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photography contracts

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

KKorpos_BTSTeaser_BIGPhotography Contracts

Without written contracts, you expose yourself and your business to a number
of risks. They include not getting paid; not maintaining copyright ownership of your images; failing to get a model release, which means you may not be able to use your images in marketing materials; and the biggest one: not setting proper expectations in writing. Setting up a clear agreement between you and your clients at the outset means expectations of accountability are set for both photographer and client. And if things go bad for either one of you, you the photographer have a written contract to protect you in a court of law.


A contract is an agreement that creates obligations enforceable by law. An enforceable contract must contain four legal elements: mutual assent (both parties agree), consideration (something bargained for and received), capacity (both parties are not minors and are of sound mind) and legality (lawfulness). A contract sets ground rules and is the heart of most business dealings. And it’s just plain professional in a service transaction. Look at it from clients’ perspective: Many have never hired a photographer before, and they are not even sure what to expect from the transaction. They think pretty pictures, but we all know there’s much more at play, especially for event photographers. A contract tells clients what to expect. It states what you are going to do, and how and when you will do it.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // April 2014 issue.


Same Sex Marriages

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Same Sex Marriages


The flourishing acceptance and legality of same-sex marriage is increasing opportunities for wedding photographers. And with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings, gay weddings will soon be mainstream. Now is the best time to tap this emerging market.

The financial impact same-sex weddings have had on the wedding industry is enormous and will continue to build. In 2010, the Census Bureau reported 131,729 same-sex married households and 514,735 same-sex unmarried households in the United States. These numbers show the imbalance that exists, with so many same-sex couples living together but not yet married. This means there are a lot of potential wedding clients out there.

Same-sex couples also have more disposable income to pay for photography services. The Census reported that unmarried same-sex couples had an average household income of $103,980, while unmarried heterosexual couples had an average household income of $62,857.

Want to read this article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // July 2013 issue.

Sales tax for photographers

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Sales tax for photographers



“Sales tax for photographers.” Your first instinct might be to run for the hills, but sales tax is definitely something you need to understand as a business owner. During the past few years I have seen countless photographers ask about sales tax in online forums and groups. All too often the conversation includes at least one photographer having what I call an “oh crap” moment in which they say, “Huh, I had absolutely no idea I was supposed to collect sales tax!” Here is an example:

Amy spent four years building her wedding photography business and things were going great. Her booking percentage was high and she had worked hard to improve her album sales process, which helped to significantly increase her annual gross revenue to $150,000 in 2011. Then one day she received a letter from her state tax office informing her that her business was selected for a sales tax audit. During this audit, she discovered she should have collected sales tax from her clients on not only her album sales, but also on the photography services she provided. She had erroneously believed that her photography services were not subject to sales tax and now she owed the state over $25,000 in unpaid sales tax, plus fines and interest!

I don’t want you to be in Amy’s shoes. I don’t want you to be the photographer who fails to collect sales tax from your clients and finds out too many years down the road that the state is coming to audit you and wants its money. The tax money that you fail to collect comes straight out of your pocket. Sure, you can try and find your clients and ask them if they will pay the sales tax you mistakenly didn’t collect from them two years ago…good luck with that! They are under no obligation to pay it.

Want to read this article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // May 2013 issue.

copyright protection for photographers

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

// copyright protection for photographers



Licensing is the process by which a copyright owner allows another to use a copyrighted image and sets forth use limitations on a copyrighted photograph. The decision of whether and when to license a copyrighted photo is an important component to protect the ongoing validity of the copyright. Properly drafted, licensing arrangements can ensure that the photographer (or owner of the copyright) retains the degree of control he/she intends to maintain over the image.

Basic Copyright Considerations

The legal process and the mechanics of how to copyright a photograph are beyond the scope of this article. However, once a photograph is properly copyrighted, it is incumbent upon the copyright owner to monitor how and when an image is used. Failure to do so could undermine the enforceability of the copyright and possibly void the protections afforded by the copyright.

Are Terms Appropriate for a License?

A properly drafted license agreement should contemplate a variety of issues. Like the previous article addressing model releases, developing a checklist is a critical first step in granting a license or developing a license agreement. The checklist should consider such issues as: (1) determining who gets to use the license, (2) the scope of the licensed use (print only or some other form of dissemination), and (3) the intended duration of the license. In order to prevent or at least minimize potential disputes, the terms of the license agreement should be clear, concise and narrowly defined. Without precision, one may inadvertently grant a license far broader than intended.

Want to read this article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // January 2013 issue.

Legal Entity | July 2012

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

In the context of a photography business, choosing to form a corporation or a limited liability company can be very effective in managing your business & protecting your personal assets.

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Article by Joel Green J D / M B A and Lori DaCossee , E s q .

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