Our contract

How we’ll work together on copywriting & photography projects

Sometimes, in the rush to get on with things, us humans have an nasty habit of overlooking the obvious stuff. So this friendly contract covers all those unspoken assumptions and conditions which are crucial to getting your project done quickly and properly, without them getting in the way.

Put simply, it describes how we’ll work together now that you’ve decided to hire me. You won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of indecipherable text here; I don’t want to trick you into signing something that you might later regret. All I really want is what’s best for both of us, now and in the future.

I’ve highlighted special conditions which are unique to either photography or copywriting projects in bold.

By choosing to use my services you agree that you’ve read this contract and agree with everything described below.

This contract is between me and you. You can’t transfer this contract to anyone else without my permission and it remains in place and doesn’t need to be renewed.

It was last updated on 9th November 2016. A list of changes lives at the bottom.

1. Our relationship

1.0.1 You are my client (“you” or “my client”). You have the authority to enter into this contract on behalf of the business you work for, and you’re hiring me for my services, expertise, equipment and time.

1.0.2 In the context of this contract I (“I”, “me” or “Chris Kenworthy”) am a freelancer who provides freelance photography (“photos”, “photographs” or “images”) and freelance copywriting services (“copy”, “text”, “writing” or “words”). These are collectively called project “artefacts” – things I make or create for you.

1.0.3 If you’ve hired me as your freelance photographer I take photographs of something on your behalf, like an event or a product. If you’ve hired me as a freelance copywriter I write copy about something on your behalf, like a product, your services or a client case study.

1.0.4 I have the experience and ability to perform these services and I’ll carry them out in a professional and timely way. I’ll do my best to meet all the deadlines we agree but I can’t be held responsible for a missed deadline if you didn’t provide materials, information or didn’t approve or sign-off my work on time at any stage. Natural disasters other adverse events which are beyond our control also mean I can’t be held responsible.

1.0.5 You agree to provide me with materials, information and anything else I need to complete your project as and when I need it, and in the format that I ask for.

1.0.6 I promise to protect the confidentiality of any commercially sensitive information that you share with me. It is your responsibility to provide non-disclosure, confidentiality agreements and release forms – all of which I’m happy to sign.

2. Your project

2.0.1 A project (“your project”) is a discrete unit of work or a job you want me to do for you, or on your behalf, which makes use of my services. When you accept a quote from me with its duration and costs, this means you have chosen to work with me, hired me or booked my time and engaged my services.

2.0.2 Your project actually begins when any one of these things take place:

  • We reach a start date that we’ve agreed upon
  • You use my services for the first time
  • When I commence work on any activity or artefact which is part of your project (on your instruction)
  • You tell me that my involvement in your project has begun

2.0.3 If your project involves more than one person (you) in your business, you agree to nominate a main point of contact who leads the project, and make it clear to me who has responsibility for what, and who gives final approval.

2.0.4 If you are a marketing agency, consultancy, recruiter or other third party and hire me to work indirectly on a project for one of your clients, this contract only exists between you (the agency) and me, not between me and your client. If I work directly with your client, then a separate instance of this contract applies between me and them.

2.1 Quotes (guesstimates)

2.1.1 When you express an interest in using my services and enquire about hiring me, I’ll respond with a quote (a “quote” or “estimate”). In it, I’ll tell you roughly how long I think it will take to finish your project, and roughly how much I think it will cost.

2.1.2 Sadly (like all humans) I can’t accurately predict the future. So your quote is simply my best guess based on past projects, my knowledge and experience. It is simply an estimate.

2.1.3 When you accept my quote you also accept the risk that I may inadvertently underestimate or overestimate how long it takes to finish your project and how much it will cost. Therefore you accept that my estimate can change and that you might pay more or less than my original estimate when my work on your project is complete.

2.1.4 I charge at a standard hourly or daily rate depending on which service you hire me for, and usually give you a total estimated cost for your entire project. I will include this standard hourly or daily rate in my quote.

