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Setting Up Your Photography Business

Lesson 1 of 2

Setting Up Your Photography Business

Craig Heidemann

Setting Up Your Photography Business

Craig Heidemann

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Lesson Info

1. Setting Up Your Photography Business

Lesson Info

Setting Up Your Photography Business

I would love to introduce you to our instructor. This is setting up your photography business with craig heideman. This man is a nationally recognized attorney and professional photographer. You may have seen him on cnn with nancy grace and welcome craig thanks for that introduction. I appreciate and excited to be here ever glad had excited to be here. Thanks again. All right. Well, we are on a time schedule, so I don't you take it away, let's, get to it. We've got a lot of information to cover today, so let's, start first with what you can expect to learn today. There's a couple of things that I want to make sure that everybody walks away with after today's courts. The first one is how to create your business entity. We want to make sure that everybody is set up correctly as a business entity and not doing business in their own personal name. So the next thing that we want to make sure everybody does is to understand how the correctly use employees in subcontractors because there's a ...

lot of tricks to the trade of using employees and independent contractors correctly. The next thing is how to draft an airtight contract that all of our clients are going to love and want to sign. So we want to make sure that we have a contract that we use the same way every time and we also, we're going to teach you everything that you wanted to know and mohr about copyright and licensing that's such an important point and in today's, digital age it's something that we all need to be doing, but very few of us are actually doing correctly. We also want to learn what happens when we don't get that model release and we take the picture of a lifetime and we can't use it because we don't have a release from our model. Uh, and we also want to learn how to protect our personal assets so the in the event something goes horribly wrong. Um, we don't put our personal and family assets at risk, so let's, ask this question. First of all, our photographers really good at business, I see a lot of heads shaking here I see a lot of head shaking and does that in some way explain why the average life span of a new fee photographer these days is about a year to a year and a half. We we spend a lot of effort fueling our passion and our creativity, but we spend not enough time trying to figure out how to run a business because a lot of us a cz we get into photography for the first time. We don't have a good core set of experiences running a business and I think what we find out for those of us that have been doing it for twenty and thirty years that it's it's ninety percent running the business ten percent photography s o making sure that we develop our skills as business owners is goes a long way towards making sure that we exceed the the statistical the fact that we're likely to be in business for about a year so let's start by setting up our business right? Okay, let's start by setting up our business right here's what we're going to do we're going to think about what kinds of business organizations are out there what can we be? Well we could be a limited liability company which I love we could be a corporation like coca cola c the word headache under the slide there's no need for a photographer to be a corporation an s corp is a type of corporation but again it's kind of complicated and escort is attacks election that we could make it for a corporation we can be a partnership you know what we say in the legal field the only ship that won't sail is a partnership so if you are a team with another photographer don't think about being a partnership think about being an llc and you could each own half of the company but partnerships are uh ah partnership is what we form before we decide how to split up the assets when we decide we don't like our partner the other thing is being a sole proprietorship now I put the word danger underneath there if you're doing business in your own name using your own social security number and you don't have a corporation you're putting yourself in your assets at risk so we don't really want to be a sole proprietor when being an llc is so simple so if we're going to do businesses and l l c all of the fifty states have limited liability corporation act and the only thing we have to do is register with our state and have a limited liability company operating agreement now you're going to hear me talk about some business forms that we need to be that we need to use consistently as photographers and they're going their own informs this that I've created there there's more information about that later on but don't worry about these particular agreement you have an opportunity to find them later so the llc operating agreement is what we need in order to set our business up right we need to pick the entity type we've just gone through uh the list of available ones you've got my recommendation on on what will work well for you pick your entity type the next thing you want to do is do a trademark search on your name make sure that your business whether it's ah ah dirt to what was it dust the dirt photography maybe that's already been used by someone else? We don't want to infringe on anyone's trademark, so we want to do a trademark search then get your local business license if you live in a city, chances are there's local business license requirements that you have to comply with so let's, make sure that we get our business license and then get your zoning verified if you if you're into your locale prohibits having a business in your home, you need to make sure that you get your zoning verified so that your legal and then finally get a federal tax I d number no social security numbers please you go online, google s s for if you google ss for it'll pull up the ss four form to help you get your tax I d number if you don't already have one and then also get a state tax I d number because we're going to talk about withholding tax, we're going to talk about sales tax and all of your states require you to register for those things. And so that takes us to, uh, paying our property tax a cz we acquire assets in our business every year we're gonna have tio if you have local personal property tax, make those tax payments by your domain name and all of the variations of it so that you never lose it because as we know, um, that is important as anything having your domain name. Now, there are some tax deadlines as business owners that we have to be aware of. Now you have to run your business like a business in knowing what the deadlines are, just like you wouldn't miss a wedding, we shouldn't plan to miss tax deadlines, so we need to work with our accountants and our cps to make sure we understand what that is. But we have to run our business like a business. Our business assets aren't personal in our business accounts aren't personal, and we can learn more about that by getting a c p a or a lawyer to give us a little bit of advice on that. That means we don't want to dip into our business account to pay for the groceries. We don't want to dip into our business account to pay for personal expenses, because that will put your whole business at risk. All of the hard work that we do, setting up the business and running it right can be bp put in jeopardy by not following that rule, and then finally, if you don't have a receipt, don't deduct it now I understand that that's a pain. But collecting your receipts and keeping them for three years is super important because you're cpt will tell you sorry, I can't deduct that expense for you, you're gonna have to pay tax on that income because you didn't save your receipts so again, super important now, the other thing for photographers to know are these hobby loss rules. The the irs doesn't care of your business, it feels doesn't feel like a hobby to you, so if you want to deduct your let's, say, of a loss in your photography business from your first year, but you also have a day job and you want to deduct your loss in your photography business to offset income, you making your day job, you have to satisfy these hobby loss rules. Now the hobby lust rules say that we can deduct our hobby losses to the extent that we have hobby gains, but then we can't take that loss and offset the income that we make it microsoft, or if that's where we work or wherever we might happen to work. But it's it's a complicated test. Generally, you have to actively participate or work about five hundred hours a year doing your photography business. You have to maybe show a profit in two out of three years. And if you meet these irs tests, then if you have a loss in your photography business, you can offset it against your income that you make from a day job if you have one and so that's one of the benefits. Ah, again, five hundred hours is the general rule, um, and way generally are stuck with the proposition that hobby losses air on ly deductible to the extent of hobby gains. So if your business is a hobby that's bad for deductions. So we want to make sure that we know what the hobby loss rules are. And again, if you want to google irs dot gov and put in hobby loss rules, you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about the hobby. Lost rules. Now remember tomorrow during photo week, um, I'll be giving a presentation on tax and accounting for photographers. So if you feel like there's mohr here that you want to know, come back and see me tomorrow and we'll dive into this head first and talk all about it now here's some basic concepts for photography. Not to steal any thunder from for tomorrow, but everybody that's a photographer needs to understand this concept that we have income. We take deductions for tax purposes such as expenses and depreciation, and that comes up with a concept called taxable income, and from that we have to pay our taxes. We have to pay withholding tax if you're self employed, are self employment taxes were self employed. We have to pay withholding tax if we haven't employees. But those are the basic accounting concepts that all photographers have to be familiar with. So again, we get to deduct are ordinary and necessary expenses for conducting our trade in business. Now, what's that mean everything that you need your film. If you're a film shooter, your digital, your cards, if your digital shooter, your camera, your internet, we get to deduct all of those things, and then that brings us down to a number from which we get to experience the joy of self employment tax. Now, what is the self employment tax? If you work in a job, your employer pays about seven and a half, seven point six percent of your medicare and your social security contribution, and then we pay the other seven point six percent, but if we work really hard and become self employed, we get to pay it all. Isn't that good news? Now listen, there's a silver lining to this because you only have to pay the self employment tax on the first one hundred thirteen thousand seven hundred dollars of what you make in two thousand thirteen. So is that's good news? They're not going to take tax you on everything you make just the first hundred