We get how scary these times are. We also know how extremely overwhelming and unknown trying to run a photography business is - even when NOT in pandemic.
It's okay. We have your back with this timeline view of the legal contracts needed in your photography business.
But before we get to this, understand that I, Rachel Brenke (founder of TheLawTog), and the entire team are not just bringing this information to you because we're lawyers.
We are sharing this as small business owners, just like you.
I am willing to bet you'd like to avoid issues and spend your energy on doing what you love - photography. That's our entire goal here. Prevent issues, set yourself up for legal protection and reduce miscommunications with clients.
The black-and-white in this photo shows the core contracts recommended. I've included some Covid-19 specific contracts since...we don't know how long we're still going to be doing this thing!
- Services Contract - This contract document is to be signed between you and your client. It creates the legal relationships, sets expectations and provides a central place for you and the client to refer to throughout the relationship.
- Model Release - A model release is a legal release typically signed by the subject of a photograph granting permission for use of their publicity rights in your marketing. This form also releases any claims the client may have to future compensation for use of images. Our download includes two model releases: General for use with adults and minors and Limited for limited image use.
- Print Release - The print release form is readily customizable to be included with digital file orders to outline the do’s and don'ts that the client can do with your art. This gives the client the permission to print only – does not give permissions for commercial or other uses. This does reemphasize the copyright ownership retention by you, the photographer.
- Day-of COVID-19 Questionnaire - Help you screen clients for COVID-19 prior to your session. These quick and easy questions will alert you to potential COVID-19 exposure.
- Assumption of Risk Liability Waiver - By signing the document, your client is assuming the risk of doing a session/event during Covid-19, agrees not to sue you (or your company), for past or future injuries or damages.
- Release of Liability – COVID Specific - A Release of Liability Form is a legal document between the Releasor (person promising not to sue), and the Releasee (person or company who is potentially liable). By signing the document, your client agrees not to sue you (or your company), for past or future injuries or damages. This single document can give you peace of mind by eliminating the unknowns.
- Final Sale - This is for use at the sales session to protect the sale. This can be used to prevent any issues with clients amending or attempting to cancel order after it has been placed. It should list your client’s product, quantity, price, and description, designation of shipment or delivery method of product, and also language to protect for: risk of loss, balances due, taxes, warranty, and final sale notice to client.
- Product Delivery Acknowledgement - This agreement is to be signed by clients upon acceptance of products. It binds and reminds the client that by accepting the products all sales are final and no refunds will be given.
- Payment Plan Installment Contract -Use payment plans as an “ace in the sleeve” way to make larger sales with your clients. By having a payment plan contract, authorization to charge, and guidance – you’ll be set to start taking larger amounts of money while servicing your clients.
- Second Photographer Agreement - From assignment duties and use of equipment to copyrights and portfolio usage, the complexities of teaming up with a second photographer are intimidating. At the same time, if you’ve photographed a wedding or large-scale event, you know this partnership is crucial to your success. If you plan to hire (or be hired as) a second photographer for an event, such as a wedding, it is essential to complete a Second Shooter Contract.
- Third-Party Payer Document - When a party other than your main client wants to pay, it is important to get authorization for payment and to ensure that the third-party payer understands their rights and responsibilities solely as a payer, and not as a party to the contract
- Rescheduling Addendum - Need to reschedule a photography event or session? Be sure to do it legally with a lawyer-drafted addendum. Simply fill it out, execute with client and attach to your original contract!
- Cancellation of Contract - Need to cancel a contract during COVID? No problem! This contract is to serve to terminate a previously existing contract and terminate the relationship in any future capacity (Until a new contract is signed).
So, I'm supposed to just listen to a lawyer?
Nope! Although the years of experience and seeing photography businesses crumble without contracts should be enough. Take a look at what our community members have said about being legit and protected.
- Does a lawyer have to draft it? No, but don't you want to avoid issues rather than pay to clean them up later? Lawyers are trained and experienced in proper contract drafting.
- How does a template form save me money? Most lawyers aren't awesome photographers with actual photography experience like us. :) Here's a longer explanation.
- How long should my contract be? Quality over quantity, my friend.
- How much does it cost to get a contract drafted? In many areas, just a main services contract can run $800+ (versus our All-in-One bundles which include contract, model release, and print release for $399)