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Can I Write My Own Photography Contract?

Can I Write My Own Photography Contract?

Every photography assignment has different terms and requirements, but there’s one thing they all have in common–photographer contracts

If you know how professional photographers protect their images and want to ensure you are protected as a photographer and have a good business relationship with your clients, a contract is always recommended. In this post, we’ll explore why you should have a photography contract, whether you can write one yourself, and what makes a contract legally binding. 

What Is a Photography Contract?

A photography contract is a legally binding agreement between the person or business seeking photography services and the photographer who will be delivering those services. 

The main sections of a photography contract typically cover the following points: 

  • Contact details for both parties 
  • Services you will provide as a photographer 
  • Expectations, roles, and responsibilities of both parties involved 
  • Deliverables (e.g., a photo library, photo metadata, edited photographs, etc.)
  • Time required to finish the work 
  • Cost of the photography services 
  • Copyright terms and permitted uses for the finished photos 
  • Cancellation policy 
  • Handling of confidential information 
  • Payment terms and payment schedules 
  • Any extra fees or late charges 
  • Any liabilities or steps for contract termination
  • Terms for dispute resolution 

In some instances, there may be additional project-specific terms that need to be included in the contract, as well.

A Closer Look at Drafting a Contract on Your Own

Anyone can write a legally binding contract. This can be a good option for small business owners who cannot afford to hire a lawyer to do the job.

That said, a minor omission in your photography can cause you to miss out on significant earnings that you are entitled to. This is why we highly recommend using the lawyer-written photography contract templates from The Contract Shop. These templates will protect you and ensure you’re working with a comprehensive document.

Reasons You Need a Photography Contract

Here are five reasons why having your clients sign a photography contract is essential: 

  • Legal protection: A photography contract can protect you in case something goes wrong or a client has misaligned expectations. 
  • Payment: A contract will ensure you get paid for your services, set clear rules on the payment schedules, terms, and deadlines, and protect your rights should a client refuse to pay for the services you provided. 
  • Expectations: A contract can help set clear expectations with your client on what you will deliver and what obligations they must fulfill.
  • Professionalism: Delivering a properly drafted photography contract gives your business a professional presence and will elevate the client’s trust in your abilities. 
  • Copyright: It can outline what your client can and cannot do with your photographs and address copyright issues to prevent disputes and misunderstandings at a later date. 

Legalities of a Self-Written Photography Contract

A photography contract is legally binding, even if you write it yourself. As long as you and your client sign a contract that meets the basic requirements outlined by contract law, it is considered a legally binding contract. 

It’s important to remember that a contract must be in writing and signed by both parties. Verbal agreements are often not legally binding and can be hard to prove in court in the event of a future dispute.

Photography Contract Templates

If you don’t have the time or confidence to write your own photography contract, you can use an online template designed specifically for the photography industry to make the job easier. In fact, it’s better to use a template, such as a copyright license agreement for photographic work, than to write a contract on your own if you don’t have a legal background.

In Summary

It’s important to remember that the template will work only as a basic sample, and you may have to include or remove sections and terms based on the specifics of the photography job. For instance, if you’re working with a paid model, you must include a model release in your contract. If the model is a minor, you will need a section that the child’s guardian needs to sign.

As long as you review the template and ensure it covers all important terms and conditions specific to your gig, you can easily have a legally-binding photography contract without having to write it from scratch!

Kevin Gallagher
Kevin Gallagher

Kevin Gallagher is the CEO of The Contract Shop®, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, coaches, and more. His background is in helping online businesses grow, having previously worked at Allbirds managing part of their operations. He is proud to report that his digital artist wife Mandy is a happy customer of The Contract Shop®, and his main motivation is to help as many people like her as possible with the tools that they need to confidently manage their businesses.

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