4 Things Boudoir Photographers MUST HAVE in Their Contracts
Photography contracts. They’re one of those things that you know are important for your boudoir business, but you don’t really think about them until you need them. Kinda like insurance or trips to the dentist. I learned about four specific things boudoir photographers must have in their contracts the hard way…and I’m passing the knowledge on to you below!
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
#1: A minimum purchase
A clear minimum purchase lets a client know they’ll be purchasing something after their session. You don’t want your clients to think that a lower session fee is all they have to spend!
I recommend you include your minimum purchase in your contract multiple times so it can’t be overlooked. Include it in your studio policies as well. This is especially important if you’re IPS, or in-person sales. Oh, and make it 100% clear on your website.
As a boudoir photographer, this is typically a given for most clients, but sometimes all those reminders still aren’t enough!
I had a client this past summer who absolutely knew that I required a $400 minimum purchase. When I talk to my clients about pricing, most of them understand instantly that they’re not going to get much for just $400, either. They expect to pay more for prints and products that they want.
But this client truly thought that she would only spend $400. So when she realized she’d only get four 5×7 prints for this price, she did a 180. All of a sudden, she didn’t like the photos anymore. I almost let her off the hook, but you know what? She signed a contract and had agreed to it.
Imagine if I didn’t have a contract at all! I didn’t early on in my career, and I had to handle some real headaches that I could have avoided.
#2: A rescheduling policy
To prevent a ton of reschedules and no-shows, you need a rescheduling policy made clear to your clients. They may still happen on occasion, but not as often if your policy is in your contract.
My rescheduling policy, for example, requires 24-hour notice. If I don’t get that notice, the client loses the session fee. With that notice, they can reschedule one time within a year of their initial date.
Say I have a sales session lined up after someone booked me during Black Friday [link to 10.2 Black Friday video when live]. Instead of allowing someone to reschedule their sales session, I give them the $99 toward their next session as a credit. Basically, they’re paying a $200 rescheduling fee to get back on my schedule. Sales sessions aren’t worth it otherwise!
Unfortunately, I implemented this policy because of three specific flaky clients who would reschedule over and over again, taking up spots that other clients could have booked instead. After I held firm on this policy, two of the clients kept their session. The third one ghosted me. At least I didn’t have to deal with her flakiness anymore!
#3: A refund policy
I recommend having a “no refunds in any case” policy. And you guessed it, including that policy multiple times in your contract.
But this policy doesn’t mean that you can’t make exceptions if you want or need to. I have definitely refunded a client in the past because I knew I couldn’t make her happy. I chose to save my reputation instead of keeping that money, even though I was legally allowed to.
Let’s say a client who prepays for a collection and then cancels. They know they won’t get a refund for their session, but maybe they ask for their collection prepayment back. In this case, you’d most likely have to refund her. It wouldn’t go in your favor in court.
(That’s why I’ve never offered prepayment plans, to be honest!)
#4: A copyright clause
Finally, the fourth thing boudoir photographers must have in their contracts is a copyright protection clause. As a photographer, you need to think about where your clients are printing your images. If you’re not printing them yourself, you’re losing money.
If you sell the digitals, but only want clients to print up to an 8×10, put it in your contract. If you include the digitals as a gift with the purchase of an album for web use only, that needs to be in your contract.
In short, be specific with how you want your images to be used. Tell your clients exactly how they can print them, if they even have permission. That’s how you protect your work and your business.
Bonus tip: Release forms for sharing images
I want you to make sure your clients know that you will never share their images without their explicit permission. This is boudoir photography we’re talking about! You’re taking vulnerable, sensitive images of your clients. They need to feel safe through the whole experience and not worry that you’re sharing their photos with the world.
That’s why I ask clients to sign a separate release form that gives me permission to share their images. And I never push or make them think it’s a requirement to work with me. Release forms are a must-have contract that you should be using as soon as you launch your business.
Build a solid foundation for your boudoir business with a photography contract
Having these five things in your photography contract — a minimum purchase, a rescheduling policy, a refund policy, a copyright clause, and a release form — will save yourself headaches in the long run. I know, because I’ve experienced them! Do yourself a favor and check that your contract includes these details.
But what happens once your contract is signed and you’re ready to work with your client? You want to give them an amazing, memorable experience, right?