The party of the first part….

…shall be known as the “Party of the First Part”. The party of the second part shall be known as the “Party of the Second Part”. The party of the third part shall be known as the “Party of the Third Part”. The party of the fourth part shall be known as the “Party of the Fourth Part”.

Recognize that from “A Day at the Races” by the Marx Brothers? Kudos. And  I bring this up because it’s all about signing contracts.

Why am I talking about the need to sign contracts?

Because as a photographer, even if you are a committed amateur, you will be asked to shoot something for someone sometimes. Something that is important enough to them to ask you to do it.

And unless you create some form of formal written agreement, that’s where the confusion and misunderstandings can come in.

Huh? How so? I shoot some pics, they are happy. Right? I deliver pics. Couldn’t be easier.

Wrong. You shoot some pics, you say? Well, then:

  • How many photos?
  • Do you get to choose which ones to share?
  • When will you be there?
  • Who has copyright?
  • When will you deliver?
  • Candid or formal?
  • Can you use the images?
  • Can they be resold by you?
  • Can they be resold by your client?
  • Do prints cost money?
  • Are files print-sized?
  • How much post work will you do?
  • How long are the files available for?
  • Do you have backup?
  • What if the client does not pay?
  • What if the pics are destroyed accidentally?
  • What if you get sick?

So those are just a few of the things you need to make contractually sure are agreed between you and your client, relative or friend.

So I recommend you have a standard agreement, i.e. some form of contract, that you use as a way to agree these things explicitly. So that nothing is left to confusion.

Signing this is a good idea.

(And you do not, like Hammurabi, need to use cuneiform. A fountain pen will work. And who was Hammurabi? Google is your friend!)

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