Once the creative direction becomes finalized and specific costs are established, the photographer or the producer will provide a line item estimate and a legal contract. This will spell out all the requested legal usages which refer to print (magazine or in-store display, national vs. international, outdoor), branded website, branded social media, packaging, and for how long the images are licensed for. This contract is in place to protect all parties involved! If your photographer is working without legal contracts, estimates, insurance, and workers compensation, reconsider and don’t look back. It’s a liability waiting to happen.
A copyright is—and always will be—owned by the photographer. Although they are hired freelancers, they own their work and “license” usage to the client.
Usage and fees are negotiable. Some production expenses are fixed, while others have some wiggle room. Don’t be afraid to keep an open and honest dialogue, because the photographer will always do their best to accommodate the clients’ budgets. Ultimately, they want the job. A signed contract is what is necessary to confirm the shoot, and an advance is requested for upfront expenses. Being clear about your needs and expectations is crucial. A photographer’s experience will guide you into creating a realistic shot list, and help manage your expectations. Unplanned last-minute changes can mean pushing an entire production over budget and incurring overtime expenses for talent, studio, and creative and photography teams.
Last, always remember that the photographer is ultimately interested in building long-term relationships, and will do their best to accommodate client needs and build positive experiences with quality work. When trust is built, you know you will always get extraordinary visual results and a great ROI!
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