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Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017
Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

WHAT'S YOUR BRIDAL STYLE?

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The Photo Opp Podcast – Episode 1: Protect Yourself with Photography Contracts

Today’s episode of the Photo Opp Podcast explores photography contracts with Annette Stepanian, founder of Your Legal BFF. Annette talks about the best (easy) ways to protect your photography business. In this episode, we’re discussing:

Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The Photo Opp Podcast – Protect Yourself with Photography Contracts | Guest: Annette Stepanian of Your Legal BFF

Photo Opp Podcast Episode 1 – Show Notes

Today’s episode of the Photo Opp Podcast explores photography contracts with Annette Stepanian, founder of Your Legal BFF. Annette talks about the best (easy) ways to protect your photography business. In this episode, we’re discussing:

  • When photography contracts are required in your business

  • Common mistakes photographers encounter legally

  • Differentiating contracts between photography jobs

  • Potential repercussions for operating without a contract

  • Advice for photographers to grow their business–– safely and legally!

If you are a new listener to Photo Opp, I’d love to hear from you. DM me @meganbreukelman with any questions or ideas, and join the Facebook Group for meaningful discourse within the community.

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The Photo Opp Podcast – Episode 1 – Transcript

Megan Breukelman: [00:00:00] Welcome back to the Photo Opp Podcast podcast. Today we’re chatting with. Annette Stepanian, lawyer and founder of your Your Legal BFF, helping creatives of all kinds with protecting their businesses. She’s got all sorts of services, including contract templates, training and more. So welcome Annette!

Annette Stepanian: [00:00:31] Thank you, Megan, for having me.

Megan Breukelman: [00:00:33] Thank you for being here. So tell us a little bit about you. How did you get started in your field?

Annette Stepanian: [00:00:39] Well, you know, I took kind of the traditional route. I went and I worked at a law firm for about five or six years. And after about that time, I thought, you know, I need to do something different. I wanted to be fulfilled in a different way. So I took a leap of faith. I quit my job. I had no plan in place. I traveled a little bit, came back and actually started a jewelry line and did a complete 180, something completely different, something that really fed my creative soul. And I did that for a few years. And during that process, I started working with a lot of photographers and designers and graphic artists and just freelancers. And they kept asking me for legal advice. And I kept saying, no, no, no. Or, you know, get their contracts. And I couldn’t help myself. I’d be like, oh, honey, like, we need to change this. You know, you need to you know, you’re giving away really important rights by by having your client sign this contract. So over time, I just saw a need for legal information, legal resources for folks in the creative space, in the entrepreneurial space. There just seemed to be a gap between just the resources that were out there. You know, a lot of people said that it didn’t really speak to them, did it? It didn’t feel like it applied to what they did. And so I just thought I saw a great opportunity for me to combine. We know this legal background that I have, this legal education with this industry, this marketplace of craft creatives. And so that’s kind of how it all started several years ago at this point. And so that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

Megan Breukelman: [00:02:25] And your brand is Your Legal BFF. Tell us what that is.

Annette Stepanian: [00:02:29] Yeah. So my business is, actually it’s two businesses. I have one that is just kind of what would be considered more of a traditional law firm where I work one on one with clients doing real custom work, you know, whether it’s drafting contracts or trademark registrations or whatnot, you know, legal advice. And then there’s a separate brand that I created called Your Legal BFF. And that was really meant to be a resource for folks who maybe aren’t ready to work with a lawyer yet or maybe they don’t want to invest those resources yet. And so it was really designed to create resources that are affordable, that are industry-specific and that are just, you know, approachable. So Your Legal BFF is where we house our contract templates and online trainings, kind of a do-it-yourself type of resource. And the idea the name behind Your Legal BFF is just that, you know, your best friend is always has your
back. They’ll tell you if you have spinach stuck between your teeth and whatnot. And so in that way, you know, I wanted the brand to really be kind of like your legal best friend. You know, the person that, you know, you could go to or the resource you could go to to help cover yourself and protect your business.

Megan Breukelman: [00:03:50] I mean, yeah, I love your brand. And that’s what drew me to you in the first place. And I think for photographers and many creatives, the legal side of the business is often the trickiest part. And you have the cutest branding ever and you’re making all the legal scary stuff look like an actual fun time, which I think, you know, that makes it less daunting overall to creative people. So how did you decide to cater so specifically to photographers and other small businesses that you work with?

