Is your photography business fully protected? No, I am not talking about buying liability insurance (which I hope you also have). I am referring to things like having rock-solid contracts with your clients, being the right business entity and copyrighting your images.
While we spend a great deal of time and money on learning creative techniques, we rarely get our legal homework done. To understand some of the quagmires photographers have found themselves in, all you have to do is to switch on the evening news. Whether it is a disgruntled client or a duplicitous photographer, the media serves up stories often enough to make me worry.
And when you are worried, you aren't really creating your best work. At least, I know if I am distracted by any loose ends, I am not focused on the work at hand. Perhaps you are the same way. So, as a working photographer, getting my legal ducks in a row is a top priority. I want to be able to arrive at my client's home and know that both of us are protected by a set of standards and an agreement that will hold up in a court of law.
But going to a lawyer and having a variety of these documents all created could cost a pretty penny. That's when I stumbled across Small Business Bodyguard, about a year or so ago. Rachel Rodgers who founded Small Business Bodyguard also happens to be an attorney.
According to the Small Business Bodyguard site, it is:
For anyone starting a business.
Selling something online.
Selling something offline.
Running a website.
Hiring web designers / copywriters / VAs / interns / contractors.
Collaborating with others.
And selling anything to anybody.
If you need such a comprehensive collection of templates, ones that will walk you through a variety of scenario, then Small Business Bodyguard is for you. But at $595, it is a little expensive (compared to the thousands you could spend face-to-face with a lawyer, though, it is still a bargain).
To cater to the specific needs of the photography industry, Rachel just launched Legal Nunchucks: For Photographers [aff].
At $197, it is definitely affordable. But now through Friday, you can actually buy it for $97. Here's what you get:
50+ pages of digestible, fun content so you can learn about the legal precautions you need to take to make your business thrive PLUS the action and how-to to actually do it.
Client Service Agreement for Photographers Template
Model Release Template
Legal Checklist for Photographers
To find out more about Legal Nunchucks: For Photographers, check out my conversation with Rachel Rodgers about how and why having legal contracts is actually a good thing for both you and your clients:
Like all legal documents, if you use Small Business Bodyguard, Legal Nunchucks: For Photographers or anything else you download from the Internet, I implore you to still have it all looked over by a local (in-state) attorney. The resources mentioned above are, in in my opinion, a great way to get a head start into lining up those pesky ducks!