straight and went through the proper channels. This was an interesting event and it served to highlight what should and needs to be done. In addition, a firm in Africa wanted to use one of my photographs for their greeting cards. To make a long story short, I had to find that person and that firm, after they used my photographs, as the individual did not forward my payment. If I would have the information from this book, I would have know the proper course of action to protect the transaction. This book would have let me know, in advance, the proper procedures so that the situation would have not occurred. Now I am better prepared. And you will be too if you read this well prepared book.

Whether you are in business, work with photographs at your home, business or use photos for personal use or involved in possible interactions with businesses, schools or more, this book is well worth reading. There is something to be said for knowing and understanding your rights, as well as the rights of clients and businesses and anything that relates with and dealing with photography and photographs. That way you can make the best decision about your photographs that possibly will end up in businesses, books or elsewhere.

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