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6 Contract Drafting Tips for Wedding Photographers

If you are a wedding/event photographer or thinking of setting up a photography business, this blog will hopefully provide you with a basic understanding of your legal rights. We also provide a basic checklist of items to be covered in your service contracts.

The intellectual property rights of photographs

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the owner of the copyright in the photographs will be your business. This means that your customers/ third parties will not be able to use the photographs, for example for use on social media, without your permission. Permission usually takes the form of assignments (giving the rights to the other party) or licenses (giving consent to the other party to use the photographs).

Licenses are beneficial to your interests as you keep the rights over the photographs, whilst allowing your customers to keep and use them for their own personal needs. When giving license for use of the photographs it is important to clearly outline the extent of the license – i.e. what material the customers are allowed to use and how they are (and are not) permitted to use the material.

Procedure for cancellation

A well drafted service contract will always contain provisions for what would happen in situations of cancellation. For example, in the event of a cancellation by the customer, the contract may contain a grace period within which they would receive a refund of payments already made, or a deadline after which they can no longer claim a refund.

In the case of a cancellation by your business, clauses should be inserted into the contract that you will oblige your to take reasonable endeavours to provide a substitute service.

Quality of the Photography

It is important to insert a clause which provides guidance as to the quality and nature of the photographs, in order to provide legal protection for your business in the event that your customers are dissatisfied with the photographs.

Commonly businesses provide sample photographs and insert a clause guaranteeing that the photographs produced will be of the same style and standard as the samples. This ensures that as long as you can produce photographs which are comparative to the sample, customers will not be able to take legal action for any dissatisfaction. You can also add that the photographers must have the necessary artistic discretion to capture and produce photographs in accordance with such style and quality.

It may also be useful to insert a ‘key moments’ clause. In such a clause you would guarantee to use reasonable endeavours to capture a certain list of key moments (for example the bride coming down the aisle), whilst also adding that you cannot guarantee the capture of unexpected moments and will not be responsible for capturing all attendees.

Changing plans

There is an expected level of the unexpected when planning weddings. To protect your business from liability, you are advised to insert a clause stating that you will not be required to refund the customer where you are unable to attend in the event of a last minute change of location or time.

Details about the event

Remember to insert the smaller details about the events which you will be photographing. For example, making sure the photographers on the day have a contractual right to a hot meal, or if not a meal that they can have a lunch break to go and get themselves a meal.

Clarity, Specificity and Brevity

As with any contract, it is important that each clause be worded clearly and carefully, to avoid conflict between the parties due to misinterpretation. Keep sentences as to-the-point as possible, taking away all unnecessary wording. It may be important to define terms used in the contract, especially technical terms of the photography process. Look at each clause and ensure that the words cannot be interpreted differently from what you intended.

For further guidance on drafting your terms of business contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

This blog is by a guest blogger –  Yavnik Ganguly

Pricing strategies for wedding photographers – 3 tips

The wedding photography industry is a competitive one. There are lots of different photographers out there, offering up their services to happy couples around the UK. Whilst the quality of your images, the professionalism of your service and of course, how much you appeal to the couple are all important considerations when a bride and groom picks a photographer. How you are priced, and how you present those prices are also a big consideration and is often what distinguishes a good photographer from an excellent one. However, the issue of pricing and in particular a lack of transparent pricing can sometimes be open to dispute.

This means that it is vital that you put together a good quality pricing strategy. So, to help you make the most of your wedding photography business, we have put together our top tips for creating wedding photography pricing strategies that really work.

Focus on a few clear packages rather than several complicated ones

Confusing your potential customers with a complicated and confusing pricing strategy is never going to encourage them to use your services. Many photographers also make the mistake of creating too many different packages to choose from, all with really subtle changes such as an extra hour or a few extra photographs.

The best approach to take is to concentrate on two or maybe even three packages, all of which have obvious differences. This means that your potential customers will be able to see the different levels of what you can offer, and decide which one is right for them or your budget.

By keeping things simple, you will also minimise the chances of disputes arising due to misunderstandings relating to the pricing scheme.

