Senior Portraits: Contract and Photo release

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by BLD_007, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. BLD_007
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    BLD_007 New Member

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    I have been asked if I would shoot some senior portraits for one of my Fraternity brother's friends. I have always wanted to do senior portraits but have not done so yet.

    When it comes to senior portraits, I'm guessing I'm going to need a contract and or photo release, correct? For theses contracts, could they just be a generic contract that I could be used for all senior portraits? When I first write up this contract, do I need to have it reviewed by a lawyer? One of my professors is a Judge for the local county "he teaches business law" could he review it? Should I just tell a lawyer what I want and have them write it up? I'm going to answer my own question but just want to be sure.

    I don't want to do a photo shoot for a senior and get a law suit on my hands. I'm not 100% confidant in my ability in doing a senior portrait because I have never done one before. Should I have that in my contract somehow?

    Any advice for a first time senior portrait taker would be great!
  2. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    My opinion is: If money changes hands, have a contract. If you have a contract, have it reviewed by a legal professional. There are millions of examples on-line; take one, modify it to suit your needs and have it reviewed. I'd say a judge would count as a 'legal professional'.

    As far as a release, if you simply intend to post the images on your website for self-promotion, I would incorporate that into the contract, but if you have other uses in mind, than perhaps a separate release is a good idea.

    I would not put anything in about doubting your ability; read lots and practice lots, and explain to him that you're just getting started and that your prices reflect this. One thing I make sure all of my contracts spell out clearly is that there is NO PROMISE of quality, quantity, size, style or type of image.

    Good luck.
  3. BLD_007
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    BLD_007 New Member

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    You gave me an idea, having the "NO PROMISE of quality, quantity, size, style or type of image." clause in there.

    How would that work legally though? Is it in other words, the photos may suck due too XYorZ happening?"
  4. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    This is taken from the contract that I use:

    "4. Guarantee:
    (a) The photographer makes no guarantee with respect to any issue of quality, type, style, number of photographs, visual or artistic appearance of the final product. Every effort will be made to ensure that the client(s) receive the highest possible quality product.

    (b) The photographer makes no guarantee with respect to the quality, appearance or longevity of any product, and only those guarantees made by the manufacturer of said product(s) which are applicable under the circumstance shall be in effect."

    I explain this to clients as being my protection against dissatisfaction since no matter how much pre-planning is done, you can't guarentee that the shots will come out as intended as well as equipment failure: I've taken all the shots and I'm driving home, get hit by a drunk driver, car (and memory cards) go up in flames... I'm not going to be held responsible. I've never had to exercise either clause, but I think they do afford me some measure of protection.

    Para B is [hopefully] some measure of protection against defects in work from the lab.

    Hope that helps.
  5. Christie Photo
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    Christie Photo New Member

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    Hmmm....

    I've been doing this for 30 years+ and have never used either. I simply guarantee satisfaction... if they're not satisfied, they get no photos and I get no money. For the record, this has never happened.

    -Pete
  6. Christie Photo
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    Christie Photo New Member

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    This discussion keeps rolling around in my head, and I keep coming back to, "Really?"

    When I agree to make portraits for a client, I intend to deliver. If suspect I can't, then I won't agree to do it. It's really as simple as that.

    There's not a lot at stake.

    And if I don't get a hit first time at bat, I'll have another go at as long as the clients willing. I can count on one hand the number of times I had to do additional photography.

    The way I see it, the client is asking me to perform a task. He should be able to expect satisfaction if I agree to do it. I would put more energy into how I intend to do it and less into how to get out of it if I fail. Like I said, there's not a lot at stake. If they don't like what you do, they'll go to someone else.

    -Pete

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