;;; ;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;;;; ;;;;; ;;;;;;;;; ;; ;; ; ;;; ;;;;;, and we were
certainly no different, but we learned early on that having a sound legal contract
was crucial to protecting our photography business and livelihood.
When we first began photographing weddings 15 years ago, our contract was
just a few lines at the bottom of an invoice stating just the client’s name, wedding
date and package purchased. Many times along the way we would say, “Geez, if
only we had known, we would have added that in,” and over the years, we did just
that. To this day, we can recall every situation we’ve encountered that caused the
length of our contract to grow and a few of our hairs to turn gray.
To show you just how much we’ve learned over the years and how many different scenarios have played out, our contract has grown to be ten pages in length.
You may think that sounds more like a celebrity contract, but it’s what we’ve created
to legally protect ourselves. Remember, your clients, as nice as they may be, aren’t
concerned about how you are going to make your next mortgage or car payment.
So here we go, sharing some of the most important things we’ve learned along the
way to create a, dare we say it, “iron-clad contract.”
For the sake of keeping it friendly
with potential clients, we like to
refer to our legal contract as a
“wedding agreement.” The word
“contract” has connotations of
binding restrictions, or even
possibly putting a hit out on
someone, and we certainly don’t
want to go there…at least not yet.
During an initial consultation,
we like to keep the emphasis on
photography, service and building
a good rapport. We do not focus
too much attention on our contract
at this point unless specifically
asked. Once we get to the next
step, however, we like to meet
with the client in person whenever
possible to go over the details
of our agreement section by
section. Personally going over the
agreement makes the contract less
scary to clients and cuts down on
miscommunication. We don’t send
our agreement via email for this
very reason. If the client can’t make
it in, we review the contract over
the phone and then email a copy.
Don’t be afraid to lose a client
if they are against signing your
contract or insist on making
numerous changes. People who
want to tell you how to run your
business will only cost you a lot of
time, money and aggravation in
the long run.
BY MARC ANTHONY + TONY RYAN
When it comes to sealing the deal, you need much
more than a handshake to bind a verbal agreement.
WEDDING CONTRACTS 101