What is a property release?

Taking pictures of people and certain places in public is legal, of course. However, using these images commercially (for advertisement, promotional use etc.) is a different story!

A property release is necessary if the subject of your image includes:

  • Identifiable private building such as a home or a business
  • Intellectual property including brands, logos, trademarks, product designs, or artwork
  • Identifiable public buildings, bridges, or landmarks that are protected by a copyright

Buildings and Places

Generally any building that is in the main focus of the image requires a property release. If within the context of the property can be identified (e.g. special characteristics on a building), we require a release for commercial use. We always encourage that you research locations prior to taking photos–it is always better to be safe rather than being sorry, and having a release will increase your chances of selling!

An image can pass without a release if the property is generic with no branding of the business, no identifiables such as address, phone number, email etc. or if the image is of a cityscape/skyline.


Photo examples of buildings that require a release:

image by @lorenzoviolone

image by @anmano


Here are examples where property releases are not required:

Skylines, cityscapes, and landscapes

Groups of buildings with not particular focus or outdoor photos with no recognizable structures will not require a property release.

image by @OleBB

image by @mokafoto


Intellectual Property

A release is required for images featuring intellectual property like logos, brand names, and designs like products or artwork in order to sell under a commercial license.

Logos and Brands

This release is required for logos that are highly visible, the main focus and are the main component within the image. Releases for such brands are difficult to obtain so it is recommended to submit photos that have been retouched to show no brand visibility. Images will not be cleared for commercial use without a release but will still very likely be able to be used for editorial purposes.

Photo examples of brands, logos, and other trademarks that will require a release:

image by @luthfiazif

image by @diaryofzach

 image by @zanthia

image by @livefeed

image by @ltiongson

Here are examples where property releases are not required:

Non-branded items

Images with items or products that are generic with no branding, trademarks or logos will not require a property release.

image by @FarhanHussain

image by @Lichtathleten

image by @Luffffffffffy


Artwork and Design

An image featuring artwork needs a release when it is a protected design piece or it is an artwork by any artist and is the main subject matter of the image. Artwork can be accepted without a release if it is not specifically protected and not a main subject matter of the image.

Photo examples of artwork that require a release:

Mona Lisa artwork

image by @ellenesimon

Artwork at the Vincent Van Gogh Museum


Here are examples where property releases are not required:

Artwork that is not center of focus

You are not required to get a property release if the artwork is not the main subject of the photo or is in the background of the photo. 


For questions or more information please contact us at 


You can find more information on this subject on our blog


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