thirteen thousand um and again, the self employment tax applies to you if you carry on a trader businesses a sole proprietor, independent contractor uh and you're in business for yourself. It's a pay as you go tax it's about fifteen point three percent on the first hundred thirteen thousand seven hundred dollars of your income and if you don't pay it, bad things will happen to you. So in order to keep the government off your back, you have to know the self employment tax rules and you have to pay it. Yeah, but if you make a loss, what a terrible year the government is not without mercy, they do not tax you if you make no money. So if you spend all of your money on equipment purchases, which a lot of photographers do not a great idea to spend all of your money on equipment purchases because our goal is to make more money, then you would make if you were a greeter at wal mart, right? Seriously, if we work sixty hours a week and we make less than the greeter at wal mart work working thirty nine hours a week, we're not running our business correctly, so no, the government won't tax you if you don't make any money quick, at some point, you may get this later, but if you could touch on whether it's good too, stretch those large like camera purchase items over multiple years and we're going to talk about that that's that that's that that's where we get into depreciation um, the self employment taxes a pay as you go tax and they don't care if you have oh, self employment tax return, they don't. If you owe self employment tax, the irs doesn't care if you need that money to pay your album vendor or to pay for your prints, you have to have that money when it comes to for the irs, they don't give you ah grace period to pay it. So you have to make sure that you pay that when it comes dio and again, the state doesn't care if you need your sales tax receipts to pay your album company or the bank now these tax deadlines very um we have to ten, ninety nine everybody that we pay six hundred bucks or more to you have to file w four's and w two's and state filing text requirements and excise tax requirements and lions and tigers and bears oh my what are we going to do? How can I go out and shoot if there's all these deadlines and I'll never know what these are I mean I'm just in over my head what am I going to do? There's good news here's all these questions wins my income tax return dio wins myself employment text two wins my federal withholding d'oh we're going to get some professional help every photographer after you register your domain and go out and find an accountant to help you you will fail if you try and do all of this yourself this is my number one takeaway for everybody that's participating today you have to have a relationship with an accountant if you don't have not a bookkeeper but an accountant if you have a relationship with an accountant that's going to tell you what your deadlines are your change to your chances of being in business for one two, three, four five years goes up exponentially okay, because there's so much to do one of the things that they'll tell you is this idea of sales tax now photographers think that one of the ways that we can be competitive with r r others in our community other photographers is well somehow figure out creative ways to either avoid charging our clients sales tax or say I won't charge you sales tax on everything that I deliver that is the wrong way to look at it because sales tax is one of the low hanging fruit states are going after to try and get themselves through these tough economic times and what they're going to do is they'll come audit you and they'll say, hey, we noticed that you've registered to be in business and we've noticed that your photographer and we know the photographer cell albums and prince and disks we're going to see how much he sold and make sure that you paid sales tax on all of it and you'll say, well when I go out and shoot the wedding that's really ninety percent of what I do and delivering the album is only ten percent of what I do so if I have a five thousand dollars package I only charge sales tax on uh five hundred dollars of that sound fair state tax people they'll say no did you could you deliver the album without going out and doing all the other work? Well no then you need to charge sales tax on all of it so clients pay the sales tax and the one thing that I tell everyone isn't it in twenty years of doing business is a professional photographer over twenty years, I've never had a client say I'm not going to hire you because you charge sales tax our clients are used to paying sales tax collected, save the money remitted to the state, taxing authorities when it becomes do and you have no problems. So that is one of one of the common mistakes that photographers make. Look what I put his number one not collecting sales tax if we don't collect the sales tax, we're not running our business professionally, so collecting sales tax is the first thing the second thing that we do, and we're going to talk about it later as we misclassified employees as independent contractors, we don't save our receipts, but yet we deduct things we don't pay our self employment tax, we take home office deductions for our entire house or apartment when we're not using them. We write off the full cost of meals and entertainment were disorganized. We don't know the hobby loss rules um, and then finally we kill ourselves by using the ten forty easy tax return and not the ten forty, so we don't even take our deductions. We've got deductions out there that we never take, but we just use the wrong tax form who can help you use the right text for, uh, your accountant that's, right? See, we've come a long way, so we're going to all get a little professional help. Everybody needs a little professional help. It's okay? Admitting we have a problem is the first step to recovery. Um, we'll hire a professional who already knows we don't have to learn all of these things were going to hire somebody. That's already learned it for us, and they're going to help us. Uh, look at that that's a cute it went the circle. All right, we're going to have a quick legal moment by miller's. Miller's has been my lab for an awful long time, and they do a fantastic job. And we've got some miller's wall art here today with us, and what we're going to do is somebody here in the audience is going to win one hundred fifty dollars dollars in wall art from miller's if they can answer the following question. Who are the two co founders of creative life? Uh uh uh uh uh, chase jarvis and craig. Uh uh. Scored back and do it. Ah, craig ah, she, uh, you were close enough unless someone else has the actual answer. Cracks once on hansan. Swanson correct seventy five dollars a piece? It was a team, it was a team win so big thanks to miller's, they do fantastic work and we'd encourage everybody to check him out at miller's professional imaging. All right, we're off to my essential legal work flow. Now we're going to protect ourselves along the way and we're going to manage our clients expectations because our relationships with our client are super important and managing those expectations is what we need to do. I always tell my clients if you're doing something, if I always tell my photographer clients that involves more money than you can literally afford to put on the ground and light on fire, you need a contract if you're willing to light the amount of money on fire that's laying on the ground you don't need a contract, so we all have to have a contract now. The contract starts with the booking appointment as photographers we meet with our clients, maybe we meet with starbucks and talk about their expectations. If we have a studio, we bring him into the studio and show more lovely books. We show him our lovely prints. We show them our lovely personalities and we get to know them a little bit and this and we get to learn what their expectations are, so it starts with the booking appointment now it when we we sell with our right brain while thinking with our left and that that slide didn't show up exactly correctly but our contract mirrors the specifics of our bargain our work flo our style our personality in one size fits most that means our contract gets written before the booking appointment right that means before we even meet with our client we've got um we've got our contract written we know what we do every time it's photographers we know how we run an event we know what our deadlines are we know how we like to get paid so it gets written before the book employment let's see what clients want now his anybody here with us today actually gotten married and hired a photographer before anyone oh, I see kate raising her hand let's see what really brides want kate let's let's do it let's do a little mock um initial client consultation a wedding consultation you want to play all right kate you're my you're my bride so she comes into the studio hi my name's craig heideman thank you for choosing apple studios photography tell me a little bit about what your expectations are for your wedding photographer inflow glad that I'm eating youth you for my wedding glad to meet you too I just think that it's it's just going to be the best riding public that you've ever shot I'm sure that it will be yes I rise or beautiful though yes absolutely well so it's gonna be a really really long day andi I'm getting ready you starting at six and I'll need you to be there at six when I get ready you want full day covers all day coverage yeah yeah six morning yeah six in the morning and and and we have we have a lot of friends that they like to dance so so it'll be going late at night to probably it probably probably about midnight midnight yes yeah ok, yeah, we do have packages available with with all day coverage that's that sounds great. That sounds great to me. You know, we're going to have three hours to shoot a couple photos so that will be that will be fantastic. We just have we have plenty of time scheduled for that's only three hours seventy three hours. Okay, I think I hope do you think that'll be enough time? I think we can get it done. Okay. In the other expectations yes, I want all of your full raw images all of that the raw images all of them every single one even the ones I call out I don't know what that means but yes, ok, because I am a bride who does not know what the word called me maybe you're going to do some scrapbooking yes, I actually want to build the album myself. You have experience with raw photos manipulating rules? I'm no, but I think I photo will do it for me. Okay on also also, I'm my extended family photo. We're going to have to do that right after our seven p. M ceremony seven yes, starting at six. In the morning ceremony at seven. Yes. Yes. Well, I have I have a lot of hair. So it's going to be a serious and there's three out that changes. And my cousin, my cousins, like, really wants to be a wedding photographer. So so she'll be coming along with her, her camera, and she just she won't get in your way at all. She'll just be taking a few photos. She has a rebel. Yeah, I think so. I know she takes really good photos of my dog. Anything else that I can do for you is your wedding photographer? Well, before I'm back to my honeymoon, I'd like to see, like at least, like ten images and make sure you look within my arms. Ok, we can do that for you. Ah, and you're proves when do you need your