5 Business Forms & Photography Contracts Every Photographer Needs

Jun 18, 2012

Topic: Contracts, Business
Time Investment: 5 Minutes
Suggested Product: All-in-One Contract Bundles


Running a business is serious.

It’s not just for fun (although it IS fun!)

It can have some serious legal complications that none of us really want to mess with right?  With anything in life, we are all people.  Whether we’ve been in business a day or fifty years, we cannot control circumstances and others around us.  By defining relationships and policies, you are then freed up to focus on the fun part of photography – taking the shots!

Here’s a rundown of some business forms and Photography Contracts that every photographer needs, beginner or experienced! 


Portrait Agreement

At the very core of the client/photographer relationship is the portrait agreement.  This should outline the very basics such as session date, payment, cancellation policy, etc.  Without this, the expectations and policies of the relationship are not defined…leaving the situation on a precarious ledge – it could either fall towards good or bad. I’d prefer to stay on the side of good!

Model Release

This form is typically signed by the subject of the photograph (or parent/legal guardian if they are a minor) giving the photographer permission to photograph and display their photographs.


Print Release (If give digital files)

It’s our job as the photographer to educate our clients on their rights when receiving digital files. What restrictions are you going to place on them? What privileges are you going to give?  Most clients want an unlimited print release but are often confused with calling it a copyright. Become educated yourself and in return educate your client’s about the difference between a print and copyright release.


Independent Contractor Agreement

These agreements are imperative when pairing up with anyone in the business (i.e. second shooter, graphic designer, assistant, etc).  An independent contractor is a person that provides goods and/or services to the photographer under the terms in this agreement.  Unlike having an employee on staff, this independent contractor doesn’t work regularly for the photographer but on as a “job for hire” basis.  Just like with clients, outlining the expectations and policies in an agreement help to set the relationship up for smooth sailing.


Copyright Notice

Protecting copyright is very important to artists! Most clients could care less about copyright; if they purchase digital files, they just want to print! Ensure that you have the above-mentioned print release, but include a copyright notice (either separate or within the portrait agreement) to put your clients on notice that copyright laws DO apply.

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