Top 20 TheLawTog Articles for Your Photography Business

Dec 28, 2014

Topic: Business
Time Investment: 35 Minutes
Suggested Product:  All-in-One Contract Bundles

As we wind down the year here is a listing of the top 20 TheLawTog blog posts to help you get your business in gear for the New Year!   TheLawTog is the legal resource for photographers with photography contracts, live webinars, online education and exclusive e-mail tips.


1. How to set up (or maintain) a photography business

Setting up business is so super important! We need to make sure you’re on the right path!  This high-level check list is great for newer or advanced photography businesses to use as a barometer for making sure you’re on the path to success.


2. Is a digital contract legit? (and how to use them!)

Digital contracts can provide great efficiency and cost-effective measures for your business. Let’s take look at whether they are legal and some tips on delivery!!


3. Making your photography biz more efficient by going paperless

As a mother of three and running two businesses I was forced to find efficiency measures (such as quicker blogging, providing tools for clients to talk about me , getting my shots as close as possible in camera, and working on the go ).  Another great time and money saver was to go paperless.  Here are the major tips that I can provide to maximize efficiency, while minimizing costs.  

Most of these are physical online capabilities that I roll into one single link to send to my clients. By providing the client guide (investment information), payment option and digital contract it reduces the number of communications, potential for lost paperwork and time. 


4. Managing clients with your words

More than likely, if you’re reading this, you are a professional photographer and work intimately with the ins-and-outs of what is entailed in every step of the client/photographer relationship daily.  Clients don’t.  Even if they come to you yearly for the last ten years, your business policies have probably changed at some point.  How would they know if you don’t tell them?


5. 5 ways to avoid photography client conflicts

 Client conflict is bound to happen or try to rear its ugly head during the course of your photography career.  We don’t need to let it.  We can work together to ensure that it stays away or at least alleviate some of the ugly results that may arise out of conflict.   In business we want to keep the ocean as smooth as possible but not be a doormat to our clients either.  Implement these five ways to avoid conflicts with your photography clients to be able to stand firm on policies but also offer a great customer experience.


6. Should I hire a lawyer or cpa for my photography business?

Many times small business owners, especially photographers, are erroneously told to just “hire a CPA” to set up your business.  It is actually recommended to seek out the advisement of both types of professionals, lawyer and CPA.  As you can see from the definitions here, both are licensed but are experts on different matters completely.  


7. If I imitate a photography session is that copyright infringement?

I came across a great location and gained permission from the property owner to use it.  A well-known photographer has used that location for a few years.  I have had a wooden swing and this location is the perfect place to put it up and use it.  This same photographer also uses a wooden swing there.  Would I be infringing on her copyright if I use a similar wooden swing in the same location that she does?


8. Top mistakes photographers make (but you don’t have to!)

Not everyone goes into business having all the answers. Okay I’m sure there is no one.  If you are – simply delete and go on your way!  Ah good you’re still here.  I figured you would be.Even if you’ve grown up with a business owner parent, or better yet a photography business owner parent/mentor – there are still things you need to know.  No matter what stage of business you’re in there is something to learn.   


9. Do I need a DBA for a new brand under my photography business?

I am a portrait photographer who specializes in children and babies but I want to add a new brand for boudoir. How can I do this?  Do I need to set up another DBA with the state under my current company?


10. Legal sales tools photographers need to make money and protect themselves!

 Protecting yourself during the sales process is essential to ensuring the sale is made and money is delivered. Here is a list of legal sales tools that photographers should use to protect their business and the sale.

11. The most successfully failed marketing idea ever

A few months ago I marketed a commercial head shot event.  It was an open-house at the studio – totally last minute and thrown together.
Really not something I’d like to admit but I am BECAUSE you will see that how I handled it later made it successful. So even if you’ve only halfway approached marketing activities there is still time to save them.
Not a single person showed up. I was okay with it because I had planned to work at studio all day anyways. I was only out my “marketing time” at this point – since all of the backdrops, lights, etc. were already in my ownership.   So on the surface, since I sat in my office working away, on the outside it looked like a failure right?
Wrong. It was more successful than any facebook ads or social media marketing I could’ve done. All year. Combined.

12. If I own copyright to an image, do I still need permission to post?

I am a portrait photographer and I have a website where I maintain online galleries.  In my viewpoint this is not an ad, merely an art exhibit; I do not view them as being used in a commercial way. My contract has a clause in it stating that I can use the images from that session for self-promotion. However, since I am a newbie, I have a included photographs that I took while I was building my portfolio and before I started charging and using a contract. Now I am wondering if this is illegal for me to display these images that I don’t have a contract/release for.


13. 5 tips to successful portfolio building (even if you’re not a newbie photographer!)

Portfolio building is a great way to get your photography business off the ground, propelled into offering a new type of photography or simply getting yourself out of a rut by getting creative.   However, in order for portfolio building to be successful for you there are come key things to understand. 


14. Make more money without raising your photography prices

Sometimes you feel you just can’t increase your photography prices anymore.  It feels like the bubble has about burst and you just can’t do it.  After you’ve done your proper market analysis and have eliminated the idea of fear holding you back – move to looking at how you can make more money with what you already have instead of increasing prices more.


15. How to cancel a photography contract

It is never fun having business walk out the door – but sometimes it needs to happen, or you want it to happen!   We are all using a photography contract to outline the responsibilities of each party, you and the Client.   

Photography contracts are not only legal tools for entering into a business transaction, but they may be the very thing that is needed to sever one.  Canceling a contract is a very real process that many are not aware of and unfortunately have to go through.  

Here are some steps and the applicable legal tools needed to complete your end result!


16. Is there a difference between “commercial” and “portrait” photography? (plus pricing info!)

We are talking two different animals here. Completely different species altogether – with varying benefits and drawbacks to each.  Each also come with their own host of legal implications if not handled properly.  Commercial photography can include portrait photographers who are requested to do head-shots, vendor shots and other marketing related set ups.


17. A guide to using photography contract template forms

Contract formation is one of the most important skills a small business owner can develop.  And one of the main skills you will probably need when mastering this skill is understanding certain legal terms when you come across them.

As we discovered in the article Haggling and Bickering: The Need of Concrete Service contracts, the most important aspect of contract formation, for most businesses, is the choice of terms and conditions. That principle is just as true for those using form contracts, such as those that may be obtained from TheLawTog. Forms are a fantastic starting point for contract drafting, but, unless you have the most unvaried business in history, no form that you can obtain is going to fit your business exactly.


18. How to put a stop to image theft

There are few things more frustrating to a photographer than having your work stolen — and yet, in this Internet age, it happens all the time. When the day comes that you click through to an article or blog post and surprisingly see your own images staring back at you, without credit or link or permission, you’ll be outraged like thousands of other photographers have been before you. But what can you do? Is there any way to truly protect your work? And when someone does steal your stuff, what are your options? Do you contact the person? Pursue legal action?

To help answer those questions, here’s a look at strategies and tips for stopping image theft


19. 10 reasons I’m switching from discs to flashdrives

Flash drive are the wave of the future! Really! (Aren’t sure whether to offer digital files, check out this post Embracing the Digital Age or Not?). Making this jump is exciting and completely new!  So take a gander and feel free to leave in the comments why you want to switch to flash drives!


20. Accounting tricks for photography businesses

For small businesses, organizing accounts and keeping track of expenditures, benefits and income will reduce the amount of stress and frustration owners face during tax season. Even if a company does not yet have the funds to hire an accountant, limiting the complications of filing taxes isn’t impossible.  Here are 3 accounting tips for photographers (and relevant for other small business owners!)

Explore more