Freelance Photographer Job Contract: Dos and Don'ts

Looking for a freelance photographer job you must be aware of the possible implications of signing a contract. Taking photos as a freelance photographer ensures you independence and faster money earning but you should also be careful with what you accept in each contract's clause, and with what you photograph because legal issues can arise just because you don't really know what is allowed and what is not.

1: Do not agree with any clause suggesting that no copyright is needed

If you find a clause that suggests that no copyright will be necessary for the freelance photography job you were hired to do, be suspicious and do not dare to accept it. Agreeing with that can mean the eventual plagiarism of the photographs you took. In this case, the client may not know this and so, it is very important for your work's sake to explain to him that copyright law not only will prevent you for plagiarism but it also will issue a license for him to use the photographs' rights.

2: Do not accept to work for less than USD 360 per day

There will be a lot of time and high equipment costs involved and you cannot afford to be paid less than USD 360 per day, otherwise you would be profiting nothing from your work. If possible, try to come to an agreement with the client if he is planning to hire you for a long a period of time from Mondays to Fridays. In that case, you can lower the fee but do not charge him less than 30% of the actual fee. And remember that the fee you are supposed to be paid will also be used to pay all the charges related to your work's production, from the negative film to the photos' delivery.

3: Do not agree with indemnity

It is not advisable to agree with indemnity because you are not always aware of what may mean a photograph. For instance, suppose you take a photograph of someone the client asked you and the photographed person complains about that. Then, the client may blame you for taking the photograph and you can be sued. So pay attention to clauses suggesting "indemnity" or "warranties".

4: Do not expect to be paid after the client makes use of your work

You should not sell the rights of your work until everything had already been paid by the client− which has to be stated in detail in an invoice. If it is not presented in the contract you should add this clause because the client may pay you for your work but may get away with the photograph's right payment.

5: Do change the terms and conditions you do not agree with

Although clients may object to what you charge, you must always try to come to an agreement. Since you are a bit more vulnerable being a freelance photographer because there is no company nor boss supporting you, you should be able to disagree if something does not seem ethical to you or if there is a clause that may turn into a counterpoint in the long run.