Digital model or property release forms make it easy for photographers to always have a release handy. Here’s how to setup a custom release form using an inexpensive application called Easy Release.

Designed for both Android and iOS devices.

Easy Release is designed for both Android and iOS devices. I have it installed on my iPad and Android phone. I prefer to use the larger iPad than my smaller Android phone. I keep it on my phone just in case I don’t have my iPad handy. As of this article date, Easy Release isn’t available for Windows devices such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro. As workaround you can install an Android Emulator to run Easy Release on your Windows device.

Customizing Easy Release

After installing Easy Release, clicking the small gear icon–located on the bottom right of the screen–will open the settings page. Enter your name in the Photographer’s section and add your signature.

Use your Logo for Branding

Easy Release will scaled down your image to fit in the appropriate area. A maximum height of 120 pixels by a maximum width of 1716 pixels will produce the best results. You can output a test release PDF to see how it looks/prints.

Release Legal Text Defaults

You can use the standard release supplied by Easy Release or you can add your own release form. Adding your own release is simple. Send yourself an email or add a text document to dropbox with the information you want in your release. It’s best to contact a lawyer in your area to help with a release or check out a release from Jack Reznicki and Ed Greenberg from the Copyright Zone. Once you have your release copied, tap Model and tap the + icon to create a custom version. Tap “Legal Text” and paste your form. Placeholders allows you to add custom fields to your release.

Release Management

I prefer not to delete releases after 30 days. I also like to save release PDF’s to Dropbox and iCloud as a backup.

When should the model sign the release?

Models I’ve had a working relationship with or paid commercial shoots have no problem signing the release ahead of time. I’ve built their trust and they know exactly what they are getting.  When working with a model for the first time–especially non-paying models–the legal stuff may get overwhelming. You can take a risk of them signing or not signing at the end of the shoot after they have seen the images. I was on a collaborative shoot once where the model signed my release but refused to sign another photographers because she didn’t like his images. A happy compromise could be to shoot a set of images, review them then have them sign the release form before continuing.

Send an Email to Both you and the Model

Both Photographer and Model should receive a copy of the signed release form. Easy Release makes this simple. Tap on “Ready to Send”underneath the model’s name. Tap the send icon in the top right and select email.  Send an email to Both Photographer and Model.

One additional note on the release–keep it forever. This isn’t like certain records that you can throw out after a certain amount of time. You will need the release if you ever want to license the image, but– more importantly– you’ll need it to defend yourself if you are ever sued.