Start small and allow the customer to build up

Another great idea to tempt customers into coming to see you for wedding photography is to offer a more tailor made approach to your pricing. Start with a low cost basic package that only contains a few elements of what you can do. This will entice customers to come and see what you are able to offer, and then you can start to upsell or add in the different services that you can provide.

Not only is this method going to encourage more people to enquire about your service, but the customer won’t feel pressured into going for a package that isn’t everything that they need. Instead they can pick a basic starting point and develop it into something that is perfect for them.

One of the objectives of recent consumer legislation is to protect the consumer from feeling pressurised into entering into a contract. Therefore, by providing the consumer with discretion and autonomy to choose a package, this will assist in minimising a dispute.

Show off what you can do

You should never underestimate the power of examples of your great work. If you are looking to tempt new clients into signing up with you, it is a good idea to show them exactly what you can offer them. If you are proud of your albums, make sure you take some examples of this, have a beautiful studio that they can view their photos in, have pictures of this, or better yet, invite them to take a look round.

Remember that even with the best pricing strategy, you still need to sell yourself as a business, which means that you always present yourself in the best light. In doing this you can assure your potential clients that come their big day, they will be presented in the best light possible too!

For more information about pricing strategies or to recover an unpaid debt contact: info@theweddinglaweyer.co.uk

 

A brief introduction to protecting your intellectual property

What is intellectual Property?

Intellectual property refers to tangible or intangible creations of the mind such as inventions, literary, artistic works, designs, symbols, names and images used in commerce.

Why is intellectual property important to a wedding supplier?

The UK wedding industry is growing at a phenomenal rate and intellectual property protects more than just an idea or concept but also protects genuine business assets and the overall long-term viability of your business.

Your intellectual property can

  1. Set up your business apart from other suppliers within the industry.
  2. Be sold and licensed, providing you with an important revenue stream (particularly when the wedding season slows down).
  3. Form an essential part of your marketing and branding so it is instantly recognisable by consumers at every wedding event.
  4. Be used as security for loans.

How is this relevant to a wedding supplier?

Wedding suppliers may have branding and corporate identities that they may wish to protect, however more specifically photographers, videographers, cake designers, wedding dress designers, invitation card designers, DJs and bands, dance choreographers, designer florists are just a few of the wedding suppliers who we have assisted with their intellectual property disputes over the past 12 months.

There are four different categories of intellectual property. These are trademarks, copyright, patents and registered design. Depending on which category your work comes within, this would impact how it is to be applied, registered, renewed and infringed. Therefore, ensuring you obtain legal guidance is essential in ensuring you gain the maximum protection for your intellectual property rights.

How to protect your intellectual property

  1. Be IP Smart – Engage a specialist lawyer to assist you with reviewing your business and analysing which areas of your business can benefit from intellectual property protection.
  2. Protect what is important to others, not just you – What you may believe is important, is not necessarily what your competitor believes is important. Engage a lawyer to scrutinise which areas of your business could benefit from the most protection.
  3. Invest in a well-written non-disclosure agreement – Make sure your employment agreements; licences and sales contracts all protect your intellectual property too.
  4. Act Quickly – It doesn’t take long for a competitor to copy you. When it comes to registering your intellectual property aim to work as quickly as possible. 

For any more information relating to intellectual property rights contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

6 reasons why you should engage a specialised wedding industry lawyer?

There is heaps of money to be made in the wedding industry and there is a reason why the most successful suppliers have engaged a specialist lawyer to assist them with meeting their commercial, regulatory and legal objectives.

The UK wedding industry can be competitive, tight knit and sometimes ruthless. Therefore, having a lawyer on your side can assist you in protecting your business and financial interests while allowing you to focus on progressing your business.

  1. Knowing the most effective structure for your business

Choices, choices choices! Should you be a sole trader, partnership or limited company. There are choices to be made and implications that follow from your choices. A lawyer can assist you in making recommendations about the most appropriate business structure that would be of most benefit to you and your business. Whatever option you choose, a lawyer can assist you in making an informed choice during  the decision making process. A specialist lawyer can also assist you with drafting partnership agreements or articles association that suit you and your business.

