Have a Photo Shoot? Contract or Bust!
So you think you’re good, you think you can become a pro-tog and hang your shingle out to the public? Ok but do you have your contracts ready to go? Caught you didn’t I! I have found an amazing amount of up and coming photographers do not use contracts for their photo shoots. This is one of the biggest business mistakes a photographer can make. One of the most important things I can tell any photographer is get a contract ASAP, and then get it signed before the shoot. A contract is what covers your legal behind, it is what spells out what your responsibilities to the clients is, and how the client can use the photos they have purchased. A contract is something that you should just add into your standard business practice; no contract, no shoot!
Now you’re asking “where do I get a contract, and what do I put in a contract”? To answer that question I will give you some resources you should look into before you accept your next client. Now I’m not a lawyer so I’m not going to tell you what to put into a contract, but we do have some great trade organizations like ASMP and PPA that have samples you can look at. Note these are samples and certainly should be altered before you use a contract to be tailored to your business, and a smart business person would consult with a lawyer to make sure their contracts are good! If you have not already joined either of these two organizations and you are in America you should, especially if you’re just starting out; they have lots of resources that you can use. If you live in another country then look into the trade organizations available to you, and feel free to post about them in the comments section! Here are some resources:
From the PPA (need to become a member to download):
Here are a few must have books if you’re going to run a photography business:
Now you have a place to get started. I cannot express enough how important having a contract is to a photographer. A contract can make a difference on whether you’re business will be successful or not. Do not leave for a shoot without it!