Get our app
Account Sign up Sign in

Start Your Photo Release

Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Start Your Photo Release

Get started

As a photographer, ensuring that your business is legally protected is crucial to your success. This photo shoot checklist outlines the key legal documents every photographer should have, including contracts, model releases, and location releases. By having these documents in order, you can protect your business, ensure your clients' rights are respected, and prevent any potential legal issues. Keep reading to learn more about essential legal documents for photographers. 

▢ Documents to prepare before the photo shoot

Getting ready for your next photo shoot? Customize the following documents and get everything electronically signed using RocketSign®. Then, rest easy knowing you can rely on Document Defense® for help with disputes that may come up regarding your contract.

Photography Contract or Videography Contract

The Photography Contract and Videography Contract outline the essential details of a shoot, including: Date, Time, Location, and Payment Terms. 

These contracts also include provisions for: Cancellations, Deposits, Mutual Indemnification, and Work Product Ownership.

Event and Wedding Photography Contracts

Event and Wedding Photography gigs usually involve more time, planning, resources, and attention to detail than, say, portraits or head shots. The bigger the event, the more important it is to have a contract in place to get the larger details in a written and signed document. The Wedding Photography Contract includes details specific for weddings, including the option to provide services for both wedding and engagement events. The Event Photography Contract includes the ability to specify the type of event and provisions that cover photographing events.

Contract Amendment

If part of a contract changes, but you don’t want to revoke or cancel the original contract and start from scratch, you can use a Contract Amendment to document just the terms that have changed. After signing, a Contract Amendment is often attached to the original contract.

There are a few legal considerations to keep in mind during a photo shoot. From respecting the privacy and rights of people in your images to making sure assistants and contractors understand and adhere to your legal obligations and policies, here are some contracts to help clarify rights and responsibilities during a photo gig. 

Permission to photograph or film on private property

If you are conducting a photo shoot on private property, you or your client may need a Location Release to get permission to do so from the property owner. A Location Release sets out the details of the shoot, including dates, clean up duties, compensation (if applicable), and any other restrictions or rules the property owner wishes to include.  

Permission to use photographs or footage after the shoot

If you would like the option to use photos or video clips from your shoot for advertising (commercial) purposes, you may want to make sure you get permission to do so from the people included in your work. A Photo Release and Video Release grants permission to the photographer and videographer to use photos, video and audio footage in multiple mediums for any lawful purpose, including self-promotion. 

Hiring assistants or stylists to help you

Documenting a bigger event with photographs or film can be too much work for one person to do alone. Smaller jobs might also require help from specialists, such as stylists and lighting experts. When you need to hire contractors to help you with specific events, formalize the details with an Independent Contractor Agreement. Documenting the arrangement in writing helps to keep everyone on the same page and may give you some leverage in case your contractor fails to deliver on their end of the agreement.

▢ Staying on top of the details after the shoot is done

Depending on the nature and details of your photo shoot, there may be additional issues to consider before the job itself is complete. First, review your contract for any requirements, such as touch-ups, proofs, or editing. If you are not sure about what the contract requires, a Rocket Lawyer network attorney can answer your questions.

Next, send an Invoice to your client requesting payment. If you have trouble collecting payment for your services, we’ve got you covered with additional billing and invoicing documents. Finally, keep records of all transactions and communications related to the job, in case any issues arise later on. Taking these steps after the shoot can help you protect your business.

▢ Set your photography business up for success

A Business Plan is an excellent way to set your business up for success. You can make a new plan or update an existing one to help you define how your business will continue to grow. You can also use a Business Plan to help identify gaps and opportunities in how you are currently running your business. 

Incorporating your business is another great way to set your business up for success. Setting up a separate business entity can help you minimize your personal liability and may provide tax benefits as well, depending on your situation. Whether you choose to form an LLC, a Corporation, or a Nonprofit, the business services experts at Rocket Lawyer can answer your questions and help get you set up. Our business services team can also help you with a DBA, Registered Agent, and Trademark.

Finally, when tax season comes around, you don’t have to go it alone. Rocket Lawyer can match you with a tax pro for affordable and convenient tax filing services. You get both half off tax filing services and significant discounts on business services when you choose an annual membership plan, and, for a limited time, your annual plan is half off as well. 

There are so many great reasons to choose Rocket Lawyer for your photography business. So do what you love. We’ll handle the legal.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

Ask a lawyer

Our network attorneys are here for you.
Characters remaining: 600
Rocket Lawyer Network Attorneys

Try Rocket Lawyer FREE for 7 days

Start your membership now to get legal services you can trust at prices you can afford. You'll get:

All the legal documents you need—customize, share, print & more

Unlimited electronic signatures with RocketSign®

Ask a lawyer questions or have them review your document

Dispute protection on all your contracts with Document Defense®

30-minute phone call with a lawyer about any new issue

Discounts on business and attorney services