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.
WHAT IS A CONTRACT?
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.
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