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Lesson 28 of 31

Contracts Q&A

Joe Buissink

Wedding Photography

Joe Buissink

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Lesson Info

28. Contracts Q&A

Lesson Info

Contracts Q&A

All right moments shared as jen and minnesota do you require the couple who are signing the contract to act as the model release for all their guests yes yeah um I think there's pieces in here that specifically states that that uh one of the things is that the couple first of all the coordinators I've had coordinators signed my contracts that's not who my contracts with so I will always bounce that back I need two clients to sign it but the clients here's what happens the people that come to a wedding no they're going to be photographed so if this is a really sticking point and someone wants to see you take you the court the judge going to ask that person while then you think you're going to be photographed at that wedding so it is almost implied that that the couple is giving permission to the photographer and that is a release for them now that that's been my experience again I need everything that I'm saying to you I need you to check with an attorney and in your state where you are...

because it changes from state to state attorney did attorney by virtue of this here too if you're in front of a judge depending on which judge uh let's say I used the word deposit or even retainer er and in my closet says well the retainers for a held date but my retainers happened to be fifty percent so if you're if you're basic package is nine thousand nine hundred ninety five dollars which is I think my bottom one on that one it's five grand basically all right so she wants her five grand back uh I say no let's just say I did that and I go to court she takes me to court the judge is going to say ok he may say or she may say reasonable retainer I don't think fifty percent is reasonable most judges will say that that's way too much for a retainer maybe a thousand dollars on a tenth out ten percent you took fifty percent I need you to give her forty percent back because reasonable is the word that changes from one judge to another there is no set rule what reasonable is it depends on the person that's sitting court holding court right so and the reason I used fifty percent I want them to be committed I don't want him to give me one hundred dollars as a retainer five hundred dollars entertainer and then two weeks out decide I'm going with this one because I've run out of money in my budget and I just decided you know what? You're not that important I'm gonna I'm gonna get this photographer was gonna do it for nothing he's just started but he's good he's got okay work but I'm gonna hire him I'm willing to lose my five hundred bucks then I'm stuck now I've passed on three other enquiries for that day because I am booked once I'm booked them book, so I've lost work so that's, why I say, you know what fifty percent chances are you're not going to ask for that back unless the thing just unfolds all together and it collapses and there is no wedding or you're really sick and I understand it are you mom just passed away and I'm so sorry I get that we're not doing it, I'm not gonna ask for the extra money and yeah, we're gonna apply it to the next time you have the day, so be very careful of how much you asking for a front and why you're doing that? Because if it ever does end up in a court of law, the judge is going to say reasonable that you use the word reasonable and fifty percent usually is not considered reasonable for a retainer. So just to be clear with a lot of people that are asking questions, this is really you giving this contract is you saying, look at all this awesome information, take this to your lawyer and make your own contract absolutely well, what I'm suggesting for you guys to do take my contract but don't copied over word for board it may not apply in your state and I want you to take the time to actually ask someone else to look it over they'll reword it I'm telling you every attorney that I've worked with reworks this stuff they have their own language for their own thought processes why that language is there I have run so I'm always suggesting this is simply a guideline for you to look at and take to your attorney and said can you do something similar to this on just please try not to copy this thing word for word that's all the sum of the clauses are very important artistic visions clause I think that's very important you can even rework that a little bit if you wish but it was just worth giving to you guys to just as a starting point great that should help with a lot of the questions I have a question from bananas who says hey joe what do you think about the recent nightmare stories regarding wedding wedding photographers being sued because the couple was not happy with the photos it seems like a very real and scary possibility that could happen to any of us how can we avoid this help from scotland yeah and you know what I've been watching a lot of that lately online and I'm finding two things on the one hand uh there's been some interesting things that I've discovered by looking on some of the complaints and actually look at the work and I'm going I don't even know why. Why they're complaining, and I think sometimes people also take this too far by wanting to take the photographer for a ride. Ok, so I've seen it where the clients completely out of line having the photographer did a great job from the photos that I've seen amazing job and they're completely out of line and they just want their money back. I've had klein's way back a long time ago when I first started that's thought they could see a way they've overspent their budget, and if they complained enough with me that they would get the album for free, I literally have had clients like that where the on ly reason they're complaining because when I sw look pointed this out to them, but in this email, you said you loved the photos and that you, you know, I see on pictures you've selected two hundred fifty seven favorites. But yet in this email, you tell me you didn't find one you like there's a disconnect here you love the photos, there's two fifty seven that our favorites and you didn't find one you liked. So what is the ulterior motives? And so then, without saying that, first I let a leterme's just totally draw this out till I could go, okay, now, here's, how this thing went down let me show you what you're really after because in the end what they'll say is like what I really want from you right now I don't want to pay for my albums I really