In-Depth Interview with Rachel Brenke: Photography Contracts 101


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In this week’s interview, I sit down with Rachel Brenke, an attorney who helps entrepreneurs legally protect, market effectively and strategically implement their business. We discuss the importance of creating and maintaining photography contracts for your business. Rachel also digs deep into common and important legal inquiries every photography business owner should know. Click the video to tune in or listen to the podcast now!

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About Jenn Bruno Smith:

After leaving a successful career as a ​speech ​pathologist and clinical liaison, ​Jenn moved into pursuing her business full time. ​She has been shooting boudoir exclusively for 4 year​s​ and teaching marketing and business to the photography industry​ for the last two.

You can catch up with Jenn in her group The High Rollers Club- IPS, Business and Marketing for Boudoir photographers.

About the Interviewer Rachel Brenke:

Rachel Brenke is an active practicing lawyer for photographers who intimately understand laws that impact people just like you — making TheLawTog the best solution for your photography contract templates.

She knows the proper legal and strategic items to include in your contract so you’re protected and offering customer service and setting expectations. You can check out here website here.

Join TheLawTog Facebook group here.


Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:00:00] Hey guys, Jenn Bruno Smith here with the High Rollers Club. I’m here with Rachel Brenke from TheLawTog.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:00:07] How are you?

Rachel Brenke: [00:00:08] Good. How are you? I’m excited.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:00:10] Yeah. Thanks so much for being here with us. You know, you’ve been in the industry and around for so long giving great advice. It’s so exciting to have you here.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:00:22] So tell me how you kind of got started and where are your beginnings? Where did you go to law school? Did you?

Rachel Brenke: [00:00:30] Yeah. So the backstory is I never really fit much like many of you listening. And never really fit into like the 9 to 5 into a box and do a cubicle. And so I always knew I went to work for myself. And so I double through different entrepreneurship things. Rapid design at one point. Online apparel store and moved into kind of business research strategy type stuff. And then I just don’t want to go to law school. And while I was in law school was actually when I started taking my skills of photography and doing it full time for money and a creative outlet and all of that. So I was running my business all through law school. And then by the time that I came out the other side, I realize there was such a need for photographers on a lot of the copyright contracts and issues that are out there. And it really wasn’t like one specific photography resource that people could find the information. There was a lot of like halfway information or wrong information on the Internet. So I created the warthog and here we are.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:01:34] I love it. I love it. So did you shoot, too? Are you a photographer as well?

Rachel Brenke: [00:01:40] I was. I started out, you know, doing everything like everyone does, I think, for money in the beginning and kind of try to move into weddings. But that didn’t really fit my schedule or in reality, the people that I wanted to reach. And so I moved from there into more commercial based photography and a lot of women based photography. So boudoir headshots and that kind of stuff. It was a nice crossover because a lot of my commercial clients or professional women and so I could get them on the head shop side. And then also for the boudoir side.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:02:10] Right. So do you still shoot? Are you only doing law and how it relates to photography?

Rachel Brenke: [00:02:16] It depends on what month you ask me. You know, because there’s busier seasons than others. The law firm is extremely busy with a lot of copyright infringement issues, and so that’s been taking up a lot of my time. But I still have my business consulting business where I also provide photography. So it’s a lot of marketing based photography. And like I said, it just depends on the month. Which one I’m doing more of.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:02:39] Right. So do you have a lot of photography clients that have that are going through like copyright infringement things, the cases that you work with them on?

Rachel Brenke: [00:02:50] That’s the number one thing that our law firm ends up working on since we went through TheLawTog. We have reached it for a lot of you guys, providing the free resources there. Copyright is, I would say the number one problem that many of you are facing right now and contracts is like super close behind. We can put them even. But I just feel like copyright is such a huge issue right now.

