Release agreement or waiver for photography

It is important to obtain the consent of the people you plan to photograph, as their likeness can be considered as personal information.

According to legal and privacy experts, the best way to do so is to create a release or waiver—a written agreement that the subject of the photograph signs to indicate consent to the use of his or her likeness.

Here are key points to consider when drafting a release agreement:

Release Agreement or Waiver for Photography
Be specific Give as much detail as possible on how the photograph will be used and where it will appear. Include URLs for photographs that will be used online.
State the photograph's purpose Explain why the photograph is being taken and the strategy behind its use.
Establish a time limit (if applicable) If a photo is to be part of an image bank, establish a time limit for its use.
Include an opt-out clause (if applicable) If a photographed subject no longer wishes to have his or her likeness used before the established time limit expires, provide the name of someone the subject can contact.
Confirm that the subject can sign for himself or herself Include a statement that the subject is an adult who can sign a contract (often referred to as the age of majority) and has not given anyone exclusive right to use his or her name, portrait, picture or photograph.

Note: You should draft a unique release agreement for each situation. Always ensure that your release is approved by a lawyer before you use it; every situation is different, and the legal implications will vary accordingly.

Here are some sample releases or waiver forms that you can adapt for your particular needs.

Photo Banks

Rather than creating unique photographs for each communications project, many organizations create photo banks—collections of images available for multiple uses. This can be a valuable resource for your organization's communications activities.

If you are creating a photo bank, it's important that this be clearly explained in your release agreement. You may also need to register your photo bank with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat as a Personal Information Bank, for inclusion in Info Source.

For more information on how to protect personal information, contact the Information and Privacy Rights Administration at 613-954-2754.

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