The fun part of photography is taking pictures and seeing the final results. When it comes to protecting the rights of your photographs, its easy to ignore the business part, and hope you’re customers will do the right thing. Yet in today’s technology driven world, the line is blurred, and its more important than ever to spell out exactly what is and isn’t acceptable, and get a signature to make sure everything is in place.

Why do you need a photography disclaimer?
A photography disclaimer is protection for both you and your customer. It tells them what they can and can’t do with a photograph, and also what you will be doing with the image as well

The lines have been blurred in recent years with the advances in technology. When you take images at a wedding or a portrait sitting, or work on a commercial level with a company, chances are you hand over some or all of your work in digital format. With a couple of clicks, those files can be emailed anywhere in the world, or shared on Facebook or Flickr, or even uploaded to a place like Shutterfly for instant printing capabilities. Because it’s easy to do, its done every single day. And most clients today assume they have the right to do so because they have the file. They never think twice about the process.

Steps for putting your photography disclaimer together
Start by looking around at other photographers’ disclaimers. You can find them easily by doing a search online. Less is better, and the fewer words, the greater chance of the disclaimer actually being read.

Thanks to the Internet, you can also purchase a variety of legal forms for your photography business online that will give you a starting point. Because these forms are written by lawyers, you can buy them at a fraction of the cost of hiring a lawyer, and you simply fill in the blanks with your detailed information. As you grow bigger and more successful, I would also recommend touching base with a lawyer to make sure you are fully covered, and your disclaimer will stand up in a court of law if it ever comes to that point.

Once you have your disclaimer written, make sure you place it where it can be easily read. Place your disclaimer in your Terms of Service on your web presence. Also place it in all of your contracts. You may also wish to include a copy on your CD/DVD or other media source when you are turning over photographic files to your customers.

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