Rachel Brenke: [00:03:16] And as far as when it comes to infringement, just because so many businesses, not photography necessarily, but so many other businesses don’t understand copyright law. So they’re snagging y’all’s work. They’re using it and they’re not wanting to pay for it. And so we just yeah, we see a lot of copyright infringement stuff. And what’s really interesting about it is it’s not even other small businesses that are doing it. It’s people like huge multi-billion international corporations that are infringing. And so that’s definitely the landscape of what you pornographers are facing. And so we try to provide a lot of those resources that the launch site, too. And also obviously highlighting it here. So you don’t know anything about copyright. You need to go learn about what your rights are and what to do when somebody infringes because it’s not if it’s going to be one.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:04:07] Right. So we have listeners on all like I guess in all parts of their journey, like those that are just beginning those kinds of in the middle very, you know, masters of their craft. We have lots of different listeners. So for the people that are just starting out, how would you define like how would you explain the copyright? How did they know that something is being infringed upon versus just like cause a lot of beginning photographers, if like a big corporation took their stuff, they would be like, this is really cool. Yeah, I’m on like one of those cards there’s like card web sites, and they’ll snag your work and they’ll put it on like Christmas cards. And in the beginning, I remember like that happened to me a few times and I was like, this is really cool. This is my work. And then I started thinking about and I was like, wait a minute. This website took my work. So how do you know how would you kind of explain that to someone who is a layperson who might not know the difference?

Rachel Brenke: [00:05:06] So copyright is the ownership. It’s who owns the photograph that you’re creating. And I’m speaking from a place that I’m assuming the majority of people listening are solo or small photography business owner. So you’re probably the owner and the photographer as well. And so either you or your entity is going to own the photograph. If you work for somebody else is like an employee. That employee owns it. And what that means is when you own intellectual property, in this case, it can be a photograph. You have a bunch of rights. You have the right to display it, to reproduce it, to get paid for the display, reproduction, alteration, licensing, all that sort of stuff. And so you have full control over what happens to that photograph to prevent people from using it commercially.

Rachel Brenke: [00:05:54] So, for example, we just went up against a really large hotel chain multiple times, actually for different clients because we found many different infringements and they had just snagged the photos of Instagram and stuck on their Facebook and were running it through ads. Well, that’s a commercial base. They were advertising their hotel and they were also putting it into an advertisement to solicit people to book their hotel. That’s commercial. They didn’t have permission from the photographers. So the photographers who have the copyright, they’re the owners then get to pursue this infringement against the hotel for loss of money, for the fact that the hotel didn’t have permission. They no permission to use these photographs. They had no ownership. They had no license. They had no permission. No nothing. And the photographer. And so the photographer and then pursued them for payment. And it’s typically equal to what a commercial license would be.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:06:47] Right. So so I guess for boudoir because I shoot boudoir full time. Now, what happens sometimes for me as my clients will take their images and put them on Instagram and then they tag the designer of the lingerie picks up the image. So in a case like that, is it still considered copyright infringement if they are pulling from the client’s website or the client’s feed?

Rachel Brenke: [00:07:17] Yep. Always. And actually, the situation you just outlined is a very classic one. There are two major classic ways this happened. It’s not typically like a hotel chain employee goes out and finds the photo that does happen. But typically scenario number one is they have like a third party marketing agency that does it for them. Or in your case especially, you see this a lot with wedding photographers and boudoir. If the client is either tagged with a company or given it to the venue or given it to the dress designer. And the number one question you have to ask yourself is, is the person using it? Do they have permission? So obviously it’s stuck on that laundry designer’s Instagram. And they’re trying to obviously sell their laundry. They are infringing.

