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Understanding your Contracts – (Part 4) Image release forms.

6 Jan

In this day and age Photoshop runs rampant in all our Magazines and more.  Many clients now request to see “original” images from many of their providers. Specifically that of their Beauty and Make-up and Hair providers for the  services they are booking.

Since most of us ladies know just how and what we look like when we wake up in the morning, to us, seeing another “without make-up” is no big deal at all. Doesn’t even phase us…

Without these images to display, as requested by the clients, we as beauty providers have nothing to gauge our galleries on, you have nothing to see in order to hire us said vendors!

Sure we can post all the professional models and photoshoots in the world, young flawless models… but how is a client to really know just how much is actually your work and skills and just how much was digitally altered to achieve that perfect photo?

For many clients these photos are also on a  “book or don’t book” scenario. However it is also a catch 22. For a client to book solely on the merit of a vendors previous client transformations, then they themselves,  ask not to be posted. What message does that send? Never the less it actually hurts your artist in question who may rely on these images!

Which brings me to the post at hand; Image Release forms.

They are in place for many reasons, but mostly for the mutual respect and protection of the individual signing it.

Images are usually, for most artists anyways, posted anonymously. We prefer it that way. We have no need to list names and client  information,  future clients do not care, as it has no meaning to them anyways.

These images are a way of gearing a real life reference to another client to show everything from optional color choices, different make-up styling’s, lashes choices and so on.

Clients sign a release to state exactly that!  That an artist doing the work in question can post these images on their sites, they are not to be used for “outside” purposes, sold off etc. without the clients permissions. Simple as that, as stated on the forms.

Additional clauses may be found such as “images may be slightly altered for professional posting”…translation: We might need to tweak coloring, remove a few “blemishes”,  things like that.

Or in the case of  photographers, a separate area to discuss things like promotional usage, “aka”  Those happy ads and posters you see at all the wedding shows and more. Possible submissions to wedding magazines, and so forth.

But again all anonymous. It’s also a great safety measure taken to protect us and others!

In signing you agree with this, that we, as artists, protect you and thus give us the ability for other brides to see reference of our work we’ve done on another client, in real time, no gimmicks of photoshop.

To then turn around and BREACH Your signed contract by asking the said artist to remove an image that you signed off on, now puts you, the client, in a compromising situation. Both from a vendor client relation as well as possible Legal Action, should the said vendor chose to act on that.

So PLEASE do understand, that ALL Contracts, whether small or large, for money or just “likenesses” is there to protect both sides.  Sign them willingly upon understanding them, if not, ask your questions with that vendor so that they may explain information BEFOREHAND!! Not after the fact or down the road, a year later.  Thus giving you the ability to understand what you’re reading and take appropriate measures and possibly work out alternate options. After the fact does you no justice as these contracts are legal and can be upheld in a court of law…

Understanding your Contracts (Part 3) – The “Abuse” Clause

9 Nov

Due to the often unrealistic glamorization of many new “wedding shows” on television, there has seemingly been an increase in many brides “un-realistic” demands…Though it’s not to say for any bride that “they can’t have what they want” it comes down to the old renditions of how they treat others to achieve this…

With that, I present  a look into vendor’s “Abuse” clauses that are now being seen amidst the contract fine-print.

Generally speaking, We find brides branching off into two categories:

First, the brides that watch these shows during the course of their planning and are afraid of becoming a “bridezilla.”  Therefore out of this fear, choose not to speak up about their likes and dislikes, which can often lead to others walking all over them, un-necessary stresses,  inner party fighting and so on.

Secondly, a small few…and I do mean a VERY small few, can sometimes take the approach “Well, they can do that, why can’t I? It’s MY DAY!”  Thus resorting to ‘anger’ tactics to convey ideas, belittle others around them and so on in order to get what they want.

Now with that said,  Television is capitalizing on the stress levels of Brides during their planning, so many vendors now include an abuse clause that covers both sides of the equation for those involved in the contract.

Here’s a small snip of what an abuse clause might read like:

“We treat all client’s with the utmost respect, and ask that our clients and their wedding party, family and guests do the same. Sadly, sometimes there is someone who goes out of their way to be verbally or physically abusive to wedding professionals. At no time and under no circumstances whatsoever shall we tolerate abusive, violent, destructive, menacing, or harassing behavior from the client or any party acting on behalf of the client. If such behavior does occur, we will quietly and respectfully inform the client and/or members to handle the situation. However, if the abusive behavior does not stop, we will consider it a breach of contract, and remove ourselves from the premises immediately without providing any further services and all remaining fees will be due immediately and on the spot, regardless of further services not commenced and without any refund of monies paid.”

In the event that an abusive situation arises, be that from the direct contract holder, a bridesmaid, mother, drunken guests and so on; The vendor does reserve the right to “not put up with it” and hereby “quit” and walk out, should it not be dealt with in an acceptable manor for all involved.

