10 Tips To Include In Your Contract

Ten things every contract should have

You picked up your camera, you’re starting to get clients, and now you realize this is a business and you need a photography contract! Contracts are a must have for making sure both you and your client know what is expected of your services. It is SO important to review your contract and clauses with a lawyer to make sure you a legally covered. My contracts are evolving as I grow in this business. Here are some things I found useful to include in my contract:

1) State Your Purpose Clearly

The most important thing in a contract is making sure both you and your client are aware of all of the clauses and intentions of the contract. It is important to capitalize contract clauses (i.e. “PHOTOGRAPHER” or “CLIENT) to be as coherent and clear to the promises. If there isn’t mutual assent on all the agreed upon clauses then essentially, the clause is unenforceable. Therefore, you want everything to be written in a clear format (i.e. no clauses that are different sizes, different fonts, or colors).

2) Independent Contractors

Many photographers hire a second photographer as an independent contractor to your brand. It is important to include in your contract that the second photographer is an independent contractor. That way you will not be responsible if they do not perform their job.

3) Rescheduling/Cancellation

Whether the weather has been awful the past few weeks or your bride cancels her wedding day, it is so important to address rescheduling. A Force Majeure clause states what will happen in the event you are sick, the wedding gets canceled because of a natural disaster etc… Spell it out, think of all the possible scenarios that could happen. For me, a new contract is warranted if the date changes. Also, I have a 50% nonrefundable retainer to hold my services in case something comes up or a bride cancels. It’s so important to specify this so you don’t get stuck in a tricky situation.

4) Payment

Payment is something that needs to be clearly written in your contract. Always spell out payment, do not go off an oral agreement. While yes, oral agreements are enforceable (unless subject to the statue of frauds), it is just easier to write everything down so that both parties understand what is going on. Also, you always want to establish consideration on a promise. For photography, this is a down deposit. For me, I require a nonrefundable 50% retainer for my services. By spelling it out it solidifies the formation of a contract. Just because you sign a contract does not mean it is enforceable. If no consideration is present, then it is unenforceable.

5) Termination Clause

You want to include a termination clause that specifies what will happen in the event that one of the parties terminates the contract (i.e. does the wedding couple owe you money? if so, how much?) Put in the governing law and jurisdiction as well. This is a staple in all contracts to have in case there is a lawsuit. Yes, this isn’t completely necessary since subject matter jurisdiction can still be determined without one, but it’s always better to spell things out.

6) Delivery Timeline

Every bride is SO excited about her images. It’s important to state your return timeline for your services. This way, your client knows when to expect their images back. This saves a lot of headaches or pressure on you. For my engagements, my return time is 1-2 weeks and my wedding return time is 4-6 weeks. Most of the time, I return images sooner, but having this in my contracts allows me a good amount of time to edit images.

7) Lighting/Cooperation

As photographers, we chase golden hour and schedule our clients around times that will make them look the best. Sometimes we get stuck inside florescent bridal suites, dark churches, or gloomy days. It’s important for your client to know that lighting does change your images and that you will do your best to capture their moment. It’s also important to educate your clients on other guests taking photos and using flash. Be sure to note that you are not responsible for missing a moment if someone’s flash is going off or family is in the way with their phones. If they are displeased with your work, it’s important for them to know that you can’t control the light or people interfering with your duties. Another thing to include is a cooperation clause. Your job is to make your client aware that you can only capture their day if everyone is cooperating. If the bridal party is wasted before photos, it makes it harder to capture their images, you should not be responsible for people not cooperating.

8) Meal Policy

For weddings state your meal policy if working over 6 hours. I always say a meal for myself and my assistant.

9) Copyright

Make sure you have a detailed copyright agreement to ensure that all of your photos stay your photos. Be sure to mention crediting when posting on social media. Also, clearly specify what printing and sharing rights mean.

10) Review With Your Client

Walk through the contract with your client to make sure they assent to all the clauses and are familiar with what to expect. I love doing this during my bridal consults. It’s a great time to answer any questions they may have and make sure your client understands¬†clearly what they are getting for your service!

 

Always review your contract with a lawyer to make sure your contract is legally written and fair for both you and your client. These are just some suggestions that I include in my contract.