hate this stuff that's their weight so then you want to make an album from the photos you hate okay, let me think about that the logic behind that but you want the album now and you want it for free so can we just cut to the chase you would like a free album that's what you're telling me that that's what you're saying right now and you're using these excuses to get that free album am I correct? I hear nothing after that. Fine fine okay, fine you're gonna hear from my husband okay then I've seen the flip side of that coin where it's someone who's knew that angela talked about and the most horrific stuff I've ever seen the most of rip now I place myself in the shoes of the bride and groom and I go oh wow I'd be devastated and you concede you know, some of this stuff has aired on tv where they've interviewed the couple and the couple's crying two years later because they don't have one photo that they can call my photo from my wedding because the photographer was completely inexperienced some of this stuff also comes from because my question to them is why did you hire him they used someone else's web pictures? How about that? You know, how prevalent that's become now where they steal photos off the web, call it their own when it isn't sell themselves through this other photographers work and then can't own up to that because they're not anywhere near that work, and that happens as well. So how do we protect ourselves? I think in part, that artistic clause is really good for those of us that really know what we're doing. The other thing is, look, if you're a newbie, learn, you know, I never say jumping with both feet and just start doing weddings because you think this is gonna be fun gig start by second shooting start by carrying bags I mean, if that means for a year you've gotta work for somebody else two years, even work for somebody else learned the craft. I can't beat this thing up hard enough learn everything about that camera know when it will fail you and what if it fails you do you have backup? Can you pick up something else in your bag that will substitute for that flash that just went down or that other camera body there's just fried? I come with two cameras if not three, two flashes to just about everything, maybe not all my lenses are two of everything you know, but nonetheless it's it's these things are experiential on that you know this once you've done this and you've worked with somebody so please learn this craft okay um you said that you get fifty fifty percent as the retainer when do you get the other fifty percent and if they cancel their wedding two weeks out do you give them the other back if you get it before the wedding so usually it's one to two weeks before the wedding I want the other fifty percent two weeks rarely I can't even remember one that was two weeks out I'd say a month out was the closest that someone cancelled on me a month out not two weeks and in a month they know with a month ago they know that that's not the right person for them or whatever now clearly you know if mom is in the hospital and she's an integral part and they usually our moms are integral parts of weddings they're gonna postpone not canceled postponed so I just flipped out over uh I'm out the other fifty percent but this is more important to me than saying hey, you owe me fifty percent I can't fill this date it's you know what do you say somebody did cancel last minute day before the wedding? Would you would you keep that money or would you give the other fifty percent back to them because I've had that happen where at the last second they were fully paid and the wedding was canceled last minute. No, I did I did what you did. I gave it as a gift, so to speak I transferred it over teo I would actually probably handle that half of it would be moved over to the next state. Okay, I would give a half a credit, you know? You can also use it as for future weddings besides that add a little something something on top of it partial album credit so you know, maybe half of this full feet and you just gave me I'll float over as to the retainer for the next time and maybe I give you two hundred dollars album credit us well towards the album in the next one, so just a little, you know, just to show that you have some compassion for it and I don't want you to be totally out of money because you just totally lost out on that and for me and they're fully aware I explained to my brides and grooms look, if I can't fulfill that date now, you have no idea I get calls all the time and I say I'm booked I could have had a wedding I don't have a wedding now I I just lost money and most of them not all of them understand that at some level then I just lost money and so some of the even say I'm really embarrassed to come back at you and asked what about our retainer and that's when I say well typically what I do this so we were at the beverly hills hotel right so can I ask you what happened with the hotel all they kept it and what about the florist the retaining to give to florist they kept it a swell okay so mostly a vendor's kept retainers she said yes I will float it over I will do something that none of the others are doing for you is I will move this retainer over to your next date and usually I'm the only one and there are some of the other vendors that will do the same thing not all of us you know our hardcore and say no I'm gonna keep all of it we move it over a question from gaspard how does a copyright work with wedding vendors using your images for their promotion do charge planners to use your images on their site um here is where one hand feeds you know the other I mean it's a back for scenario for me I work with all the vendors here's what I do florist call me up all the time catering directors the hotel's whatever and they want to use my images be happy to causton nothing but here's what I want I want photo credit wherever you place this I need to have the link so if it's a web site based thing let's say it's the beverly hills hotel they had this soir et that they spend two hundred thousand dollars on just the flowers and their room has never looked like that before or not you know at least not that amazing so um yes here's thie images using that you will now put my link next to it photographs by ju job using and to my website a direct link to my website so to me that's the payoff I do the same thing with coordinators I would never charge a coordinator ever not for nothing uh you know I can get work from I get a lot of uh can you see me charging angela after she got me hillary scott's wedding or kelly pick alors she helped me get those weddings so it's