This clause also doubles over from secondary term clauses that cite potential firing of a bride for anything from outrageous demands and changes, to changes to the terms booked for, that my compromise other bookings for that vendor and more…

In the case of a “deposit” paid forth these are a non-refundable retainer (unless otherwise stated) this payment made is to hold your date and secure your booking. Many vendors will then be deducting this amount paid out from your total and final pricing.

If this contract is breached, before the actual wedding date, your retainer fee is NOT likely to be returned!!

Namely on the principle that the vendor has likely already turned away other client’s seeking services, but also the time now spent out during emailing, phone calls and/or meet-ups with clients… Thus “Non Refundable.”

In the case of the wedding date itself, If a vendor has provided services up until this point or has traveled out to you, they may also reserve the rights to quit should an abusive or un-reasonable situation a rise. In which case all remaining fees are immediately due, regardless of the remaining service(s) that might need to be commenced!

So please be sure to read these areas carefully, as there is nothing funny about someone’s “drama,” either costing you money or ruining your big day!

Understanding your Contracts (Part 2) – Time Frame Clauses

5 Nov

Weddings are a serious business, not just for the ones getting married, but for us vendors specializing in this area and catering our services towards our client’s for that one special day!

With that in mind, Many vendors in this field are catering to hundreds of clients during this time, so that’s quite a bit of information, ideas, etc. being accommodated for.

The first area we will cover is the TIME LINE Clauses! Depending on the specific vendor, many contracts now include ‘time lines’ for the client’s.

This  includes things such as the arrival time and/or end time of services,  possible scheduling itineraries  for the days breakdown for photo taking, speeches and so on.

Schedules and timing is always in place so that we can keep the day moving as fluidly as possible for our clients and thus avoid any unnecessary stresses.

When a client neglects these time frames, it will, and can often throw the entire day off, including such things as your ceremony start times!

Worse yet are the “last minute” changes that may seem harmless, but often can be a landslide for all your other vendors involved in the day, their services being provided to you and even push forward onto your guests.

Many contracts do have “fine print” regarding this very matter in order to prevent these events. Being that “10 minutes late” can often slide the entire day forward and can find an easy blame on someone else, especially if it causes you to miss out on photos and other such things.

Though it’s not meant to be militant in nature, specific time frames are typically allotted for specific service areas. Trust your vendors in this area! We do this for a living, every day, and though every wedding is indeed “different”…the time-lines and generals regarding your services are ALWAYS The same!

If your vendor tells you an appropriate time line, this is likely your best option as they will typically plan for other outside time frames too, such as things like your dressing time, photos, travel times, etc… It’s always best to have a little extra time, under no recommendations should you ever look to shorten your vendors given time lines!

Read this area carefully in the contracts . Many vendors DO reserve the right to charge extra fees for ‘wait times’ should you make them wait longer than the agreed upon time frames;  An example of this is often the Limo drivers told to show at a certain time, but alas the Bride/Bridal party doesn’t arrive for another 30- 45 minutes! This then could cost you more money, not to mention the other vendors that might also be left waiting…

This now causes the ENTIRE Day to begin shifting and can now lead you to paying out more fees for violating your terms within the contracts you’ve signed. This may also lead to omitting certain areas of interests or cutting back on such things as your photo taking times.

Time line clauses will also carry forth to the finished products and “How long” the return on your final images may be…

So please be advised that we as vendors take your wedding day very seriously and aim with all our abilities to keep it as relaxed, fun and stress free as possible, so do heed our timelines suggested to you.

Next up, we’ll cover the “abuse ” clause.

Understanding your Wedding Contracts (Part 1)

3 Nov

The contracts from your vendors are one of the most important parts of the wedding process.

No matter what the job, how big or small, you NEED To have some form of paperwork/contract signed and in place.

The first thing that ALWAYS needs to be determined, BEFORE You ever sign a contract with anyone, is what is and isn’t included from the vendor and/or the services you are hiring!!!

This is the main area that I see allot of Brides make mistakes with and if something does happen to arise, they find themselves either out money for a service that might now be botched or canceled last minute, or now confused as they never got a clear idea on what was and wasn’t provided as part of the services and the contract that they signed!

Contracts are not only for our side of services, but they are primarily for YOUR Protection and a MUST in all your planning, from the bigger bookings like your Venue, Food and Photographer….to the smaller things like Beauty Services, Limo and so on.

Contracts are your leverage and guide on ALL Services that you are now paying for and any specific guidelines that may accompany them.

This then leaves you and your vendors an area of reference to return to, should there be any unanswered questions later on down the road during your planning, and/or any discrepancies within the booking.

With that said, there are a few very specific areas that I would like to address and thus will post them all separately for easier reference as I feel each area needs to be discussed individually.

I will cover 2 of these main contract clauses in detail, as I often see Bride’s running into problems later on from not reading them and/or understanding them correctly or just flat out neglecting them until it’s too late when a problem does arise…

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