FAQ: Who should sign the photography contract?

Mar 24, 2022

 This is a popular question in TheLawTog Facebook group.  Here are a few articles to help you.

Should you sign your contract before sending to a client for their signature? 
Sometimes what is legally necessary and what is practically advisable are different, as in the case of who should sign a contract first. Let’s cut to the chase on the question of whether you should sign your contract BEFORE sending to a client for their signature?

Pregnant and Underage – Who Signs The Contract?
When mom and dad are both minors (under 18) and they have a newborn it can make for a potentially confusing situation when it comes to who signs contracts and model releases for a newborn session. What you should do to protect yourself legally may require additional steps beyond what you might have intuited.

What if my client doesn’t want to sign a model release form?
Client sends an inquiry.  You respond excitedly. They pay the retainer/deposit. Just waiting on contract. You think all is good – then the client throws you a curveball. They are questioning the model release form. What do you do? Let’s check out what a model release is, when you need one, and how to deal with this situation to help yourself and the client!

Do wedding guests need to sign a photography model release form?
The bride and groom signed the model release so all is fine right? Wrong.  The Bride and Groom can’t sign for their guests.  So you spiral into these questions: “How do I know when you will need a model release for a certain photograph? What about when there are lots of people that could potentially be in the photograph? Do I have to get a release for each one?” Let's dive in and answer your questions! 

Couple signs. Dad pays. Who is my client?
As the business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure every party understands their responsibilities, obligations, and the benefits they will receive. Being prepared to approach these situations, especially when it comes to wedding photography, is essential as multiple hands get put into the photography contract pot and can stir up issues.

Can I charge my client for not signing a model release?
If we are unable to use images, we can’t market, right? Therefore, and it is logical to believe, that if a photographer is going to lose a potential marketing opportunity, compensation should be made.  Legally, you are able to do so. But should you? Let's discuss!

Should photography contracts be signed with your name or business name?
How you sign your business contracts is extremely important because you need to show your clients and the world that your personal life and business operations are entirely separate things. Here we break down the importance of having a formal process when it comes to client contracts!

Recommended Digital Contract Signing Tools
Digital contracts are everything now.  They can be life. They can give you back your life.  They provide efficiency, safety, and prevention. Let's discuss the benefits of using digital contracts and the services that TheLawTog® recommends.

Who is my wedding photography client if someone else pays?
When you book a wedding it is automatically assumed the bride and groom are your client right? Wrong. Sort of.  It is important to understand who the actual [legal] client is so that your business keeps walking the straight and narrow by delivering to whom you owe a responsibility.

Contracts 101: Overview of Photography Contracts
A good contract is essential for a great photographer/client relationship. Truly, by clearly articulating the duties and obligations of each party and outlining the expectations of both parties, you can be rest assured that everyone will be on the same page! However, you, as a photographer, must understand the elements of a legal contract and how these elements interact. 

Contracts 102: Overview of Photography Contracts
Contracts 102 breaks down not just what is in the contract, but who you are contracting with and who has rights as under the contract! This article talks about third party rights (think contracting with mom & dad for their daughter’s wedding photography) and whether minors can enter into contracts. 


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