The answer to this question can be reached by asking a series of questions about the subject and the use of the photograph. A model release is needed from each person whose likeness appears in a photograph that is used for advertising or trade (business) purposes when the person is identifiable. Look at the photograph and the person(s) in it and ask these questions:
If the answers to question #2 and question #3 are both No, then you do notneed a release.
Otherwise, the answer is that you do need a model release.
Eighteen is generally legal age across the USA. However, it is an individual state determination, and we do not have the legal stats on each state. If you want to know the answer for any state, we suggest that you call the state attorney general, state solicitor’s office, or whatever your state calls its legal arm. You can also call local attorneys, as they could not pass the bar exam in their state without knowing the answer to that question.
A safe course is to use ASMP’s recommended release forms. You are well protected because we use the words “of full age,” which covers you in any state. (“Full age” and “legal age” mean the same thing in legal jargon. “Full” allows you to keep the word “legal” off the paper. Some folks fear the word legal when they see it on paper.)
When the subject is not of legal age, you must get the signature of at least one parent or legal guardian on the release. Getting the signatures of both parents is better, so that one can not seek to rescind the consent of the other.
The two differences are the need for model releases (see an earlier answer) and money. Generally, photographs used for advertising are worth substantially more money to everyone involved than photographs used for editorial purposes.