proofs backed by? I mean as soon as possible and reach what? Your expectations on retouching. How many of your images do you want retouch I mean, you don't retouch them all. Very good we'll tell you what I've thought about these things I'm glad that you brought them up, kate I thought about these things and I've included them in my contract I'm really excited. Yes, I'm excited about working with you, okay, let's go through my contract and we're going to see kind of what I need, all right? Because I want to be successful, I want to meet all over your expectations and as a photographer who wants to disappoint their bride and you know, kate may have been a little bit over the top with some of her expectations, but I'll tell you what we've all heard one or two or three or all of those things from our clients that have sat across the table from us and told us about what their expectation work it's expectations were now look, it generally goes like this and who wouldn't want this in their contract if you don't pay me before, I'm not going to come work for you on going to focus on this slide right now, and I'm just going to run through it. Uh, if you if you don't pay me, um, I'm not going to give you your album if you miss a payment, I can quit you if you get divorced or postpone your wedding, I'm going to keep your money because I can't rebook your date if you cancel your wedding and you still mow me a balance you have to pay me, you're going to involve me and scheduling your day because I don't like surprises, and when I'm surprised I can't work at my best, we're going to meet thirty days before the wedding and we're gonna go over things and make sure that we are all on the same page. I like to know your family names in the bridal party names, and I want you to tell me who those folks are, so I can call them by their name. Just because we talk about it doesn't mean I have to do it. If you tell me that you want me to do a particular image, I might get to it, I might not. We're not going to modify our contract aurally only in writing, I may not get you all of the images you want and that's ok, if you're more than fifteen minutes late during your wedding day, I'm not on the hook how many of you had brides that have been four hours late? I have. Um, and that makes it difficult to fulfill my client's expectations. So I put in the contract that if they're late, I'm off the hook for particular pictures after the wedding's, I'll get you your proofs within thirty days or sooner after you get your proofs. Look, you've got a job to do. You've got to pick your album favorites in twenty days, not twenty months. I've got that bride. Um, if you don't get your album favor faves picked, I give my clients print credits and as a disincentive to take forever to do it. You lose ten percent of your credit each week, you order your enlargements within thirty days of proofing and if you wait more than sixty days and I happen to raise my prices, you're going to pay more. This is all in the contract. I don't have to make this up for every client. If you order add ons, I'm gonna bill you. I'll have your work complete within eight weeks. You got to pick up your work. I'm not liable for anything except giving you your money back. Even if I accidentally kill you. How about that? Who wouldn't like to have that in their contract, huh, it's in there on that's actually illegal in missouri? I'm a substitute a competent photographer if I have to this is super critical because I've dealt with photographers from all across the country that have come down with cancer and accidents that have been able to fulfill their contract and they put in their contract I will be your photographer no matter what I will show up uh no no matter if I am deathly ill I will be there well that's not realistic so we have to have something in the contract about them the other thing is I own the copyright but I'm going to give you a license to it I'm not going to give you the copyright I'm goingto license you the images and just because I give you a limited license doesn't mean you can give your dvd to mama and your friend if they won't want I'll sell them one but that doesn't give you the right to reproduce it if you violate my copyright, I'm going to charge you fifteen times my normal rates um and you agree to that your family and guests will order prints through the studio. I can use your pictures for whatever I feel like and I mean anything uh if you hire a videographer will work together but I'm the boss nobody can take picks while I'm shooting stylized poses if you don't pay me, I'm going to charge you interest missouri law is going to govern you have to sue me in my home county, in my home state, even if I come to california to shoot your wedding or go to st thomas to shoot your wedding or cancun, um and it's very important. And we don't want to be late. And if anything in the agreement gets kicked out by the court, the rest is cool and ah, that's what my contract says. All right, so all of that's written and you know how many clubs all that's written down in the contract? And let me tell you about the clients that I've had that have refused to sign that contract away? There haven't been any so that's good news, you may think, oh, my gosh, that's so much what client would sign that? I could never get a client to sign that every single client in all of the years that I've been using that contract have been in there. You know what else is in there? I get to eat with the wedding guests and I get to eat the same wedding food that they get to eat now I learned from my east coast friends that shoot bar mitzvahs and weddings on the east coast that's that's the exception. Guests don't normally have their photographers eat with the clients don't only have their photographers with wedding guest. My creativity goes in the tank when I'm sent to the kitchen to eat cold pizza while everybody else is out eating roast beef, right? So I put that in my contract and that's included on the disc as well, so the description that whatever contract to use it, it needs to include some basic things it needs to include the total amount they're going to pay, how many shooters you're going tohave when payments or do that? You've gotten your deposit in how many pages is in your book? So if I'm delivering the graphic album and my my album is going to be a forty page book I'm going to put in there, you get forty pages and if you get a metal cover, I'm going to say you get a metal cover or if you get a laminated cover also, you get a laminated cover and you can upgrade to medal for one hundred seventy five dollars that's included in there. I don't include any promises. I include all of the promises made that I get the job because look, if you don't write it down, your client will remember if you promise to do something and didn't do it. So if you promise to do it, you need to make sure that it's in the contract and I err on the side of too much detail so I've got I call it the airtight wedding contract. Does anybody remember the the uh uh the lot the massey, the massey pre nup, the massive pre nup you fascinate me george clooney, selma hayak don't you remember that movie was fantastic? I call it my airtight wedding contract and I've got a light version or a long version because some photographers say, oh my gosh, if I have a two page contract, no one will sign it, and they I cannot convince them that a two page contract is ok, so I've got us, you know, uh, it includes the key components to the long contract we're going to get this client contract signed quickly, and why is that? Because if your client doesn't sign your contract, it means they're still shopping and we don't want them to shop, we want them to pick us, right? We want them to pick us, we want to get the contract signed, we're gonna get the deposit in and we're gonna want to calendar all of the deadlines, calendar, all of the deadlines, calendar all of the deadlines and notify your second shooter, right? Because if how many times confession is good for the soul. I will be making no confessions, but how many times has a wedding date snuck up on you and three weeks before the wedding? You're thinking who's, my second shooter for this? You know, I've got four that I work with. Who did I tell to put this on their calendar? Make sure you notify your second shooter because they don't like to be notified at the very end that you've got a wedding that they didn't know know about, so avoid avoid that problem. Yeah. So, craig, do you actually sit down and walk? Look through those points with people are do you trust that they're actually going to read through and know that you should get dinner? The other, you know, aspects? I know people sometimes canoe the notoriously bad about reading john, the way I do it isthe after we book the day that we book, I will go draft a contract and I'll email it to the client and say, here's, your client here's your contract, please read it here's the invoice that goes with it tells you how much in charging shows the sales tax review and sign it and send it back to me if I don't get it back to them, I'll call if they have any concerns, I'll talk to them about it. Then in our thirty day meeting before the wedding will go through all of the main points of the contract and make sure that they remember that like, for instance, I tell all of my clients in the contract ah, that that their events going to be hosting on pick taj afterwards and I give them the event number and I tell them to go pre register their guests so that they get notification when their images of are available. So I put that in the contract, too, and let them know that I expect them to pre register some of their family and friends on pick tosh now let's talk about, uh, mr remus of manhattan in the forty eight thousand dollars last dance and bouquet toss mr ramos, who studio had been in business for years in manhattan, women shot a wedding, I thought he had everything in the can his photographer went home, the bride went ballistic, missed the last bouquet toss, sued him. Now a lot of folks came to his aid. The lawsuit continued on through the court system, but he spent his studio spent over forty eight thousand dollars defending this lawsuit and making it go away all because in the contract he didn't have a provision that said, if you sue me and I'm successful, you'll pail of my attorney speech you'll pail of my costs if I do something wrong, the on ly thing that I'm liable to do is give you your three thousand dollars that you paid me back, and I'm not liable for any other damages if we have that in our contract, we don't get involved in this nightmare of a situation where we're we're drug through the court system for three years and spending forty eight thousand dollars to defend a bogus lawsuit so it's super important that we have a contract. So all of my brides and grooms sign if payment is being guaranteed by mom or dad, I'll have mom or dad signed the guarantee uh, sign I guarantee performance by mom or dad underneath there. So always the bride, always the groom and if mom or dad or paying, I have them sign is, well, situation came up last year where we had this didn't happen to me happen to another colleague of mine, mom and dad, um, had given daughter their credit card number to go out and buy flowers for the wedding daughter the day before the wedding used mom and dad's credit card to pay the photographer mom and dad did not