based on you know what? If you look at her website there is a shot of kelly and kyle in the ocean. Did I ask for money? No, but I know I have credit on there somewhere. I know my name's on there. You have followed? Uh yeah, it was just a follow up regarding the fifty percent retainer and being reasonable or unreasonable um from jenny lenz has an attorney state of fifty percent is not reasonable how much two attorneys charge for retainers and never heard fifty percent for a pricey wedding being unreasonable if it is unreasonable, it doesn't stop him from doing it. Um, yeah, you know the thing with the whole fifty percent retainer it's not unreasonable to me and clearly is not that unreasonable to the client cause they paid it to me. The question comes in when there is a discrepancy somewhere and being taken to court over a loss which is the retainer if it's in front of a judge it's the judge that says reasonable retainer, you can keep a reasonable retainer because it's for the date that judge made it to say, decide twenty percent I think it's reasonable fifty percent I think is unreasonable that judge and then you go to the next courtroom, that judge ago, while I'm more of the twenty five percent or thirty percent is reasonable, the rest would be unreasonable it's dependent on the judges that make that determination of what's reasonable and what's not not me, not my attorney, none of them, you know. So for me, it's reasonable until you tell me otherwise and thank goodness in seventeen years I've had not to prove that in a court of law about anything. So I've never been sued for anything, so I just know from the standpoint of the law that that can come up because I've been told that judges used the words reasonable, a reasonable retainer, and each judge is different on what they think is reasonable. Thank you for clarifying that appreciate it question from e t um, as far as being a travel wedding photographer, what do you do to make sure that you can shoot weddings in foreign countries without violating immigration laws, which might restrict non citizens from working there and therefore not risk being held by immigration or turned back at the airport? Yeah, um, I'm pretty straight up about what I'm doing there, uh, having said that, I totally understand countries that have very strict rules, I do a lot of things in mexico, um, and that can get a little tricky because you know what you're doing in essence or what the government of mexico sees and the industry in mexico as farce wedding photographer see is that when you come as an american to mexico and you shoot a wedding there, you taking money off the table of that mexican photographer? Because that's his domain he's, he lives there. He's a citizen there in here I come, I'm not a citizen there, and I'm making the money at that wedding, the problem becomes here, it's, not my call it's the client who gets the booking right over there at that particular venue and that venu wants that client there to bring them money? They're so the clients actually bringing money from the us to this venue who otherwise wouldn't have it if they weren't there. So the thing is is that they're allowed to bring people in so that's the law in mexico, you are allowed to do that in mexico however, as a photographer, if you're there for a gig and you you're up front about it, you have to pay a tax on the camera equipment that you bring in there's a tax so they allow youto have, um, if I'm not mistaken, I think it's two bodies and four lenses something of that nature, I I know it recently has changed a little bit, so if you go in and you're dishonest, you have three bodies and six lenses and you say to your assistant, let's, put the two bodies for lenses in this bag and you you carry the other two, that stuff all goes through x ray, and if they see the two of you together, what they'll do is they'll still connected all they'll take you in the back room and they'll ask you to pay a tax on one of the bodies and two of the lenses they determine how much it's worth usually they asked you what what would this be worth? What is this? What is this a cost for this body? You say two thousand dollars what have you they'll give you a fee to pay a tax on that camera body to walk in there because now they know you're gonna work there and that's the only way they try and tax your take some of the money and pinch you a little bit for what you're gonna do in their country I get it in part it's right? Because you are taking away jobs from the people that actually live there it's like people from all over the world coming here to the u s and taking our jobs would be upset too, right? I mean you're you're on my turf for now you're in l a and coming to marina del ran you're getting gigs what you talking about? I live here so I understand it and just I think they're starting to realize though it's not our fault is that the client is absolutely permitted to bring in who they want. They've paid his venue a lot of money to have their wedding there, so if they so feel that it has to be this photographer from new york that comes in instead of the local photographer in mexico, they're entitled to do that so that's something I don't know what else is going to be done about working that out but I let them know that I'm there to work and I usually come with just two cameras when I go to mexico I used to come with three and pay that extra money on it I come with too I come with my lenses on dh that's the end of it I don't get taxed on any of that stuff so that's the only immigration laws that I've seen that that would have had a problem with me coming over and working there there is a difference though in visas okay, so if you go in with a visitor's visa say to china you pay less money than if you go in with a business visa so I going with the business visa because I just want to be straight up I don't want to be caught with this stuff and then you know, also not paying these hefty fines and penalties I pay a little more from my visa I let him know what I'm doing there and as long as I pay the fee for the business visa versus the tourist visa they're fine with me well uh jessica veltri is wondering have you ever had to cancel do teo being sick or having an emergency and what do you tell your clients in those situations? And is that in the contract it's in the kind of question yeah, substitution is part of that contract which is in the event in the event of aah oh, my gosh! And joe has had one I've had one in seventeen years. Um I had a heart attack uh for right the day before wolfgang puck's wedding in italy and, um the day before flying to capri, italy