What is a Photo Print Release and How to Write Your Own (From a Professional Photographer)

Print releases are an important part of using photographs in professional publications and sometimes shops will require one in order to print your photographs. They provide legal protection for photographers, publications, and the subjects in them. Writing a print release for photos can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. This simple how-to will discuss the basics of a print release, the importance of having a signed release from the photographer, the process of writing one, along with the simple release I personally use for my lifestyle photography work at

What is a Print Release?

A print release is a contract between the photographer and the subject of the photograph. In my case, the “subject” or “client” is typically the person/people and/or products I take photos of. It grants permission for the photographer to use the image in professional publications or other forms of media and gives written instructions and consent on how the photographs taken can be used. The release is typically signed by both the photographer (and sometimes the subject), and includes details about the purpose of the photo, along with the rights that are granted to the photographer and subject.

Why is it Important to Have a Signed Release?

Having a signed print release is essential for both the photographer and the subject. It provides legal protection for both parties, as it outlines the rights of the photographer and the subject. Without a signed release, the photographer could be held liable for any copyright infringement or other legal issues that arise from the photo. The subject can also be held liable for any misrepresentation or unauthorized use of the photo. In my case with, I give clear limitations on how the photos can be used in regard to sharing and printing.

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Simple How-To for Writing a Print Release

  1. Clearly identify who the “photographer” is and who the “client” or “subject” is.
  2. Outline the purpose of the photos and the rights that are being granted by the photographer. This should include a statement that outlines the acceptable and unacceptable ways to use the photos.
  3. Make sure to identify who owns the copyrights of the images per USC Title 17 (US Copyright Law).
  4. Make sure to include contact information and any other relevant details so other parties can contact the photographer directly if needed.

Wrap Up

Print releases are an important part of using photographs in professional publications. They provide legal protection for both the photographer and the subject. Writing a print release for photos can be a straightforward process, and is essential for any photographer who wants to use their photos in a professional capacity and can also be critical for clients who want to use/print their photos.

You can use my print release at as a template for creating your own!

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