Designing a Wedding Contract

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by todd frederick, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. I have not been totally happy with stock wedding contracts,
    especially regarding all the legal disclaimers and such. I like to
    keep language simple but cover the bases.

    I want to design my own personalized contract.

    If anyone reading this question has designed your own contract, would
    you care to share some of the items you have added, especially with
    regard to liability issues, model release language, dealing with
    other photographers at the wedding, payment of fees, and such.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Best bet -- if you are in the wedding business -- is to opt for a business expense and contact a local attorney who is well-versed in contract law. It is something you can itemize on your tax return...and give you something that is legal and binding in your state. A number of advice statements offered here are not really legal in the sense you are looking for. (For one, the bride-to-be has her family name and signs the 'model release' part of your future wedding contract: is this enforceable after she becomes a 'Mrs.' and can she sign for her future husband (or spouse?) That is why you need a laywer.....
     
  3. FANTASTIC question. Beware of replies! Contract law is different in every 50 states of our beloved union...assumming your from the US. I did the following:

    1. Consort variouse pubs with CD ROM contracts and modify to your service line...AKA, come up with a model contract.

    2. Optional. If your selling big $$$ events you can afford a LOCAL lawyer to review your standard sales agreement to look at LIABILITY!

    Other options include taking out an Errors and Ommisions Insurance PCY, and establishing service backups in the event you cannot perform.
     
  4. You need to know what all the problems are. A contract addresses the problems. Ask yourself: What do you want them to do for you? What will you do for them? If you don't know, no use to go to an attorney at $250 hour. He doesn't know your problems beforehand. If you copy someone else's contract, only do so sentence by sentence, issue by issue. You have started a very big topic here. Go to the county law library and ask them for the "Procedures and Forms" book. Look up a product selling contract. Ask yourself what are the issues here.
     
  5. Make a list of every problem that could occur at the wedding. Then answer each problem with a procedure and a solution decision. You will likely have around 60-80 items.
     
  6. Hi Todd. I agree that having a lawyer involved is a good idea. I'd do a rough draft and take it from there. At least you give them something to work from if they don't have any wedding photographers as client. <p>A few contributions for you from my own self styled contract: Where the couple signs the contract -- I have "contract and photo release" in parenthasis next to the line where they sign. Within the legal "copy" I explain that The photographer reserves the right to make reproductions for use in portfolio, self promotion, ads, fliers, contests, art exhibitions, editorial, websites, etc. <p>I also have pricing, hours, locations and times where we will meet, a line for them to fill in about who is authorized to request "overtime". I also outline my requirement for Hot meals. I explain cancellation fee and/or deposit policy. I outline my policy on negatives, timeline for proofs and reprints. I say that all changes to timing, location etc. must be made in writing. I have a copyright clause in there. I have a liability clause about acts of god and equipment failure. I also have a special line for "Party responsible for Payment". So that the Bride and Groom sign the contract BUT also -- the parents. I do that because I've run into situations where the parents want certain shots and the couple or the bride is just not into it and not cooperative. In my contract it states -- I'm not responsible for things beyond my control - one of which is: lack of cooperation of a given subject.
     
  7. There are national companies that sell generic contracts with a variety of legal provisions, but not all of those provisions are applicable to my needs. I may need to do a "wedding contract" search on Google and look to see what i can use.

    Mary, I appreciate your list of possible provisions to include. You mention a few I did not consider. I try to be more sensitive to the "human" factor when I book a wedding and feel uncomfortable going over all the legal issues and what might "go wrong." So far, I have not had a major problem using just a simple agreement form with very little in the way of legal waivers and conditions.

    However, I have been in situations where the need to leave the wedding was imparative, and the lack of cooperation has arisen. I'm thinking of one situation where the reception got totally out of control, was invaded by neighborhood teens, and the police had to be called. I had no provision for halting the photography if the situation became dangerous. I had to stay and wait for the problem to be resolved.

    These are things I don't feel comfortable discussing prior to the wedding, but they do happen.

    I hope I'm expressing my concern clearly.
     