January 12, 2018

10 Tips To Include In Your Contract

Ten things every contract should have

You picked up your camera, you’re starting to get clients, and now you realize this is a business and you need a photography contract! Contracts are a must have for making sure both you and your client know what is expected of your services. It is SO important to review your contract and clauses with a lawyer to make sure you a legally covered. My contracts are evolving as I grow in this business. Here are some things I found useful to include in my contract:

1) State Your Purpose Clearly

The most important thing in a contract is making sure both you and your client are aware of all of the clauses and intentions of the contract. It is important to capitalize contract clauses (i.e. “PHOTOGRAPHER” or “CLIENT) to be as coherent and clear to the promises. If there isn’t mutual assent on all the agreed upon clauses then essentially, the clause is unenforceable. Therefore, you want everything to be written in a clear format (i.e. no clauses that are different sizes, different fonts, or colors).

2) Independent Contractors

Many photographers hire a second photographer as an independent contractor to your brand. It is important to include in your contract that the second photographer is an independent contractor. That way you will not be responsible if they do not perform their job.

3) Rescheduling/Cancellation

Whether the weather has been awful the past few weeks or your bride cancels her wedding day, it is so important to address rescheduling. A Force Majeure clause states what will happen in the event you are sick, the wedding gets canceled because of a natural disaster etc… Spell it out, think of all the possible scenarios that could happen. For me, a new contract is warranted if the date changes. Also, I have a 50% nonrefundable retainer to hold my services in case something comes up or a bride cancels. It’s so important to specify this so you don’t get stuck in a tricky situation.

4) Payment

Payment is something that needs to be clearly written in your contract. Always spell out payment, do not go off an oral agreement. While yes, oral agreements are enforceable (unless subject to the statue of frauds), it is just easier to write everything down so that both parties understand what is going on. Also, you always want to establish consideration on a promise. For photography, this is a down deposit. For me, I require a nonrefundable 50% retainer for my services. By spelling it out it solidifies the formation of a contract. Just because you sign a contract does not mean it is enforceable. If no consideration is present, then it is unenforceable.

5) Termination Clause

You want to include a termination clause that specifies what will happen in the event that one of the parties terminates the contract (i.e. does the wedding couple owe you money? if so, how much?) Put in the governing law and jurisdiction as well. This is a staple in all contracts to have in case there is a lawsuit. Yes, this isn’t completely necessary since subject matter jurisdiction can still be determined without one, but it’s always better to spell things out.

6) Delivery Timeline

Every bride is SO excited about her images. It’s important to state your return timeline for your services. This way, your client knows when to expect their images back. This saves a lot of headaches or pressure on you. For my engagements, my return time is 1-2 weeks and my wedding return time is 4-6 weeks. Most of the time, I return images sooner, but having this in my contracts allows me a good amount of time to edit images.

7) Lighting/Cooperation

As photographers, we chase golden hour and schedule our clients around times that will make them look the best. Sometimes we get stuck inside florescent bridal suites, dark churches, or gloomy days. It’s important for your client to know that lighting does change your images and that you will do your best to capture their moment. It’s also important to educate your clients on other guests taking photos and using flash. Be sure to note that you are not responsible for missing a moment if someone’s flash is going off or family is in the way with their phones. If they are displeased with your work, it’s important for them to know that you can’t control the light or people interfering with your duties. Another thing to include is a cooperation clause. Your job is to make your client aware that you can only capture their day if everyone is cooperating. If the bridal party is wasted before photos, it makes it harder to capture their images, you should not be responsible for people not cooperating.

8) Meal Policy

For weddings state your meal policy if working over 6 hours. I always say a meal for myself and my assistant.

9) Copyright

Make sure you have a detailed copyright agreement to ensure that all of your photos stay your photos. Be sure to mention crediting when posting on social media. Also, clearly specify what printing and sharing rights mean.

10) Review With Your Client

Walk through the contract with your client to make sure they assent to all the clauses and are familiar with what to expect. I love doing this during my bridal consults. It’s a great time to answer any questions they may have and make sure your client understands¬†clearly what they are getting for your service!

 

Always review your contract with a lawyer to make sure your contract is legally written and fair for both you and your client. These are just some suggestions that I include in my contract.

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