Rachel Brenke: [00:08:04] You could even take a step further to say that if your client gave permission to the legendary designer, they’re also infringing. I don’t typically recommend that my photography clients leave photographers that I represent. I don’t typically recommend that you pursue your client in a situation like that. Generally, just to pursue the end user. So in that case, I’d be the launch array designer. I just feel like sometimes I know you don’t want to sully that relationship. Clients weren’t the ones that were using it for commercial gain. They didn’t. You know, you really didn’t have permission. They were probably just excited. And there they’re even made me it may be an element that you didn’t educate them, that they couldn’t get permission. So I typically never have never, I think, advise going after your photography client under those circumstances. But definitely, if it’s like a launch or a designer or like a wedding venue or something, they didn’t have permission from you. The owner doesn’t matter if they have permission from the client or like if you’re a wedding, like from a wedding planner or anything like that needs to be whoever the copyright owner is. That’s typically you, the photographer.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:09:13] Right. Right. So, you know, another situation like that we run into a lot of photographers is not only like images being stolen, art stolen or infringed upon, I guess, but also the copy from our Web site and blogs and things like that. So, you know, I recently had a situation where the and the copy for my entire Web site was taken off. Right. And they just literally just copied and pasted it and put it on the Web, their Web site. And so I did what any person in the, you know, 20 20 would do. You go on LegalZoom, any copy, a cease and desist rate and send it out. How are those things OK? Or should you hire legal counsel? Like usually just you know, I send that out and it was done, you know, down in like a minute. Right. So if anything was a fear tactic. But now I guess how strong is a document like that you pull off soon versus hiring an attorney to address it for you?

Rachel Brenke: [00:10:15] I don’t recommend LegalZoom for multiple reasons. It would be a whole thing for us to talk about. But mainly it’s not specific to photography. So you’re going to have something like that and you can get a cease and desist. I haven’t looked at theirs recently to see exactly the contents of it, but you’re not going to get support like you would from an attorney. And I also don’t believe it’s obviously not drafted specifically for photographers. So I got the law. We have form templates and stuff like that that are written specifically for photographers that they used. However that being said, I’m the first to say, even though I run TheLawTog and we have contract template forms ranging from cease-and-desist to release matter, really services, contracts. Nothing replaces the value that you can get from an attorney.

Rachel Brenke: [00:11:05] However, it needs to be a good attorney that understands the photography industry. And so that can be very difficult. And that’s kind of where what TheLawTog’s mission is. One of the things we noticed besides the fact that there wasn’t a Web site out there for photographers with information specifically for them. We have that in the blog and videos and podcasts and stuff. We also notice that a lot of photographers were running into issues when they went to lawyers. Many lawyers had never run a business before. If they run a business it’s been a legal business more than likely.

Rachel Brenke: [00:11:33] And they definitely don’t know how to run a photography business owner or photographer. And so they’re not understanding the pushback you’re gonna get from clients, the questions you’re gonna get. What it means to be, etc.. So I think that if you can find a good attorney to write you a contract, that’s good. Well, we saw that this was missing. A lot of photographers were leaving lawyers’ offices and their contracts were fine. They were protective, but they weren’t doing some of the other things that contrast and do, which I mentioned here in a second. So what we did with the law, Tom, we have a contract template forms and we recommend, you know, download USOs. You can take that to an attorney to fine-tune for your status as they’re not drafted by state. But that way, you’re getting the full, well-rounded view of what photographers specifically need. And then you’re also getting your relationship with an attorney, getting a fine chin for your state. And that way you’re set up that way. So it’s not an either-or you can find an attorney that’s well versed in the photography industry. Fantastic. I don’t know many of them. I can name like three of them and I’m one. So now doesn’t mean they’re not out there. It just means they’re not making themselves very prominently known.

Rachel Brenke: [00:12:37] No. I will tell you, though, one thing I want to really say about contracts and contracts, as I mentioned earlier, kind of what the copyright stuff when we were are saying about the client giving permission they didn’t have. And I mentioned that a client may not have been well educated. Contracts educate your clients ranging from copyright to what the responsibilities are, how much they owe you when they owe you. And it’s also letting the client know what you, the photographer, are going to do. And so contracts are way more than just a legal tool. They’re also an expectation-setting tool.