2.1.5 Durations and costs in your quote are based on the scope of your project and everything we’ve discussed up to the point I gave you that quote. My quote includes time spent in meetings, telephone calls, messages, research, preparation and planning – as well as time actually producing artefacts for your project.

2.1.6 Your quote is valid for 30 calendar days from the day it’s sent to you.

2.1.7 One ‘hour’ means 60 minutes and ‘hourly rate’ means what I charge for one hour of work. One ‘day’ means 7 hours’ of work and ‘daily rate’ means what I charge for one day of work.

2.2 Change (it’s inevitable)

2.2.1 Any changes to your requirements, extensions and unforeseen complications are likely to affect the scope, duration and therefore the price (originally estimated) of your project.

2.2.2 When you hire me as your freelance copywriter I’ll always try to warn you before we exceed my original estimate, so there are no unexpected costs. I’ll do this at a natural juncture or checkpoint in your project and I might ask for this, or confirm it, in writing, so we can keep track of changes. If I confirm an extension beyond my original estimate in writing, and you don’t reply, I’ll assume you approve this extra work.

2.2.3 When you hire me as your freelance photographer it is your responsibility to monitor how long you use my services for. This is because freelance photography is an intense, creatively engrossing activity which demands my full attention. If you instruct me to continue taking more photos beyond the duration of my original estimate, or otherwise involve me for longer than you originally intended, then you agree to being charged at my standard hourly or daily rate.

3. Boring legal disclaimer bit

3.0.1 I can’t guarantee that my copy or photographs will be free from errors, omissions and mistakes, so I can’t be held liable to you or any third party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages which occur because, or during the delivery, of my services – even if you’ve warned me about the possibility of such damages.

3.0.2 If any part of this contract is unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that part is considered severable from this contract, and does not affect the validity and enforceability of any other remaining parts of this contract.

3.0.3 You shall hold me harmless against any liability anywhere in the world, including liability for copyright infringement and libel, caused by your use of my copywriting, photography services and advice on this project.

3.0.4 You agree to indemnify me against any compensation claims or damages as a direct or indirect consequence of the work I do for you. 

It is your sole responsibility to ensure that all statements, claims, promises, information on a product or service, and guarantees are upheld in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. No claims for compensation or disbursement due to loss of earnings or any other detrimental effect to your business can be made against me.

4. Copyright (who owns what)

4.0.1 All copyrights and intellectual property rights remain my exclusive property until you pay in full for all the services you hired me for, and all the artefacts you hired me to produce. This applies to the time I spend working on your project, along with everything I produce for you or on your behalf in the context of your project, including both photos and copy.

4.0.2 When you’ve paid in full for an outstanding invoice, you automatically take ownership of the copyright and intellectual property rights. This ownership only applies to the artefacts produced by the services listed on that invoice, in the context of your project (excluding any exceptions).

4.0.3 You’re allowed to use the copy or photographs I produce for you or on your behalf, royalty-free. That means I never charge you for repeat use. You’re also allowed to edit and manipulate these artefacts too, in the context of their original intended use. When you use the copy or photos I produce I do kindly request that you cite me as copywriter or photographer, but only when you use them in their original form.

4.0.4 I love to show off my work and share what I’ve have learned with other people, so I reserve the right to display and link to artefacts produced for your project as part of my portfolio, and write about the project on web sites, in magazine articles and in books about copywriting and photography.

4.0.5 When you provide materials or information for me to use as part of your project, you guarantee that you have the rights or permissions to use them.

5. How you’ll receive the photographs I take

5.0.1 If you hire me as your freelance photographer I’ll supply your digital photographs electronically, usually by WeTransfer, Dropbox, FTP or on a CD or DVD.

5.0.2 Your photographs will be delivered by a date and time we mutually agree. Usually this is within 48 hours of the time the final photograph was shot.

5.0.3 I produce digital photographs in high-resolution JPEG format, up to a maximum of 10 megapixels (3888 × 2592 pixels). If you need larger resolution photographs, you must tell me before I begin shooting photographs, otherwise you agree that this resolution is large enough.

