Contracts and Legislations

Contracts are entered into everyday by people in any different situations, the purchase or lease of an item becomes contractual, for example; purchasing a train or bus ticket. Most everyday contract are oral and all business contract should be in writing.

What one person’s understanding of something can be interpreted as something totally different by another person. Always write things down & make a contractual agreement, use post, email or fax. Confusion can be frustrating so if you have written everything down, nothing can be misunderstood.

Contacts are a legally binding agreement enforced by the court of law, contracts can be made between two or more people, they must be a common meeting of minds. Contracts don’t have to be in written form, but this is strongly advised. A contract is not legal if it involved an illegal act.

‘A photographer agrees a daily rate based on the client stating that the usage was to be a small run of leaflets; the work was actually to be used on a poster, therefore the contract was fraudulently induced.’

Terms & Conditions

You must state your own terms & conditions within your contract, it must accompany all paper work (on reverse) and serve to protect both parties, this includes any third parties. AOP terms & conditions protect the photographer, these are registered with the Office of Fair Trading.

Estimates (to be stated before the job commences)
Estimates are based on initial instruction from client, which can become the job offer, they can form the basis of confirmation of a general enquiry (should always include Terms & Conditions). If accepted confirmation will be made by phone, letter, email or
through an agent, if made by phone you must confirm in written form.

Licenses will be given by the copyright owner, usually from the photographer to the client, they should always be in writing, this forms part of the Contract’s terms & conditions. Licenses should be included with the estimate. Licenses must be agreed before the job commences.

Licenses include:
• Contact details
• Usage
• Territory
• Time period
• Right to credit
• Exclusivity clause
• Terms & conditions (on back)

Important points to look for and to include in contracts and terms and condition are, the copyright assignment, media usage, the duration of license, the territory of use, a clients confidentially, the indemnity clause, the right to credit (attribution right) and the syndication for editorial work (usage across all companies)

If an order received from a client includes an assignment of copyright clause and you have not agreed to this, it is imperative that you point this out. Don’t ignore it, by working on it you are accepting the terms and conditions of the contract.

Third parties to the contract and licenses are;
• Model/ models
• Set builder
• Model maker
• Background/ scenic artist.
• Stylist
• Hair & make up artist
• Home economist
• Location finder
• Laborites
• Agent
• Hire studio
• Assistant
• Suppliers
• Art director

A photographic shoot can include many third parties, the photographer has a subcontract with each third party and they will usually be responsible for their payment.

Professional Models license the use of their image (or their agent does). They are paid for media, territory and usage.


Major exposure of a model’s face can deplete their earning potential, agencies are careful when considering payment. When booking be sure you are clear on the terms & conditions that you are booking under. Agencies rely on the photographer to discover previous campaigns/products model has been involved with.

Example 1:
‘The model has been paid for editorial use and the client uses the shot for advertising. The model has a right to further payment; the photographer could be liable if they booked the model and the order included an indemnity clause.’

Example 2:
‘The model has been paid for the excusive rights to advertise a shampoo product for two years, Herbal Essence for example. A photographer then uses the same model to advertise Pantene within that two year time scale.’



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