agree to pay when the charge came in, mom and dad disputed it guess who photographers recourses against it's, the bride and groom, not mom and dad. So if mom and dad are the ones that are furnishing the credit card number we need to make sure mom and dad's names on the contract otherwise we can't be sure that mom and dad have agreed to give the bride the credit card number to pay for our services so great question all right let's talk about other types of contract boudoir work is so so so popular is least days it's growing and we don't know exactly where that's going to end up so we need to make sure if we're doing boudoir work that we have a contract there's recently been there was a lawsuit filed a few years ago in florida over by a husband and wife they sued the studio eight years after abboud wash shoot in the boca retton couple sued saying that they're semi nude photo was um was they didn't have permission to use it and it got published in a how to book right if we have a model release where we have a contract by the client letting them know how we're going to use their images if we're going to use them for studio purposes including possibly publishing them in a in a book there wouldn't be a lawsuit would they're so we've included a boudoir contract on the disc that we encourage all of our clients to use and it talks about nudity implied nudity on things like that and it makes it makes them makes the client understand either you're going to use their images in the future or you're not going to use them in the future depending on how you're going to use them. You need to put that in the contract and do it every single time super duper important that we use that for boudoir work because who wants to get sued? And you know what? As a lawyer, I can tell you, uh, if you have a client that's getting married, they have a fifty percent chance of not being together in five or six years. That's just the realities of life these days and when the client has given her little book of boudoir photos to her husband and they divorce and he's mad at her and he uses those images for some purpose that is, uh, unsatisfactory to your client. Guess what if somebody is looking to sue somebody who's got the deepest pockets, perhaps you perhaps your studio, perhaps the other person, but having everything down in a contract as far as what your liability is, and in the contract it provides if these images or distributed once the bride distributes them, you're not liable for any damage to her, uh, if she happens to be unhappy with how they're used later on, the other thing we include is an event contract events, our bread and butter for us this photographer's, maybe we're going out and shooting a reunion or a soccer game or we're going out to cover a corporate event. We always use an event contract and the event contract is going to include all of your delivery ls for instance, we had a large insurance company that hired us if you use a few years back to fly us down tio dallas to shoot all of their insurance agents and we shot five hundred insurance agents in eight hours we did portrait of him for a book and we brought in three photographers we lock down all of the cameras we knew what our deliverable was we got all of that work done but we did that successfully a matter client happy because we knew what their expectation was from the event contract. Then at the end of the gig someone came up and said, oh, and you know what we want we want you to put together a slide show for our our agent dinner tomorrow night, right? You can do that you can put together a slide show of all these head shot she did and you could deliver that to us and, uh that's you know you could do that well, yes, we can do that but there will be an additional charge it's in the event contract well, no, I thought that was included no, we did the event contract with your head person. I'm going to refer you back to that. But if you'd like for us to do that on an emoto, we could do that for you for an additional thousand dollars. Does that sound great? Well, okay, so we did that for him. Put it together. They were they were super happy with the product, but way avoided any kind of misunderstanding by having the contract with us. Now, let me tell you something. These contracts that we're talking about, I always and I have never failed to go to a wedding with two things. My camera and a pack up in the contract. I bring that contract with me to every gig. Why is that? Because I don't want to get in a dispute with the mother of the bride or the bride of the groom or anyone else. I just want to have a good time. I want to be inspired. I want to do my best work. Um and I want to make them happy, and I've never had to pull it out. But you can imagine a situation where maybe a bride thinks. Hey, you said you were going to do this. Hannah tune maybe have a dispute with the videographer and he wants to know who's in charge latch contract right here maybe you got a problem with the, um the caterer that they don't want toe provide you a meal, pull out your contract, right? I always have it with me better to have a not need then to need and not have so on to our next topic. Second shooters and assistance second shooters and assistance for those of us they're doing studio work or those of us that they're doing wedding work. We all need a little bit of help, right? We need a second shooter. Almost all of my weddings have two or three photographers or another shooter in a bag carrier, you know, an assistant that way. Um, and when we do that, we have to understand what we're getting ourselves into. Now. The irs wants to know whether we have employees are independent contractors because an independent contractor we don't have to withhold taxes on we don't have to pay insurance on we don't have to do many things that we have to do for employees. Now, if we have an employee, we might have to have workers come sensation insurance, we might have to withhold taxes on them, we might have to provide insurance for them, and there might be other state requirements, so we have to know what we're dealing with now the irs has come up with a twenty factor test now I rs twenty factor test is not my words it's the governments. So if you google I rs twenty factor test, you'll get the whole twenty factors uh, and and generally the difference between an employee and an independent contractor comes down to this control. Now some of us is photographers are control freaks. We want to control everything we want to control all of our work flow, knowing khun do it obviously as good as we can, and we can't subcontract out anything, so we just do it all ourselves, and if we have a second shooter, we tell them exactly what to do and when to do it. We give them the equipment and they can only work for us and they don't do anything else. Boy, that sounds like an employee, doesn't it? Un employees generally, uh, employees are on this side and employees generally on ly work for you. That means they don't go work for other folks. The other thing is the risk. If you have somebody that works for you, they can't lose money on the job, they might use our equipment. We have the right to control the time, scope and manner of their work, and they do work typical of employees, and they do it personally. And when I say do it personally, if I hire a second shooter and let's say he decides not tio not to do the gig, he says, you know what I'm gonna send kate, I don't want to do it. I'm going to sing kate. And if it's an independent contractor that's okay, think of plumbers, let's say you hire a plumber, jim and jim comes to picture pipes and jim says, you know, I can't make it today. I'm going to send ted and ted shows up and he fix your pipes fixes your pipes that's, ok? Because they can substitute if you're an independent contractor because independent contractors work for lots of folks. If they priced their job wrong, they can lose money on it. They use their own equipment, they're not subject to your control, they're independent and they have the right to substitute. So that's, the irs is definition of, um what an independent contractor is versus an employee. Now, for those of you watching and you're saying, well, that's not how I treat them, I'm sorry, that's not working out for you. I don't make the rules I'm just telling you what they are eso if we have employees we have to treat him like employees if we have independent contractors, we have to treat them like independent contractors so what if you hire someone for you bring him on for four months for a specific job they are subject your control maybe they're using some of the your equipment but they're only there for one specific job it smells like an employee to guys but then are you doing all you have to get that insurance for that four month timeframe of sure okay, so you do all that stuff but just something? Yeah swingman doesn't think the irs doesn't care if you have an employee for a day a week, a month, a year or a lifetime during the time that they're an employee we have to treat them like an employee. Now one of the main things that we have to think about is this little thing called the fair labor standards act that's also called the minimum wage act and all of the states have different minimum wages in some states minimum wages are higher than the federal minimum wage, so we have to make sure that if we have employees that were complying with the minimum wage and the other thing is over time requirements think about that how many hours in a week can an employee work without getting overtime forty how many hours in a week can you work if you're putting in sixty hours in front of your computer monitor late into the night at three o'clock in the morning fueled by red bull caffeine and your sheer passion to get the work done you could work as many hours as you want that's up to you you don't have to pay yourself over time you can take that wal mart greeter wage down to like two dollars an hour if you want to buy working sixty hours a week but I'm not encouraging it kate I see do you have another follow up question if you're an independent contractor is the overtime an issue there? No if you're standing contractor overtime doesn't apply to you if you come in to do my my sink job the plumber and it takes it sixty hours to do it you're on your own you've been out that job and that's that's how it goes that's why I pay my second shooters a flat rate so if they're going to come in and they're going to shoot for me they provide their cards their camera I turned them loose I say you know you're going to get two hundred fifty dollars they know that going into it and uh that's that's kind of how it works so your contractor yes ok and I have him sign independent contractor agreements thank you bet so there's the irs twenty factor test now you know about it if it's new tea today that's a great takeaway to go on their website and take a look at that irs dot gov just google in their search box twenty box twenty factor test and it'll pop right up ah and there's a link down at the bottom of the slide for that as well. So um let's talk about copyrights and independent contractors if you have a true independent contractor who owns the copyright oh kate's point it herself I I'm an independent contractor yeah so I own my own copyright ok well what if I hire you? If you hire me as an independent contractor I own the copyright okay? I tend to agree with you and that's