5.0.4 Unless you tell me not too, I will remove duplicate, incorrectly exposed or blurred photos. I may also edit or post-process some photos to fix exposure imperfections.

5.0.5 My photography quotes include travel costs within the boundaries of the Leeds metropolitan area. It also includes all planning and preparation.

6. How you’ll receive the copy I produce

6.0.1 When draft or finished versions of copy I write for you is ready for your review, approval or sign-off, I’ll share it online with you using Google Docs. This is a link to an online document which you can add comments to and share. It is your responsibility to keep this link private, and I promise to do the same.

6.0.2 Copy is provided as text in a document, without formatting or design but with basic elements like bold, italic, headings and lists. It may include some notes to help you lay out your copy, or explain the thinking behind my copywriting.

6.0.3 Drafting (editing, tweaking or improving) copy is limited to two revisions per document: a first version (draft) then a revision (re-draft or second draft). Subsequent, extra revisions (re-drafts) take more time, effort, and therefore cost which will affect the price (my original estimate).

6.0.4 If you decide a document needs a complete rewrite (from scratch) after the second draft, this constitutes a new document and affects cost, and price, in the same way.

7. How we share feedback

7.0.1 You agree to review my work, provide feedback and sign-off approval in a timely manner. This might be at milestones or natural junctures during our copywriting project or during the course of a photo shoot, on-location.

7.0.2 When I ask for your feedback on my copywriting I expect it either verbally, over the telephone or as comments you add via Google Docs. You promise never to send me Microsoft Word documents with feedback as unmanageable tracked changes, or passages of edited text within an email.

7.0.3 When I ask for your feedback on my photography I expect it verbally over the telephone or face-to-face, on location during a photo shoot.

7.0.4 Deadlines work both ways, so you’re also bound by any dates that we set together. When you don’t provide timely information, materials, feedback or sign-off when I ask for it, which holds up progress for more than 14 calendar days, I reserve the right to invoice you immediately for any parts of the project I’ve already completed. You also agree to stick to the payment schedule we agree at the beginning of the project.

7.0.5 When I’ve finished your project, I’ll tell you and ask you to review my work. If you’re unsatisfied with my work you agree to tell me within 7 calendar days, otherwise I’ll assume that you’ve approved it. Once your project is approved you can’t reject my work because our contract is complete and payment is then due.

8. Payment

8.0.1 I’m sure you understand how important it is to remunerate a small business fairly and properly. There’s no collections or accounts department here and delays and accounting tricks only make it more difficult for me to put food on the table.

8.0.2 So, just like you appreciate me delivering high quality work on time and to tight deadlines, I really appreciate it when you pay me on time.

8.1 Deposits and cancellation

8.1.1 I ask you for a deposit because you’re essentially reserving my time in advance, and that means I’ll turn down work for other clients and give your project priority. This applies to both copywriting and photography projects.

8.1.2 If the total value of my quote for your copywriting project is more than £300.00, you agree to pay a deposit of 50% of the total quote before your project begins. Once the project is complete, you agree to pay the remaining balance (total minus the deposit you’ve already paid). A 50% deposit always applies to photography projects, whatever their value.

8.1.3 I won’t begin work on your project until you pay the applicable deposit.

8.1.4 If you hire me for photography, then cancel your event and give me less than 24 hours notice you will lose your deposit. If you reschedule your event once and retain my services for it, the deposit simply transfers to that date and the same rules apply once again, otherwise you forfeit your deposit.

8.1.5 If I withdraw my copywriting or photography services or cancel your booking without completing any work on your project I’ll fully refund your deposit at any time. If I withdraw my services and work already began, I’ll refund your deposit less the value of the work I’ve already done (whether approved or not). If you cancel our project after I begin work on it, I’ll refund your deposit, less the value of any work I’ve already done (whether approved or not).

8.1.6 Deposits are 50% of the lowest estimate of how much a project will cost. For example, if I estimate a project will take 3-4 days to complete, the deposit will be 50% of the cost of 3 days worth of my freelance services.

