A contract provides clarity in the professional relationship and protects the rights of both parties. I like to describe a contract as a record of the conversation, and I often refer back to my contrcts to remember the details we talked about!

Here are the most basic key elements that should be included in a contract/model release form:

It is important to note that the specific language and details included will depend on the legal requirements of your jurisdiction. If you have any questions or concerns about creating a model release form specific to you and your work and location you may want to consult with a legal professional who is familiar with the local laws and regulations related to photography.

 It's okay to negotiate details after you have sent a contract out, but be careful not to compromise yourself in safety or ownership clauses. 


Copy and Paste this contract into a google doc, edit according to each shoot, and send it out for every job! Keep a copy of each signed contract in a google drive folder for your records.

Contract courtesy Alkemie Consulting, Angie Birky O'Neill


This Modeling Agreement (the “Agreement”) is made effective for all purposes in all respects as of {DATE EXECUTED} (the “Effective Date”) by and between {MODEL} (“Model”), and {PHOTOGRAPHER} (“Photographer”) relating to the shoot or shoots detailed below (the “Shoot”).


A signed contract and non-refundable retainer fee of 50% of agreed upon rate of ($____) is required to reserve the dates and times of Model. If Shoot is rescheduled, postponed, or canceled, or if there is a breach of contract by Photographer, the retainer fee is non-refundable and shall be liquidated damages to Model. Photographer shall also be responsible for reimbursement of any of Model's receipts for expenses incurred for the Shoot up to time of cancellation.

Shoot Schedule 

The Shoot will take place on {DATES, TIMES}. Photographer and Model agree to confirm the schedule three days prior to the Shoot. Notification of any changes in schedule or location must be made in a timely manner and confirmation of receipt must be obtained from the Model by the Photographer.


Model reserves the right to terminate the Shoot without notice and vacate the Shoot premises if Model experiences inappropriate, threatening, hostile, unprofessional or offensive behavior from any person(s) at Shoot, or if Model reasonably perceives his or her safety to be in jeopardy. If any of the foregoing arises, Model reserves the right to request delivery of all images taken prior to the Shoot’s termination within 48 hours of the Shoot, and the Photographer agrees to release all rights to those images. Model reserves the right to bring any person/s to Shoot to ensure safety and comfort. In the event Model must terminate the Shoot for any of the foregoing, Photographer is still responsible for the full amount of the Shoot set forth in “Payment Schedule” below. 

Shooting Time / Additions 

Photographer and Model agree that cooperation and punctuality are essential to accomplish the goals and wishes of all parties. Shooting commences at the scheduled start time and ends at the scheduled end time. If the Photographer does not arrive at the appointed time for Shoot, session and services will commence at the scheduled start time and end at the scheduled end time. All additional time beyond the scheduled end time will be billed to Photographer at the prorated hourly rate set forth below under “Payment Schedule”, and is due the day of the Shoot. 

Expenses Incurred 

When applicable, Photographer is responsible for all travel, accommodation, meal and transport costs incurred because of the Shoot, unless provided by the Model. 

Unforeseeable Outcomes 

Model is not responsible for unforeseeable outcomes due to causes beyond the control of Model including, but not limited to, obtrusive persons, lateness of Photographer or other hired individuals, weather conditions, schedule complications, incorrect addresses provided to Model, rendering of decorations, restrictions of the locations, or any severe, unanticipated natural event for which no human is responsible. 


Photographer is responsible for acquiring all permits and necessary permission for the Shoot.

Film And Copyrights 

The finished product of the Shoot will include images (the “Deliverable”).  Model grants Photographer permission to share the Deliverable on social networking websites and on vendor or subscription service websites as long no images contain explicit nudity (i.e., exposure of genitalia or body parts that would normally be censored for audiences under 18 years of age) (“Nudity”)  and textual credit is explicitly given to the Model {MODEL FULL NAME, EMAIL, SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES} for modeling. Photographer must obtain written permission from Model prior to publishing or selling all or a portion of the Deliverable otherwise. The Model reserves the right to request revisions to any edits. The Deliverable, in whole or in part, is protected by Federal Copyright Law (all rights reserved) and may not be reproduced in any manner outside of this Agreement without Model’s explicit written permission. 


