All right, I am really excited. I love this topic. I know that it's not sexy like marketing, it's not fun like shooting, but I really hope that you guys are able to take away some nuggets to help you in your business. My entire teaching perspective is to help you guys prevent issues and protect your businesses, so we're not doing cleanup on isle four later 'cause that will end up costing you more time, money, and energy, less time you can focus on your business and your family. It's really big for me. Any decisions that I try to make in my photography, or my legal business, I want as much return on investment in my time and money that I'm spending, and I carry that even over into the choice of contracts or documents that I'm using as well. The biggest thing that I do want to impress is that I am a lawyer, I'm licensed in multiple states here in the United States as well as the Supreme Court, but I'm not your lawyer. If you would like to be, we can do that later on...
. So everything that I provide is gonna be general education that's gonna be very broad strokes, but enough to give you guys enough information so that you can then have a foundation to start researching information to take to an attorney if you have more questions in your specific jurisdiction. One of the really hardest things, I think, about being a photographer in this industry now in this whole litigious society is that there's not a lot of lawyers who are very specific in working with creatives, particularly photographers. That's how Law Tog came about. I wanted it to be a resource where you guys can go find this general information. I have the legal knowledge and experience to do that for you, but then you need to be able to take that to someone and kinda explain to these lawyers who've never run photography business before who don't really understand the ins and outs or have pulse on the industry. Please take notes, if you guys have any questions or anything, you can reach out to me at the LawTog.com, myself or my team is more than happy to help you guys as well. The biggest thing, and this is the problem that I always face when I talk to individuals who've been in photography industry for years, "Well, I've never had an issue." I had this happen a couple years at WPPI, I was speaking and someone came up to me and said, "Oh, ya know, I love your talk on contracts, I've never instituted it because I've never had a problem." Not three months later, was in my new offer inbox, asking for help because he had a problem. I wanted to be like told you so, but I had to act with grace and kindness, and I said let's just clean this up and then move forward. So you never have an issue until you have an issue. With contracts, and I'm gonna use the word contract, when I say that, I don't just mean one specific booking contract, I'm gonna go into the different types later, but when I say the word contract through this entire session, I'm really just talking about any legal documents that you guys are using because they work in different ways, there's different documents that you can use, and we're gonna dig into that. Whenever you guys are using contracts, the most important thing, especially for small business owners, is we're not here to use them to beat our clients over the head with. We're not here to also just get one and never look at it again. We're not just here to get one and not understand how to use it or have one that doesn't even equate to what we're trying to do in our business that doesn't even reflect our business policies at all. The goal is for you guys to understand what's in it, be able to explain it, and use it in multiple ways. Legal protection, set expectations with your clients, and also to be a, I affectionately refer to it as the "no man" for you. Have you guys seen the movie with Jim Carey, "Liar Liar"? When he tries to answer a question he goes, "No, yes." He can't say no, he just says yes because he can't lie. Oftentimes, creatives get so scared when their clients ask for something that is contrary to their business policies, and they get so scared of saying no that they just give it all away. They give away the farm, and they feel run over, and not to say that's not the best course of action. Sometimes customer service does trump whatever's in your contract. But you can let your contract be a backbone for you, let it be the "no man". "Well, per my contract, it says this." And in the inverse, you can also use it for customer service. "Oh ya know in my contract it say this, but I'm more than happy to waive that archival fee for you." "We're more than happy to allow you to pay a week later." We're gonna dig into a little bit more, just keep in mind, I want you guys to look at contracts not as just a legal document that is there for protection, you sign it, and you put it away, and don't really look at it again until you have an issue, 'cause you're gonna have one, whether it's now or in 20 years, something's gonna arise. But think of how you can use it as a "no man" to be the backbone for you to help protect you and to guide your business but also how can you offer customer service. Just 'cause it's in there doesn't necessarily mean you have to stick to it. You can pick and choose as the business owner within reason which we're gonna talk about.
The use of legal documents is standard in business, but the understanding and implementation of these documents in photography businesses is less common. So many photographers land in hot water for not having or understanding the proper documents. Join Rachel Brenke, TheLawTog®, as she helps get you armed against liability and issues by discussing what releases should say and how to read contracts and waivers to set you up for success.
The Brenke Group, LLC, doing business as TheLawTog® (“TheLawTog”) provides an online legal portal to help customers identify business and legal problems commonly encountered by individuals in the photography industry. TheLawTog is not a law firm and does not and will not perform services performed by an attorney. TheLawTog is NOT a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Instead, TheLawTog provides templates and education to individuals who voluntarily chose to prepare their own legal and/or business documents, submit templates to licensed attorneys for modification, and/or for education purposes prior to contacting a licensed attorney.