How to Model a Modeling Contract: Read This Before You Snap That Promo Photo

Business.com / Legal / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Whether you are providing modeling services or you are hiring a model, seeking the knowledge of an attorney is always en vogue.

If you are in need of a professional model to appear in advertisements or to market your products, having a Master Modeling Contract spell out the terms and conditions of the relationship ensures all smiles are genuine. 

Modeling contracts are typically made between the business or individual hiring the model and the model’s agency or between the business and the model if he/she is not represented by an agency. 

Related Article: Can I Use Your Face to Sell My Product? Understanding Right of Publicity Laws

When reviewing a Modeling Contract, the main terms that should be clearly addressed are:

  • The Names of People Involved: Including any pseudo names used by the Model
  • The Purpose of the Contract: Including the general purpose of the Modeling Contract, the availability requirements (i.e. dates/times), and location
  • Description of Services: Specifying the type of modeling to be carried out (e.g. in person demonstration, photographic, video, audio, etc.)
  • Compensation: including the type and amount of compensation the Model will receive, including any expenses, taxes, or commission that may be deducted from the compensation and when payment will take place (e.g. prior to the work being carried out, after the work is complete, upon satisfaction of the photographer/business, etc.)
  • Term and Termination: States the duration of the agreement, any renewal or cancelation terms (by both parties), and limits the model’s remedies if a breach of contract occurs
  • Non-Compete or Exclusivity Terms: Sets parameters, for a set time, of work that the model may or may not engage in that may have an effect on, or correlation to, the present contract
  • Physicality Requirements: Specific requirements the model must maintain, in terms of certain physical qualities or attributes, during the term of the engagement or retainerphotography contract

Also, in addition to the Master Modeling Contract, it is in the interest of both the model and the business or individual hiring the model to discuss and agree to a signed Model Release form. 

A Model Release form is a tool used by both the photographer/ hiring party and the model to delineate the rights each party may have in the photos (including the negatives) or visuals and to prevent a cause of action for violation of the model’s right of privacy or publicity. 

Typically, for the photographer or hiring party, a Model Release allows for the creative freedom to enlarge a negative, manipulate the photograph (usually with the help of Photoshop or other software that enhances or changes the quality of the photograph), convert it to another medium, such as digital form, or sell the photos to a third party.  

Related Article: Photoshop Reigns Supreme: How the Software Has Maintained Market Dominance

For the Model, a Release helps define the parameters of how their image may or may not be used, and more importantly, specifically excludes those uses that would be harmful to the Model’s career or reputation. 

photo editing; photoshop

Terms to address in a Model Release form should include:

  • The identity of all parties to the release, including any photographer/videographer/ad agency and their role
  • Identify the photographs or works to which the release applies to (e.g. final product, negatives, snippets, etc.), as well as the manner, form, and what products the photographs may be used in connection with
  • Duration or Term of the release, including the duration of time the photographs or models image may be used 
  • Territorial Scope of the Release, meaning, whether the release applies to only U.S. ads, promotions or third party sales of the pictures/visuals or if it also applies internationally
  • Limitation of the model’s right to inspect or approve any finished product (if any)
  • Copyright ownership to the rights, title, and interest in any finished pictures, products, negatives, reproductions, and derivative work, including the right to give, sell, or transfer said materials
  • The available remedies in any potential action that may occur due to any problems with the photographs, the applicable forum (arbitration vs. litigation) for dispute resolution, waiver of attorney’s fees (if applicable)
  • The ability to cancel or revoke the release and circumstances that may give rise to a cancellation or revocation
  • All parties involved signed understanding and acceptance of the agreement and the consequences of executing the release (in the case of models who are minors, the understanding and signatures of the model’s parents or legal guardian are also required)

Although the word “model” is often associated with images of glitz and glam, modeling, like any other service-for-hire profession, requires careful delineation of the rights, obligations and duties of all parties involved. 

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