Filed in : Photographers

After teaching workshops and sitting with newer photographers during mentoring sessions, I’ve found that contracts are one of those things that people shrug off; “I’ll get one later,” or “I’m not charging enough money to need a contract,” or “I don’t have the money to buy a template right now.” Guys, hear me out: no matter where you are in your business, you need a contract. You need a contract right now, before you agree to do any more work in the future. This post isn’t meant to scare you, per se, but it is meant to stress just how important it is to be operating as a professional business from Day 1!

I actually shudder when I look back at my old wedding photography contracts. The first contract I ever used was given to me by another photographer I knew, so I figured if it was legitimate enough for him, it was legitimate enough for me. The contract outlined what the client was paying for, and it had both of our signatures on it, so I figured I was good.

Abby Grace Photography workshop

But the longer I was in business, the more I realized the need to add things to my contract. A bit about me being the only photographer hired, another bit stipulating that I needed a meal on the wedding day, and then another bit about…. you get the jist. Pretty soon, I’d amassed two pages of stuff I’d cobbled together on my own. I figured I was fine, nothing would ever happen to me.

And by the grace of God, nothing ever did happen to me or my amazing couples. But after a friend came close to needing legal intervention, it scared the pants off of me; I got my act together and hired an attorney to draft an airtight, solid contract.

Abby Grace Photography workshop

If you’re operating with a contract like my old one, by the time you actually NEED your contract to be airtight? It’s too late. And I pray that none of you ever, ever encounter that! But the fact of the matter is that you are running a business, and sometimes in business, things have the potential to get a bit sticky. And your first, most important line of defense is your contract.

See, your contract protects BOTH you and the client: it outlines your responsibilities, and what the client may or may not be entitled to if you fail to perform those duties.

But it also outlines the parameters within which you’ll be working. For example, my contract specifies the steps that are taken if I or my second shooter were ever to experience sexual or physical harassment at a wedding. That’s a really important thing to have written down! Because if I were to be harassed or assaulted at a wedding and were to walk out of the reception, and I DIDN’T have that outlined in my contract? I could be sued for a breach of contract. But because it IS outlined in detail, my second shooter and I are protected from being forced to endure harassment or physical harm on a wedding day. Not that that’s ever happened, but it’s important to know BEFORE you go into any given situation what your options are if there’s an emergency. And it’s important that your client knows, too, so that they’re not surprised along the way if you do have to cite something like a harassment clause.

Abby Grace Photography workshop

If you’re a wedding creative and you’ve been working without an official contract, head right on over to Rachel Brenke’s site- she’s a lawyer who specializes in law for creatives, and she has a whole slew of contract templates to choose from! And we’re lucky enough that Rachel’s GIVING AWAY $150 in credit toward her shop for one lucky winner, which is enough to get you started with your very own, very legit wedding contract!

All you have to do to enter is share the link to this post on Facebook, and then let us know you’ve done it by dropping a note in the comments section! For an extra entry, hit up Twitter and share the post as well- just make sure to tag me (@abbygracephoto) and Rachel (@RachelBrenke). Easy peasy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Questions? Comments for the good of the order? You know what to do- sound off in the comments section!

For photographers: Why you NEED a legit contract

February 6, 2015

  1. Rachel Word

    February 6th, 2015 at 8:13 am

    I just entered to win the credit toward Rachel’s shop.

    Thank you for hosting this amazing and practical giveaway!

  2. Jean

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Great advice. I know you have probably seen it all when it comes to weddings. Contracts are necessary in today’s business world.

  3. Natasha

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I’ve shared on both Facebook and Twitter! Is this a giveaway raffle or does everyone get $150 credit for sharing? The blog wasn’t specific about this.

  4. Lorna

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Just entered! PS I am legit so excited for you getting to team up with Rachel Brenke! I’ve been following her for a few months now. 🙂 Yay!

  5. Brittany

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:38 am

    My contract has gone through so many revisions over the years, you end up adding things you never even thought about! I had to add the No Harassment Clause after a drunk groomsman grabbed my butt at a reception and I was so upset I didn’t know what to do (the clients didn’t care). So now that’s in there, too, along with YOU MUST FEED ME. 🙂

  6. Sabrina

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:43 am

    I feel like this has been one of those things on my to-do list forever but I’ve just never had it done. I’ve posted about this on FB and Twitter so hopefully others will see your blog post and realize how important this is too!

  7. Mindy Moore

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Woohoo!!! This. Is. AWESOME!!! Thank you for sharing this!!!

  8. Mindy Moore

    February 6th, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Oh, I forgot to mention in my excitement that I shared this awesome info on my Facebook!

    Thank you!

  9. Sarah Bradshaw

    February 6th, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I’ve been sexually harassed at a wedding before. It was a lesson that taught me to be prepared!!

  10. Casey

    February 6th, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Shared to enter AND because this is oh-so-accurate! Currently on working on updating all of my ‘original’ contracts to Rachel’s templates so I can take them to a lawyer to finalize them!

  11. Brianne

    February 6th, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Just shared this post on Facebook! Hoping to win so I can get some of Rachel Brenke’s awesome resources!

  12. Bethanne Arthur

    February 6th, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Abby + Rachel,

    Great giveaway! I shared on Facebook and tweeted! Good luck to whomever wins! 🙂

  13. Holly

    February 6th, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Shared!! 😀

  14. Sami Orndorff

    February 6th, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Tweeted & Facebooked!!! #socialmediaverbsFTW 🙂 🙂

  15. Rachel McKnew

    February 6th, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Shared! Perfect timing for me in my business. Thanks for sharing the info and Rachel’s info as well!

  16. Jessica Warren

    February 6th, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Great Post! Shared to Facebook. Thanks for the opportunity!

  17. Allie

    February 6th, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    This would be awesome to win! Thanks for the advice and giveaway!

  18. Clyde Y

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Great post!! Absolutely shared and tweeted!

  19. Brittany

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Shared via facebook! Thanks so much Abby and Rachel!

  20. Tammy

    February 7th, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I just shared. I hope Lady Luck is with me.

  21. Ashley Herrinton

    February 7th, 2015 at 9:34 am

    This is awesome Abby!!

  22. Sarah N. Case

    February 7th, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    What’s an amazing giveaway. Thank you so much for hosting this!

    I shared this on both my personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.

  23. Suzanne Hubt

    February 7th, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Great advice!!

  24. Nikki Jilek

    February 8th, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    heck yes! I would love to win such a generous and gracious prize!!

  25. Lindsay

    February 8th, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Yay! I entered! Such a great post!

  26. Kendra

    February 8th, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    I just shared! would love to win this!!!!

  27. Monday Mash-Up » Modern International Wedding Photographer

    February 9th, 2015 at 8:09 am

    […] Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for an airtight, lawyer-drafted wedding contract from the Lawtog’s Contract Shop! See that blog post HERE! […]

  28. Kaitlin Simpson

    February 9th, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I (think) I shared on Facebook! I may have entered something wrong…but I definitely tweeted! Thank you for this! So awesome!

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