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A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things Paperback – Mar 31 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (March 31 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470228563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470228562
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 1.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,177,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Looking to sell your photos? First, take this quiz!

  • Do I need a release for a photo of someone I took in public?

  • Should I get a release even if the person is unrecognizable?

  • Is a release necessary if I make a profit selling a photo of a person?

  • Do I need releases for photos of buildings?

  • Are releases necessary for pictures of people from other countries?

  • I took a lot of pictures as a hobby, and now I want to sell them. Do I need releases for all my people pictures?

  • If I have no plans for a photo when I take it, should I get a release anyway?

  • Does it make a difference if the subject was paid to be in the picture?

Give yourself one point for "Yes," and two points for "No." In fact, make it three points. If you scored higher than zero, you have a lot to learn about model releases, because you can't answer these questions without more information. How will the photo be used? By whom? Can the subject be associated with an idea, product, or service? Until you know that, the question of releases can't be answered.

As the photographer, you need to understand your buyer's concerns in order to make savvy decisions about how you market your photos and to whom. Here's how to make money from all your photos, whether or not they have releases, by understanding the business aspects of the law.

About the Author

Dan Heller has been a freelance photographer and photo industry analyst for over ten years — a career that started when he put his photos on his Web site, His work has been featured in publications from news and business media to fine art books.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Good overview of legal requirements for selling images.
US based, but information generally useful for most countries.

***> In ALL cases consult a local lawyer or legal representative for advice before proceeding.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9d59b6a8) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d8635f4) out of 5 stars Most complete discussion of model releases I have read March 29 2008
By P. DeMott - Published on
Format: Paperback
No question that this is the most usable and understandable discussion of model releases as it relates to photographers.

A couple of years ago I went to the library with questions about property releases and took out well over a dozen books on photography and the law and photography business. Almost all talked about model releases (for people) and several also had property release examples, but only ONE BOOK said anything at all about property releases and it was only about a sentence or two. All of my prior reading left me with more questions. This books explains the why so that you can more accurately make decisions regarding releases.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dc133c0) out of 5 stars A wealth of information for the digital photographer interested in making a business out of photography, March 28 2008
By Michael L. Baird - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dan Heller's website presents a wealth of information for the digital photographer interested in making a business out of photography, and answers all sorts of questions, in an authoritative way, about model releases, what/where/when can one photo, and how can those images be used by whom. Dan is generous with his information on his website and in personal communications, which helped him perfect his product, in this case his book A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things. In some sense I felt I already had all the answers I needed on this topic after reading Dan's material online. But to have it all re-purposed in a logical, complete, consistent vehicle illustrated with many beautiful photos, and crafted for fun reading with humor and post-it-note sidebars and anecdotes... this book is quite simply the definitive guide on the subject. Dan does not simply answer the questions, he explains the reasoning behind the questions and answers so that one can logically apply the "rules" to other situations with confidence. This is the best $20 bill I have parted with in my investment in photography. I would not trade this book for all the others in this category combined. This title will persist for years because its advice is timeless. Like reviewing the basics of any discipline will help any pro, I can't think of one expert in this field who would not benefit from reading this book. Kudos to Dan for a job well-done, from a dedicated fan, Mike Baird
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d5d9ee8) out of 5 stars A curmudgeons view of a great book Nov. 29 2008
By Valerie - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading Dan Heller's "A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases" from cover to cover. There's no question it is a great book and if you are interested in really LEARNING about model releases I would recommend you buy it. If you're just looking for a quick answer, however, this is not the book.

In the entire 279 pages there is only ONE (1) sample model release form and it is a very basic, simple one. Instead the book is divided into chapters that deal with various aspects of the issues such as: "What's a Model Release?", "Understanding 'Use'", "Analyzing the need for a model release", "Dissecting a model release" (and, no, you can't get the full benefit from this chapter without reading the rest of the bok), "Dealing with photos of property", and "The business of licensing". Yes, the book is indexed.

I found it to be well-written and easy to understand. Mr. Heller writes in normal everyday language and not in legal mumbo jumbo. His presentation is clear and well organized. A minor nitpick - he must have gotten tired as he got near the end as I noticed several grammatical errors and typos seem to have snuck into the later chapters. No matter. They didn't obscure his meaning.

Mr. Heller makes it clear that he is not a lawyer and is not offering legal advice but is discussing BUSINESS DECISIONS which photographers must confront with respect to their photographs. Nonetheless, he presents a great deal of information about the laws as well about the business of photography.

The book contains what seem like hundreds of photos (I didn't count them.) While a number of them could be construed as being examples of the issue being discussed (such as people in public places, buildings, homes, etc.) very few of them are actually referred to in the text. I would have found it more helpful if the author had actually captioned each photo stating whether or not he had obtained a model release for it and why he had chosen to do so or not. Otherwise they are not much more than pretty pictures (and fine ones they are!) which contribute only slightly to the purpose of the book.

I am very glad I bought the book. I doubt that there is a better reference on the subject. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the subject (though I would probably benefit from reading the book a second time to pick up nuances I missed the first time.) I still don't feel as if I know all the answers and perhaps that means the author has achieved his goal. I'm now aware that there are no simple answers but only trade-offs to be considered in an informed way.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d91f60c) out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY ON KINDLE - But great book! May 15 2011
By Keith McLaren Photography - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK ON KINDLE! This book has all sorts of technical problems and I would suggest that you purchase the actual book. Th problems with this book are:

1. On Android version of kindle the book repeats parts of paragraphs randomly. This seems to be a problem only with this book and only on the Android version of kindle.

2. Chunks of the text are outright missing. For example (and in case someone from Amazon is reading this) if you go to location 968 in this book there is a page that starts a list of items with #4. It seems that numbers 1 through 3 did not get included.

3. There are many pages that are scanned in as graphics since the text was written over a picture. In these pages the text is unreadable and you just miss out on these pages.

With all this said, this is the BEST book that I have read on the subject of model releases. I will be buying it as a book, but wasted $9.99 on the kindle version since its almost unreadable.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d90f3e0) out of 5 stars Making you think, but no straight answers April 12 2009
By LKP - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm certain that this is an excellent book. In fact, I know it is. However, it also decides that drowning you in 99% useless information is a good technique, with the tendency to repeat some of the important parts in case it (as very likely did) get lost. The last legal book I read covered all of this very concisely within a chapter and very few new ideas are presented here.

However, should you desire some need to fully understand this area (especially since 90% of it only applies to stock photographers), this is your book. Just don't expect the obvious: no firm opinions, no sample model releases, no guidelines on when to use and not use one.

Rather, the book seeks to educate you so YOU can make those decisions. Wise perhaps, but in the end a rather fruitless pursuit since the reader very likely did NOT pick up the book expecting this sort of educational tactic.