Learn the model release and protection guidelines for Adobe Stock.

When to include a model release

Whether you do a photo shoot with professional or non-professional models or you take snapshots of friends and family members, you must obtain their permission before you publish the photos for commercial purposes. 

Ask yourself: Would the person recognize him/herself in my photo? If your answer is “Yes,” then you need to include a model release with your submission. Recognition can be based on external factors (for example, other recognizable people, unique clothing, equipment, or location) or personal factors (for example, tattoos or birthmarks). That’s why it’s always safer to get a model release, even for a close-up shot of a body part. If the model is nude or depicted in a sexual way but otherwise not recognizable, a model release is still required. The model release must include a copy of the model's photo ID to verify that the model is an adult.

The same rules apply for videos you upload that include actors, friends, family, or even random people. And if your video includes voices, you need a model release from the speaker.

You also need model releases for any illustrations or vector artwork based on real people or body parts. For example, you need a model release for a photograph that includes a face printed on a t-shirt or a photo portrait on a wall.  

Finally, don’t forget to include a model release for self-portraits. In this case, you must sign the model release as both the photographer and the model.

Requirements for a model release

You can download a model release template from the Adobe Stock Contributor portal, find it here, or route the model release for an electronic signature using Adobe Sign directly from the Contributor portal. The process is straight forward and there’s no need to download any software to make it work. For information, see Upload a model or property release

Download our detailed checklist to confirm that you are including all required information:

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Be aware of the following requirements:

  • To assure legibility, print all names in CAPITAL LETTERS 
  • The name of the photographer must be the same as the Adobe Stock account holder name.
  • Companies and agencies have the right to use different photographers/filmmakers. If you are submitting content as a company, your company name must appear next to the photographer or filmmaker’s name.
  • If the model is under 18 years of age, you must obtain the signature of the parent/legal guardian. Try to get both parents to sign the release—one as the parent or legal guardian and the other as the witness. This precaution reduces the risk that one parent will try to revoke the consent given by the other.
  • If you are a parent photographing/filming your child, you must print your name and sign twice: once as the artist and once as the parent. 
  • When photographing/filming a group, you need the names and signatures of each person on a separate release. For example, if you photograph/film the football team, the coach can’t sign for the whole group.
  • The witness cannot be the model or the photographer. A signature from a witness is not required if you use the Adobe Sign feature to collect electronic signatures.
  • All signatures must be dated and the dates must match.
  • The moderators cannot accept a release that appears stitched together digitally.
  • Model Releases must be submitted as JPEGs and titles must be fewer than 30 characters long.

Optional, but recommended:

  • Ethnicity of the model.
  • Information about the date and location of the recording session.
  • Visual reference image of the model. A visual reference is required if you use the Adobe Sign feature to collect electronic signatures.

Acceptable Release Forms

We accept model releases in many languages. We also accept forms obtained from other sources if they include all required information found in our checklist and are filled out properly. See above for downloadable Model release checklist.

Languages include:

  • Chinese
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Finish
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • TurkishEnglish
  • Ukrainian

Sources for release forms include:

  • 123rf 
  • Alamy
  • American Society of Media Photographers’ model, minor and property language and the ASMP Release app
  • Bigstock model, minor, and property releases 
  • Corbis 
  • Dreamstime 
  • Easy Release app, set to defaults 
  • Fotolia model, minor, and property releases
  • Getty Images and iStockphoto 
  • iD Release app 
  • LeaseMe app 
  • Shutterstock 
  • Top Model Release app 
  • VMRelease app 

For directions on how to create, reuse, and attach release forms to your content, see Upload a model or property release.

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