Last Friday I gave you some of my personal insight and experience into using, updating, reviewing, and customizing my photography contracts. One of the most common questions I hear in regards to contracts from fellow photographers is:
“My contracts are too long – my clients don’t want to read them.”
Have you heard this one before? Have you drafted a photography contract that fits nicely onto one page and are moving over to Rachel’s contracts and are worried about the length? Let me ask you this…
Is protecting your business worth the extra pages?
YESYESYES… a million times yes. Worrying about shortening your photography contracts to create less ‘reading’ for your clients is not worth the sacrifice you may be making in protecting you, your business, and all assets connected to your business. You cannot control whether or not your clients choose to read your contracts thoroughly, but you can ensure that you deliver to them all the information they deserve to have. And if you have a client that refuses to sign because your contract is simply too long, politely steer them in the direction of finding a photographer who is a better match for them. DO NOT BACK DOWN.
The truth is, my ‘quilted-contracts’ used to be longer than my updated versions. I realized, in going through with a fine-tooth comb, that there were a lot of things in there I was repeating in different words. Removing some of these allowed me to add in some of my own clauses and articles to my contract – things that I believe are important and should be outlined in writing as specific to my business – and still shorten the overall length of my contract.
My portrait contract is 6 pages total:
- Client information page
- Contract Body
- Contract Body
- Contract Body
- Contract Articles, Payment Plan, and Signatures
- Model Release
I’ve chosen to include a easy-to-ready payment plan in my photography contract instead of inserting the numbers into the contract. I want all details and costs to be easy to find and understand. Putting this payment plan table at the end of my contract allows me to be able to clearly outline what is going to be coming in their invoice (I use Square) and allows Client’s to be able to review their total investment without searching through the body of the document. Here’s a sample of part of it although there are articles above and below it that give it clarity:
I’ve also chosen to include the model release right in my photography contract. I’ve tried sending this as a separate attachment, but find that the less things we have to keep track of, the better. I do have individual copies that I send out to clients for extended family shoots or even for seniors who are bringing a friend to their shoot.
It’s true that I’ve extended my margins and I’ve chosen a font that is small and compact. I send out all contracts in PDF form, so the Client has the freedom to zoom in and out as needed. The reality is it looks like a legal document. It’s long, there are some words and phrases that are hard to say, and there’s a lot of meat in the document. But it protects me and it protects my client and that is not worth sacrificing in ANY way.
Contracts aren’t just about protecting the business and its liabilities… it’s about protecting the customer. This is the value in contracts. Take advantage of a 20% off code to Law Tog templates and enter the giveaway for a chance to win $150 in contracts and get yourself started – it’s all on Wednesday’s blog!
Always remember: I’m not an attorney and nothing listed in this post can or should be taken as legal advice, I’m simply sharing my experience as a fellow photographer and providing clarity to my clients.
casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Family Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.