Collaborated and Written with Paige Griffith, J.D. of The Legal Paige
Adventure photographers do it all! From hiking, to shooting, to organizing backpacks, to planning out the entire day, to working with third-party vendors, to researching permits, to scouting locations, to being the ‘weatherman’, adventure photographers really do give clients the best customer service. But with this comes a massive increased risk of liability due to the sheer fact that you wear 9823098523 million hats as an adventure photographer. Not to mention you’re shooting in much more treacherous locations than other photographers and injuries are far more likely to occur. At The Legal Paige, they want you to be thinking and worrying about the beautiful photographs and safety of your clients… not about whether you will be sued for their injuries.
Having a solid contract will save you time and energy when the worst happens because you know you are protected. Let’s walk you through why you need a contract and explain how having one clause like an Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability Clause can make or break your business.
Contract templates are the building blocks for your business
A contract for your business protects you from unforeseeable risk and liability, especially if you are an adventure photographer. Business owners should always be protected and get their contracts in place before taking on clients. Having a strong contract will take out the guesswork for you. It will also set the stage for client expectations with your specific type of adventure photography and business practices.
Additionally, explaining your contract clauses via email prior to your clients signing serves as further proof that they knew about your specific business policies and this practice will save you time going back-and-forth on issues and your policies.
We have to repeat this one more time. A contract is 100% necessary before you even take out your camera to document an elopement.
Are there make-it-or-break-it clauses?
YES! An ‘Assumption of Risk Clause’ is essential for all adventure-based photography contracts.
This clause essentially lays out the dangerous elements that could happen during any adventure session or elopement. This clause requires that your clients sign off that they know, understand, and assume those risks when hiring you for your services.
Having this clause helps to protect your business from unnecessary liability and makes sure that all the potential risks are laid out to your clients before you begin any services for them. By participating in an adventure session, clients understand that if they are going to hike, backpack, walk, run, swim or do any sort of strenuous activity they are NOT responsible if they get injured. Additionally, your clients will understand through this clause that they are responsible for all fees associated with any injury they sustain during these activities. You need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. This clause is one that you can invoke if that should happen.
Finally, it is important that your clients know that this clause also prevents third parties from suing you or seeking damages from you if your client is killed or injured. If your clients tragically die while hiking/heliskiing/snowshowing near avalanche zones, their agents (parents, children, insurance companies, etc.) cannot bring your business into a claim and sue you for damages. Although the chances of death or severe injury occurring are slim, it isn’t a total impossibility. It is better for your contract to state all the worst-case scenarios so you are confident in your position and know you’ve been indemnified for this type of liability.
How contract templates save you time
If you know me and my brand, then by now you know I am allllll about saving time and money. Contract templates have been my saving grace in so many ways. First off, the Legal Paige works with tons of creative entrepreneurs, and is one herself! So she knows the ins and outs of what to be careful of, and how to protect us as much as possible. Second, while it is an investment up front, it is simple enough to purchase and put into your CRM system. You don't need to go hire a lawyer nor set up an entirely new contract that may be missing a lot of the things that a regular lawyer wouldn't include.
Simply purchase a template, and your business is more secure within minutes. I don't do anything without a contract anymore because of all of the horror stories I've heard. And neither should you. This is a great way to get your business legal, save you time, energy, and money for the future.
What about elopement "styled shoots"?
While it may be tempting to grab a couple and bring them up a mountain without any of the legalities, this is also absolutely necessary to have a contract. If you are doing your job, whether free or paid, you need a contract to protect yourself, and the couple. The client needs to understand the process and experience, and be on the same page of what you offer and don't.
I personally always have a contract signed before I document anyone, and especially in the outdoors. You just never know what could happen, and while it would be wonderful to believe that all humans are wonderful, you just never know.
If you are an adventure elopement photographer, getting a quality contract through a reputable source is crucial for you to be successful in business! If all of this seems daunting and you feel like you have no clue where to start, don’t worry! The Legal Paige has created all of these clauses (plus so many others!) in their Adventure Elopement Contract. Just click on the ‘Clauses Included’ tab to see the full list of clauses included.
The Legal Paige is offering an incredible Black Friday sale from November 21st until November 28th at 40% off! Click here and use the code KELSEY10 for an additional $10 off on top of the sale!
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