Should Model and Photographer mutually agree either before or onsite at the Shoot that Nudity is going to be incorporated into the Shoot, this section will govern images that contain Nudity.  

Photographer agrees to store images containing Nudity on a secure and private drive. The Photographer agrees not to share these images with anyone other than Model.  Photographer further agrees to deliver images containing Nudity to Model through a secure and encrypted platform that no other individual has access to, and in the time frame set forth below under “Delivery of the Deliverable”.

Once the Deliverable has been delivered to the Model, Photographer has thirty days to purge their secure and private drive with any additional images containing Nudity that were not part of the Deliverable.

In the event that there is no compensation to Model under this Agreement, all images containing Nudity - whether part of the final Deliverable or not - must be deleted by Photographer from Photographer’s secure and private drive upon delivery to and receipt by the Model of the Deliverable. 

Photographer must obtain written permission of the Model prior to posting or selling any images containing Nudity.  Furthermore, in the event that Photographer contemplates or receives compensation from the posting or selling of such images containing Nudity, Model and Photographer shall agree to profit sharing terms in writing prior to such posting or selling.} 

Delivery of the Deliverable 

Photographer agrees to deliver the photography product to the Model within one month of the Shoot date. If the Photographer fails to deliver a photography product in the form of digital edits or prints within one month, the Photographer agrees to compensate the Model an additional 25% of the full agreed upon rate. 

Photographer Release

Photographer hereby assigns Model the irrevocable and unrestricted right to use and publish photographs of Model or in which Model may be included, for editorial, distribution, trade, advertising, educational and any other purpose and in any manner and medium; to alter the same without restriction; and to copyright the same without restriction. Photographer releases all claims to profits that may arise from use of images. Model agrees not to edit the Photographer’s work without explicit written permission from the Photographer, and that textual credit will be given explicitly to the Photographer {PHOTOGRAPHER FULL NAME, EMAIL, SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES} for photography.

Payment Schedule

Photographer and Model agree to the rate of $__ per hour for a {TYPE OF SHOOT} Shoot. The aforementioned 50% non-refundable retainer fee ($__) is due at the time of signing the Agreement. The remaining balance ($__) is payable in full prior to or the day of Shoot. If the Photographer fails to remit payment as specified, Model shall have the right to immediately terminate this Agreement with no further obligation, retain any monies already paid, and not attend Shoot. Returned checks will be assessed a $75 non-sufficient funds fee.  

In the event that no money is exchanging hands under this Agreement, both parties hereby understand and agree that should Photographer breach any provisions agreed upon herein, Model shall have the right to seek damages as more specifically set forth below in “Damages.” 


In addition to the non-refundable deposit set forth in “Reservation” above, Model reserves the right to seek out reasonable additional compensatory, nominal, liquidated or punitive damages under this Agreement should Photographer breach this Agreement in any way that causes Model financial, emotional, physical or mental harm.  

Entire Agreement 

This Agreement contains the entire understanding between Model and Photographer. It supersedes all prior and simultaneous agreements between the parties. The only way to add or change this Agreement is to do so in writing, signed by all parties. If in the event that any part of this Agreement is found to be invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of this Agreement will remain valid and enforceable. Any agreement to waive one or more provisions of this Agreement or any failure by one or both parties to enforce a provision of this Agreement shall not constitute a waiver of any other portion or provision of this Agreement. 

The parties hereby agree to the terms above, and have caused this Agreement to be executed as of the Effective Date.

Signed: ______________________________  (Model) Date: _______________

Signed: ______________________________  (Photographer) Date: _______________

Notes on contracts

Whoever is getting paid typically provides contract and is responsible for the contract terms. The other party is free to negotiate those terms. 

A contract is only as strong as your written correspondance and what you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. If your contract is breached, providing material evidence will help in reasonably enforcing your contract in a court of law.