When you need to scale up your photography business, it’s all about consistency and repeatability. You probably got into taking pictures because you love the creative freedom, and a standard, high-quality photography contract doesn’t have to take away from that. It can help you land more clients, and understand what does and doesn’t work, for better optimization of your business.
We’ve developed a great photography proposal that will aid in communication to project clients and even function as an estimate and contract, should your clients accept everything as written. Using a proposal such as this can accelerate your business, introducing efficiency, and allowing you to focus more on what matters, your creative work.
You’ll need to do all of the proper research and homework first, but this template will give you a head-start and a good framework. You should always consult a lawyer though before finalizing any contracts.
Your creative freedom is important. It’s the tool that you hone and sharpen daily, which allows you to rise above the pack, and make your business stand out above the competition. You don’t have time to spend learning about legalese and the ins and outs of contract law, but you know that you need to protect yourself and your company. When you start working with more clients from various industries and with different sizes, you may need to have a proper proposal, estimate, and contract set up.
Clients expect quick proposals for small projects, and relatively fast estimate turnaround for larger works as well. Thankfully, a photography proposal template like this one can help with even the largest contracts. Whether your field of work is wedding photography, professional cinematography, or studio photography, a good photography proposal can allow your company to accommodate more and more clients, and reduce the time resources which you need to spend on acquiring the contracts.
A good photography proposal is an estimate, and also a description of the project. If the project description is unclear at the beginning of the process, a photography proposal can help to ask the right questions and get some answers from the client. In a photography proposal, it is common to include the exact location, time, requirements for a stylist or other personnel, the retouching or editing procedures required, the final deliverables which should be expected by the client, the milestones (if the project will go on for a longer time period), and the assignment of the directors or leaders of the project.
If you intend to use your photography proposal as a contract as well, start with the best photography proposal template and add the parties involved, including the company which is providing photography services and the client information. Because different legal issues may apply in different geographies, the location or “Premises” of the work needs to be defined.
One of the most important issues which are resolved using a photography proposal is the question of licensing. Photography is considered to be “intellectual property,” which means that it is protected by copyright law in the United States and in most countries throughout the world. When you click the shutter button on your camera and take a photograph, in the United States, this action automatically assigns the copyright for that picture to you. Copyright consists of several different elements, including the right to make copies, to make derivative works, to display publicly, to perform publicly, to distribute the work, or to transmit the work digitally.
A keen photographer knows that each one of these rights can be licensed for a profit, and it's generally not a good idea to license away all of your rights. A reasonable middle ground can be found between parties, which allows your clients to use the work as required but allows you to still retain most of your ownership.
In our template, we have included a fee section, where you can add all of the different rates which are required for your project. If you have to hire a makeup artist, or assistant photographers, drone pilots, or additional equipment, this is the place to input this information. You can also include a calculator section, which allows your clients to play with the numbers up or down and change the order items on their own to better fit their budget.
When you define the project’s deliverables, you also have to define delivery. Is the client going to be receiving the work digitally, or will you provide physical delivery of the final product? You might consider offering a discount for options which save you and your employees time and money. When you offer a list of choices to the customer, think carefully about the way these choices are laid out and try to emphasize the choices that are better or more convenient for you.
If you’re using this photography proposal as a contract, you will want to use the last sections, acceptance, and execution. If you want to use the photography proposal as a legally binding contract, then a representative of the photography company can sign in the execution section. This basically converts the proposal into an offer or a contract that is signed by one side only. In these execution and acceptance sections, the proposal becomes a contract, and when the client signs in the acceptance section, the contract becomes duly agreed, and binding in court. A contract is basically just a set of promises, and when written, it becomes enforceable. You will need to deliver the items promised, and the client will be obliged to provide you with payment.
Combination documents such as this one can be tricky. It is a lot of information for the client to take in all at once. This is why you should try to make the document as readable as possible, and help your client understand everything by rooting the sections in common language, or things that they might be familiar with. In this template, we’ve done our best to eliminate legalese, which can actually make contracts hard to enforce, because when lawyers use this hard-to-understand jargon, normal people generally don’t understand.
Try this template out, and feel free to cut sections that don’t work for you. When you optimize it, it will be short, concise, and just what you need, to save the most time and accelerate your projects, creating clear, concise communication to the client. You’re halfway there, now get back to creating great work!