As soon as I decided/figured out I was supposed to 1) be a photographer 2) be a pet photographer; I knew I needed to have contracts. And not just contracts but model releases and possibly location releases…I did a lot of research and due to a lack of funds, I downloaded sample contracts and releases and had my friend who is a lawyer look over them and help me create documents that would cover my bum in the event of a client going bat crazy on me.
Documents I have clients sign before a session are as follows:
Contract- agreement between client and photographer for the cost of service and what is expected from either party
Model Release (human)- Every person over the age of 18 must sign a release giving ME permission to photograph them and gives me permission to use the images for promotion of my service online and in print (now there are exceptions to this and clients can ask that their images not be shared due to privacy/safety/nature of their jobs)
Model Release (pet)- I have clients sign a release allowing me to photograph their animals, with descriptions, so should any problems arise I have it written down
Property Release- This is for property owners that allow me to shoot on their property. Not necessarily clients backyards but a farmer’s apple orchard who gives me permission to come on and photograph, he also agrees to notify me when he will be spray and I will notify him when I plan to have sessions there.
Now, I know as a client it can seem overwhelming when a photographer hands you 5 sheets of paper to sign. I get it, I am totally happy to explain what you are signing and way. Read the documents and make yourself familiar with them. Once they are signed it will send them to you so you have a copy. Open and honest communication makes for better business relationships and makes you as the client feel confident you know what you are getting and gives a photographer confidence that we have all our legal ducks in a row and can now focus on the fun part, the Session!