If you’re a boudoir photographer and you’re shooting clients and money is exchanging hands, then you need to have a boudoir contract.
A boudoir contract is nothing more than an agreed upon sets of rules between you and your client with regard to their boudoir shoot and the purchasing of images.
There’s a bit more to it than that, but in a nutshell, that’s what it is.
If you don’t use a contract that establishes these rules then there’s nothing to refer back to if there’s an issue or dispute… and then it’s just a lot of finger pointing but with nothing to back any of it up with.
A contract makes it clear exactly what each party is responsible for so that any issue or dispute can be quickly resolved.
A good contract will protect both you, the photographer, and the client as well. In essence, contracts are used to prevent issues and disputes… as much as possible.
When You’re First Starting Out
If you’re just getting into boudoir, you’ll probably not start out shooting paying clients. You’ll more than likely start with some trade shoots, also known as TFP shoots (time for prints).
In that case, all you’ll need is a solid TFP agreement. It’s pretty straight forward, usually one page or less in length, and establishes what each party will receive from the shoot.
For the photographer, it’s a model to shoot and images to use for the marketing of their boudoir business.
For the model, it’s getting images from a professional (or budding professional) photographer for their portfolio (or personal use) who’s using something a little more sophisticated than a smartphone.)
If you’re interested in the TFP agreement I use when I want to practice new lighting or shooting in a new space, check out My Ultimate Boudoir TFP Agreement.
Graduating To A Contract
Once you start to attract paying clients, you’ll want to use a contract. After all, money is exchanging hands and as you get better and your business grows, lots of money will be exchanging hands.
A contract will protect that money that’s owed to you, as well as your work. Meaning, your client can’t go out and sell her images and profit from them cutting you off from further compensation.
There are rules to which she must follow or else you can pursue the matter “legally” because you have a contract.
Your contract is legal leverage by which you hold others accountable to when they break the rules of the contract.
It keeps everyone honest.
Presenting Yourself As A Professional
Using a contract presents you as a professional and elevates you and your business in the eyes of clients and potential clients.
It says to the world, “I’m in business and I do things in a professional manner and I expect you (the client) to follow the rules.”
Using a contract infuses gravity into the relationship between business owner and paying customer. You’ll be taken more seriously than if you just have a verbal agreement because then you have to rely on what was originally said… and people’s memories can get fuzzy.
Using A Contract Keeps Things Straight
When you start charging people for your boudoir services, you’ll more than likely go through a number of different pricing lists. You’ll also start to offer specials and discounts and coupons and you can forget what it was you offered someone.
Especially if what you offered someone was months ago and you’ve since moved on to something else.
Your contract can be used as a written reminder of exactly what you offered someone. I know, because this has happened to me.
I ran a special back in March of 2020 and we all know that was the start of everything coming to a screeching halt because of the pandemic.
Over the course of the next severn to ten months, I had women waiting until they had their kids all taken care of with home schooling, and with working from home, or with some, even finding new jobs.
By the time they were ready to shoot, it had been a loooong time and if I hadn’t written what they were to receive in a contract, I would have forgotten.
My contracts saved me from having to ask them if they remembered, which I’m sure they would have had a heck of a time remembering as well.
Thank god I had my contracts I could refer back to.
A Contact Gives You Leverage
A contract gives you incredible legal leverage in the event you have to sue someone but it also serves as legal protection in case someone tries to sue you.
Okay, I finally said it… the “s” word.
Sooner or later I knew it would rear its ugly head, but getting sued or suing someone who did you wrong produces far better results when you have written proof on your side.
If you know you’re in the right and your signed contract states that, then that’s the legal grounds from which you have to state your case from.
Without a contract, all you have is your word against your accuser’s.
A contract is written proof that your client broke the rules.
Now, whether or not you end of suing someone or someone sues you is not a pleasant scenario to think about, but you can go to sleep at night knowing that if the “s” word comes into your life that you have a contract that can pave the way to you winning.
Contracts Keep People Honest
Sometimes people’s memories aren’t as good as they think they are. Conducting business by verbal agreement can lead to disagreements if each party remembers the original agreement in a slightly different way.
Think that doesn’t happen? Just watch any small claims court show on TV and you can see it happens all the time!
“Order! Order in the court!”
Having a solid contract actually prevents all that legal stuff from happening and the “s” word, unless you’re dealing with some irrational person.
But hey, if you want to make a guest appearance on Judge Judy then go right ahead and conduct your business without a contract. I’ll get the popcorn.
A Contract Gives Your Client A Deadline
Using a boudoir contract gives your client a definitive deadline and timeline as well, that they must be beholden to.
It sets their shoot in stone, so to speak, and makes it real for them.
You see, a lot of women have a lot of hesitation and fear over doing a boudoir shoot and rightly so. It can be a scary thing for women to be so vulnerable in front of a practical stranger taking pictures of them wearing practically nothing.
I get it.
So, having them sign a contract makes it real for them… they can’t back out now. Not like with a verbal agreement where they can just decide they don’t want to go through with after getting cold feet.
Not so with a contract.
As you can see, there are many beneficial reasons why you should be using a contract in your boudoir business.
If you’re interested in using the one I use in my business, then check out My Ultimate Boudoir Photo Shoot Contract.
I wrote it myself, along with the help of a lawyer, and was written to specifically address the needs of boudoir photographers worldwide.
Thanks for your time!
Founder / Lounge Boudoir
Bella Mitri Boudoir
If you found this article helpful, please forward it to someone it may also benefit.