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Photography Contracts 101

Photography Contracts 101

Why you need a photography contract

Photography contracts are so important to protect you and your business! It does a great job at outlining legalities that would hold up in court in a worse case scenario situation, or it gives your clients a reference for when they can expect their photos to be done. I sat down with Paige from The Legal Paige for a Basecamp video to go over photography contracts, and her take on them as a lawyer for small business creatives!

Watch the full video

Key clauses to include in your photography contract

Clauses are different points in your contract that you outline. These can range from when your clients should expect their photos to when you can leave if you feel unsafe. 

Here are a few clauses Paige recommends to always include:

  1. Outline your payments and your “non-refundable retainer”
    1. Make it clear how much the non refundable retainer is and when each payment is due. Include exact dates for when the final balance needs to be paid and how much it is.
  2. Copyright clause
    1. Your photos are legally yours. Outline how they can not sell the images or enter them in contests. These photos are for personal use only.
  3. Artistic Style
    1. By hiring you, they have reviewed your portfolio and artistic style. All editing and ways you shoot have been reviewed by the client, and their gallery is ultimately up to your artistic style
  4. Archiving photos
    1. Outline how long the gallery is open, how long you backup the photos, and if there is a cost to reopening a gallery.
  5. Harassment 
    1. This one is so important!! If you are getting verbally or physically harassed, don’t feel safe, etc. You should include this clause so you have the right to leave the photo session. Paige and I deep dive on how to implement this in the Basecamp Video.

Where to buy photography contracts

I highly recommend buying your contracts from a professional! Paige and her team have crafted easy to use contract templates that go in depth and protect all aspects of your business. You can browse and purchase contract templates (plus any adeniums) here! Basecampers get a discount code that will be at the bottom of the video of Paige’s interview!

FAQ’s about photography contracts

  1. Should I still have people sign a contract if it’s a free shoot?

    1. Yes! There still needs to be a model release, expected gallery delivery, harassment clause, etc! 
  2. Do I need my second shooter to sign a contract?

    1. Yes! This outlines if and when they can post photos, what’s expected of them, etc. You can purchase a second shooter contract on Paige’s website.
  3. Do both parties need to sign a contract for a wedding?

    1. Yes, if you have a wedding, both parties need to sign the contract.
  4. If someone else is paying, do they also need to sign the contract?

    1. If you know that someone that has not signed the contract is paying for the services, they need to sign a third payer addendum. You can get this template here. (Paige and I break down this question in the Basecamp video!)
  5. Should I use “retainer” or “deposit” in my photo contract?

    1. When talking about the initial payment, you should always use “non-refundable retainer.” 

Watch the full course with The Legal Paige when you sign up for Basecamp!


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