Rachel Brenke: [00:13:11] And they’re also going to help clear up miscommunications because really majority of the times that a legal issue happens when you guys end up coming to me as you have a problem, it’s not because you’ve necessarily done something horribly bad or your client’s done something horribly bad. I know we see those stories, especially in the longtime Facebook group and other groups online, because that’s what people share, right? That’s sensational. The majority of issues I see are actually a result, a breakdown in communication, and it’s stuff that can be solidified into a contract. And so it’s in one central place that both new and the client are agreeing to that you’ve had drafted by hopefully an attorney that understands the photography industry but understands intellectual property, which is a whole other thing, because just because you’re a lawyer, my little rant, just because you are a lawyer doesn’t mean they understand intellectual property.

Rachel Brenke: [00:14:03] And intellectual property is the umbrella that covers website texts like you’re talking about photographs, video and all of that stuff. So just as you see, the business lawyer doesn’t necessarily know to mean doesn’t necessarily mean that that lawyer understands intellectual property and why that is so important for photographers when you’re getting your contracts drafted. Think about this for a second. Every business has intellectual property. They have business names, they have logos with the restaurant down the street is not selling intellectual property. They’re selling tacos or steaks or whatever. What are you guys selling? The end product is intellectual property, whether it’s digital or print it. And so that’s even more of a reason to use template forms that understand and contemplate intellectual property issues, have a lawyer that understands that and have a contract that governs all of this as well as all the other services stuff. You need to educate your clients, protect yourselves and prevent miscommunication. That’s the big thing that I try to impress, is that contracts are really there to protect you, but they’re also there to prevent issues where you’re going to spend more time and money cleaning up messes later than investing in the contract on the front end.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:15:18] All right. So, you know, I hear a lot from photographers whenever I talk with them about like, you know, having a retainer fee and having a contract and they’ll be like, you know, the contracts, it’s own thing. But how about a retainer fee versus a session fee? What are your feelings on like the verbiage with those things? Some people will call it like a creative fee. It is legally more powerful to say a retainer fee or doesn’t it matter at all?

Rachel Brenke: [00:15:48] It relatively I’m going to get hate mail on this, so make sure you listen to the whole thing that I say. It relatively doesn’t matter what you call it, so long as you have proper operative language, so proper language to define that term and how that money is going to be treated. So you’ll see in groups people say, oh, the deposit is automatically refundable or retainer, it’s not. And this and that is not necessarily as simple as that. I mean it from a legal standpoint, it is also going to vary depending upon states and the jurisdiction that you’re doing businesses. But what is most important in defining what that term means and is it refundable or not? What does that money go to? Is it are you. Attributing it to a collection or is it simply for the photographers time and talent and reservation on the calendar is really not as simple as picking between retainer deposit creative fee.

Rachel Brenke: [00:16:45] My suggestion would be to think about what do you think your clients are going to perceive it to be and then make sure you have it drafted and there what you wanted to actually define. Because if I’m a client and I see fee, you automatically probably think that I’m not going to get that back.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:17:00] Right. Right. So along those lines, when a wedding photographer, for instance, is paid in full before they do their wedding and then something happens for whatever reason, and maybe the clients cancel the wedding or whatever reason. What if some or something happens to the photographer? I guess there’s a lot of variables here, but primarily I’m thinking more about like prepayment plans where like a client might prepay for services. Are there more perhaps legal concerns that would happen with that versus if they pay after their session is done and they see their images?

Rachel Brenke: [00:17:43] I mean, maybe not necessarily directly to how you ask it, but more of thinking the context of if I end up prepaying my entire wedding or my entire boudoir session upfront and then something happens and we’re not actually able to do it. I can’t see a photographer being awarded a hundred percent when they didn’t shoot and they didn’t deliver anything. Right. So it’s I’m not saying it’s bad business to get paid upfront. I think that is really important. But just understand that just because it’s all prepaid upfront, it’s you’re going to have to it’s going to be rationed out based on how many services were provided. So that’s often where the non-refundable retainer deposit type stuff comes in.

