If you are a photographer operating business, you should have a set of terms and conditions that form the legally binding agreement between you and your clients. If you do not already have a set of terms and conditions, we recommend that you speak to a small business solicitor who can assist you in drafting it.
A good set of terms and conditions will address each of the items set out below:
You should be clear on exactly what services will be provided. Will the photography session run for 1 hour or 5 hours? Are you providing photography only? Will you be filming videos as well?
To avoid disputes, it is important that your clients are aware of what they will receive for the money that they are paying you. Will you be providing digital copies of the images only? Will you be creating an album? Will you be printing the images on a large canvas? All of this should be clearly set out for the client.
In any agreement, there should be a detailed fees clause. This clause sets out your fees, when you expect to be paid, and what happens if you are not paid. If you require payment upfront, you can state that you will not provide any services until full payment is received. If you invoice after the services, you can state that if the clients do not pay you, you may engage debt collection services.
The images are your property and copyright protection attaches automatically. However, to make this clear in your terms and conditions, we recommend that you indicate that all copyright remains with you, and it is agreed by the client that you are the sole owner and creator all the deliverables.
5. Intellectual Property
After the services have been provided, who owns the images? Do you wish to assign all rights in the images to your client? If so, this means that your client now owns the images and you have no more rights to them. This usually occurs on full payment by the client. However, we recommend that you retain a license to use such images. How you will use these images should also be spelt out in your terms and conditions. For example, you may wish to use it for promotional purposes or you may wish to include the images in a portfolio when sourcing new clients.
To protect your moral rights in your images and materials, you may wish to insert a clause that requires your clients not to allow your work to be altered or treated in a derogatory manner. Speak to your small business solicitor and seek assistance in drafting a clause that prohibits manipulation or distortion of your images and materials unless your written consent has been provided.
For any business, we recommend having an indemnity clause to protect your business. For a photography business, we recommend that you indemnify yourself from any harm, loss or damage that your client suffers, which is a direct or indirect result of the use of your services. For example, if you are providing services to a high-profile client and, for reasons beyond your control, the photographs are leaked, your client may suffer loss or damage and try to hold you responsible.
No-shows can result in a huge loss for you, especially if you have to hire extra equipment to provide the services. You should protect yourself against this very real risk by having your small business solicitor insert a clause that imposes a cancellation fee for last-minute cancellations.
Do you want credit for all your work? If so, you can place a copyright notice or logo on your images, and request that the client does not remove this in any reproductions of the image.
To help provide your clients with peace of mind, you can also consider having a confidentiality clause in your terms and conditions stating that you will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the confidential information of your clients are not disclosed to any parties, except as required to provide the services, and as required by law.
As a photographer, it is important that you and your clients both clearly understand each other’s rights, especially the right to use the images and materials created.
To speak with a small business solicitor about having a professionally-drafted Client Agreement drawn up, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755.
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