  8. PS: I am trying to revive my wedding, portrait, and social event business (after a vehicle accident halted it for a time), and I want to be a bit more formal and businesslike than I was in the past. Your input is important in this regard.

    As mentioned above, I also want to design a contract that covers the basics, but which is also visually attractive as well...something I can keep on my computer and print as needed.

    Thank you.
     
  9. Hi Todd, sounds like you are recovering from your accident and getting back into action.

    You said, "I like to keep language simple but cover the bases." I think this is pretty
    important. Just clear language without all the legalese, where as, party of the first part
    stuff.

    I keep a basic contract, which can be modified per any special request, or easily rewritten
    if I design a custom package for the couple. It's just a Word Document that I ink jet print
    onto a form that I designed and printed in quantity.

    The standard stuff remains on all the versions and spells out what happens if I personally
    cannot shoot the wedding for health or emergency reasons. It also absolves me of
    responsibility for failure of any third party vendor services like if a lab looses or destroys
    film. My lawyer advised me that I cannot include equipment failure in that portion because
    there is a reasonable expectation that a professional photographer will have the necessary
    back-up gear.

    One concern that I do have as of recent is the loss of images due to failure of a digital CF
    card. It's not happened to me yet, but I do know of such failures from a photojournalist
    friend of mine. It can and does happen. I now have an amazing recovery program that
    actually works. But nothing is fool proof.
     
  10. Mary, check your e-mail, and thank you.

    Marc, is there a chance I could see some of what you have in your contract? You are doing exactly what I have in mind. I want something simple and that can be modified. I won't steal it. I just need a place to start.

    Fortunately, in 15 years I have not missed a wedding due to illness, ever since starting to take flu shots (really), but that's something that causes me concern. I'm trying to make a list of possible substitutes if an emergency arises, and eventually to hire an assistant. I hope that I will never need to miss a booking for any reason.

    Digital glitches cause me some concern as well. I still use film, but have had a few problems with processing issues and some exposed film was stolen along with fresh film from my bag once. I now keep exposed film in a pouch on my belt. I want to move more into digital, however.

    All these little things that can go wrong need to be considered...not so much just for me and my income, but because this is a major event in the life of the couple as well, and I feel a responsibility in this regard.

    After the flowers fade and the cake is gone and the dress no longer fits, all that's left of the wedding are memories...and the photos. That's a big responsibility!

    Marc, I am feeling somewhat better, but there is still shoulder and leg pain after about 4 hours! Yet, I must try. I haven't reached a settlement yet. It seems that insurance companies are in the business of NOT making just compensation!
     
  11. Todd,

    Mary sounds like she approaches completeness in her contract compared to so many
    others. However, it is not necessary to say that the "out of control things" are not the
    photographer's responsibility. You would then have to make a long negative sounding list
    of things the photographer is not responsible for, like acts of God: lightening, flood.

    What I do is to make it alot more broad: I don't promise as to what the images will look
    like unless they take an 'option' and pay much more per picture and also give a graphic
    and written description of EACH IMAGE. Do people do this? Rarely. But it is only fair
    to you to have accurate descriptions, like you would dealing with an art director.

    When you try to 'hard wire' the contract to every little thing that HAPPENS, you reduce
    flexibility. My selling point is that i am very, very flexible. I can change event places,
    pictures, etc. without any problem. I don't have to go into all the negative "what if this
    happens...." because I don't promise what the pictures will look like to begin with. So, if
    something bad happens to the Bride, like she faints and has to go to the hospital for 2
    hours, it is no problem. She didn't violate the contract by fainting and I am not in breach
    of contract for not having any "first dance pictures" of her while she is recuperating in the
    hospital.

    On the other hand, my core agreement is about 9 single spaced pages long including more
    pages of description of services for about 27 pages in total. It has a definition of terms,
    the word "Client" refers to the signer of the contract, and it is capitalized. A "Buyer" is not
    the "Client", yet the Buyer is a person who orders pictures of the wedding. The Client can
    also be a Buyer. A brief sales contract is on every purchase order that the Buyer orders
    from. The Buyer directs where the pictures are to be mailed/picked up.

