Section 2.11 Photo Releases

If you’re planning to add photographs to your publication or web page, and those photos are of people, you must obtain a signed release from the people in the pictures. If the faces can’t be recognized, because they are too small, turned away from the camera, or blocked by another person or object, no release is necessary. If the person is recognizable, a signed release is necessary.

Do not rely on a verbal okay to use a photo, particularly if the picture is of a child. Get written permission from the child’s legal guardian.

You can use the University of Maine’s release form or, if the photos are 4-H related, UMaine Extension’s 4-H release form. Both forms are available at Release (Photo, etc.) Forms.

The most convenient time to get a release signed is when participants sign up for an event or program, before any pictures are taken. Make it a practice. Keep all your signed release forms in an easy-to-find file.

Sometimes you don’t need a release, even if the people in the photos are recognizable. If your photograph is “news” — as opposed to “promotion” — and the photograph was taken at a public event or gathering, there is no need for a release. For example, you don’t need a release if you’re submitting a picture of a 4-H member at a public event to your local newspaper as part of a news story. However, you do need a signed release if you’re going to use that same photograph in a newspaper ad promoting 4-H and Extension.