Rachel Brenke: [00:18:24] Be cut and why you want to have a language that says this is earned at receipt for reserving like the wedding date or the boudoir session or that kind of stuff that you’re in. In reality, once you call it off that date, no one else can book it. Right? Right. However, no court is probably gonna allow you to keep 100 percent simply because you couldn’t book someone else in that slot if they cancel the last minute and you didn’t do anything but put it on your calendar. So that’s why it’s a portion of it. That’s why your retainer deposit would cover is not the full amount, but it still helps to protect you. And you have that language to attribute to that. They show that to say I see a lot of times in groups and these prepayments that which I do think prepayment is a great idea. Getting it all down before the session, all of that, or at least 75, 80, maybe 90 percent ahead of time. Whatever you want to do for your business and as long as your contract contemplates it and writes it out, but is understandable, even if you get 100 percent before and you don’t photograph the boudoir session, you don’t deliver it. If you go to court, you’re not going to get to keep 100 percent. Simple as that.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:19:33] For whatever reason. So whether the client cancels or you cancel, it doesn’t matter.

Rachel Brenke: [00:19:39] Well that depends on what’s in the contract. You know, that’s a really crappy lawyer answer for me to give, but it’s going to depend whether you have a specific cancellation policy in there that allow, you know. This is the most common. And like wedding contracts, if you cancel six months out, three months out, two months out, they have it as a sliding scale because obviously the closer you get to a wedding date, the less likely you are going to be able to book that date with somebody else.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:20:07] Yeah. So that’s really a hot topic in the industry right now. So I’m glad we kind of touched on that a little bit because it’s something that I know I’ve had concerns about in the past when I tried to do it before. You know, primarily, I would think a perfect scenario would be that prepayment money, that prepayment money would be put into like an escrow or something where it would be safe and you wouldn’t have spent it because, you know.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:20:38] But we all know that photographers aren’t that strong sometimes at business. So, you know, that’s my main concern whenever I’m teaching students that if you are going to do this, it needs to go in a special place like a pot or an account or something. So it’s just in case, you know, you have to do something else with it. So what do you see the biggest problem that photographers face legally? Maybe the problem that we’re not prepared for, maybe, you know, because you don’t know. You don’t know. Like, what do you see? The biggest problem being that we do, we just don’t know about us.

Rachel Brenke: [00:21:20] I mean, I think we touched on the two major ones is not having a good contract that covers you, making sure that it was, you know, make sure as well rounded for photography, much like them, the non-refundable retainer deposit. Conversation, which we just had the prepayment of stuff and then knowing the copyright, because often times I’ll see clients who. Photography clients and my client’s photographers will unknowingly give away the ownership to photographs. And if you want to win your business, that’s fine. It’s completely what whatever you want to do and that’s pretty common.

Rachel Brenke: [00:21:55] And commercial based photography is to sell the copyright, sell the ownership to the client. But I often see that photographers will crumble, even though they don’t necessarily want to sell it because a client says they want all the right. And it’s not because the photographers, surly, afraid to push back on the client base, are educated enough to know I don’t mean a bad way. Let me say from here, I mentioned this earlier. So just because you’re a lawyer doesn’t mean, you know, intellectual property. If you guys have read the law, Tom, you probably know more about intellectual property. Majority of lawyers that I know that are not IP specialists because it is a very specific area of law. And so don’t feel bad if you don’t know any of this. And you’re like, oh, my God, she’s throwing around all these terms. Just scribble them down, go to TheLawTog. You can use the search bar. We have the subject matter broken down.

Rachel Brenke: [00:22:47] But I do see a lot of news photographers unwittingly either give away, give away, they sell the copyright to the client simply because the client says they want all the rights from the client, doesn’t even know what all the rights gains and or I mean, that’s the most classy example I’m trying to think. I think if there’s any I mean, the biggest ones are really well, we touched on. Not having a proper contract is that’s where the majority of them come out of.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:23:16] Right. So especially like in my genre that I shoot sometimes our clients that want to hire me that I just don’t want to work with. Right. For whatever reason. And, you know, it’s not like a clothing store where someone will come in. And then they buy something and then they leave. You’re like working really closely with these people for sometimes an extended period. How protected are you? If you find someone and you’re just like, well, we you know, because, you know, you get like those warning flags or you don’t want to work with them. How protected are we as a small business saying, I don’t want to work with you?