important to know because a lot of photographers will go pay an independent contractor to shoot for them we'll take the images away and then they'll market them is their own well, that's what we want to do if I'm paying you two hundred fifty dollars to come shoot, I want to own the copyright I don't want you to license it to me I wanted to be mine because I'm going to sell it and employees generally the copyrights owned by the employer if you're a true employees on day we've got an exception called the work for hire agreement it has to be in riding so a true work for hire has to be in writing so if you think well, my independent contractors who work for hire and you've never put it in writing it's not a work for hire because it has to be in writing so you need your employees to either be or you need your foe tog refers your second shooters to either be your, um employees or they need toe sign the independent contractor slash work for hire agreement because the federal law requires they're being riding in order for it to be enforceable. Now, here's the other thing, if you're using independent contractors at the end of the year because you probably paid the more than six hundred dollars, if you're shooting lots of weddings and they're doing good work for you, you have to send them a ten, ninety nine if you don't know what a ten ninety nine is, a ten, ninety nine is the form that we send to the irs to say, look, kate did some work for me this year, she shot ten weddings and I paid her six thousand dollars um and, uh cates responsible for that, you can look for that ten thousand dollars on her tax return, and I'm deducting that ten thousand dollars from my income is expenses that I incurred in getting my work done this year, so that's when ah we'd send out a ten, ninety nine there ten, ninety nine employees now employees isn't ah ah good word to use after two ninety nine maybe ten, ninety nine vendors would be a better word and generally if you're sending out a ten, ninety nine at the end of the year you need to do a double check to say hey do I have a copyright transfer from that person if I don't we can go back and retroactively fix it but when you send out your ten, ninety nine that's a good cue to us as photographers um to to make sure that we have that copyright assignment and I have a sample independent contractor agreement that's included on the disc and I use that every single time um and I use it for every single gig you can modify it to make a good for a year okay but if you don't have that you're not going to get the work for hire exception if they're independent contractors if they're your employees you won't have to worry about it but most of us were treating our second shooters is independent contractors so without this document signed by all of your shooters we've got real problems the other thing that it talks about his look they're not on your insurance now let's think about that for a minute why is that important if you've got an independent contractor and they're the ones that's holding the soft box over the baby sleeping ever so gently posed just like you posed it you've cleaned up three piles of baby product just to get this shot and it's all perfect and you're about ready to push the lens button when you're independent contractor assistant drops the uh the light near the baby barely making it a tiny scratch who's got the insurance well, you're thinking I've got insurance, but guess what? If you've got an independent contractor and you report that claim to your insurance agency you know what they might do? They might deny coverage because this person that did the bad thing wright was not your employees it was an independent contractor so your insurance coverage may not extend to independent contractors and in my independent contractor agreement I make them tell me they've got liability insurance and liability insurance is everywhere I mean you can join the people a and get discount liability insurance you can join other professional organizations it's out there for photographers it's about six hundred bucks a year I like the hartford ah is a great vendor. I like travelers to great vendor it's inexpensive if you do not have insurance and we're going to talk about that towards the end, you really should think about, uh doing something else I say that in all seriousness because if we're professionals know ifyou're hobbyist, you're not gonna have the risks of they go along with injuring other people in pursuing your hobby but if we're charging for our services let's be realistic bad things might happen and if we don't have insurance to cover that we're really not uh showing much respect for clients so spend the six hundred dollars and get some insurance that's one of the other reasons that I make the independent contractors certify they've got the insurance now here's the other thing employees have to be loyal to you independent contractors can compete against you now what's that mean maybe I bring a photo assistant online I teach them everything I know about my business I teach them my shooting style I teach them how to interact with clients I'm basically grooming my competition or not because they're not going to stay with me making two hundred fifty dollars every saturday forever they're going to go out and do their own thing and if you understand that your employees have to be loyal to you and you can restrict their ability to compete against you and your independent contractors can't don't have that restriction what might we think about doing maybe I should treat them as an employee pay the seven and a half percent tax and and control their ability to compete against me if I'm going to tell them all of my secrets right so how might we do that? We might have an employment agreement with a national employees and described to them uh their job duties how much we're going to pay them what their benefits are and I might include a non competition clause saying if you want to work for me and if you want me to teach you you're going to agree within so many miles for such and such a time maybe a year maybe within twenty five miles you're not going to offer photography services because I don't want to train you to put me out of business um it's a concept of loyalty that's unique to photographers you can't you can't ask the same thing of an independent contractor because in the twenty factor test it's it's necessary that they offer their services to other folks other than just you so generally if we use a confidentiality or a noncompetition agreement it's going to protect our confidential information prevent competition both geographically you know, within maybe twenty five miles of your studio vocational e within photography we're not going to say they can't do other things maybe it's just wedding photography maybe it's ah children's photography or event photography tim poorly or time related it's it can't last forever it has to be a reasonable restriction and its enforceability various but most states recognize that we can't have noncompetition agreements but they have to be reasonable and we do need to have a relationship with an attorney in our own state to get some state specific advice on how much we can restrict the ability of our employees to compete against us now I've come up also with just a simple confidentiality agreement and that's his look, I'm going to tell you kind of my work flow and how I do things and how I interact with clients and how I build them and how I sell prints on in that is something that I don't want you to tell other people about it, so I might have even my independent contractors sign a confidentiality agreement so that I can confidently tell them kind of how I expect things to happen without the risk of that information showing up on the internet being included in someone else's course material, et cetera. So a confidentiality agreement is another tool that we can use to protect kind of how we do business, the non compete agreement. Now I've got a version of the non compete agreement on the disc that I've included in red this is the port that varies from state to state. Some states will allow you to restrict for one hundred miles some states allied or strict nationally, some states ally, you're strict for one year, others for five, they've dealt with this reasonable this issue and that's where you need to get some spit, state specific advice. On how tio how to deal with the non compete agreement. I've got a confidential confidentiality and non compete agreement together in one document. If you want to keep things simple on or if your control freak and you really want to control folks, you really want to run their life, don't you? You know, no, you look reasonable. You look reasonable. So if we have employees were gonna withhold taxes, right? We talked about that. Why do we want an employee? Well, we want them to be loyal to us. We want a little bit of an ability to control what to expect out of them, but we have to withhold taxes, state and federal. Maybe if if our state requires workers compensation insurance, um, we have to pay for that now, let's, talk about that. Ah, the worker's compensation acts provide that an employer that has a certain number of employees has to have workers comp insurance work. Comp insurance in missouri, for instance, applies to employers that have five or more employees, some states or ten. Some states air won some states or twenty. You need to know what that trigger is for work comp insurance if you have employees, but that means of an employee gets hurt at work. The insurance policy pays for their injuries. Regardless, generally of whether they're falter nut for employees, we have to comply with the fair labor standards act. Remember we talked about that earlier that's the overtime in minimum wage requirements, we have to comply with the w three and w two deadlines everybody knows what a w two is that's been an employee at the end of the year? You get one in the month of february generally, and it shows you how much you made, and they report that up to the government. The government knows how much taxes you're supposed to pay, but employees were generally worth it. Everybody goes to to great lengths to classify their employees is independent to classify their workers as independent contractors without saying what's, the benefit of having an employee there's lots of benefits to having an employee so I'd encourage you to stop look at your business model and see if the employee relationship works well for you, they are generally worth it. Independent contractors, they've got advantages too. We don't have to withhold taxes there's no work comp insurance, but remember, your insurance doesn't cover them. So remember my soft box example. You might have a realist you if something bad happens either in a wedding or in your studio, or perhaps even on the way to a wedding while they're driving on the way home um, your insurance might not cover them there's ten, ninety nine deadlines and penalties that we need to be aware of. So we have to make sure we get the ten, ninety nines out and don't be surprised if you're independent contractor opens up a new wedding studio down the street and generally I think that's fine. I mean, my work product is my my style is my style, they're not they're not going toe uh, take that away from me. They're not going to be able to duplicate it, so I I generally have used independent contractors not