Wedding Suppliers and Styled Shoots – the legal issues? PART ONE: Heads of Terms

Styled Shoots – the legal issues? Social media is full of fabulous creatives conjuring up amazing themes and ideas for styled shoots for wedding suppliers – a brilliant way of collaborating in a fun way with your fellow suppliers and showing off your wares.

Sometimes these styled shoots will be tasked to recreate an agreed themed scenario where couples can see your goods actually being used (great visual stimulus for couples to buy your lovely stuff) or perhaps a styled shoot could be an artistic license for the suppliers to create something fantastic and unworldly to appeal to not only potential customers but to create ’art for art’s sake’ style visuals for their own creative and marketing purposes.

Because these styled shoots are proving to be such great fun, and provide brilliant material for marketing for those involved, there has been a significant increase in them in recent years. They are a popular way to spend some of the low season time creating collateral for blogs, imagery for websites, magazine submissions and social media posts. And that’s all great – but what happens when there’s a mismatch between the parties’ expectations and what in fact was delivered? Or – and let’s hope not – something goes wrong on the shoot day. What are the legal issues?

My experience is that styled shoot collaborations are pretty loosely defined and rarely documented. No creative wants to curb their creative style to get a contract style document in place, do they? But is this rather short sighted and highly risky? I’d say “yes it is” and this is the first of three parts of a blog to explain why.

Getting something in writing (however simple) and setting out what the individuals in the shoot are providing and who’s paying or contributing to the costs is – in my view – an absolute minimum requirement. Recently I’ve been approached by a number of suppliers who were promised to be reimbursed expenses on a shoot but haven’t been paid. Most suppliers provide time for free, but some suppliers will be incurring potentially high expenses (think about a florist costs, for example) to bring their designed kit to a styled shoot, when no end user is picking up the tab.

Write down what was agreed – even if it is agreed NOTHING is payable.

I hasten to add this DOES NOT mean a 20 page contract with 56 appendixes and 3 months of contract negotiations… use what lawyers call Heads of Terms (HOT) – its like the highlights of an agreement without all the lawyer style clauses that create the mechanisms of the contract. An aide memoire if you like, of the really important bits:

  • Who is in the styled shoot? Don’t create a partnership by mistake…check this.
  • What are the themes or rules of the styled shoot? – You probably have a mood broad or a Pinterest board – you can reference it here.
  • Who is paying for what? And when?
  • Intellectual Property – outline the do’s and dont’s – and social media etiquette when sharing – more of this in week 2’s blog…
  • Risk assessments and Health and Safety issues – more of this in week 3’s blog…
  • Insurance considerations – we will cover this in week 3’s blog too…

A special styled shoots contract offer will follow next week

Brilliant News

You don’t even have to think about how to do this, because SGOL has a template Styled Shoot Heads of Terms Template for you AND a special offer to members of the Your Legal Fairy Godmother Facebook group for a limited time. Email me if you just can’t possibly wait another week for this legal revelation and you want details – or tune in next week to find out more.

Same Bat time, Same Bat channel (for all children of the 70’s ……)

Image courtesy of Captured by Megan Wilson