  1. Having legally compliant and enforceable business terms and conditions

When dealing with consumers or other suppliers, it is essential that you have air tight and legally binding terms and conditions. These may need to comply with the latest consumer and business related legislation or reflect ethical or good practice. Having unambiguous and clearly written terms and conditions can assist in safeguarding you from potential disputes in the future. It will also ensure all parties are clear on their responsibilities and liabilities.

  1. Dealing with consumer complaints amicably, professionally and quickly

Lawyers appreciate how time consuming and draining it can be for business owners to deal with disputes. Further, any supplier will be aware of how quickly bad news can spread in the wedding industry. Therefore, being able to deal with complaints amicably, professionally and as quickly as possible will distinguish a good supplier from an excellent supplier. A specialist lawyer can assist you in resolving complaints by looking for compromises and negotiated settlements. In the event, of complaints escalating, a lawyer can ensure your business responds swiftly and robustly to any legal action that may arise.

  1. Ensuring you get paid

A lawyer can assist you in making sure you get paid on time and chase any debts in a professional manner from your customer. This will ensure your business can continue to operate with minimum disruption.

  1. Protecting your brand and creativity

With a rapidly growing wedding industry, protecting your brand has never been so important. If you are a business, it is within your best interests to ensure your branding remains unique and identifiable by the consumer. Having a specialist lawyer can help you create and file trademark and patent applications that are worth considerably more than the fee you will ever pay the lawyer.

For example, if you are a photographer you may wish to ensure your copyright in your work is protected so you can freely exploit your images in a way that you choose. Inventors and designers may also find it useful to engage a lawyer to ensure their unique designs and inventions are protected from copying.

  1. Knowing your employment obligations

Recruiting and retaining talent for your business comes with its own set of challenges. Understanding and applying the rapidly evolving employment legislations to your workforce is crucial. Businesses within the wedding industry often rely on casual working and freelance arrangements that come with their own set of peculiarities. Having a lawyer who can assist you establish work place protocols, create employee agreements and provide advice in the event of an employee dispute is crucial to keeping your business on track.

The Wedding Lawyer is a platform that can assist you with all the above and as well as the following areas of law:

  1. Commercial and Corporate work
  2. Dispute Resolution
  3. Real Estate
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Business and spouse immigration
  6. Employment

For more information contact: info@theweddinglawywer.co.uk

 

The Wedding Entrepreneur’s Business Plan – 5 Tips

Business plans can make or break your wedding industry business and therefore it is worth taking time out to make one.

  1. Sums

Know your sums! One of the most important aspects of a business plan is ensuring the sums add up in the financials section. This is particularly important if you intend to pitch to investors, as they will be interested in understanding your calculations and projections for the business before they take a leap of faith and invest in you. Even if you are not looking for investment, knowing your sums will allow you to plan your financials better when starting out a new business.

  1. Succinct

A common misconception is that business plans have to be huge documents with hundreds of pages. An investor will want to understand your business from a quick glance and how it will make money. Therefore, keep your structure and language simple. It maybe worth having an executive summary to provide an overview of the business plan covering What the business does? How it will operate? Why it should thrive in a competitive wedding industry? Whether the sums add up?

  1. Suppliers

Know your wedding supplier competitors and your target market. Ensure your plan highlights how you are different to other suppliers in the wedding industry and who your business is targeting.

  1. Specific

Be as specific as possible about your business idea, how it will operate and how you intend to delivery your business plan.

  1. Style

A well-presented business plan could also influence whether someone may wish to invest in your business idea. Therefore, focusing on the style of your business plan can be just as important as the content.

For further advice about setting up your wedding supplier business contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

 

6 steps to becoming a wedding industry entrepreneur

The UK wedding industry is worth over £10 billion a year and it is encouraging to see so many independent start-ups being established along side the larger more established businesses. Every year, wedding exhibitions provide a platform for new businesses looking to exhibit the goods and services.

The wedding industry is becoming more competitive but there is scope for new businesses, particularly those businesses which are creative or looking to provide a common service in a more personal way. We believe competition in the wedding industry is healthy as it assists in raising the standard of service provided to consumers.

Therefore, if you have an idea, here is our six-step guide to becoming a wedding industry entrepreneur.