Annette Stepanian: [00:04:19] Yeah, I think it really just came out of, you know, as I was starting my own business. I was working with, like I said, photographers or designers or I got married. I worked with an event planner. And so it really just came out of my own experience of working with all these different talented people and seeing, okay, well, this is an industry that needs good contracts right there, service based businesses. And they they they have a need. And so it really just came out of that. And just my exposure to those types of people and really understanding what they need. What the problems were, where were kind of the knowledge gaps that I could help fill in. And a lot of these people were also just my friends. It was about like, well, I want to protect you. You know, you’re starting an event rental company, for instance. OK. Like, what do we have to do to make sure that you’re covered? You know, like, what are the issues there? And so that’s kind of how it all, like the genesis of it. And then just as it’s evolved, it’s just been really keeping in touch and keeping in tune with what people need. Like where are the trends? Where where is the demand? What are the kind of requests that I’m getting or questions I’m getting all the time and just developing products based on that.

Megan Breukelman: [00:05:41] And do you feel like you’re working with your creative side as well when you’re coming up with these contracts and these templates?

Annette Stepanian: [00:05:47] Yeah, I think that’s why it’s why I enjoy it so much, is maybe the contracts themselves are not super creative. But a lot of the graphic design and the presentation and the marketing of it, I get to really utilize that creative side. So up until recently, I mean, I did a lot of this stuff myself and I’m very hands on. So whether it was like updating the website or doing the photography, even though only recently, you know, it really kind of brought in a professional. But the styling and everything, the creative direction, I’m really hands on with that. And that’s where I kind of get to release and when, you know, the legal stuff gets too much. It’s nice to have this outlet where I can really be creative and play with different colors and just the brand voice and play with that. So, yeah, it’s a nice little balance that I get to I get to play with.

Megan Breukelman: [00:06:45] I love that. I love like bringing your creative side and, you know, your legal side together. That’s great. So let’s get down to it. Why does it matter for photographers to have contracts?

Annette Stepanian: [00:06:59] So any time, whether you’re a photographer, whether you’re a designer or whatever it is that you’re doing. It’s important to have a contract for a number of different reasons. One is obviously it’s if you ever go to court, it’s great to have this document, this contract, something written down on paper, signed by both of the parties that outline what are the issues that are at stake here? What have you guys agreed to? Because most judges are going to want to look at something in writing. If you know, there’s been a dispute, they’re not just going to want to decide between. He said she said, you know, it’s not like Judge Judy where it’s like they come and they tell the story. Then the judge just decides based on that, they want something concrete to look at. And then, you know, I’m going to ask you, Megan, like, do you remember what you eat two weeks ago for lunch on Monday?

Megan Breukelman: [00:07:53] No, I have no idea.

Annette Stepanian: [00:07:55] Exactly right. So, as you know, memories fade. And whether you are a wedding photographer who know some of those events or you book them so far in advance. You know, maybe a year out, a couple will come to you and book you. And even if you don’t have that long of a lead time, no memories fade. You don’t know what you’ve agreed to. Maybe with one client, you agreed to give them 60 highly edited images and the other one was one hundred and twenty. So just it’s nice to have something documented so that both parties know what is to be expected of each other. They both can understand what their roles and responsibilities are in that process. So that’s another reason. Actually another great reason to have a contract, is that it it sets out those expectations because a lot of times the clients that we might be working with, they’ve never worked with someone like you before. You know, if you’re a wedding photographer, a couple has probably never hired a wedding photographer before. And so they don’t know what to expect. They don’t know what’s reasonable. And every business is unique. Right. So you might have certain policies and procedures that are different from the next person. So those are all reasons why it’s so important to have a good contract in place. But above all, one that most people don’t really talk about is I think a contract and a well-written one really sets you out as a professional and that helps set you apart from the competition. So as your listeners probably feel like, you know, it feels like every industry is just over oversaturated. There’s too much there’s too many people to pick from. Well, if a client is coming to you and deciding between you and another person and you both send your contracts over and one is like really well written, really thought out, it really looks seeks to protect the photographer as well as the client. Whereas the other one may be a super basic, maybe has typos, maybe they don’t even have a contract. You know, it gives you an impression. And so I. And say that contracts are almost like a branding tool. And to some, to some extent in that it helps sets you apart from others in this space and it can help attract higher level clientele because they’re the ones we’re gonna be expecting to see. Well, we’re in a well-thought out contracts. You know, if you’re working with a corporate like a company, you know, maybe you’re doing brand photography and, you know, you’re probably working with some companies, legal department. So you have to know your audience. There you go to. These are probably lawyers or people who are very comfortable dealing with contracts. Does my contract kind of reflect that back to them? Does it speak their language? So those are really long answer to a short question, but for those reasons. For all of those reasons, I think it’s really important for photographers snap contracts.

