Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wedding Photography & Photographers
Over the last few months you'll probably remember the 3 part tutorial series I did on wedding photography for the non-professional.
If so, you'll probably remember that I harped a lot on the importance of getting things in writing. There was a reason for that - and today's little tale illustrates that very well (names changed, but the story is true, and a person we know).
Jane and John got married almost a year ago and hired someone to take their wedding photos (probably not a professional from the sounds of it - likely a family friend or someone they know). Like most people, you figure if you know someone you don't need these contracts and signed agreements. So, they paid their photographer for the service they expected to get.
Here it is, almost a year later and we discover this poor couple who will soon be celebrating their first wedding anniversary have yet to see a single photograph...not even a proof.
My recommendation is head for small claims court. I can't think of a photographer I know who would take a year to produce even the proofs.
This is such a perfect illustration of how the contract or agreement can help - in this case it would certainly have helped the couple. It might not help them get their photos (particularly if they didn't turn out), but it would put the facts on the table at small claims court in writing. And that would count a lot more than "he said-she said".
So once again...do the contract or agreement. It doesn't matter if it's formally worded or just a page from a notebook, as long as it describes the what's and wherefore's of the services and cost and what each party should expect. Goodness...it takes a few moments to complete and will provide both the photographer and the couple with a modicum of security.
You can download a simple sample contract from here (password to open is notheft) - remember to put your own name or your small business name in the right place, and adjust the contract the suit your needs. This is a very "simple" and more casual type of agreement, so it might not suit you if you run a pro business, but it's good for starters and contains a simple receipt as well.
Though it mentions a model release, I haven't included one. You will find a sample (you may need to amend it) here from NYIP online.