Most people aren’t that interested in learning how to write a photography contract. This is the mundane, often stressful part of this career, and it’s just not something anyone looks forward to focusing on, even for a short amount of time. If you’re in the profession, are you fully up to date on how to write a photography contract?
If not, then you’re far from alone. That’s the huge elephant in the room – contracts. Some of us use them, some of us even use them consistently. Then there are those photographers who have never even looked at even a general photography contract. Chances are, if you haven’t already, you will run into a nightmare client at some point in your career. You know the saying – one person ruins it for everyone. So is the case for a good, solid contract. Understanding how to write a photography contract – and how to manage the contractual process – can make the difference between a minor issue and a massive, long-term problem.
While the list below is hardly a be-all-end-all for how to write a photography contract, there are certain terms that should be in every document. Here are our top three items that should be included in your contract – regardless of whether it’s for a wedding, portrait, family, corporate, or any other client.
- Payment Terms & Price: Nobody likes to talk about money; especially when it’s a large chunk of change. Make it easy on yourself by including not only the fees and total price, but also include any payment terms. For example, often times it’s smart to include a retainer for a percentage of the total cost. That should be clearly stated and outlined in even a basic photography contract.
- Image Rights: No one can understand how to write a photography contract without understanding image rights. This includes rights for you and your client. Make it clear that as the photographer and artist, you own the copyright to the images. However, if you allow your clients to re-print the digital files – state that clearly in the contract. Protect yourself, but also leave no question about what your client can, and cannot do, with the images.
- Time Period for Delivery: Although we recommend the time frames for delivery be communicated multiple times to your client, we recommend including a section in your contract. This gives your client a firm expectation of when they can expect the final product. Just make sure your time frame is one you can consistently meet; and it would also be smart to include a clause to protect yourself against any unforeseen circumstances that would require you to miss a deadline. Knowing how to write a photography contract at least in part means that you know how to provide yourself with protection should something go wrong, which does occur more often than many would think.
And one final point, make sure that you are sending AND receiving signed contracts. Knowing how to write a photography contract is great, but it isn’t worth anything if the photography forms and contracts are not signed and completed. Make it easy on yourself, and your clients, by using an e-contract system like Iris Works.
Working with us means that you don’t really have to know how to write a photography contract. Instead, we’ll help you with the basics and you can take care of the details. That’ll allow you to spend a lot more time on what you really love, which is your photography.