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Being a professional real estate photographer is not all about photo shoots; you also have to prepare enough legal protection for your business and your clients. I'm going to look into tips on writing a real estate
If you want to get more serious in the industry, it's important that you know what kind of real estate
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Furthermore, it ensures you get paid on time and according to your agreed-upon rates. It serves as your first line of protection against the improper use of your photos.
On the other hand, a written contract also protects an agent, broker, or home seller should you fail to provide the specifics, such as the expected turnover, number of images, or type of service.
You should always create and sign a real estate
Commercial real estate photography is commonly used for property listing, websites, advertising, etc. This is among the most in-demand kinds of real estate photography, so it also corresponds to a higher service fee and quality of images.
Since you may work with big corporations and commercial establishments, you also have to protect yourself against such giant clients.
Meanwhile, print materials like magazines, newspapers, and brochures may need interior property photos. For this reason, copyright terms must detail the allowed usage of your images.
If you have a unique shooting style, some companies or real estate agents might want you to become their exclusive photographer. In such cases, you can draft an exclusivity agreement.
Your employer would give a corresponding retainer payment to ensure you photograph for them at a given time and space. When you sign an exclusive agreement, you must not work for other people that might interfere with the retained client's future sessions.
Even after a meeting and getting a quotation, some agents might still forget the agreed terms and conditions. If clients look for other products or services beyond initial oral agreements, you can dispute this with a contract as your backup.
Once you have these contract types, you can easily identify which is best for you, look up contract templates and modify them according to each client's needs.
Short Form: This standard document is perfect for ordinary yet several interior and exterior sessions. However, the terms and conditions are usually set by the photographer alone, and the other party has little or no ability to negotiate.
Editorial: This kind of
Drone: You can indicate the drone information in the project inclusions if it's just an add-on service. If the project solely focuses on aerial footage, a drone
Architectural: Architectural photography uses aesthetics, as opposed to the simplicity of
Generally, a contract must include the duties, roles, responsibilities, and rights of the photographers, real estate agents, companies, or home sellers. It includes all the details you would expect to fulfill in the shoot and what would happen should someone fail to do so.
Let's look into the specifications of a
Getting the basic information of the agent or seller should be one of the first things you need to acquire, yet some tend to overlook it.
This part contains the full names and contact information of the client and the photographer. You may also include an address if you need to deliver something or the client needs to visit your studio.
The scope is among the essential parts of
Payment is another important part of
About 82% of businesses fail due to cash flow problems, which partly stem from a disorganized invoicing system. With a signed agreement, you can ensure you gain enough financial worth for every service you provide.
Styling can be time-consuming, so be sure that the contract clearly states who is responsible for this task. Basically, the homeowner or agent must always prepare the property for the shoot, although as a photographer, you can help enhance the space by styling based on your needs.
You should be able to begin the shooting process after doing a walkthrough on the property. It's not ideal for spending a day's worth of work cleaning and styling. Otherwise, consider rescheduling the photoshoot.
If you arrive at the location and can't take photos due to things beyond your control, like renovations, a contract legally requires a client to give the full payment, even if you have to reschedule.
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Some realtors and clients think that they automatically own the full rights of photos after payment. If an agent or seller transfers the photos to others without the photographer's permission, the license agreement can help you sue them for copyright infringement.
About 2.5 billion photos get stolen every day, with the United States accounting for nearly 23% of image theft. This problem results in billions of losses, so writing explicit terms for usage rights, photographer's permission, and licensing can prevent other people from exploiting your images.
When you add copyright or usage rights clauses, you can specify the extent of how long clients can own the rights or what kind of platform they can publish your final images. As this part is a bit complex, it's wise to seek legal advice.
It's not only the clients who can commit mistakes; there are instances when photographers can fail to meet expectations. This usually happens when a real estate photographer wants to submit the final images in a publication or use them as a portfolio.
For such cases, it's best to add a property release clause in the contract. In this way, the agent or homeowner can authorize you to use the photos, depending on the agreed terms and conditions.
Finally, to seal the deal, you and your clients must sign the contracts. A real estate
Despite the advantages of a contract, some photographers still find this document unnecessary. Sometimes it's because of informal shoots, or some people are a bit apprehensive with legal documents. Either way, there are still things you can do to make sure you get fully paid for the job.
Set Expectations: Ensure that the agent or home seller understands your working process, including shooting schedule, edited photos, and turnaround time. Likewise, give an idea of the cost of
Get a Deposit: With an acknowledgment form, instruct your clients to pay a 50% deposit before the property shoot. However, make sure to give a deadline until when they can pay. Otherwise, you risk getting a canceled session at the last minute and wasting time.
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Let me know in the comments how contracts have helped your business grow!