    To make the Agreement more friendly, a description of terms designates that whenever
    the word "I" is used in the contract, that refers to me, the photographer. Whenever
    "you" is used, this refers to the Client. Therefore, my agreement sounds like a letter from
    me to "you".

    I took me decades, literally to form my contract. I am still changing it and adding new
    ideas. I have already given thought to the topics Mary brought up.

    Realize that the Client may believe that your portfolio is "what my pictures will look like".
    This is similar to seeing the portfolio as a catalogue. Wrong. The portfolio is not a
    catalogue. But they relied upon it to hire you, right? So, that makes it a catalogue, right?
    Wrong. You cannot reproduce those pictures for the new Client. So, you can argue about
    things, and unwind tangles of ideas they have, or you can make it alot more simple and
    not promise what the images will look like. Oh yes, I have defined "images" separately
    from the "paper" of the photographs. I "sell the paper" for so, and so. But I do not
    represent what the images will be. Nobody can legally say that one picture is worth more
    than another. And you know what...I charge the same for an 8x10 of any picture. So it all
    makes sense.

    The law is written so that there are lots of overlapping issues. There are lots of ways the
    Client can "come at you" in a legal sense. There are dozens of ways. You should find out
    how these ways happen and plug up the holes in your Agreement. "Agreement" used as a
    friendly form of "contract" wording, and it is capitalized.

    Basically, I am free to be an artist, and the bride is free to have fun. The purpose of the
    long descriptions is to prevent other kinds of interpretations from happening. It limits
    those unusual expectations from ever happening or being used against me directly or
    indirectly.

    As for a "list of photographs", I call it a "dream sheet", and I include that there is no
    promise or representation of the photographer that the listed photographs can be
    completed. And this is the hard part: You don't want to make this promise unless you are
    being paid more, and getting a promise from the subjects that they will perform perfectly.
    So, if they don't take my "option" they don't have to worry about performing perfectly and
    paying more. They can take a risk and go be free to have fun.

    By reading all of the problems on photo.net concerning weddings, you can write a
    paragraph of how you want the specific problem solved.

    I think that it is best to only have one signature on the contract, and only one Client.
    Having several people responsible to pay, is having several people available to complain
    and disagree. It would be you against all 3 of them in court. Keep it simple. Do you really
    want to serve 3 different people? What if they create a time conflict for you? Are you
    going to go to court and plead "impossibility"? It was "impossible" to do this,,,and
    this,,,because there was no time to do these pictures....

    As for "compensation" in a "modeling release", how will you arrange that? Just because
    you "say" "modeling release"? You have to give them something valuable or $$. How are
    you going to pay them at the same time they are paying you? Where is it broken out?
    When does it, the payment happen? When payments happen, there has to be a time for it
    to happen, and it should be in the contract. The answers on photo.net are usually too,
    too simple to be used in finality. You need to just get some ideas here and there and to
    do some writing yourself.

    I started doing weddings in 1973. I used a 1 paragraph contract. Now I have about 27
    pages. The more pages I wrote, the fewer "worried phone calls" I received. My life became
    simplier as the contract got longer. I could just point to a paragraph and know that I had
    already made up a decision as to what should happen. People like that. They like it
    spelled out. But can I "spell out" what the images will look like? No, I would not do that,
    unless they take the more expensive Option.

    That products contract at the county law library will give you a several page contract that
    goes into extreme detail for selling any product; time of title passing, delivery, payment
    time, right to cancel, definition of terms, venue, .... lots of detail.
     
  12. Todd,

    Mary sounds like she approaches completeness in her contract compared to so many
    others. However, it is not necessary to say that the "out of control things" are not the
    photographer's responsibility. You would then have to make a long negative sounding list
    of things the photographer is not responsible for, like acts of God: lightening, flood.

    What I do is to make it alot more broad: I don't promise as to what the images will look
    like unless they take an 'option' and pay much more per picture and also give a graphic
    and written description of EACH IMAGE. Do people do this? Rarely. But it is only fair
    to you to have accurate descriptions, like you would dealing with an art director.

