Invasion of Privacy Laws Require Amateur Photographer to Get Model’s Release

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“If I either take pictures or video people with my camera can I sell the video/pictures without having verbal consent or written consent from them?”

Generally speaking, you should have a signed model’s release form before you attempt to do anything commercial with somebody’s likeness, whether it is a still picture or video, or you run the risk of running afoul of privacy laws, and a lawsuit for invasion of privacy. There are a few extremely narrow exceptions, such as those having to do with newsworthy events, or a public figure, but they are narrow enough, and tricky enough, that unless you are a professional who really knows what they are doing (in which case you probably wouldn’t be asking this question), it’s not worth the risk.