Rachel Brenke: [00:23:58] I mean, as long as you’re not choosing to not work with them for reasons that are not protected. Like if I’m just like you’re giving me a weird vibe, I don’t want to work with you. Well, that’s not a protected class under the law. But if I’m like, oh, I don’t want to work with you because you’re not white or I don’t want to. I don’t want to work with you because you’re gay or you’re not gay or whatever. Those are all protected classes. So that is obviously legal to not discriminate. But it is just simply. And I went right straight for the jugular to lay all that out because these are top questions that we get. But guess what is it is just simply because I don’t want to work with you. That’s not a protected class. You should be ok.

Rachel Brenke: [00:24:42] That being said, that’s from a legal standpoint. You have to understand, we also needed to just dissect this. What is it you’re deciding you don’t want to do business with this person? Is it before they sign the contract or is it after they sign the contract? What is the real reason? As long as it’s not like a protected class that’s illegal, you relatively can walk away if it’s before you sign the contract.

Rachel Brenke: [00:25:07] If it’s out of the contract, it’s going to have to be something that’s governed by the contract terms that allow you out or something so egregious that you’re not able to fulfill the purpose of the contract. For example, maybe you have a bride or a boudoir client that is so neurotic and they want you to answer the phone every time they call five hundred times a day and then they hurl insults at you and they’re just awfully mean after you’ve already signed the contract. Right. Well, being means on a protected class. You can get rid of them if you want, but that sort of situation, if it’s not in your contract like a cooperation clause or something you can look at. Maybe someone called frustration of purpose. You’re I’m not able to fulfill or this is an impossible waiver for me to fulfill what you want with this contract anyway. I showed as a quick example say depends on why you don’t want to work with their friends on when you decide you don’t want to work with them and what the reason is.

Rachel Brenke: [00:26:04] Right. Right. So if they’ve signed the contract, it kind of depends on what the contract says. But say you find out they’re neurotic or say they walk into your studio and you think they’re on drugs or something like that. If you’re telling them to leave or you’re deciding not to work with them and then you return their retainer fee to be like I’m done. We’re good here. Are you more protected if you return their money?.

Rachel Brenke: [00:26:34] Yeah because you have to look at it from a standpoint. Ask yourself, what would you do if a client was going to pursue me legally? So we’re not even talking about word of mouth, any harassment, anything like that by the client. Just from a legal standpoint, if in that situation I’d ask myself what damages does this client have that they could pursue me for if I try to walk away? Like what could they try to say if you were refunded all the money? There’s probably no damages, maybe hair and makeup, they’d expend it, et cetera. But all of it’s going to boil down to whatever the facts and the circumstances were.

Rachel Brenke: [00:27:08] And I can’t imagine, you know, going into court if you ever ended up there, which hopefully with contracts and everything else, we’re trying to prevent having to go there, that you won’t have a problem. But I think to answer your question, sometimes it’s just easier to refund the money and walk away, even though. I’ll tell you what. There are times where I’m like the principal thing, I’m going fight this. But sometimes when you’re the only one that loses, even though it’s the principal. So you really have to pick your battles on it. And I’m not saying I have a contract and then don’t hold to it or vice versa. But it’s going to be a case by case. And there’s also nuisance value. This is something that I work on a lot with my photographer clients is what is a nuisance value to make this crime go away? Go away. It was a $250 nonrefundable retainer that can be a lot cheaper than even doing an initial meeting with a lawyer.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:28:01] Right. Right. So I have my hair and makeup artist come to my studio and a lot of other people do as well. And as you know, we have insurance. You recommend insurance rate variance? Yeah. Is there a certain type of insurance that is better for photographers with you?

