Model dilema :-/

geelizz

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Hey everyone i'm new to the forum and hope to be on here more frequently! Looking forward to conversing with you all!!

So the reason I'm posting this is because I really could use some advice on how to deal with a model dilema.

First off, let me admit that I screwed up by not FIRST giving a release to the model to sign before doing a shoot with her. It's just that I've done so many shoots in the past where models would sign afterwards and I've never had issues with one.. until now..

So last week I did a shoot with a model (photo and video) the model badgered me for 3 weeks to do a shoot with her so I finally got some free time and did it. She came in and I spent about 3 1/2 hours with her including prep such as make-up and wardrobe (this was all given to her free on my part). We took some photos before the video portion and then called it a wrap and she left excited to see the final result.

The same night after the shoot she sends me an e-mail asking me where I was planning to use the photos and that she wanted to see the final product as well. I was kinda shocked that she'd ask that because the whole purpose of the shoot was to update our portfolios -- at least that's what I thought! I wrote back explaining that the purpose of the shoot was for portfolio building -- so I'd be adding it to my online portfolio. I'm pretty quick with processing photos so I processed a few and sent her a "teaser" of her photos along with the release form for her to sign via Docusign (the photos had a watermark on it). This is something I always do with models and clients because I like to get them excited for all their upcoming photos!

After that e-mail I haven't heard back from her for 4 -- going on 5 days and I emailed her at least 3 times -- so I was thinking something awful happened!! Thanks to the internet and social media age it makes it a bit easier to find that out nowadays, so I googled her name and came across her twitter and fb account (Not trying to be a stalker just want to make sure she was okay!) so to my surprise, it turned out that she took one of the teaser photos I sent her and put it up as her Facebook profile picture and didn't respond to me with the release!

THIS really ticked me off, so I sent her a nice message explaining that I will understand if she has any issues with putting up her photos in certain places but I really would like to know what the deal is so that I can move on (said in a much more professional manner of course). To tell you the truth, I don't really care about the photos as much as I do about the video because that's what I wanted to use the most and that was what we agreed on for the shoot, the photos were just a bonus spur of the moment thing. I nicely pointed out that I NEVER do work for free unless there is a trade involved to where I can use the photos for my portfolio etc (which was the purpose of this shoot). and It seems like she walked away from the deal with at a photo she loved enough to put up as a facebook profile photo while my time and efforts were wasted without anything to show for! -- I'm still waiting for a FB reply...

I have learned my lesson and I will NEVER do another shoot unless the model signs the agreement first. But, I really need some advice on how to deal with the situation with the model and not signing the release. I obviously can't force her to do anything and I may in the end have to cut my losses and let it go, but what can I do with the photo that she put up without MY permission -- used in exchange for nothing -- she pretty much got a session from me that I would charge over $500 for, for free and I got ZIP. Should I request that she pay for the photos she wants to use or pay for the session since she didn't give me the release we agreed on -- if that doesn't happen then request to take down the image (her profile is private so i'm assuming she's uploaded more than just that photo -- I sent her 4).. This is such a sticky situation and I just don't know what to do :-/...

I just want to remain professional throughout the entire deal and dont want to have someone bashing my business in the process of dealing with this -- so any help & advice would greatly be appreciated!
 
No need to do that now! Of course, after I write this lengthy post in frustration -- I got the signature finally!! I guess my nice message worked.

Final word of advice to all others (including myself) don't get caught in a debacle like this, have them sign a release form before you do ANYTHING!

Not sure how to delete this thread or close it, could a moderator close or delete this? Thanks!!
 
Sorry you had to deal with all that, but thanks for letting all of us learn from it as well. Best of luck to you.
 
You dont need a model release for self promotion, only to publish and resell. The "model" was the one in the wrong and regardless of an agreement you hold copyright. Yes, that's frustrating and she was totally unprofessional.
 
Did she do a good job posing considering all this trouble?
 
No need to do that now! Of course, after I write this lengthy post in frustration -- I got the signature finally!! I guess my nice message worked.

Final word of advice to all others (including myself) don't get caught in a debacle like this, have them sign a release form before you do ANYTHING!

Not sure how to delete this thread or close it, could a moderator close or delete this? Thanks!!
I think it might be a good idea to leave this thread so that others can learn from it. It can be locked if you like.
 
You dont need a model release for self promotion, only to publish and resell. The "model" was the one in the wrong and regardless of an agreement you hold copyright. Yes, that's frustrating and she was totally unprofessional.
It is a bit more complcated than that.

You do need a model release for self-publishing and self-promotion if people in the images could be perceived as advocates or sponsors of your business. How photos are shot is also important. If the images were made in private, or in a controlled situation like the OP's where wardrobe and makeup was done, apprently in a studio.

Most professional and aspiring models are photographed in controlled conditions, like using photographic lighting equipment out in public, or in private in a studio. In those cases, having a valid signed model release is essentially a requirement.

The source of my information is: A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things pages 126 - 128.
 
Allow me to be more specific, I was in a rush when I answered last night. A model release is ALWAYS recommended but not always required. Much of the time it depends on the state you live in, some states even allow a verbal release (but once again, a signed release is always recommended). Model and property releases are there to draw a line in the sand and explain who has rights to what, without it you can end up with a lawsuit but with one it can normally keep you out of trouble.

It should also be noted that a release is not a "get out of jail free card", even with a release you can still be brought to court for using an image and you can lose. There are lawyers that specialize in this, it's not straight forward; actually it overly complex.

The PPA has some good articles on this, just search for model release.
 
I have never used a model release and never had a problem.
We discuss up front that the photos are for both of our use.
I do the shoot, show the photos to the model so she can cull any she doesn't like before I post them.
I have her respond in writing that the photos are ok to release.
Then I post the shoot.
I pay no attention to what she does with the photos.
 
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I have never used a model release and never had a problem.
We discuss up front that the photos are for both of our use.
I do the shoot, show the photos to the model so she can cull any she doesn't like before I post them.
I have her respond in writing that the photos are ok to release.
Then I post the shoot.
I pay no attention to what she does with the photos.
Good luck usually doesn't last forever. Paper does not make you bullet-proof, but it can go a LONG way to making you shrapnel-resistant!
 

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