As a family photographer, you need to set the terms of a job in writing for your clients by using photography contracts. If you’re not familiar with the nuances of these agreements, we will explain why you need a photography contract, as well as important terms to include in your contract, so you have all grounds covered.
If you’re running a small photography business on the side, you may think a legal contract sounds a bit too intense–but that’s not true. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have one in place to protect your work and make sure expectations are clear with your clients.
A photography contract can help prevent misunderstandings between you and your clients about the terms of the deal and set the stage for a legitimate and professional business transaction. It also makes your business appear more professional, solidifies your image as a business owner, and gives your clients a set process when hiring you for their family portraits.
There are many ways to write a photography contract, from using ready-made templates to building one yourself from scratch. Whichever method you choose, here are seven important terms you should include in all family photography contracts:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential to include the correct name, address, and full contact information of both your client and your business. This is important in case you need to refer to the contract for legal purposes at a later date.
You must include a start date to let your clients know when the terms are applicable. If the photography agreement is for a one-time job, also include the shoot date, as well as the shoot location, start time, and duration.
This is the most significant part of the photography contract. It will include a detailed description of what services you will deliver, as well as expectations from the client and the total cost of the job.
This is where you let your client know how and when they can cancel the agreement and what fees they should expect to pay with the cancellation.
You should also mention what additional items each party will be responsible for if the client chooses to cancel. For instance, if you will return a portion of their deposit or if the deposit is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Include these terms in clear language to avoid any misunderstandings down the road.
This section will protect your legal rights as a photographer if a dispute arises and spell out why you need a copyright contract for photographers.
You want to retain the copyright and grant your client use rights for the portraits. This means you will own the photos, but they have your permission to use them under certain conditions. For family portrait photography, use rights should be granted for life because your clients will most likely not use the photos to make money (which you can specify in the contract).
This section includes how and when you expect payments to be made, whether it’s upfront upon booking or several payments made over time. You should also set terms for what will happen if payments bounce or are not made on time. Include any terms you have for extra fees, such as late fees, in this section.
This is another important section that talks about what happens in case of damages. This can include illness, injury, natural accidents, or events like lost digital files. Specify what you agree to do in these cases and what the client can expect to receive, such as a partial refund of their deposit or a re-shoot.
This list should serve as a basis for what you should cover in a family photography contract. However, you’re free to include any extra terms and details important to the job. Of course, The Contract Shop® has you covered, no matter what kind of contract you need!
Looking for tips on event photographer contracts and what you need to know when signing for your event? Take a look at our recent article.
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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