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BUSINESS & LEGAL BLOG: New Year, New Decade

9 January 2020

Amy Currell

© Amy Currell

A guide to giving yourself a paperwork 'healthcheck' 

Everyone (well, a lot of people) uses the start of a new year (and particularly a new decade!) to make a few resolutions about what to change, how to do things differently and land that one big client that’ll turn things around.

We’d wager most of those resolutions fail because people make sudden changes and don’t plan. The key is to initiate change gradually and absorb it step-by-step so it becomes part of your practice without upheaval. We’re generally resistant to too much change all at once, even those of us that claim to thrive on it, so doing things gradually is a better way to start the year and ensure that a change in direction or practice sticks.

It’s a good time of year to look at apparently simple things like your own business paperwork pipeline – do you have everything in place for every job, no matter how small? It’s surprising how many established photographers do not have the basics of a proper set of Terms & Conditions (and they’re free to all, so why wouldn't you!?), confirmed estimates or quotations (either just in an email chain or a more formal confirmation of commission form), a licence to use (even if it’s just a paragraph of text on the invoice) with clear terms of use – territory, media and time.


By our reckoning, 50% of issues that photographers come up against would not present at all if the correct paperwork was in place. Yes, it’s dull, it’s boring…but, it’s business and the business of being a photographer is at the very least as much about this than making pictures.


Our business & legal support for our qualifying members is there to help them plug the gaps, if they have no agent or business manager to do the necessary for them, and minimise the time spent dealing with misunderstandings, unwitting infringements (because the terms weren’t clear) and so on.


If you’re a photographer, do yourself a favour and give yourself a paperwork ‘healthcheck’. Better yet, if you’re not a member, join us and get plugged in to proper business support.

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