Step 1 – What is your big idea?

What are your key skills or services that you can offer to the wedding industry?

It is particularly important to think about this if you are planning on bringing a new service to the wedding industry rather than buying into a franchise or buying an existing wedding business. The clearer you are about what your offering is, the easier it will be to explain to potential investors and consumers.

Put together an ‘offering statement’ or ‘elevator pitch’ about your offering. This will encourage you to think about your business idea in a concise and effective way.

Step 2 – Market Research

More and more businesses enter the wedding industry every year. It is interesting to see how many businesses enter the industry without fully completing their market research. Consider the following questions:

  1. Who are your potential competitors?
  2. What is the geographical remit of your potential competitors?
  3. Can you offer something different from your competitors?
  4. What do you consider as your Unique Selling Point?
  5. Why would a consumer or investor want show interest in you rather than your competitor?
  6. Why would a consumer hire you for their wedding day? 

Step 3 – Creating a business plan

Getting a business plan done early on will allow you to think realistically and objectively about your business, encourage you to set out your objectives, gain an understanding of the income and expenditure and assist you in checking whether you can run a profitable business.

A business plan doesn’t have to be overly complicated but should sufficiently convey the market research, financials and operations of the business that you are looking to set up.

Step 4 – Creating synergy

The wedding industry is full of suppliers and this means there may scope for your business to partner up with either a similar business or complementary business. Therefore, networking with other wedding related businesses with the view of partnering up could assist you in cross referral of services and access to a wider customer base.

Step 5 – Know the law

Before your start trading, ensure you obtain professional advice to ensure you conduct your business affairs in a legally compliant manner. In particular, you may wish to obtain advice on the following: tax, trademarks, patents, liability, VAT, business formation, employment rights and drafting of business terms. Read this blog for more information about engaging a wedding industry lawyer. 

Step 6 – Test your product or service

You may think you have a wonderful business idea but good business ideas are not enough. The aim to turn your ideas into income. Testing your business over a limited amount of time will allow you to determine the consumer demand. If you are selling goods, you may wish to try selling them on an online market place. If you are providing a service, you may wish to publicise your services (e.g. through social media) before investing in any equipment or major overheads to see how the consumer responds. Be open to making changes if necessary to operate your business as effectively as possible.

Good luck in starting up your business.

Should you require any further information or guidance contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

 

Poor wedding photos! What can you do?

Complaining that you look more like the beast than the beauty on your wedding day is unlikely to be a good enough reason in the eyes of the law to provide you with consumer rights against your photographer.

However frustrating this may seem, consumer rights legislation is more focused on the ‘quality’ of your pictures rather than the aesthetics of the subject matters in the picture.

The starting point is that you should expect a reasonable quality of image from your photographer. However, where this has not happened, you can do the following:

  1. Contact your photographer to see whether they are able to edit the photographs to enhance the quality. A face-to-face meeting is usually more effective and shows a level of seriousness on your part.
  1. If the pictures are so poor that you are unable to use them, you should be able to seek a full refund. There is also a possibility that you will be entitled to claim for compensation to reflect the loss of memory of the day. In claiming compensation, it is useful to keep the amount to a realistic figure to reflect your disappointment. Any extortionate claims are likely to be unsuccessful.
  1. If some of the photos are good quality but the rest are missing or unusable, you will only be able to claim a partial refund.
  1. You may benefit from gaining an expert opinion from another photographer to comment on the quality of the photographs. This could assist in strengthening your case.

Should you require any assistance in complaining about the work of a photographer – contact   info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

It has been ages! When will I get my wedding photos?

 

So the big day has come and gone, honeymoon is over and normality has kicked in. But – when are the wedding photos going to arrive? Before entering into a photography or videography contract, it is strong advisable that you check to see how long after your big day the photos and/or videos will be ready. An effective contract will make reference to the delivery date of the photographs. Photos and videos can take up to 1 – 6 months to be ready particularly where the photographer/videographer has a busy schedule and little time to edit.   There may also be an option for you to view your photos and suggest edits to be made before the completed version is ready.

