Legal Sales Tools Photographers Need

Often times it is believed that the photographer/client relationship is governed by either a model release on its
 own, or a contract and a model release.  However, there are many working parts to the legal tools that photographer’s need to protect their photography business.
While use of all these documents may seem overwhelming, the goal is to protect every step of the relationship and to set expectations with clients.  It is important that you, as the photographer, are discerning to the key areas of business that you want you to protect but have contracts in your toolbox for a “just in case” situation.
[Tweet “The goal is to protect every step of the relationship and to set expectations with clients.”]
  • Portrait Contract – This governs the relationship between Client and Photographer. This will lay the foundation for sales by having provisions (if drafted right!) about completion schedules, ordering deadlines, etc.  


  • Model Release –  The model release is the specific form giving the Photographer rights to use images for marketing purposes.


  • Payment Plan Contract – This document outlines the payment plan details such as payment dates, amounts, and any penalties.


  • Final Sale Agreement –  This document is done on the ordering session day and acts to inform the client of a final sale and prevent a client from having “buyers remorse” and changing their mind.


  • Album Design Agreement – This agreement is super important when you are spending lots of cost-of-goods on items, particularly an album that can be hundreds of dollars out of your pocket.  I like to have an acceptance of the proof design by clients prior to ordering. 


  • Product Delivery Agreement – This agreement is a written acceptance of all products after the Client has had the opportunity to view them.  This is especially helpful to prevent any potential “I didn’t get X product” statements after you have delivered the complete order. 


All of these aren’t necessarily needed as it depends on your client’s order and your business policies.  Just keep in mind you want to prevent issues instead of trying to fix them later.

[Tweet “Prevent issues instead of trying to fix them later.”]

Outlining all expectations ahead of time in writing is a great way to keep expectations clear and provides a foundation for optimal customer service.


About the author

Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, photographer and business consultant for photographers. She is currently helping creative industry professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction. Disclaimer: I am a lawyer but I'm not your lawyer! View my entire disclaimer here