Photography contracts are an essential document for the photographer and client alike. New York has its own set of particular regulations and laws concerning contracts in the realm of photography. To make sure you have the best photography contract for your needs, here are the top five things to consider when preparing a photography contract in New York.

Before diving into the finer details, it is wise to make sure the contract contains the essential elements of a legally binding document. This means the document should identify the photographer and the client, describe the photographic services to be provided, and set out the clear costs for the services. Furthermore, New York requires all contracts to include a provision for “diligent performance”, which means both the photographer and the client must meet their obligations with sincerity and diligence.

The second detail to pay attention to is the terms of payment contained in the contract. Whether you are working for a large corporation or a small business, you should be clear about all payment terms up front. This includes how much will be paid, when it will be paid, and in what form it will be paid. A final caveat on this is it must be in compliance with New York’s “health care services provider lien,” which requires health care providers to be paid first if the purchaser does not pay the photographer’s fees.

Third, the photographer should make sure to include intellectual property rights in the contract. This means they should specify exactly which party owns the images - typically, the photographer holds the copyright - and how they may be used or reproduced. Additionally, the parties must determine whether or not the photographer owns the physical prints they produce.

Fourth, there should be a clear conflict resolution strategy written in the contract. This strategy should outline how disputes will be fairly handled and the remedies each party may take in the event of a disagreement. The parties should also consider writing in a provision wherein any court or arbitration proceedings must take place in the state of New York.

Finally, both parties should double - and even triple - check that the contract is signed and dated by both the photographer and the customer in the presence of a witness. The presence of a witness ensures the authenticity of the document, and can be a great help should the contract ever be challenged in the court of law.

When used correctly, a photography contract can be one of the most important documents in your business. By making sure that these five subject matters are addressed thoroughly, photographers in New York can craft an effective and legally binding contract that protects both parties involved.


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