8.2 Payment terms

8.2.1 When you hire me, you agree to pay my invoice within 14 calendar days of the invoice date. If you don’t pay my invoice within 14 calendar days, you agree to pay 10% interest on the invoice amount for every subsequent 30 calendar days after the payment was due.

8.2.2 When your invoice is overdue by 90 calendar days I’ll take legal action to recover the debt – something I’ve only ever done successfully.

8.2.3 All my prices are VAT-free, which means VAT is not applicable because I am not VAT registered.

8.2.4 I prefer payment by bank transfer (BACS/CHAPS) but I can also cope with old-fashioned cheques. Payment details are at the foot of my invoices. Please use my invoice number as your payment reference – this helps avoid misunderstandings and nasty court summonses.

8.3 Retainers

8.3.1 A retainer means I’m on standby to provide a regular, priority service to you as a block of reserved time. For example, half a day’s worth of photography is reserved for you which repeats every month, over a 6 month period (so 6 x half-days).

8.3.2 You can spread that block of reserved time over a period that suits you (a day, a week or a month), with the minimum unit of time being 1 hour. For example, you might spread your 3 hour block of photography over one month as 3 x 1 hour sessions. Then the next month, you might use your 3 hour block as 1 x 2 hour photography session and 1 hour goes unused.

8.3.3 Reserved time doesn’t roll over from one period to the next; it’s up to you whether you use it or lose it. There’s no minimum use of my time (so, for example, one month you might not use my services at all) but we agree the maximum between us.

8.3.4 In recognition of this priority service you agree to pay me a fixed fee for each block of reserved time, for the full duration of the retainer period.

8.3.5 A retainer begins in the same way as every other project, and you pay the retainer regardless of whether you use my services or not. If you decide to cancel your retainer once it’s under way, you agree to pay the full, total outstanding value of the retainer regardless of how much time you have or haven’t used over the entire retainer period.

8.3.6 You can’t revert to my standard hourly or daily rate once your retainer begins, for work already within the scope of the existing retainer. Any extra work outside the scope of the retainer agreement is charged at my standard hourly or daily rate.

8.3.7 Because a retainer guarantees you a regular, priority service, likewise I expect you to pay with regularity, on time and make my invoices a priority.

9. Technical support and limitations

9.0.1 I can’t provide technical support for any software or hardware used to provide my services, or for the artefacts I produce after our project is over. If you need dedicated technical support, I’m ready to recommend people who can help.

9.0.2 I’m a copywriter and photographer, not a designer, so I can’t format, layout, photoshop or make your copy or images look prettier than they already are when I create them. If you need those things, I can recommend people who can help.

9.0.3 Similarly, I’m not a proofreader. Copywriters make spelling mistakes and grammatical errors like everyone else. Of course, I’ll always do my best to double check your copy, but if you need guaranteed, flawless copy you need to hire a proofreader. I strongly advise you review your copy before it goes to print, if you find mistakes once it’s in print, this is your responsibility, rather than mine.

10. I want you to be happy

10.0.1 Every problem can be solved by healthy discussion and fair compromise – and I’m confident we can overcome any obstacle if we’re completely honest with one another. To do this though, you agree to tell me if you have any reservations, concerns or problems before we begin work, before we reach a deadline, or as soon as you think there’s something wrong.

10.0.1 If you don’t tell me there’s a problem, I’ll assume everything is fine, and you agree to me continuing to work on your project, within the scope of what we’ve already agreed.

That’s it!

No horrible small print or nasty clauses. That’s because most of my projects go to plan without the need to refer to this contract. In fact, this is probably the first and last time you’ll ever need to read this.

Now that it’s out of the way – let’s get on with making things better.

History of changes

  • 22-January-2016: published.
  • 09-November-2016: edited 8.1.2 – clarified 50% always applies to photography projects.
  • 09-November-2016: added 8.1.6 – clarified deposit means 50% of the lower estimate in cost.
  • 09-November-2016: added 2.1.7 – defined what a ‘day’ and ‘hour’ means.
  • 09-November-2016: added 8.3.7 – clarified that retainers should be paid on time.