worried about the competition issue so much because, you know, if a town concern port one wedding photographer, they can support too. There's there's, there's generally enough work to go around. Okay, yeah, sorry. Before you move on, I just had a question magical moments in the chat room had a question about the this that you're selling. Are you getting to that later? Or there will be a little link for it coming up here shortly on where we can get that, so stay tuned. All right? Thank you. Um, here we are risks of misclassification. What happens if I've used to pick on you again? Kate kate is my independent contractors second shooter for the last five years, and I've given her my cameras and I've given her my equipment I've told her exactly what shots to take and giving her a shot list and told her win to show up and told her that she has to show up come hacker high water and she can't send anybody else but I have just ten, ninety nine er and guess what? I get this friendly letter from the government and they say hi, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you I see that you've been deducting kate is a ten, ninety nine employees but we really would like to audit you to see if you've misclassified her and if you miss classify her what the government is going to say is guess what? You now know you now owe all of the employees there the employer taxes on kate and yeosan penalties and yeosan interest and you owe that for the last five years now let me tell you how that comes up because maybe you'll say to yourself that will never happen to me but remember when I said the only ship that won't sail is a partnership? Well, let's say that cake gets mad at me maybe I don't hire her for this dream wedding that she really wanted to participate in and she gets mad at me and kate goes and calls the irs and says, you know what I'll tell you craig has been misclassifying mia's, his independent contractor from five years and I think you should audit him and here's all of the evidence showing what he made me do and how I meet the I rs twenty factor test and I really think you should give him the web for well guess what the irs will take that very seriously and they'll open an investigative file on that and they'll send me that letter so your employees if they're misclassified really holds the keys on whether or not to unleash the hounds of government upon you yeah okay, I was independent contractor though wouldn't I be I would be paying taxes on incomes if you're if you're an independent contractor but in my hypothetical I had been treating you like an employee misclassifying you is an independent contractor and this is what the takeaway is the irs doesn't care what label I put on my second shooter they care about the facts of our relationship so if you're an employee and we both agree that you be an independent contractor that's not going to give me any protection but in in theory they're actually probably getting more in taxes from me than they would just seven percent if you were it's the same because you're paying the fifteen if it were my employee I d paying seven and a half you'd be paying seven and a half so the reason is the government wants to make sure that employers pay their fair share and that's why they would do the audit so don't miss classify all right we're on to um model in property release is does anybody know where I took this picture? It doesn't show up well on the monitor it's actually prettier than that uh but where did I take that las vegas that is it the neon museum or the neon bone yard this was before they built the new museum complex that's the silver slipper sign we took a model out there and you can't see these signs from the street you have to be on private property you have to be in a private it's fenced off they own it and guess what they control how we use it so I paid a license to them to use it for educational in promotional purposes so I have a property release from the neon museum it's a five a one c three to use this for educational purposes so let's say that I wanted to run that in a magazine publication and have five hundred thousand copies of it made I have to go back to them and pay another license agreement because it's not included in my original property release so without a property release I would not even have the ability to show you that image today now the model release that's regina and regina is from springfield and we took regina out to las vegas and we used her as our model and guess what I have from regina a model release where regina has given me her permission to use her image for anything I want to now when I say anything, what does that include there's this wonderful artistic tool recon digitally enhance and manipulate images called what photoshopped photo shop is not a verb it is a noun we do not photoshopped things we digitally enhance them for a small additional charge. Now, with that I could take regina cz head off of the image and replace it with another one. Ok, that happens in the world of graphic artistry. My model release would cover that I could digitally enhance regina and make her way three hundred pounds. My my my model release would allow me to do that where I'm digitally manipulated her which she be happy with that probably not. I could also take a model of more generous proportions and I could slim her down in some models might not like that right? But I have the ability in my model released digitally manipulate my images even to make my subjects unrecognizable. Um and my model release would cover that because of these air these air the contours of the issues that we face is photographers what we might face a challenge from a model on how we use our images let's say that I took this image of her and I used it on let's think of something controversial a controversial topic these days might be ah let's think of abortion, religion, gun control or politics and I used that picture in favor of or against one of the issues on those topics maybe she has strong political feelings or on one or more of those issues and she says, well I didn't want you to use that I never imagined you'd use that image for such and such well I'm sorry you gave me your permission to use it for anything and I resold it to getty and getty resold it to someone else and that's what they chose to use it for so be it so having a kn airtight model release is super duper important now the the model release that I use deals with the models right of publicity her right of privacy because everybody that we shoot has a right of privacy and a right of publicity now what's that mean it means they have the right to not have their picture on a billboard they have their right to control how much someone can use their image now there are certain exceptions including the editorial exception the news exception parody or personal use but the general rule is if you're making money off of it you have to have a model release unless you're a news organization if you're making money off of it you have to have a model release now why is this important the model release has permission from the model or of the mother, that of a small child that you're going to do an infant shoot of that you might want to use it gives permission for the studio to use it. It's ah, release it acknowledges that there's been consideration going back and forth to support it and make sure you can and change the name of this to your own studio that you have permission to use it for forever. Um, why is this important, it's it's important? Because of the lawsuits that might follow the right of publicity, the right of privacy are super important, and if we decide that we're going to use an image that's in a way that's offensive to our client, you can expect some backlash, and when we talk about contracts defining the expectations of the parties, the model release is nothing more than a contract saying you can expect this from me in the future. Now the property releases the same way. If you're taking a picture of a copyrighted item, you've got to have a property release so let's say that I've got ah, sculpture that I've created, and I registered it and I put it on display somewhere and somebody comes in and takes a picture of it and then reproduces in another medium my copyrighted sculpture have they violated my copyright? Yes because I created it I fixed that work so they would need a license from me in order to duplicate that so we have to ask ourselves the question is what were ah shooting copyrighted is it a statue? Uh is it trademarked coca cola let's say I go to atlanta and I take a picture of the coca cola sign on top of the coca cola building and I use that in self promotion did I have their permission to do it? No was I but I was standing on a public sidewalk when I took the picture yeah, but that's coke's trademark right? And they control the ability to duplicate that so we have to ask the question is a trademark so asking ourselves the question where I was I legally there when I press the shuttered doesn't solve all of the all of the questions that we're faced with but generally if you're legally there when you press the shutter and you're on ly shooting an intangible item that's not copyrighted and not trademark you're ok, right? So if I go shoot the front of the creative live building as attractive as it is from across the street at the holiday inn and I'm going to use that for self promotion, I'm legally standing on the side rock it's not a trademark building it's not copyrighted I'm going to go umm there's an exception for government works generally government property um if you're shooting the washington monument if you're shooting the, um the white house, those items aren't copyrighted. There are if you take the picture while in a national park there's some licensing requirements that you have to come comply with and you can find that at the national park service dot gov a website just google photo permits and you can figure out how to do that. If ansel adams had to comply with all of the national park service permitting requirements that we have today, we would never have some of the beautiful images that we have this but they're there we were faced with them we have to deal with it. I have a sample property released it's also included now for those of you that wanted to know my forms disc is available it's normally one hundred twenty dollars. The creative live special price is eighty nine dollars if you go to craig heideman dot com that's uh, craig heideman with two ends on heideman dot com er you'll find it. I think I'm one of the creative live promo pieces they had an r in my last name mom didn't put one there, so it's just craig heideman h e I d e m a n and dot com and we could get those shipped out to you it is an actual diskettes, not a digital download um so I'll be happy to get you one get one on its way to you if you're interested on again it's got twenty five forms and documents that we as wedding and uh uh portrait photographers need to use every day in our business all right here's the fun part we're in the homestretch I'll give you everything but the copyright now in this digital age every bride wants what they want a disk and they want what else do they want they when we're sitting there it I can I can count their thousands of times now I get the copyright with that don't I that's what they say I get the copyright well no you don't get the copyright you get a license to make