There’s nothing quite so exciting as having an inquiry turn into a client. And not just any inquiry. We aren’t talking about the friend, or the friend of a friend. No, we’re talking about that client that you don’t know, who has heard about your work and wants your images on their wall.
Now that you’ve got a client that you don’t know, it’s definitely time to get a contract in place.Really, you should have had a contract in place for every client already (even your bestie), but you can fix that going forward!So, what does a photography contract include?
Within every contract, there are a few basics that must be included:
Parties - Who does this contract cover? Be sure to outline who each party is, their legal names and addresses, as well as what they will be referred to as within the remainder of the contract.
Date and Duration - Include both the date when the contract is being executed, as well as the duration of your session.
Signature - If you want your contract to be legally binding, all parties must sign and date the bottom of the contract!
Most times, nightmare clients are nightmare clients because they simply aren’t aware of the way you run your business. You’re inside of it day in and day out, while they’re a peripheral part of it for just a few hours. If your contracts don’t explicitly state your boundaries, it’s impossible for a client to know they’re out of line.
Scope of Work and Deliverables - This section lets your client know what to expect as far as what exactly will be delivered. Be sure to include the location(s), details of the session, number of images that will be delivered, when they’ll be delivered, and any other relevant details that will help you set boundaries as far as the session itself and the gallery delivery.
Fees and Payment Terms - In this clause, you’ll outline the total fee, as well as the payment schedule. It’s also not a bad idea to outline accepted payment methods, as well as any applicable fees like late fees, rescheduling fees, or cancellation fees.
Copyright - This clause lets your client know who owns the images, and exactly how the images can be used. Will the client have exclusive rights or non-exclusive rights? Are there any limitations on usage of the images?
Cancellation and Rescheduling - Things happen, and sometimes clients need to reschedule or cancel. But where does that leave you? Including a clause on cancellation and rescheduling can help ensure that it doesn’t leave you stranded and out a ton of money that you were expecting. Include things like how far in advance notice must be given, if there are any fees associated with rescheduling or canceling, and if any portion of their payment is a non-refundable deposit.
What about the legal protections of a contract? What clauses should your photography contract include to protect you? A contract as a whole is there to protect both you and your clients, but there are a few clauses that you’ll especially want to be sure you’re using to protect both parties.
Model Release and Privacy - A model release and privacy clause not only grants you permission to use a model’s likeness in your images and marketing, but also lets your client know how you’ll handle their private information.
Liability and Indemnification - This protects you from being held liable for any injuries to client or client property during your services.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction - When a dispute arises between you and your client, this clause outlines the jurisdiction where the legal dispute will be resolved.
Amendments and Modifications - Should you need to amend the contract at any point, you’ll want to have it outlined in your contract exactly how that will be handled.
Looking to ensure you’re fully covered legally? This blog post outlines the legal documents that photographers need for their business.
Realizing that writing your own contract feels like a lot? Or still wondering what a photography contract should include? We’ve got you covered. Learn more about our suite of photography contract templates, and you can have your contract ready to go in ten minutes or less!
Amanda Warfield is a simplicity-focused content marketing and launch strategist, author of the book Chasing Simple Marketing, and host of Chasing Simple - a podcast to help creative entrepreneurs uncomplicate their marketing and business. She traded in her classroom lesson plans for speaking and educating creative entrepreneurs on sustainably fitting content marketing into their business, without it taking over their business - so that they have time to grow their business.
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