um I walk myself into the hospital and they had to go in and do an angiogram and angela pastie because I was having a minor. This is my third one. I've had three heart attacks and the first one I went right back to you work a week later I had your von come and help me and second chute for me, but I was out of the hospital and shooting a week later and I, you know, after two stents in the heart and the second one was between weddings to where I wasn't worried about it. The third one I lost out on wolfgang puck's wedding. So what it says for me here in the contract is that I backed myself up with someone that is, you know, ah, good shooter and of course they have the right to say no and hire someone else what's difficult there is that this was the day before in wolfgang's case the day before who the heck are they going to hire the last second so I got them, uh, parker pfister and if you don't know parker pfister is he's incredible he's an incredible shooter so I reach out to my network of friends cliff mount nerd dan it's, reggie all of them and I say are you guys available? I'm in the hospital dog gone it and I let the wolfgang know right away I'm in the hospital heart attack I'm so sorry uh and I send them out and they look at the sights now dennis wasn't ready cliff wasn't available neither was dennis barker said in a heartbeat I'll be there god bless him he's he's amazing! So he flew all the way out there he did amazing work and my second shooter's always there, so if I didn't come my second shooter is really good that was at that time kevin libera, who is incredible a cz well, they both flew over there now knowing wolfgang and his wife they were a little nervous they hired another photographer in italy just in case these guys weren't so good, but they saw parker's work they they've they've seen kevin's work so that's my backup I will always have someone professional place to take my place if that were ever happened and once that happened, my k canada would like to know how many weddings do you do a year? My high was eighty weddings a year for two years straight until I thought I was going fall over and that may have been the cause of the heart attack on the news but anyway fell over I said I would never ever do that again I would shoot a wedding on a friday winning on a saturday wedding on a sunday crazy don't ever do that uh I averaged out between forty and fifty weddings for a long time and then oh a hit the bottom fell out and I did ten weddings in oh a thought I was going to freak out I lost over sixty percent of my income just overnight just like that like a lot of people okay like a lot of people I'm not the only one the next year I did fifteen or twenty started getting better and oh nine I think this year on between twenty five and thirty so twenty five and thirty wedding actually quite comfortable because I also do these teaching gig's next week I go to peru to teach I have brazil the following month and so I do enjoy the teaching aspects of it and I try to balance all of it out and I'm also trying to stay home were often because my little six year old doesn't get why daddy's gone on my wife sometimes doesn't understand either so I I'd like to stay home and do a few more weddings at home maybe thirty thirty five and just stay home but it's not the nature of the beast right now so twenty five to thirty um maar ik rico is wondering do you talk through and explain the contract with decline or just that let them read it over silently before they're signing to send it home with them yeah I give him a brief overview of the contract as to what's in it um then I sent it home I sent it home with them read it send it back to me signed questions let me know if you have an attorney and like I said a lot of them are attorneys that tape redline this stuff send it back to me which I expect I initial it they rewrite it and it's done so they always get to take it home and sit on it for a couple of days if I don't hear in two days I call him up are there questions about the contract so I always let them eyes it's never it's rarely let me not say never rarely isn't done on the spot the retainer is done on the spot so here's the way I work it retainer is first before I hand the contract out I want the retainer because it used to be that they you know this still happens though this is a couple that are photographers and what they're doing this they're fishing they come to my studio posing as a couple to get a cz much info for me as they can including my package that prices my contract and lovey dovey and all that stuff and walk out the door I never hear from them again and now they have a total copy of my contract my prices and they try and make something out of it that's happened a lot in the past so now I say retainer I send you contract and I've never had anybody complained couple times they asked why do I need to give you the fifty percent a week to two weeks before the wedding day? I would feel more comfortable paying for afterwards like a month after the wedding and I said well that's when I'm the most uncomfortable about it because your wedding is done the last thing you want to do is think of money after it's all over and frankly I really don't want also this scenario where I'll bring you check on the day of the wedding I really don't want you to think about me on the day of the wedding or money on the day of the wedding so I'd rather take care of it beforehand and it's just the rule that I've had because it's been very difficult to collect it afterwards not that I don't collect it but I've had instances where it's taken me a year year and a half to get the remaining balance when I first started a year later because they frankly it's on the back burner I really don't care you know so yes, can you hold the images hostage? You could, but why even go down that road? So I'd rather get paid ahead so you don't have to think about it anymore. Uh, and you know, you'll be fine. Yeah, you get that paper physical copy of the contract or do you shoot q that's associate with picked up? Uh, I haven't should cute anything yet, but that's a brilliant idea with shoot cue, though, because it's so easy, it's, all internet based what I do do have had done so far is emails, right? So they get the contract in an email and then all they do is sign it and scan it and send it back to me, and I do the same thing it's kind of how it works if you don't like that kid's. Amazing, you know, it's suki was a brilliant edition to pick taj. I know I know the model, and I'm actually looking at incorporating that in our business as well. It's, so easy, just handled so many things.

