I realize the best resource is a lawyer, but aside from that.

How did you write your contracts for your photography business? Are there resources out there to help me write my own contracts and model releases? Are there any exceptional templates you have found?

What are key things I should include in the contract? What are key things I should be aware of?

Areas of interest specifically are rights to photos, payments and use of photos in portfolio.

  • 1
    I feel a lot of people can benefit from this information and I didn't find another question like it. May 5 '11 at 16:07
  • You're actually asking a few questions here, but I do recall a number of questions that have touched on this issue: photo.stackexchange.com/search?q=contract
    – Alan
    May 5 '11 at 16:17
  • 1
    I guess my search query was a bit too complex because I never got the results you did. If people feel this needs to be closed that's fine. May 5 '11 at 16:39
  • Related (and possibly duplicate?): photo.stackexchange.com/questions/9898/…
    – mattdm
    May 5 '11 at 17:14
  • I don't think this needs to be closed (else i would have voted ;p), but some of the questions you asked, have been covered in other questions.
    – Alan
    May 5 '11 at 18:26

You could try the book "Business and Legal Forms for Photographers"

The perfect answer to your question might be multiple answers. If you are looking for a model release you will want a different contract then a wedding for example.

Digital Photography School has an example contract here. As well as some tips here.

Personally if you want to go the cheap route I would browse and copy a few that you find online, and build it to the best of your knowledge. Overall you want to make sure you don't get sued or lose your house over a failed photography shoot, but to make sure of that the only way is to hire a lawyer.

  • I'm going to mark this as the answer because it directly provides and example. Thank you. Just what I was looking for. May 6 '11 at 15:46

I would recommend visiting ASMP's website: http://asmp.org/tutorials/business-forms-and-contracts.html

They have extensive information about business formation, contracts and the rest. They're an awesome group; i highly recommend considering obtaining membership to their association.

Membership allows you access to a variety of resources, networking, and seminars.

Additionally, You can also check out PPA: http://www.ppa.com/

With their membership they give you access to their lawyers who specialize in Photography. They might be able to provide you very valuable legal advice at affordable rates.

In fact the PPA has a landing page devoted to Sample Contracts: http://www.ppa.com/articles/search.php?category=18


Just a quick tip, which I'm sure you don't need, but...

Don't get lost in all these legal formalities to the point where you focus on your legal relationship with your clients and forget about the human relationship.

If your human relationship is in good shape then you will be less likely to have to rely on all the legal stuff.

(You still need a good contract, but don't let it become the focus - just sayin')


Many of the professional trade organizations such as ASMP, PPA, etc. offer sample/template documents including contracts, model releases, and other legal documents. In addition to providing various sample information, they have relationships with lawyers and others who have experience with the law as it relates specifically to photographers.

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