After discussing some information about photography contracts, I thought it would be great to also discuss photography business forms and give you some tips. More specifically, I wanted to give you some tips on which forms you should consider having to protect your photography business.
In addition to a photography contract, you should also consider the following:
- Model Releases for both Adults and Minors
- Product Delivery Agreements
- Print Releases
- Second Shooter Agreements
Model Releases (Adults and Minors)
While most photography contracts have (or should have) a general model release contained in them, it is also important to have model releases signed for each party included in the images. If you want to be able to use images from a portrait session or a wedding for your marketing materials, blog submissions, publication or editorial purposes, competitions, exhibitions, etc., you will want to make sure you have a solid model release in place. Model releases will limit any hassles you might encounter when you want to publicly use your images.
So why do you need a model release? Good question! You want to be protected from invading someone’s privacy. In order to be protected, you need to show that you not only had permission to photograph them, but that you also have permission to publicly display images of them. A signed model release is a record that shows the consent of the parties as to how the images can be used.
Product Delivery Agreements
Photographers sell some expensive products and a product delivery agreement provides protection for both the photographer and the product purchaser. Not to get too lawyer like, but there is this thing called the Uniform Commercial Code, commonly referred to as the UCC. Under Article 2 of the UCC, a contract for the sale of goods for more than $500 must be in writing to be enforced. You might be wondering why an invoice alone won’t do?
Because you want to be protected! When providing special order products, such as pricey wedding albums or portrait albums, or even large gallery wraps or clusters, you should make sure your are protecting your business (more specifically, your profits)! By having a product delivery agreement in place, you can make sure that all the terms of the sale are written out and agreed to by both parties. Expectations are set and both the photographer and the client have been educated as to their responsibilities and accountability within the transaction that is taking place.
The product delivery agreement can be basic, or elaborate. As a photographer myself, I think it’s very important to elaborate on the selection of images for albums, timing of production and delivery, as well as the design process and design changes, just to name a few things.
Many photographers, more commonly wedding photographers, provide digital images to their clients. Along with the provision of these digital photos, the photographer generally grants the client the right to print images for their own personal use. While some photographers include information regarding printing rights in their general contract, I think it’s important to use an independent print release agreement.
The print release should educate the client as to what they can and can not do with the images and explain what may happen if the agreement is violated (i.e. if the client infringes the photographer’s copyright). It should also be signed by both the photographer and the client.
Photographers get upset when a client is infringes their copyright by editing a photo or submitting photos to a blog, but often the client just has no clue about what they can do with their photos. They receive their digital images and just think that the images are now “their” images and as photographers, we need to not only protect our rights through our contract, and a print release, but we also need to educate…
Another reason for a print release is some photo labs require to see a print release prior to printing a client’s images. Walmart generally requires this type of proof prior to printing images. A big thank you to Walmart for protecting photographers’ rights!
Second Shooter Agreements
Most wedding photographers are hiring second shooters these days. Wedding clients are starting to expect a second photographer on their big day because they want to make sure that every moment is captured from various angles. If you hire second shooters to accompany you at your weddings, you should definitely have a second shooter agreement in place.
To mention just a few things, this agreement should address compensation, how the second shooter may use the photos after the shoot, insurance, confidentiality, liability, and cancellations. A good second shooter agreement will have many additional clauses in place to protect both the photographer, as well as the second shooter. And again, it sets expectations, educates your second shooter as to what they can and can’t do and in general, it protects your butt…
…And there you have it!
I hope this information and these short tips were helpful to you, as you consider which photography business forms you need for your business. Feel free to check out some of these forms and templates that are available for purchase created by The LawTog’s Rachel Brenke.