Top Mistakes Photographers Make In Their Legal Contracts

As a photographer, it is important to protect your business and your clients with a solid legal contract. At Cherrypicka, our photography contracts have been drafted in collaboration with Tog Hub.  We know your industry, and we speak in plain English. So what common mistakes do photographers make in their contracts, and how can you avoid them?

Mistake #1: Thinking you don’t need a contract

The first and biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you don’t need one. A legal contract not only makes you appear professional, it also helps to minimise potential disputes by ensuring that you and your client are on the same page right from the start, and will protect you in the event that things end in tears. 

Without a contract, you’re inviting trouble and leaving your business open to the reputational damage that comes with any legal dispute.

Mistake #2: Not having a solid cancellation or rescheduling policy.

Life happens, and sometimes clients may need to cancel or reschedule their photography session. However, without a solid cancellation or rescheduling policy in your contract, you may find yourself losing money and time. This can be extremely frustrating! Your policy should clearly state how much notice you require, any fees that may be forfeited for last-minute cancellations, and whether or not you offer refunds. 

It won’t always be your clients needing to reschedule either.  Many of us are juggling family responsibilities and business, and occasionally you’ll be caught by those daycare germs!  Make sure you give yourself the express contractual ability to reschedule in these situations.

Mistake #3: Not being clear about fees and what is included or not

Your clients need to know exactly what they are paying for, and what is not included in your fee. This includes whether or not you charge for travel time, retouching, prints, or the type and format of files, and ideally also includes pricing for those additional services. 

Being clear up front about fees and inclusions / exclusions will help you to manage some tricky conversations that may play out after the shoot.  

Mistake #4: Not getting the right permissions to share photographs you take on your social media platforms

If you are planning to share photographs from your shoots on your website, social media, or any other platform for advertising, it is crucial that you have the right permissions to do so. Importantly this includes obtaining the permissions of parents or legal guardians to share photographs of their children.  An oral agreement is really not enough for such a sensitive subject. Your contract should clearly grant you permission so that you have it in writing. 

Mistake #5: Failing to expect the unexpected

You’re on your way to a shoot and your car breaks down, or your camera breaks halfway through a shoot.  Disaster, right?  A good contract should cover what happens in the event of anything outside of your reasonable control. It’s a good idea to limit your liability to a full refund or resupply of the services.  

Mistake #6: Not understanding your own terms.

Your contract is a binding legal agreement between you and your client, so it is important that you understand your rights and responsibilities.  There is nothing worse than a client querying a clause and realising you have no idea what it’s for either! Take the time to read through your contract carefully, and make sure that you understand every clause and section. If you are unsure about anything, find out! 

Here at Cherrypicka, we draft plain English contracts. Our photography bundles have been prepared in collaboration with a professional photographer who understands your industry.

You can protect yourself, your business and your reputation, by making sure you have a solid legal contract for every job.

 Don’t risk it. Let’s set you up for snap happy success!

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