10 Things Every Photography Business Should Know Before Shooting

10 Things Every Photography Business Should Know Before Shooting 

When a photographer or videographer is having a photoshoot, recording a documentary, or any activity that involves a human subject, a crucial element to remember, is that with whatever the planned use of the footage will be, permission from the subjects to use it must be obtained. 

CocoSign is a useful tool in such an instance, as it has the best photo and video release forms, that even someone new to the trade would be able to navigate and utilize. A signed release gives the content capturer permission and control over what one does with the final product. 

10 Things Every Photography Business Should Know Before Shooting

CocoSign is a well known platform that is used across 190 countries, and characterized by how simple and secure of an e-signature service it is. The templates are written and approved by legal experts, and are also easily customizable, in order to tailor one’s contracts to cover what they need it to. 

In any quality and standard photography release contract, there are a few elements a photography business should be well versed with and always take note of;

Purpose of the pictures

A photo release form is like a photo publication permission slip. It is ideal to have a signed copy on hand for reference, with the intended use of the photographs being expressly stated. Publishing captured photographs, without the subject having understood what the images will be used for, opens a photographer/photography business up to copyright infringement lawsuits and such. 

Consenting ages of signatories

A subject may sign on behalf of themselves and consent to the ownership of the content captured, being transferred to the photographer/business. However a minor cannot consent to that, and the permission a photographer/business must seek, is that of their guardian. 

Verified identification 

It is in the best interest of protecting the business, to verify and ensure that the identity of a subject is in fact their true one, as if it isn’t, the form becomes null and void. 


It is important that the language used in a release form is simple and unambiguous. A statement that the subject expressly gives the photographer permission to use their likeness, in any digital media format and in the way they intend to/see fit.

It must also be expressed clearly if there is a duration it is allowed to be used for, payment agreement (if any), and any other terms of use.  


A photographer/photography business does not exactly have transferable consent to alter/photoshop ones image, even though they have signed a prior release. However, this can be added into a release form, especially if one is using one that is easily customizable.

Ownership claim

Once a release form is signed, it is important that a subject understands that they have released ownership claims of the content. A  photography business should always endeavor to ensure that this is understood, as being diligent will avoid any copyright infringement claims, or use of their intellectual property in a way they haven’t approved of. For example, if a subject was to release the content early, or through channels it was not meant for. 

Work for hire

When a photographer takes a photo, in a sense they own that copyright, as it is their labor. However, in the instance that one is doing work for hire for a client, the form must indicate that ownership is being transferred to the client. This is also an easily customizable component. This ensures that the subject understands that the content will be owned by the client. 

Punitive action

Everyone has the right to the protection of recognizable parts of their persona not being publicized. By ‘parts of their persona,’ I refer to one’s photograph or likeness. As a photography business, publishing work can be a crucial part of how business is conducted, and if work is to be published without permission, the business can face demands for compensation, or even lawsuits. 


Use of animals as subjects may seem easier said than done. However, publishing a picture of say, a puppy, without signed consent of the owner, poses the same problem as publishing a picture of a person without their signed consent. Can still be punishable by law. 

Mutual understanding/agreement

Once you run the risk of getting hasty permission from a subject, their not lly understanding what they’re agreeing to can cause a world of problems. It is crucial that a photography business makes use of release forms that are straightforward and easy to understand, and before signing, a subject has read and agreed to all of it. 


It is in the best interest of a photography business to make use of release forms, whether the project is in ideo of photograph format. One can release a finished project, all for an unsuspecting person caught in the frame to demand they are removed from it. Or for a subject to change their mind and sue, if a formal agreement was never made. This form not only prevents such unfortunate misunderstandings, but also protects the integrity of the content, and the subject, as they consent to the conditions under which they are comfortable with their image being used in.