When starting a photography business, there are many things that we tend to DIY – or bootstrap the solution! One of those areas is usually your contract or the legal aspect of our business. Why? Well, because they’re intimidating to face on our own and because they can be a little expensive when you hire a lawyer to make you a custom contract. The good news is, there are resources out there that can help you create a secure contract with less time, overwhelm, and for cheaper! ( WIN, WIN )
So, here are my for contract tips to help any photographer ( no matter your years in business ) have a solid contract!
1. Invest in a template
Templates are the BEST way to get a SOLID contract without going all in and hiring a lawyer per/hr to write one up! The best part is, most templates are ready to use with minimal tweaks as soon as you checkout! If you are feeling you need a new contract asap and don’t have the money to invest in a custom contract, but still want to know you are well protected – this is the way to go!
TIP – Avoid places like Etsy or online markets when buying these contracts! My number 1 place for anything legal is always The Legal Paige! She has every type of legal template a photographer would need in their business! P.S. You can use code “Abby” for 10% off any template at checkout!
2- Update your template with new clauses as needed!
You don’t always need a brand new contract, sometimes a new clause here or there will do the trick! What is a clause? A clause is a section of your contract that addresses a specific topic or parameters of the agreement.
Things like cancellation clauses, fees, retainers, copyright, Force Majeure Clause, Meals and Breaks Clause, liability, rescheduling, social media release, etc. – each part of your contract should be clauses that address issues like those above!
Are you lacking a necessary clause? No worries! The Legal Paige has those too! ( get 10% off with code “Abby”)
3. Have a lawyer look over your template!
The BEST way to know you are fully protected entails having a lawyer review your contract once you customize your template! I know it can be an “extra step,” but it is the BEST way to make sure you are covered and protected! – Plus, it is still cheaper than paying for a custom contract! A template covers all basic legal needs but can’t include specific state/ county laws that you may need in your contracts. So always have someone review your contracts!
4. Re-evaluate your contract in the offseason!
Every year during the offseason I always make it a note to go back and check my contract to ensure I am still covered and to make sure all clauses are up to date! I encourage you to think back on the year and see if there were any moments where you thought, “I wish I had that in my contract “or “Wow, this could have gone bad if XYZ happened.” If you have had any of those moments, find a way to protect yourself now!
Also, make sure that as you raise your prices, any pricing information changes inside of your contract! ( EX – where you list your fees for extra time on the day of the wedding ) I lost HUNDREDS of dollars before because I forgot to do this on one of my earlier contracts, so do not make my mistake!
I get it – legal stuff can be confusing and be an easy thing to “push off”, but it is the one thing that should always be the priority! The thing about a contract is that momentary investment is going to pay off for your business in the long run. You may not know how it’s going to pay off, or when it’s going to pay off, but one thing is for sure it always will.
The last thing you want is three years from now to look back and go, “Gosh, I wish I would have spent the time and resources needed to protect myself.”
Ready to get your legal ducks in a row? Go to The Legal Paige now and use code “Abby” to get 10% off your purchase!