Megan Breukelman: [00:10:57] And do you think a contract is required for every job or does an email ever suffice?

Annette Stepanian: [00:11:04] So I would say always have a contract, even if you’re doing something for free. Anytime you’re exchanging somethin
g of value to value for value, definitely have something signed and just articulated. Even if it’s something very simple, emails can be under certain circumstances held to be valid agreements. It’s just it’s it’s almost like if you’re looking on a sliding scale. I’m just thinking about if you’re sitting in front of a judge, what is going to be more persuasive? Right. Oh, here’s a document, a contract that both of us signed. That really goes into detail and outlines all of our responsibilities. Here is what the client said. He or she is going to do or is it going to be an email exchange or an Instagram deal? So on that scale, it’s going to be so much more persuasive to have a solid contract. I’ve seen situations where people haven’t had a contract. They’ve actually done the work. They’ve they’ve been they’ve had a history with this person. So they’ve done the work. You know, maybe a year before they worked on a project together, got paid. Everything was great. Next year, they came back. They did the work. And then the client refused to pay. So the person took him to small claims court. And the first thing the judge asked was, well, where’s the contract? And the person? The service provider was like, why didn’t we didn’t have a contract? We had this history. You know, I’ve done the work. You know, here’s all the documentation. I’ve delivered all of these deliverables. And now the person’s refusing to pay. Well, the judge ruled against that service provider saying, well, you didn’t have a contract. And so sorry. And so you just don’t want to be in that situation. It’s so simple nowadays to get a contract out. There’s so many softwares that could just make it easy for you and the client to get one signed. To me, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t have one.

Megan Breukelman: [00:13:03] Oh, my gosh. That is a nightmare for an industry that’s based on relationships, like thinking about a client that you’ve had a good relationship with and then suddenly having to, you know, end up in court with them.

Annette Stepanian: [00:13:14] That’s that’s something I think every photographer wants to avoid. You have to think about as photographers, what you do is so subjective. Right. Because it’s it’s it’s it’s a form of art. And unfortunately, sometimes some people, you know, they might go and shoot their wedding and then they might be really unhappy with the images because it doesn’t match the aesthetic that they thought that they were going to get. And so I think especially like when it’s it’s not a clear cut like here, I’m going to deliver this widget to you or this product to you. It’s not always so clear. There’s always that potential that a client, even someone that you were excited to work with. They were excited to work with you. They might come back and not be happy with your service for some reason. And, you know, maybe you forgot to capture, like, the groom’s face as the bride was walking down the aisle and they might get really upset. So having this stuff just in case to protect you and documented is just, I think, a no brainer.

Megan Breukelman: [00:14:19] Now, you also just mentioned. Can you talk a bit about why someone would need a contract even if they’re shooting for free?

Annette Stepanian: [00:14:27] Well, what you’re doing it for free, but you’re probably getting something for value. Right. You’re probably going to get some sort of publication. Right. Or, you know, someone’s going to submit it to a blog. Also, as the photographer, I kind of take a step back, kind of dive into a little bit of a lesson here. As the photographer, there’s the issue of copyrights and who owns the content that you are creating and who has the right to use that content and under what conditions. So even though you’re doing something for free, I’m going to assume that you’re gonna be the copyright owner of the photo of the photos because you are the person who actually took the pictures. And there is no other agreement otherwise or this is an employer. And so as the photographer, you own that content. So you want to be able to dictate or to outline how that content can be used. So you could do that through your contract. And then, of course, if there’s some sort of exchange, they’re exchanging something of value. So let’s say they say, OK, let’s do a free shoot. But then I’m going to submit it to all these blogs or all these magazines. Well, what if they don’t? Well, you want to have that all documented somewhere in writing, so you understand. OK, I’m going to put in the time. I’m going to put in the effort to go to the shoot. Well, what are you going to do with those pictures and how are you going to distribute those? So there’s like there are issues that do come up. Even though money is not exchanged.

Megan Breukelman: [00:16:07] You brought up a really good point there. Can you tell us a bit about copyright and ownership for photographers? Because some people might not know what their rights are for their files or their negatives, the way copyrights work.