copies of the images I keep the copyright but that's ok that's good you get to make copies of it and you get to make copies of it for your personal reasons you can't give the disk of images to your mother to make copies you can make copies and give the copies to your mother which can give her the disc see how I'm controlling what happens to my work um you get a certain size image ah that won't print tio twenty by thirty from miller's you know you get a certain size image on dh that's what you get and you can use it maybe you only have my permission to make copies of it for five years you can control how you license your images all day long so we license our images ah, copyright gives me as the creator that fixes the work in a medium the right to reproduce display make derivative works from to distribute toe license to sell into transfer into pass to my heirs all of my fantastic photography and you have that right to in the government guarantees you that right? And if we understand how important copyright is we would take greater care in licensing of our images the copyright is super important how long does it last? It lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years many of you watching at home or work today might do micro stock photography and you might, uh, sell your images through shutter stock or istock photo or one of the other online stock agencies. You may have a stream of income that lasts uh greater than your life span right? For those of you that that air taken smoking hot images that are relevant and topical they may generate revenue for you after you're dead. So through your will or your trust you can pass the right to control that copyright to your heirs and that's super important um there's there's a lot of myths that associate they're associated with copyright such is now let's think about music how many of us are generating picture slide shows or dvds they go along with our work our video are videographers are generating great cinema that include, uh that includes songs some people say well, look, um I yeah, they stole my image, but I didn't register it I can't sue him for infringement cause I forgot to register it or yeah, you know, I can use, you know, marry me by by train on on my slide show from a bride if I'm only given it to her that's not copyright infringement or if I don't charge them for it it's not really a violation somehow giving it away for free gives me the right to steal from someone else. Um it's not like it's a crime or anything and actually is you go to jail for it? Ah, you know they'll never know is a great one. Uh, nobody nobody will care is another great one, but let me tell you what photo agencies are scouring the web using fantastic image recognition software to find infringements and they are finding infringements and photographers are getting letters from other photographers saying, I just found out that you're ripping me off police sent me a check for five thousand dollars or I'm going to successfully sue you in federal court, put you out of business and ruin your name and that's happening, so copyright is super serious business um the other thing is there's this concept of a handshake or an oral agreement is great or a good way to do business when we license are images and we can't accurately state how we're licensing our images unless we bother to put it in writing now when is the copyright created my rights whether I registered or not in a work exist where are born when the work becomes fixed for a photographer it's when the shutter button is clicked for a videographer it's when the stop button probably is pressed that's when it becomes fixed the exception of course is for work for hire the copyright uh ownership transfers to the person that is actually commissioning the work in the written agreement and so there's some exceptions to copyright um everybody says well there's an exception to that we need to talk about it parody obviously if I take a famous picture and I distorted for ah to make fun of something or to lampoon it or two for an editorial use I can do that I've got the limited right to do that um editorial newsworthy if I am out eyes a news agency and I photograph something in its ah news purpose that's another exception there's a limited exception for education and documentary purposes but make no mistake that search engines that there's that there's an evolving area of exception and the fair use exception where search engines khun take tiny little thumbnails and they can use them in the cash to say where something has found a different page at different places on the internet and that's a no evolving exception to copyright now let's manage our rights what are we going to do? Well, what we can do is we can register our copyrights my work is much more valuable if it is infringed then if I sell it because most of my clients are not willing to pay one hundred fifty thousand dollars per image but if I copyright my work and I pay the small fee to the copyright office to register it and someone then goes and takes my work I'm going to get one hundred fifty thousand dollars from them okay that's that's the penalty for registering it our work becomes valuable there's a public record of our work um it's proof that were the owner of it it gives a statutory damages and attorney fees and it gives us ice protection against the importation of infringing copies again good for the life of the author plus seventy years hey here's the takeaway register your work and then as a selling point for your clients will come in and say, why should I hire you? Why do I need apple studios? Is my photographer for my wedding? Tell me I'll say you know what? Because my work is published in the library of congress uh photographers that don't register their work their work is not published in the library of congress however, my work is for ever deposited in the library of congress where anybody can go see it now that's kind of cool because actually as copyrights expire that gives us the ability to go to the copyright office and get works who's copyrights have expired and use them for our own commercial purposes there's great images in the library for expired copyrights that we can go get and use because once the copyright expires they're available so it again it's good for the life of the author plus seventy years when we register all right if it's published works meaning we're doing them because they're going into a magazine we need to publish that we need to register them uh immediately as they're as they're made for non published works we can do it generally attn any time, but we like to do it no longer than about every year. Registration is easy it costs thirty five bucks to do it online fifty bucks on paper there's no reason to do it on paper anymore if you go to the google copyright trademark office um you can you can get good directions on how to do that it's super duper easy we can actually upload the images and what I like to do in the live room user so about every three months I'll take all of the images they've created in the last three months and I export them as the tiniest little thumbnails that I can still see ah good copy of not you know it can't be all pixelated, it needs to be the best copy of your work, but it could be super small I take those and I compiled them into one big adobe pdf document using the adobe acrobat professional where we can create pdf documents and I create one big document with all of those images in it all of those thumbnails upload them to the copyright office and they send me a certificates suitable for framing of my ownership of the copyright of those images. So again, you can't afford not to do it that's the old paper form if you want to use that here's some best practices, we're going to put our copyright notice on every page of our web site because we can copy or on our web site, we're going to register our photos, eh? So we can get the statutory damages and attorney's fees if we don't register them. There's no hammer to go after infringers to get your attorney's fees and one hundred fifty thousand and statutory damages, all you can get is your actual damages, which can be very hard to prove um, put all of your licenses and riding even if it's by email and make sure that your license is contingent on getting paid and full there's nothing worse than your client having the right to reproduce your images and they still owe you money awful feeling s o as we move forward, we say help! I've been in french now that had this happened to me last year one of my images ten of my images that were copyrighted appeared on a wedding vendors website and my bride who gave it to her my bride did not have my permission to give it to her and the vendor that had, um, taking the images put them all over their web site and didn't tell anybody who's they were and obviously didn't have any permission to do it. So what do we do? Make copies screenshot screenshot, screenshot, screenshot, screenshot lots of screen shots of the infringement we make sure it's an infringement called the bribe a bride to give that to her. Yeah, you know, you didn't emery permission to do that? Yeah. And did she know that you didn't have run permission? Yeah, and she put it up on her website anyway. Yeah, so I made sure that it was an infringement research the infringer find out whether they have assets, whether they're worth going after and then here's your options do nothing well g my pictures on their website that just makes I feel good I'm not going to do anything it's an option not a good option request a photo credit hey you can pay your album vendors with all of the money you make from your photo credits no it doesn't work that way we can't get paid we don't get paid for a photo credit now maybe that's important to you maybe it's not it's an option you can prepare a digital millennium copyright act takedown letter my favorite choice it allows me to send a one page letter to her service provider google yahoo microsoft anybody who will listen and say hey I've been infringed and you're hosting the in french content please take their website down and they'll say ok we will and all of a sudden that vendors website goes dark because I sent the letter powerful tool I submit yes ah that's a deep dmca takedown notice you can send a self help cease and desist letter dear vendor you're infringing upon me please take down this or I'll come after you they'll want it up and throw it away uh and not take much note of it so there's a ah digital cop digital millennium copyright act demand letter that's included on the disc my recommendation is demand letter from lawyer demand letters from lawyers tend to not be ignored so going to lawyer and saying that you've been infringed um is a great option if you've been infringed um I uh I can generally pointed in the right direction of lawyers in your state that that might be able to help you, so feel free to contact me and I'll try and put you in the right direction. You can file a copyright infringement suit now what? What are the benefits of a copyright infringement suit? Um, first of all, we need to see whether we've licensed or transferred our our copyrights to anyone else, and I'll come back and talk about that in a second. But if if we've transferred our copyrights to someone else and we use that we might be infringing on theirs, if we've licensed it again, they would have the permission to do it. Barring that we have to