    When you try to 'hard wire' the contract to every little thing that HAPPENS, you reduce
    flexibility. My selling point is that i am very, very flexible. I can change event places,
    pictures, etc. without any problem. I don't have to go into all the negative "what if this
    happens...." because I don't promise what the pictures will look like to begin with. So, if
    something bad happens to the Bride, like she faints and has to go to the hospital for 2
    hours, it is no problem. She didn't violate the contract by fainting and I am not in breach
    of contract for not having any "first dance pictures" of her while she is recuperating in the
    hospital.

    On the other hand, my core agreement is about 9 single spaced pages long including more
    pages of description of services for about 27 pages in total. It has a definition of terms,
    the word "Client" refers to the signer of the contract, and it is capitalized. A "Buyer" is not
    the "Client", yet the Buyer is a person who orders pictures of the wedding. The Client can
    also be a Buyer. A brief sales contract is on every purchase order that the Buyer orders
    from. The Buyer directs where the pictures are to be mailed/picked up.

    To make the Agreement more friendly, a description of terms designates that whenever
    the word "I" is used in the contract, that refers to me, the photographer. Whenever
    "you" is used, this refers to the Client. Therefore, my agreement sounds like a letter from
    me to "you".

    I took me decades, literally to form my contract. I am still changing it and adding new
    ideas. I have already given thought to the topics Mary brought up.

    Realize that the Client may believe that your portfolio is "what my pictures will look like".
    This is similar to seeing the portfolio as a catalogue. Wrong. The portfolio is not a
    catalogue. But they relied upon it to hire you, right? So, that makes it a catalogue, right?
    Wrong. You cannot reproduce those pictures for the new Client. So, you can argue about
    things, and unwind tangles of ideas they have, or you can make it alot more simple and
    not promise what the images will look like. Oh yes, I have defined "images" separately
    from the "paper" of the photographs. I "sell the paper" for so, and so. But I do not
    represent what the images will be. Nobody can legally say that one picture is worth more
    than another. And you know what...I charge the same for an 8x10 of any picture. So it all
    makes sense.

    The law is written so that there are lots of overlapping issues. There are lots of ways the
    Client can "come at you" in a legal sense. There are dozens of ways. You should find out
    how these ways happen and plug up the holes in your Agreement. "Agreement" used as a
    friendly form of "contract" wording, and it is capitalized.

    Basically, I am free to be an artist, and the bride is free to have fun. The purpose of the
    long descriptions is to prevent other kinds of interpretations from happening. It limits
    those unusual expectations from ever happening or being used against me directly or
    indirectly.

    As for a "list of photographs", I call it a "dream sheet", and I include that there is no
    promise or representation of the photographer that the listed photographs can be
    completed. And this is the hard part: You don't want to make this promise unless you are
    being paid more, and getting a promise from the subjects that they will perform perfectly.
    So, if they don't take my "option" they don't have to worry about performing perfectly and
    paying more. They can take a risk and go be free to have fun.

    By reading all of the problems on photo.net concerning weddings, you can write a
    paragraph of how you want the specific problem solved.

    I think that it is best to only have one signature on the contract, and only one Client.
    Having several people responsible to pay, is having several people available to complain
    and disagree. It would be you against all 3 of them in court. Keep it simple. Do you really
    want to serve 3 different people? What if they create a time conflict for you? Are you
    going to go to court and plead "impossibility"? It was "impossible" to do this,,,and
    this,,,because there was no time to do these pictures....

    As for "compensation" in a "modeling release", how will you arrange that? Just because
    you "say" "modeling release"? You have to give them something valuable or $$. How are
    you going to pay them at the same time they are paying you? Where is it broken out?
    When does it, the payment happen? When payments happen, there has to be a time for it
    to happen, and it should be in the contract. The answers on photo.net are usually too,
    too simple to be used in finality. You need to just get some ideas here and there and to
    do some writing yourself.