Rachel Brenke: [00:28:22] 100%. I must say, you’re going to look at having regular property and equipment, insurance and then definitely your liability insurance. And very specifically with what you’re talking about for hair and makeup stuff, I highly recommend making sure that whatever liability insurance company that you use the policy right.

Rachel Brenke: [00:28:39] In employees and independent contractors because you’re here, American artist probably is not a W2 employee for you. So I require all of my independent contractors that I work with like that with hair and makeup and stuff. I require them to carry their own liability insurance, but I don’t ever want to rely on it. Now I want to make sure that my insurance is going to cover, right?

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:29:02] That’s good to know. So I did have another question.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:29:05] A lot of like our beginning photographers and even for me, even though I’m established and we have like all of our stuff, all of our ducks in a row or whatever you say, some beginning photographers really get hung up on how to structure their business like a sole proprietorship, which sounds like it’s a good idea. But it’s not right an S-corp or an LLC. What are some of the differences? What’s the best way to go?

Rachel Brenke: [00:29:33] So basically sole proprietor means I mean you do not have to do anything. You act like you’re in business and you’re in business, you’re automatically a sole proprietor and S.P., there is no division between yourself individually and your business.

Rachel Brenke [00:29:46] I never recommend this ever. You’ll see people on Facebook go to say be S.P. but have liability insurance and but insurances don’t cover everything. So when we’re looking at the entity like the type you just mentioned, I’ll come back to them in a second. We’re looking at the entity and we’re we also want to think about other things for protection contracts and liability insurance. So these are going to be layers. You don’t want to substitute one for the other. Several photographers. I primarily recommend the Limited Liability Company or LLC. That’s because I primarily work with a lot of single photographers. Not your marital or relationship status, but like it’s just you. Corporations sometimes can be overkill for smaller businesses just because it costs more or there’s more administrative. You’re going to need to have someone do an assessment for you. I don’t know. I mean other statistics, but we hardly ever recommend corporations unless two major things. You’re going to have other owners in the business. And then also, do you anticipate on having investors down the line?

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:30:51] Right right. So the first step then for someone that might be just starting their business and they want to make sure that it’s legal will be the very first thing that someone should do if they are opening up their doors.

Rachel Brenke: [00:31:05] It’s not even your entity. You want to you’re choosing a business name. And so you’re using choosing one. That’s not your name. You want to make sure that you’re not infringing on someone’s trademark.

Rachel Brenke: [00:31:16] And a business lawyer that doesn’t have IP knowledge probably wouldn’t have started there. But the reason I start there so that you guys do the proper checks, because if you go out to the business name, then do your LLC, your insurance, your contract, your Facebook page and all of that. Yeah. You’re putting out a name that’s an fringing on someone’s trademark. You’re then liable. So always start with double-checking the business name, making sure that it’s available, not just in your state, but check nationwide here in the US and then you can move. So like your entity, your insurance, get your contracts and that sort of stuff.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:31:50] That’s great. That’s really helpful because I’m sure a lot of people get hung up on that. Where do we even start? What’s the very first thing to do? So yeah. This has been so helpful and so, so much good stuff here. Thank you so much for your time. So if people want to find you, if they want to follow you, where can they find you at?

Rachel Brenke: [00:32:11] You guys can find me at We also have a Facebook group of like fifty thousand members, a year’s worth of post, a really good active community that you can dig in. No stupid questions. Ask away. Ask away. People will help. And if you have any questions specifically like about what we talked about here, feel free to submit through the Facebook page or the contact form or we have a chatbox on the website myself and the team will be more than happy to continue the conversation.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:32:38] This has been wonderful. And thank you guys so much for listening. If you’re catching us on YouTube, make sure you hit subscribe. If you are listening to us on the podcast, give us a five-star review. It really does matter. So thank you so much. Thank you so much for your time, Rachel. It’s been so good meeting you and sharing your knowledge.

Rachel Brenke: [00:32:58] Yeah of course. I look forward to talking to you guys.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:32:59] Awesome. Thank you.

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