look at what the consequences are now let's. Think about tony ro mo of the dallas cowboys he had a smokinhot wedding video made of his wedding, and in there they they had cold place fix you is the theme music that the videographer had put in there in the video went viral viral, and in the five minute video it looked fantastic. It was great, it was of a famous person, but guess who didn't give their permission for fix you to be put into the wedding video, of course, coldplay, they sued, uh, filed a lawsuit made some demands and it was immediately taken down and guess what guess what that did to the videographers business and reputation obviously nothing good so making sure that you're you have the right ah licenses and agreements to use the music for instance triple scoop eyes a great solution for a licensed music if you ah need music for your slide shows so anyway that's that's the story of tony romo uh if you want a good summary of licensing apple dash studios dot com forward slash licensing dot pdf triple scoop has a great summary of licensing and what it means feel free to check that out ah that's ample dash studios dot com forward slash licensing pdf uh if you want to learn more so there's consequences to choices just like my mama said let's talk about the photographer that licensed a picture of emit smith kneeling in the star of the middle of texas stadium he gave a license to the cowboys to use that they had permission to make so many copies of it they made a many, many more copies than that he sued them for infringement they were forced to pay him two hundred seventy five thousand dollars and then they were rewarded him by barring him is a sports photographer from texas stadium now there was a huge uproar among media photographers and they ended up letting them back in but obviously you can get lots of damages for an infringement. Here is an example back in two thousand seven of an infringer who took a picture of a state copyrighted staying glass work used the photo to do something else with um and actually she created a stained glass copy of a photo I got that backwards and that was an infringement so quick mention wal mart now er has been called to task for infringing on photographers rights so now if someone goes to wal mart with a picture that's properly exposed and in focus that is a professional image for which a copyright authorization is required so they will make your bride's bring in your license agreement in order to reproduce it and that was thanks to the peopie a secret shoppers in addition check out ten I dot com ten I will go out if you upload one of your pictures and it will search billions of pictures on the web to see if somebody's ripped you off ten I dot com super cool um and again copyright is enforced by the immigrations and customs enforcement folks so if you have copyrighted content on your website you may wake up one morning and see this they will take your side down and they will say that it's been seized by ice because you are a copyright infringer and that can really happen so you don't want this is the graphic design on your splash page for your website so make sure that you comply with uh the copyright requirements of others so copyright is absolutely essential teo making your business successful making sure that you're going to be around uh for many years to come now let's wrap up talking about the exciting world of insurance, right? Okay, homestretch folks insurance what is it? Why do I need it is a photographer? What do I have to be on the lookout for? Um hey in petaluma, california two years ago a cannon seventy to do two hundred lens came through the roof of someone's home. Where did that come from? Who knows? But if that serial number had been registered with cannon professional services and they got a subpoena and said who owns this lands? And they said it's craig's lands you better hope that I've got insurance to cover the hole in that roof, right? Because it's raining lenses in california apparently this look you can lose everything in a lawsuit as a lawyer I'll be the first to tell you lawsuits or distracting creates this awful feeling in the pit of your stomach they last for a long time they cost a lot of money makes us doubt ourselves. We can lose all kinds of things in a lawsuit and insurance is a product that's designed to guard the guard against it I like the travelers product that's ah sample first page for their master pack policy it covers lots of stuff your buildings theft um computer fraud, personal effects accounts receivable business, personal property, it's fantastic. So you need one it's, not a malpractice policy. So if you sleep in on the day of the wedding, you better be a member of the p p a to have the people a indemnification trust on your side or you better have your own airs and omissions policy it we need heirs and omissions policy to guard a errors and omissions policy to guard against our own negligence. Coverages we can't live without include our commercial articles that means, um, our equipment l any quick mention on that your equipment, if you take it out of the country, is not going to be covered under a standard insurance policy. So if you're doing destination weddings like I was doing in mexico and you hop out of the boat with ten thousand dollars in gear on your back and you fall into the salt water, you'll be glad that you had and in the marine policy, which covers your equipment when you take it out of the country, so make sure you tell your agent if you're buying insurance, whether or not you're going to leave the country and tell them I want an inland marine policy, insurance agents need to know that you want property and casualty, such as damage to your studio. Ah and you also want errors and omissions coverage which can get through the peopie a indemnification trust or you can buy your own policy but the cheapest game in town right now is the peopie a indemnification trust and you could get there at people dot org's but those air coverage is that you absolutely cannot live without you might want to think about medical payments coverage so in the event that the baby does get scratched when your assistant drops the soft box on that's just awful example is mitt but it happens and having medical payments coverage would cover that without anybody having an argument as to whose fault it wass itt's coverage where the insurance company will just pay no matter what. Um and of course general liability coverage is what the main component of the insurance product is um in the international endorsements against comes through the marine product all of that with the equipment coverage about twenty thousand dollars in coverage is on ly about eight hundred dollars a year and I submit if you can't afford it, you really need to check your business model because if you can't fit eight hundred dollars in insurance into your your business model, we really need to take another look at it so again, if any of these forms were of any interest to you, you can find those at craig heideman dot com the creative life specialist eighty nine dollars look I am fortunate that I get to rub shoulders with great photographers like jim garner and bambi cantrell and doug gordon because the folks that produced these educational seminars understand that this is just is important to your business success is taking world class smoking hot pictures okay? So that's why I am really proud to give you guys this information today because I want to make sure debbie pp I ten years from now we're going to see each other and get to talk about our business is I want to make sure that everybody is wildly successful for many years to come so thanks for having me the folks have creative live and I look forward to seeing everybody soon thank you so much craig that was that was amazing I did want to ask your forms that you're selling are they compatible if you live in canada or we haven't in national that's a that's a great question and I need to mention once you get these forms half of the work is done all you need to do is get with that lawyer in your state to say look, I'm going to be using this form can I have your blessing on it? Are there any changes that we need to make in in montana on they'll say yes or no but generally it's ah it's ah standard contract law provision so they'll work in most states I'm saying countries well in other countries canada we love our neighbors to the north I would check with my canadian solicitor to make sure that they were compatible in canada or mexico. Excellent well so many people in the chat room kreager saying they want you back here on creative live for a full course that this content was absolutely incredible so we very much appreciate you coming today and I think we haven't thank you slide to your sponsors you talk about them for a second yeah let's do that I've got one of my partners in addition to miller's is the folks of graphic studio they'd get some absolutely fantastic products including the new digital matted album this is going to be the rage in in the next year it's like nothing that we've we've seen before it has the ability to teo reproduce a digital man it album in the form of a graphic book this actually I don't believe is that business is one of the new covers in addition the folks that picked taj the folks that picked taj where I host with their an absolutely fantastic partner if you're not familiar with picked taj, check them out it picked taj dot com but again the folks that graph he produce an absolutely wonderful book that helps me with the success that I've achieved up to this point in my career, so we're glad to have them as a partner

Class Description

Most aspiring photographers focus on developing their skills behind the camera, but it’s equally important to establish a strong legal foundation to support your work. Join Craig Heidemann to learn how and why you need to set up your photography business as an LLC or corporation. Craig will cover how to get a tax ID number, how to use contracts to manage client expectations, and the difference between employees and independent contractors. After this workshop, you’ll understand how to license the rights to your images, the truth about model and property releases, and everything you need to know about copyrights in order to start your photography business successfully. 

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

This course was awesome! There is a wealth of information shared from both a photographic and legal sense, covering all bases of the need-to-know for your photography business, both for new start-up and the duration of your day-to-day business needs. Federal and state regulations, contracts and legal implications are discussed in an easily digestible way. I learned a great deal from this course and hope Craig entertains the idea of teaching more Creative Live courses in the future.

Joseph Thomas

Such a wealth of information. I only wish it was longer so I could soak up more information lol. Great course.

Steven Erat

Excellent course. Craig is very well spoken and provides comprehensive yet easily understandable material. Very relevant and up to date. Near the end of the session Craig discusses an optional DVD with 25 business contracts that he wrote which can be bought online if desired. I immediately purchased the DVD extra because I know I want Craig to be the one that crosses all the Ts and dots all the Is in for my contracts.