    I started doing weddings in 1973. I used a 1 paragraph contract. Now I have about 27
    pages. The more pages I wrote, the fewer "worried phone calls" I received. My life became
    simplier as the contract got longer. I could just point to a paragraph and know that I had
    already made up a decision as to what should happen. People like that. They like it
    spelled out. But can I "spell out" what the images will look like? No, I would not do that,
    unless they take the more expensive Option.

    That products contract at the county law library will give you a several page contract that
    goes into extreme detail for selling any product; time of title passing, delivery, payment
    time, right to cancel, definition of terms, venue, .... lots of detail.
     
  13. I'll give you an example of an "idea" that is presented by Mary regarding "who can request
    overtime". Well, it is a bad idea to have these other people being able to "request
    overtime". Only the Client can "request overtime", and the Client and only the Client can
    modify the contract.

    The problem is, the law also allows an "Agent" to represent the "Client". And worse, the
    "Agent" can simply be a "good actor", not actually a real represenative. This means that
    anyone can be the "Agent" and request overtime. Do you want this "gray area" bumping
    up against you? So, if later the Bride says that she didn't request any over time, who you
    going to? If you want to be loose and take the risk on your own time that you will be paid,
    then that is your risk. What you really want is your written contract to control what it can
    really control. You don't want alot of people who have the right to have their opinions
    acted out by you. You want to be able to point to the contract and say that if it isn't here,
    you can't promise it. If you can't do this, you have a contract with holes in it. When the
    "wind blows" you will be turned around and twisted around.

    I realize that many wedding photographers will say, "oh, I've never had a problem with
    this." Well, to any readers out there who would simply accept this, I worry for you. To do
    weddings, you need to be willing to solve the tiny problems that seldom come up. You
    need to assign them some importance and find the solution. You may only have the
    problem once every 8 years, but there may be 50 different problems that could come up
    every 8 years. This means you could be having serious problems 2-4 times a year and the
    problems are various "tiny" problems that become 'big problems".

    As for handing other photographers, you dont'. You do not want any language that
    restricts other photographers at any time. If you do, you become liable, indirectly. How?
    By forming an exclusive over the wedding. Don't do this. Use diplomacy to solve this
    problem, not wording in a contract. My Agreement says that I am not the exclusive
    photographer, and anyone can take photographs at any time, just to make it clear. But
    during the altar pictures, I let everyone take their pictures, exhaust themselves, and then I
    take mine. If the amateurs trigger your slaves, radio slave the flashes or hardwire them.

    So, you see, there are lots of "desires" of the photographer that could find their way into a
    contract, that should not.

    Then there is just the matter of "sales", and the making of a friendly sounding Agreement.
    This is a polishing step that you should get feedback on from the Client later: How did
    this sentence sound? What do you think about this...?

    Frankly, this subject is so large that it should have its own Forum under Weddings and
    Events.
     
  14. Oh, I couldn't leave. I'll say something else.

    If you form an "Exclusive" over the photography of the wedding by restricting others to
    photograph at any time, you are acting like you are a Union guy, right? What really
    happens is that you are required as a condition of this "Exclusivity" to give perfect services
    and images. She is COMPLETELY RELIANT ON YOU to perform perfectly now. The
    relationship is like a doctor's relationship to a patient he has just drugged for a surgery.
    The doctor has created an "Exclusivity" over the services to be rendered to the patient by
    taking away the patient's ability to choose due to being knocked out. Now the doctor has
    to perform his services perfectly. The patient can't "shop for another service" if she "sees"
    the doctor making errors. The patient is completely reliant on the services that will be
    performed, understand?

    What you want is a situation of "pure competition" instead of "exclusivity". Sure, i know,
    the other photographers bother your attempt at perfection at the altar. But do you want to
    be required to make "perfect pictures" at every moment? The bride can sue for emotional
    distress!

    I could not just leave this issue without adding some more to it. It is not just as simple as
    many would like it to be.
     
  15. You don't want to offer service back-ups in case you can't perform. Why? Sounds like a
    friendly idea! Well, the substitute service can be said to be defined later by the Client as
    "not sufficient", and you could be sued anyway. It is better to send the Client on her way
    to make choices as she wishes.

