All right, so again, a legal document's only as good as the contents and your client's understanding. Please understand how to explain it to your clients. There is a balance again like I talked about before, too much legaleze and not enough. Please don't try to get cutesy. I see this sometimes. People try to make it very layman's terms and then they end up destroying the protections. Don't get cutesy, but tell your lawyer, be like, this is too much legaleze for me. Be like, "Can you please tone it down a bit." And a good lawyer will do it for you. If they're a jerk about it, you don't need to be working with them anyways. We talked about this earlier, the use of digital signing services. My large recommendation for this is I love ShootProof. They integrate with Iris Works and they do a lot of the Email followup, communications, and triggers, like I talked about having your Emails mirror your work flow and your contract, and then ShootProof also has gallery deliveries. And I actually us...
e ShootProof for in person sales as well. I can run it all there, select the images, so it's not just I'm doing gallery sales and they have contracts, as well. Biggest thing here, I understand that everything I'm recommending requires money, but running a business requires money. Please do not try to cut corners by using free digital signing services that are available out there, they're trying to cobble it together. You have a responsibility to protect your client's personal information and you get what you pay for and there's free digital signing contract services that are free, not all, but there are some that basically take it and put your client's information into a publicly searchable database. It's not as formal as a database but you search yourself, and you search them and you can find it. And then you can find all your terms, and it just-- just don't do it. Always allow for counter-signing, you need to have both of y'all agreeing. We talked about that already. Send it to the client, let client sign first. I don't like the automatic counter-signing that some of these online systems allow you to check. I know it's one more step in the process, but I just feel like it's something that you need to set into your work flow and know that I need to counter-sign all of my documents. Yes, and then of course I recommend the digital signing services that have the triggers for efficiency. Once it's signed and I counter-sign, it'll automatically send them, like, a congrats, you're booked, now here's the next step, goin' back to that communications. We talked a little bit already how to get one drafted. Here's a little spin on it. This kinda crosses over to marketing a little bit. We, in all my businesses that I have, we keep running a list of the top questions that we receive from our clients. We keep little tick marks. The more so many people are asking the same question, I'm screwing up somewhere. I'm not providing the right communication, either I'm not saying it at all, or I've really screwed it up and they're not understanding it. So I keep a running list of that. If someone's asking and this is not just for contracts, this could be for your marketing. This could be for your pricing. Keep a running list of that. You can also use that to create blog content and marketing content, as well. Maybe someone's asking, "Well, how do I prep for the session," over and over. That has basically nothin' to do with your contracts, but you're including it on this list so then you're able to take that and maybe make a blog post out of it. We keep a running list of all of that, sprinkle it in there as marketing stuff, and it's legal stuff, as well. Take-- the next slide I have is like how to revise it. I said earlier, maybe one time a year is probably the best time to make sure you're updating the prices, your policies are probably gonna change, but also keep a pulse on that list, as people are asking these questions over and over. If it's something that's really important you need to book a time to talk to your attorney or call me and we can sit down. I can help you formulate a better way to explain and make sure that it's being communicated to your client, 'cause if they don't understand it and they're asking, there's a problem. The more time that you're spending responding back and forth, you're wasting the time on that. Yeah, so yearly calendar update for that. I totally get it that it's a pain in the butt, you don't necessarily wanna do it, as you go along further in your business, you can probably set that timeline out longer and longer. If you're newer in your business and you're changing your business policies around, definitely need to have all that change. Don't wanna get stuck under a contract like the situation I gave you guys before that doesn't actually reflect what you want, especially when it comes to monies and gettin' paid.
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.