Tell me about licensing images of street photography

The other question that I had relates- I took a ton of street photos in LA, NYC, and Chicago – some seem to be moving in a thematic direction… possibly a book .. ??? I  did not ask all these strangers for releases. So this means no commercial stock as well?

While I have your attention- letting you know that I have extreme challenges technically. Anything with numbers & remembering- So I’m bound to ask questions that may be obvious to others. My brain’s just cut different. I learn by repetition.


Yes, the images without releases of people on the street means no commercial value for you for a stock house. They can be licensed under editorial use though.  As far as you creating a book, if the book is created for artistic purposes or a portfolio, there is less chance of a disgruntled model winning a lawsuit.

Keep in mind anyone can sue you in the States for any reason.  I am going to work on teaching you how to shoot and license images so that you have a better chance of winning a lawsuit by being in line with laws as much as possible.  (Some laws have large gray areas so we will do the best we can.)

Keep the questions coming. I love to help you learn. If one-on-one is the best for you, then I am all in!  Most people do learn best by repetition.  I will do what I can to state the answers in different ways.


Do I need a model release every time I start a new shoot?

I made a short film for a nonprofit in the past to help them raise money.  I got release forms for that. Since then I’ve been taking photos of them with the idea of making a calendar. The supervisor thinks the release forms for the film are good enough- since it’s hard to wrangle up all their signatures. I love working with them so I hope that’s ok. I’ll have to ask them about the stock photos.

You are welcome to use any nonprofit. One that you have worked with before is a great way to get started.

As for model releases, I can appreciate that they are challenging to get. For a stockhouse to be able to use an image commercially, the model release has to be signed on the day of the shoot or shortly after and must refer to that day of shooting. Even if you have three days of shooting with the same model, you would still need to get three signed model release. One for each day.

Now, you only need model releases if the image is going to be use for commercial/advertising purposes. If you are using the image to educate people about the non-profit, the the images are considered editorial and there is no need for a model release. When the image is uploaded to a stock house, with no release it may only be used for editorial licensing. There is less money in editorial licensing.

It is up to you to figure out how the nonprofit is going to use the image. Advertising or editorial. We will go more into this very soon. In the mean time, if I have created more questions for you, please let me know so that I can clear them up.