    You see, there is a scam going on with wedding photographers. The great photographer
    books 4 weddings at the same time. He "backs out" on 3 of them the night before the
    wedding. The Bride, frantic now, takes anything she can get. The photographer gives her
    a newbie photographer at a lower price. Now, since the Bride had SOME TIME and freedom
    to select a photographer it is arguable how much if at all the first photographer breached
    the contract. Thus, the idea of having a "feature" that substitutes the photographer sets
    her up for this kind of treatment.

    Again, if you are a straight arrow photographer, you want to only represent the work you
    personally do. If you can't do it; have a relationship with a skilled friend photographer
    that can be referred to the Bride. But don't employ this referrance.
     
  16. Timber,

    I have three comments/questions:

    1. If you have a 27 page contract, and you're meeting with the client, how do you "close" the booking at that meeting and have the time to review and explain every item in the contract? I appreciate your thoroughness, but isn't this cumbersome?

    2. I allow anyone to photograph at the wedding. I even occasionally help others learn a few techniques. I don't have a problem with that. Now days, however, the only kink in that is when a person "shadows" me using an advanced pro digital system. I sometimes wonder if he's going to come back the next day and try to sell his photographs to the client. That almost happened recently. However, I'm still very loose about other photographers. There's really no way to stop it. I let them go ahead as long as they don't prevent me from doing my job. If they do, we have a friendly chat.

    3. I know about the scam you mentioned. A few years back a friend of mine worked for one of those photographers who books 5 weddings+ and hires students or amateurs for $5 an hour to do the weddings without notifying the clients. Some studios do this as a regular practice. They book with the studio and they send a "staff" photographer. I'm speaking of what to do if one becomes very ill on the wedding day, or has a serious vehicle breakdown, and such. I have photographed weddings while not felling tip-top, but what of genuine emergencies? That is one thing that truly concerns me at times. We're not physically perfect beings.
     
  17. "I'm speaking of what to do if one becomes very ill on the wedding day, or has a serious vehicle breakdown, and such. I have photographed weddings while not felling tip-top, but what of genuine emergencies? That is one thing that truly concerns me at times. We're not physically perfect beings."



    It may not be good for you, but if you take a deposit for wedding photography, and then (on short notice) bail out for a unknown medical problem, hopefully you have some sort of working arrangement with a good photographer in your area. If not, your 'contract' will be a lead weight for your wallet. If you have taken a basic business law course, the 'principle' behind a contract is: it must have two sides. A one-sided contract is (generally) not lawful and will make the outcome somewhat painful if the case goes to court.
     
  18. For Todd Frederick:

    My contract contains the brochure, and all supportive materials,
    including Questions and Answers. Therefore, when they call
    me, they already have 3 pages of my contract. They have the
    prices and some description. When they call for an
    appointment, I send 7 pages of Questions and Answers to them
    in the mail, plus maybe another 2 pages. This answers all of the
    mundane questions like: "Will you stay until the end of the
    wedding?" If I change the location of the wedding, will you
    re-locate? etc.

    When they read these 10 pages, they have a good familiarity with
    me. So, when I arrive, they do not diluge me with mundane
    boring questions i have heard so many times before. This
    makes me more positive in spirit. I am released from these
    mundane questions. So, I can speak as an artist.

    Because they feel so familiar with me, they often decide to hire
    me right here. But I summarize each paragraph's meaning.
    There is nothing punitive in my contract, and there are no real
    surprises. 3 pages will be a sample of my Purchase Order.
    This has language of the Buyer's interest. Then, 3 more pages
    are a Time Schedule and some more helpful hints.

    Some people read the 9-10 pages of core contract right there.
    Others read it later, and send in the check. I close about 29 of 30
    weddings i visit, so i do not need to high pressure anyone.

    When the people compare me to other photographers, they note
    that my papers are far more complete than other photographers.
    They believe that if my papers are so detailed and complete,
    then my thinking and planning for their wedding should also
    follow a complete and detailed course.

