Is a JPEG of a Photography Contract legal?

The advancement of technology has led to more efficient, professional and paperless options for photographers to use with their clients.  With technology, however, can also come barriers and legal questions.  Capturing the signature of a client is a huge must to ensure a formal photography contract is concrete, but what if either the client or photographer don’t possess mainstream options such as a scanner or electronic document signing service?  For this, it is imperative to understand what is legal when a situation, such as a client taking a cell-phone photo of a contract is presented.


Contract Signing Methods

The most commonly used methods of contract signing is by printing and scanning to PDF, printing and mailing, and online signature programs (including applications).

Here are some recommended signature methods:

Sometimes a client does not have the equipment to scan a copy, or you have not provided other electronic means, so they are only able to take an image of the paper.


Is a JPEG acceptable and legal?

The biggest issue is not whether a contract is faxed, digital or a duplication (including picture), but whether the electronic record is acceptable as the best evidence of the contract and if the electronic signature is acceptable as a formal requirement of accepting a contract.

Typically, a jpeg is a color version of a document and has a small file size to allow for less used storage space.

While these methods may be acceptable, it is best for PDF or printed versions to be used.  


What if a client sends a JPEG?

Have no fear! A JPEG is legal if all the requirements of a contract are met.  If you prefer, a JPEG can easily be converted to a PDF either through an application on a smart-phone, or through a photo processing program such as Preview or Photoshop.


How can I prevent any issues?

Get your contract signing in order – check out the recommendations listed within this post for electronic signature to help your clients feel more confident in signing and giving you a more efficient workflow.



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