If the contract does not state how long it will take for the editing service to be completed, the general rule is that according to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a service is to be performed within a “reasonable time”. What constitutes is a reasonable time is a question of fact. Opinions of other photographers and videographers may assist in this regard.

To ensure you get your photos and videos on time, the following tips may assist:

  1. Check the contract to see if there is mention of when the photo/video will be ready. If this is not stated in the contract, ask your photographer/videographer before confirming a booking.
  1. Following your wedding day, create diary reminders to periodically contact your photographer/videographer to monitor the progress of the editing of your pictures/videos.
  1. Where the photographer/videographer fails to deliver according to the timetable in their contract, there may well be a potential breach of contract claim against them. In the first instance you are advised to send a letter of complaint and failing a satisfactory response consider contacting a lawyer.

Should you require any further information contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

A 3 step guide – What to do if your wedding supplier has gone bust before your big day?

Every couple wants their wedding day to go as smoothly as possible. However, wedding suppliers are businesses and like all businesses run the risk of going bust.

What can you do?

Step 1 – Contact details of the insolvency practitioner

Get in touch with your point of contact at the wedding supplier to understand the latest position and whether there is a risk of the company being salvaged.

Check to see if the insolvency has started.

If not, ask your point of contact to provide you with details about the receiver or insolvency practitioner dealing with the matter.

Where the supplier is a limited company – the above information maybe listed on Companies House https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house

Where the supplier is a partnership or sole trader, this information maybe published in the insolvency section of the local newspaper or by checking the Individual Insolvency Register.

Step 2 – Submit Your Claim

Once you have the details of the receiver or insolvency company, write to them to register your claim, explaining:

  1. How much money you are owed
  2. Proof that you have paid the supplier the amount (a receipt or bank statement should be sufficient)
  3. What the money was for

It is important to remember that even if you submit a claim, there is no guarantee you will get the money back. After all there is a good chance that the supplier will have many debts that need paying off. Nevertheless, it is always worth putting in the claim as this could result in a percentage of your money being returned.

Step 3 – Claim from your credit card company

If the supplier goes bust and you have paid your supplier using a credit card , it may be possible to contact your credit card issuer for a refund on the amount you spent with the supplier. This is set out in Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and the credit card company can assist you with losses you have sustained between £100 and £30,000.

Step 4 – What if you have not paid using a credit card?

If you have paid using a debit card you maybe able to claim through the MasterCard and Visa Chargeback scheme provided it hasn’t been more than 120 days since paying on your debit card and making your claim.

Finally, if you have taken out wedding insurance, this may well assist in recovering any funds that have been lost.

For any further information contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

A 5-step guide: What to do if your wedding venue cancels your booking?

Step 1

Immediately arrange a meeting with the venue manager:

  • Aim to set up a meeting with the venue manager within 24 hours of learning that your wedding venue has cancelled on you.
  • This will allow you to understand the circumstances surrounding your cancellation.
  • Where possible, take a copy of the contract with you to the meeting.
  • Take a note of everything discussed at the meeting.

Step 2

Ascertain whether the venue manager can provide you with an alternative similar venue or whether he has a contact that can assist:

  • Time is of the essence if a wedding venue cancels – therefore, it is worth exploring whether the venue manager has contacts in the industry that can assist you. This is a far quicker option at this stage than frantically ringing around to find an available venue.

Step 3

Start searching for another venue as soon as possible:

  • In the event of the venue manager not being able to assist you, start the search yourself. Ideally within 24-48 hours of the meeting  with the venue manager.
  • If your wedding cards have gone into print – immediately inform the designers and printers to stop press.
  • Contact any wedding suppliers you have already engaged to see if they can assist you. They quite often have been to a number of wedding venues.

Step 4

Request a refund from the management of the cancelled wedding venue:

  • You are entitled to a refund of any monies paid.
  • You can also claim compensation for the cost difference of booking a new venue at the last minute. Further, you may be able to claim any consequential losses that have resulted due to the venue cancelling on you – for example the cost to reprint new wedding cards or if your suppliers will charge an additional fee to travel to the new venue.

Step 5

In the event that the cancelled wedding venue management fails to  cooperate with you, contact The Wedding Lawyer for guidance as to how to proceed info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk