Please mRelease Me
Here’s an iPhone app that I never even thought to search for. It was only when one of my students, Miguel, said that he’d downloaded something similar that I even realised such a thing might exist.
I’m often asked about Model Release forms – the necessity for, and availability of – and usually someone suggests, quite reasonably, that you mightn’t have a form with you when you most need one (it’s not the kind of thing that every photographer keeps in their pocket on the off-chance).
But now, if you have your iPhone with you, then you also have the facility to create a legal and completely paperless Model Release form on the spot, which when completed can be emailed directly to all three parties involved (artist/photographer, model/participant, and witness). There are, I now realise, several such apps, but the one that I have found suits me best is “mRelease“.
mRelease does have a cost – £1.99 from the app store – but you’ll almost certainly save this in paper and printer ink in a fairly short time. There are free apps too of course, and naturally I gravitated towards these first. I downloaded PCM-Lite (Photographers Contract Maker) which is a free app and theoretically allows ten free contracts to be drawn up before the need to purchase the £1.99 full unlimited version. The idea presumably being that you can “try before you buy”. Sadly this app fell at the first hurdle (as it did for Miguel) in that it continually crashed, usually when scrolling down. Needless to say, I didn’t upgrade.
In addition, there’s also Easy Release (by Robert Giroux), and iRelease (by Fullframe Photographics) – both at £6.99 – which seems a bit pricey to me and if the sample graphics are anything to go by, don’t do anything very different to mRelease.
After the inital set-up on mRelease, where you fill in the default artist/photographer details, during which there’s limited guidance, the rest (actually drawing up the model release contract) is relatively straight-forward. I ran a few dummy contracts before trusting it sufficiently to write this post, all of which worked nicely. There’s the facility for under-age models to be represented and everything is sealed by an on-screen signature (easier on an iPad than the iPhone although a stylus helps). Once completed, the contracted can be previewed before sending off to the signees.
One thing to note is that here a Model Release is called an “Appearance Release“, a term which apparently also refers to participation in moving image productions. But there’s also the option of “Property Release” (for property, objects, artwork, animals etc), “Location Release” (use of location and permissions to bring crew and kit onto premises), and “Crew Release” (to use media recorded by other crew members, as well as their own appearance in your work).
I do wonder also if your prospective model might be more likely to “sign” on-screen than if being presented with a sheet of A4. The process is, after all, a bit more entertaining.
The event/contract stays on your phone until you delete it (in fact, it took me a while to work out HOW to delete them – turns out you just slide the entry to the left to reveal the “delete” option). More sample releases can be downloaded from www.mReleaseApp.com.
All in all, a nice little package for the price of a cappuccino.