As a real estate photographer, you need a contract to make sure your business thrives. This means defining the boundaries of the photographing project and getting paid on time.
In a real estate photography contract, all the parties involved get to benefit. All their important concerns are addressed and the photographer gets to fulfill all the expectations of his or her customers.
Furthermore, a contract eliminates the likelihood of a lawsuit and increases the confidence of your customers towards your work. Keep reading to understand why you need a contract.
Do you Need a Contract?
Believe it or not, many real estate photographers find that drafting a contract is an unnecessary work. After reviewing a real estate photography contract, they get worried that their customers will get intimidated by the terms.
If you do not draft one, how are you sure that your customers will pay you for your photos? Build a strong business relationship with your realtors, property owners by having a contract/agreement. In the agreement:
- Show them how you work
- Outline your payments terms
- Discuss photo ownership with your customers
- Explain to them what they should expect from you
- Describe what you need from your customers
- Describe your cancellation and rescheduling policies
Taking the time to brief your customers about the contract will prove to them you are professional and this will increase their confidence in your work. It will also show you mean business.
Act as a Tool of Protection
Do you know that a real estate photography contract is a powerful tool of protection for you and your clients? It binds your customers to pay for your services
You want to trust all your clients but misunderstandings happen. In order to protect yourself from potential lawsuits, sign a contract with your clients.
Outline the Expectations of their Clients
The expectations of your clients are important items that should be included in a real estate photography contract. The key items expected from you include:
- Number of photos to be taken of both interior and exterior
- Will any video be used
- Their price
- How photos will be delivered, digital or print form
- Shooting and delivery time
Key Items to Include in a Real Estate Photography Contract
Full Contact Information
This may seem unnecessary but indicating full names and contact information of you and your clients is extremely important. With contact information, if anything happens, you know where to get them.
There should be full names of a real estate agent or a property owner and a real estate photographer. Contact information should include address, emails and phone number.
In the contract, summarize what your photographer will deliver. I cannot stress enough how crucial a contract is. It will eliminate the possibility of mistakes which can cause headaches and financial loss. With an agreement, clients have a guarantee that they will get what they paid for.
- Indicate in the contract the number of shots to be delivered
- Shoot date and delivery time. Having a start date let your clients know when terms and the timeline will begin.
Speaking of deposits, it is important to indicate in the real estate photography contract how and when you will receive your payment. Ensure your clients give a deposit to secure your time and services. A deposit is often 10% to 50% depending on the amount agreed by both parties.
Do not forget to indicate the deposit paid and the amount remaining in the contract. For large jobs, several payments might be made at different points.
In the event of cancellation by both parties, indicate when the deposit is refundable.
This is a crucial item in case of a dispute concerning the ownership of the photos. In the contract, make sure to indicate who retain copyright. For instance, a photographer can indicate he or she owns the photos but can give permission to clients to use them.
This is typical with commercial real estate photography where photographers grant the right to use their photos for some time. With personal photos, the clients can use the photos for life.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, both clients and real estate photographer can cancel. In this section, inform your clients what will happen if they cancel and fees they should expect from you.
If you cancel, indicate what you are responsible for an alternative you can give if you fail to turn up for the job. Rarely, you might be unable to shoot due to things beyond your control. This includes illness, accident or camera spoiling. In such a case, indicate what your clients will receive.
Explain to your clients how and when they can cancel their booking.
Generally, this should be included in the cost of shooting. Add these possible extra fees in the total cost of shooting and should be indicated in the real estate photography contract. This can be travel costs and hotel fees.
There could be fees of major manipulations in editing. If there is extended shoot time and extra photos, mention these as well.
To make the legal contract binding, the real estate photographer and his or her clients should sign. A signature indicates that both parties have agreed to honor terms written in the contract. For reference, let everybody have a copy of the contract.
With a contract, a photographer is sure to plan earlier regarding his or her photographing project.
A real estate photography contract is like any legal document hence it is important to consult your lawyer about it. This will make sure you have everything you need to make your project successful. With start and delivery time, both parties know when the work will begin and end.
Both parties need to give full names and contact information for legal purposes. The contract should have a summary of what is to be expected in order to satisfy the photography needs of your clients. Do not forget to include a cancellation policy, payment schedule, extra fees and copyright ownership.
All these sections guarantee all the parties involved get to benefit and decrease the possibility of a lawsuit.