Photographers have a lot on their plate: designing, marketing, editing, conceptualizing. The list goes on. Amidst this commotion, legal planning is often neglected. For professional photographers, having everything on paper is a must-have. With dozens of clients each month, you face plenty of risks should any customers renege on your spoken agreement. Here are ten things you should make sure to have in your photography contract:
1. Your Business’ and Client’s Information
First and foremost, double-check that you have both parties’ information, including contact details and names for you and your company. It may sound insignificant and petty, but in today’s world, when individuals make agreements by text or social media, you can never be too cautious.
2. Timeline and Scope of Work
Your contract must specify the extent of the services you’ll be delivering, as well as a timeline. Include a timetable so that everyone involved knows what, when, where, and how your services will begin, conclude, and what you’ll be filming.
3. Shooting Times
Regardless of when the customer arrives, shooting time begins at the specified start time and finishes at the scheduled end time. If a customer arrives late, the shoot will begin at the agreed-upon time and end no later than the agreed-upon time.
4. Reimbursement of Expenses Incurred
This is where you should mention that there may be additional costs not included in the initial quotation, such as parking, props for a fashion or product shot, or supplies for a food shoot. It’s critical to include this so you don’t have to deduct money from your paycheck to meet these expenses.
Legal ownership is an issue that many clients are unfamiliar with, and they may believe they have the copyright to your photos because they paid for the shoot. The copyright of your work, including all photographs you send to the customer, should be explicitly stated in your copyright section.
6. Liability Limits
You should not be held liable if you cannot execute according to the contract’s limits due to accident, illness, an “act of God,” or any circumstance beyond your control. However, you should try to reschedule the shoot as soon as possible. If that’s out of the question, it’s only reasonable to give a prompt refund.
7. Fee Breakdown
The costs for the services you’ll be giving should be explicitly stated in your contract. It’s also a good idea to provide a breakdown of these costs and who is responsible for any expenses you may incur.
Who is in charge of obtaining permits? If you set down a tripod in a public location, you could get reprimanded by the security or the local police. On a commercial production, if the location has been scouted and is critical to the storyboard or narrative of the final photos, this can be devastating.
9. Cancellation Policy
It’s critical to include a cancellation provision in your contract that spells out the conditions should you or your customer terminate the partnership prematurely. This section must include several essential information such as the mandatory notice period as well as the penalties.
10. Photo Editing and Revisions
This is a crucial section of the contract since it specifies the sort of post-production and editing work you’ll provide and the types of modifications your customer can make on the photos. It’s in your best interests to give the client limited power over your editing. Your work is your brand, after all.
By now, you should already have a clear understanding of what your contract should look like. Before you consider a project booked, be sure your contracts are dated and signed. For convenience and accuracy, there are legal contract templates available for photographers.
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