Do You Need Contracts for Real Estate Photography Shoots?

Do You Need Contracts for Real Estate Photography Shoots?


I’ve been asked a couple of times about the usage of contracts in real estate photography. As a real estate photographer, how do I protect myself from an agent that may not pay for the services I provided? What about exclusivity or maybe agreeing to reserve a day of the week for an agent on retainer?


The new Copyright Act for Photographers came into force on November 7, 2012.

Given that the legislation is subject to certain exceptions, and that it is quite complex to enforce, CAPIC still recommends that its members continue to use standard agreements and other tools made available to them to protect their copyrights.

The Canadian Copyright Act was amended on November 7, 2012.
In Canada, copyrights are protected by the Copyright Act, c. C-42. Since November 7, 2012, the Canadian Act finally grants ownership of the copyright to professional freelance photographers for work created in the course of their employment.

The Copyright Act was amended in the Spring of 2012, under Bill C-11, rectifying the injustice that prevailed hitherto, while the copyright of photographs that were ordered belonged to the client by default.

Canadian photographers are now, by default, the first owners of the copyright of the images they produce, as are illustrators, musicians, painters, and writers with their respective work. This applies to both photographs commissioned and paid by a client, and to photographs taken for non-commercial purposes. Therefore, photographers no longer have to sign an agreement with their client stating that they are the first owner of the copyright; the Act now guarantees ownership by default.

However, it is still recommended to draft a contract that will outline the various business terms, such as image use, licenses sold, and terms of payment. For information purposes, it is always useful to specify in the contract that the photographer is the first owner of the copyright of the images produced.