Class Description

Joe Buissink is coming to creativeLIVE! Joe will show you his award-winning photojournalistic approach to weddings. He'll teach you how to find your own style and bring your own personality out in your images, because the most important thing about photography is who YOU are! Your clients want you for your passion, and Joe will help to bring out the artist in you. Joe will also get into the technical aspects of his business, talking about how he designs his contracts, packages, and prices, and why he designs them that way. Joe is an internationally sought-after wedding photographer who has shot weddings for celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey, Christina Aguilera, Katharine McPhee, and others, and now on creativeLIVE he'll share the passion, knowledge and skill that makes him such a success!

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Joe Buissink - Wedding Contract.doc

Joe Buissink - Wedding Contract.pdf

Joe Buissink - 2012 Packages.doc

Joe Buissink - 2012 Packages.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Carlos Zaldivar

Joe, This is a amazing course so much information. I am a wedding photographer that loves your ways. Your self and Dennis Reggie are my favorite photographers. This course is the best. Thank you for sharing all of your great information. God bless you for being such a great person hope some day to meet you so that I can thank you for everything. I look up to you every day and have also read your book wedding photography from the heart. Your a great inspiration to me which makes me love being a wedding photographer from the heart. Thanks again for everything you share. Carlos Zaldivar, New Jersey Carlos Zaldivar Photographers-

a Creativelive Student

I feel like this course with Joe Buissink is a basket of gems. Several times already I have been tearing up, because Joe is validating each one of us, as artists and professionals. Being ourselves, selling the experience, and knowing what we offer artistically IS enough. Of course we have to do the work, know our craft, and have good business sense...But what has been the most valueable to me is the sense of joy that happens when Joe says something that I have felt myself, him sharing so much with us makes reaching our goals real, because he has been there.... when he said he pitched in Dunkin Donuts and still made it an experience..I cried, I have done that myself. (And booked the client:) I remember wishing I had a studio at the time, but now I day I will! To hear him say he tears up at clients weddings...I do that, and felt so silly, but now I feel proud! This is a morale boost...a shot of joy in my arm. Thank you Joe Buissink for offering up your help and advise and for being so willing to share yourself with us. You are inspiring so many...and Thank you CreativeLIVE!! To anyone who is not sure if they want to purchase this workshop...DO IT!!! It is a gem.


I always feel so grateful to have Creative Live in my life, which, in turn, has given me the opportunity to have this wonderful source of information, Joe is one of them, he made find myself as a person when it comes to dealing with yourself and with the client, he vibrates in every thing that he does, every step from beginning to the end, that is the essence, put your passion in everything you do, we love what we do, It was so touching when he said that he tears up with moments of their clients in their weddings, I do too and I thought it was wrong, show our sensitivity it only proves us that we are human, and we can break barriers created by wrong schemas letting us be who we really are and then we can be free to feel and create, and do what we like to do, thanks JOE, thank you also for all the technical information, is PRICELESS. Your course it was my Birthday present that I give to myself, and I have not regret, thank you.