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Writing out a simple contract

Liana Seda , Dec 30, 2010; 10:50 p.m.

Hi
I am planning on taking some portraits of two of my friends children. This is the first time I am actually planning out a portrait session with the intent to possibly use them as part of my portfolio.
I thought it would be a good idea to write up a simple contract to protect myself. So I was wondering if there are any websites that anyone can recommend to help me put one together. Thanks a ton in advanced.
Liana

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Jerry Litynski , Dec 30, 2010; 11:50 p.m.

Try a Google search for

contract

photography contract

model release

and you will find a number of examples for your review.

Charles Webster , Dec 31, 2010; 01:18 a.m.

John Harrington's book "Best Business Practices for Photographers"
ASMP book "Business Practices for Professional Photographers"
Tad Crawford "Business and Legal Forms for Photographers" with files on CD

All available from Amazon and maybe from your public library.

<Chas>

Kevin Delson , Dec 31, 2010; 07:03 a.m.

to write up a simple contract

The books mentioned are good ones.

Starting out, "simple" is the key.
Writing an agreement/contract that looks like 2 mega companies about to merge will scare away many clients.

While wordy contracts filled with legalese are quite necessary for some, they are not for the majority of budding photographers.

This does not mean you agree with a handshake only.
Plain language will work since the reality of being sued is minimal until you begin taking on bigger and bigger jobs. The bigger the job (i.e) money, the bigger your exposure to problems.

John H. , Jan 01, 2011; 01:02 a.m.

I would go for the books rather than the googled samples because those often turn out to be garbage despite their authoritative sounding language. Kevin's comments are useful too.

Gary Mayo , Jan 01, 2011; 04:39 a.m.

There are several iPhone apps on photography contracts. They even sign the screen with their finger and you email them the contract. One thing is missing is a way to shoot and store a video as part of a contract, something often times used in a contract about people imaging. Look into them if you already use an iPhone.

Liana Seda , Jan 01, 2011; 07:17 a.m.

Thank you so much for all the information. I am going to look up those books, maybe I'll find one at the library.
I do want it to be something simple since I am offering my services for free. I just want my friends to understand that I am keeping the rights to the photos and they can use them but I would want credit. That's about it.

Steve Smith , Jan 01, 2011; 10:51 a.m.

I do want it to be something simple since I am offering my services for free.

Then technically, it's not a contract but an agreement. A contract is an exchange. Usually product or service in exchange for consideration (payment).

If we agree that you will give me a pound of potatoes and I will give you a couple of cabbages in exchange but I fail to give you the cabbages then I would be in breach of contract and still liable to pay you with the cabbages. However if you told me that you were going to bake me a cake but no cake appeared, that is not a breach of contract and I would not be able to take you to court to force you to give me a cake..... and I do like cake!

I just want my friends to understand that I am keeping the rights to the photos and they can use them but I would want credit. That's about it.

What you really want is to grant usage rights to your friends so they know what they can and can't do with them. The wording needs to be clear so they know that they can only be used the way you want them to be used.

John H. , Jan 02, 2011; 11:00 a.m.

Then technically, it's not a contract but an agreement. A contract is an exchange. Usually product or service in exchange for consideration (payment).

You left out the part where Liana says, "I just want my friends to understand that I am keeping the rights to the photos and they can use them but I would want credit." The obligation of giving credit is the consideration the clients exchange for the service. Interestingly, the quote is used in later in the post in a way that suggests usage without a contract but actually IS a contract.

What you really want is to grant usage rights to your friends so they know what they can and can't do with them. The wording needs to be clear so they know that they can only be used the way you want them to be used.

In other words, they are granted a usage rights in exchange for an obligation to give credit since that's "the way [she] want[s] them to be used". Its a contract whether verbal or written. Usage rights given in exchange for credit obligations.

Wayne Eckert , Jan 03, 2011; 08:12 a.m.

Its a contract whether verbal or written. Usage rights given in exchange for credit obligations.
Fine point but very true.
Wayne


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