- 4 Common Pitfalls That Doom Photography Businesses
- 5 Things to Research Before Starting a Photography Business
Photo by hessam nabavi on Unsplash
It seems that every other day I’m seeing a news story about a photographer getting taken advantage of. Whenever you work with the public, it’s important to be vigilant. But, how do you protect yourself as a photographer?
There are the basics, like making sure everyone you’re meeting and working for are who they say they are, and then there are the legal ways to protect yourself as a photographer.
This list about learning how to protect yourself as a photographer is going to walk you through both.
Editor's Tip: Looking for ways to survive as a freelancer in the age of Coronavirus? Check out these 8 tips to survive the Coronavirus outbreak.
photo by Chalirmpoj Pimpisarn via iStock
I’ve talked pretty extensively about the importance of photography insurance here. But, photography insurance could be the only thing preventing your business from going under if a variety of unforeseen disasters happen.
Photography insurance is also inexpensive, so there’s no reason for you to keep putting it off.
I’ve purchased photography insurance from Full Frame Insurance for the past few years and I love it for two reasons: you can buy photography insurance online and you don’t have to talk to a single person to do it.
Like most photographers, I’m not a huge fan of salespeople. I’m not very confrontational and that style of communication makes me anxious, which is one of the reasons I told myself in prior years that photography insurance wasn’t necessary.
Thankfully, Full Frame allows you to get a quote for your photography business and purchase your photography insurance all at once. It takes just a few minutes, too!
photo by skynesher via iStock
Better still, they offer you flexibility in terms of the policies you purchase.
For example, you can buy a short-term policy for a gig that’s one to three days in length, or you can opt for annual coverage if that makes more sense for you.
Full Frame offers general liability insurance, camera equipment insurance, and even drone insurance, too.
In other words, Full Frame Insurance is your one-stop shop for all the coverages you need. The top-notch customer service, excellent prices, and quick and easy process to get ensured are just icing on the cake!
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Meet Potential Clients in Person
photo by mediaphotos via iStock
Another way you can protect yourself as a photographer is by meeting any potential clients in person. I don’t suggest meeting new clients at your studio, unless it's in a business park. You should meet potential clients in a heavily trafficked area, like a coffee shop.
Meeting clients in person ensures they are who they say they are. It also allows you to better understand exactly what they’re looking for in a photographer.
Besides, meeting in a more formal location to casually get to know one another can help you connect with this potential client, and that will pay dividends during their session later on.
Build a Foolproof Contract
photo by skynesher via iStock
This is another way to protect yourself as a photographer that I’ve mentioned on PhotographyTalk before. Contracts are essential, yet oftentimes I find photographers using contracts they got off of the internet and don’t fully understand.
Your contract should reflect your business and as such it makes the most sense to build one yourself.
Taylor Jackson walks you through exactly how to build a contract specifically for photographers, which should include clauses about deliverables and last-minute turnaround fees.
Your contract should be too specific rather than not specific enough. While writing a contract isn’t as fun as being out shooting photos, it’s a necessary component of a legitimate photography business. Take the time now to develop a bulletproof contract, and you can breathe easier when - not if - something goes awry with a client.
Use a Model Release
Photo by Dom Hill on Unsplash
If I’m being honest, I didn’t really understand the purpose of a model release for the first few years I worked in photography simply because I didn’t need one. Now, this may be the case for you, but a model release is one of the legal considerations for photographers you need to examine.
Brendan van Son describes exactly how you know whether you need a model release, and then explains how to build one.
Just like having a solid contract is a must, having a proper model release form is hugely important. One lawsuit can completely destroy your business! Again, it’s better to be too careful and too specific when creating your model release form.
Buy Gear From a Trusted Source
photo by EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER via iStock
In a perfect world, you could buy brand new gear every time and receive warranties on your photography gear. Unfortunately, new photography gear is expensive and out of reach for many.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still protect yourself. You just need to do more research on where you’re purchasing your used gear from.
I started using Gear Focus a few years ago because they have some of the lowest seller fees in the photography industry, but soon realized they also had a great selection of used photography gear.
Gear Focus also employs a slew of photographers and videographers to watch over their site and to ensure every seller is legitimate. That’s a nice layer of protection to ensure you aren’t getting scammed.
You can contact the seller right within the Gear Focus website, ask questions, and if there’s a problem, Gear Focus has mediation services to ensure the transaction is fair. Nice, right?
There are many ways you can protect yourself as a photographer, and buying your gear from an established company is a great one. Combined with the tips I’ve discussed above, you are in a great position to carry on with your photography knowing that you have multiple methods by which you can protect yourself and your investment.