    No, they do not think I am a lawyer in photographer's clothes.
    They understand that I care to have few problems regarding
    definitions and communications. They know that I care about
    them having fun, and that our relationship should not be hung up
    over the definition of a word.

    Through the years, I selected words for their ability to
    communicate to a large numbers of clients.

    My contract gives the couple great confidence in me.
     
  19. "I'm speaking of what to do if one becomes very ill on the wedding day, or has a serious vehicle breakdown, and such. I have photographed weddings while not felling tip-top, but what of genuine emergencies? That is one thing that truly concerns me at times. We're not physically perfect beings."
    Good point! To that point, I can only tell you what I've done. I have a group of about 8 photographers that I communicate with in my area. They are very clear that at a moments notice - if I'm not booked...I'll jump in and help them. They've indicated that they would do the same for me.
    Once, a photographer's father ended up in the hospital with a heart attack. She called me the day before the wedding.. I took over. When my Mom was dying -- I had two weddings ahead of me and had a photographer on alert to take over for me depending on how things woked out. He took one of my weddings. I hurt my back and had two photographers on alert to either shoot with me or take over. I was lucky as I only had to take one with me....I shot the important shots and he took over for the reception. My clients were happy. It isn't easy... But when something truly major comes up -- I've found that people are very reasonible as long as they are covered. Oh, and by the way - I do try to make sure my backups are really cool/talented photographers...
     
  20. Mary,

    Thank you. That is exactly what I was getting at.

    I am beginning to build a small web of photographer friends, and even the studio I worked with for a summer said I could call on them if necessary (and vice versa).
     
  21. Todd F.: Regarding your fear of leaving the wedding.

    Obviously, the Bride and Groom would be upset if you left the wedding. If it were
    dangerous for you, you need to leave the wedding. I am certain that you can give a reason
    of "impossibility" as an excuse and the threat of theft of your equipment or danger to you
    is a sufficient reason to stop all services. Nobody has to perform under any contract for
    products and services wherein somebody is going to get hurt one way or another doing it.
    You don't have to stick in bloody details in your contract to "prove a point" or illustrate
    what you mean. You don't have to warn the client, either. All you need are some
    witnesses!

    Hey, I had to walk away from a wedding once. A drunken guy, an Uncle was upset that I
    took a picture of the cermony in front of his view for a couple of minutes. It was 104
    degrees and he was drinking, and he found me later to literally follow me into the parking
    lot. Everyone thought I wanted to leave, but I wanted to stay if this guy cooled down. He
    didn't, so I left.

    When i visited the Bride and Groom, they realized immediately that I was not angry at
    anyone and that this Uncle had started it by having a lack of patience. So, they apoligized
    to me. I had nothing to say about it because I didn't want to criticise their family. To me,
    it was just another one in a million experience at a wedding. I have seen all kinds of
    things happen at weddings through the years.

    Always recognize that you don't have to inform the Clients of all the odd negative things
    that can happen at the wedding. If you do, they will feel a bad omen is coming. They only
    want to think about positive things. You do not need to say too much. You are already
    protected. Read the "Uniform Commercial Code" and you will find many interesting
    subjects.
     
  22. Todd Frederick:

    Answering your question about amateurs "following you around" and copying your
    photographs. Sure, you feel your work is being "stolen". Well, when your pictures are
    delivered, they may be scanned and "stolen" in a very real way! All of this points to the
    likely result that photographers will be needed to get a committment from the Client to
    purchase nearly all of the pictures taken BEFORE the wedding happens. This places even
    more weight on the prospective client's decisions to hire a good photographer! When you
    pick-and-chose pictures, you can "get your money's worth". But a committment to
    purchase nearly everything beforehand creates a real need for a perfectionistic
    photographer!

    And yes, this is the basis for an issue in the design of a contract! Which way you gonna'
    go? Pick-and-chose? -Or "sell it all at once, in advance"? -Or alittle of both?
     
  23. This thread is closed...and is for archival information only. <p> If you have a new contract oriented question or comment for discussion - please start a new thread. Most older threads do not get read or answered as they do not appear on top of the list.
     

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