Annette Stepanian: [00:16:19] Is that the the author of an original creative piece of work and that’s photog photos and photographs fall under that kind of category of work because there’s different categories. Not everything is eligible for copyright, but photos, for example, are. So if you are the original author or the creator of this piece of content, this photo, the default presumption is that you are the copyright owner of that work, meaning that you have the exclusive right to display it, to sell it, to make copies of it, to make derivative works of it. So it’s a really powerful right because you can basically you create this one piece of content and then you can slice and dice your rights in so many different ways through licensing and things like that. So the default presumption is that the original author of the work owns the copyright. However, there are some exceptions. So let’s say you are an employer employee relationship. So let’s say you work for. I don’t know. Martha Stewart magazine. Does she still have the weddings, magazines all around which saw the magazine? So it’s a Martha Stewart magazine. You’re a photographer on staff. The presumption is that any content, any photographs you create as an employee of Martha Stewart magazine belongs to the Martha Stewart magazine employer. OK. So you don’t own any of that copyright. You can also create, for example, agreements that say maybe you have a client who says, I really want to work with you, but I want to own the copyrights to the final images. Right. So you can enter into a written agreement where you transfer your ownership rights over those photos to the client or to ever the other party. And so you want to understand these rights and how they work. And these are things that you want to then address in your contracts. So there should be a section in your contract that talks about, well, who owns the copyright to the deliverables, to the final photos. And even if you retain the copyright, you have to then give a license to that other person to be able to use it. And so you want to outline all of the all of those details in the contract that make sense.

Megan Breukelman: [00:18:44] That totally makes sense. And I want to ask a little bit – what are some of the most common mistakes you see photographers encounter legally?

Annette Stepanian: [00:18:54] Well, I mean, this issue of copyrights, I think is the biggest one is because I think they don’t understand what their rights are and they don’t understand necessarily how it works. And, you know, most people when they first start a business, they’ll just kind of if they they realize the impor
tance of having a contract. So they’ll just kind of copy and paste from different contracts they found on the Internet for free or, you know, when they took from another friend, photographer friend. And they’re just kind of taking this stuff and putting it all together into what looks like a legitimate contract without always understanding what the repercussions are. So, for example, when I had my jewelry line and I was working with a photographer, what I read her contract, I mean, she was just like willy nilly giving away her rights. And I told her I was like, you know, have you thought about this? And she had no idea what she was doing. So I think that this is definitely one of them is what is this concept of copyrights? What where does my work fit in? Do I want to license it? Do I want to transfer it? Do I? Monetize this in a way that works for me and my business. Other things that I were kind of going to kind of Segway here is, you know, hiring second shooters here in California. The laws are changing in terms of hiring independent contractors. So that’s going to be, I think, a big issue for a lot of photographers who, you know, they hire a friend and they have them as an independent contractor. You know, to come into second shoot, it’s looking more and more in California that these people are going to have to be classified as employees versus independent contractors. So things like that, that I think people just kind of look around in the industry, see what everybody else is doing, and then they just assume it’s the right thing. But just, you know, kind of like what our moms used to say, like everybody jumps off a cliff. Does it mean that you shouldn’t be jumping off a cliff? So just because everybody else is doing it, does it mean that it’s the right thing?

Megan Breukelman: [00:21:00] Ok, that makes sense. And you mention about photographers taking pieces from different contacts, kind of mishmash, a contract together. And I would love to get more specific about like the types of contracts. Are there differences between contracts for, say, wedding photography services vs. events vs. portraits? And why is it important for photographers to have multiple types of contracts?

Annette Stepanian: [00:21:26] Yeah, that’s a really great question. I would look at it as you want to have a like some sort of client service agreement that like should be everybody should at least have that. And with weddings and events, there may be some differences depending on the type of event that you’re doing. So let’s say you’re only doing, I don’t know, corporate events for some reason. Like you’re just you’re like the person who just does conferences. Right. There might be a unique set of issues with regards to how corporate events are run versus how weddings are run. So weddings, for example, you know, your client is usually like we talked about earlier, it’s a different audience. Usually, you know, they’re usually just kind of regular people. And so you might want to speak to them differently in the contract, but also that their concerns are going to be different. You know what happens if the event gets canceled, the wedding gets canceled or needs to get gets postponed? What happens if, you know, they might have certain requirements about short lists and who gets, you know, who you photograph from the wedding party in the family, you might have certain requirements, you know, like you have to feed me, hit the wedding if it’s over so many, so many hours where a corporate event, maybe there are different issues, maybe there are concerns about confidentiality. Maybe the you know, as a corporate sales event, they don’t want all these photos to be on there on your online portfolio. And so I would say for the most part, there would be a lot of overlapping issues if you’re some sort of event photographer. But then there may be distinct issues depending on the type of event in terms of if you’re like doing a portrait photographer. So you just kind of take that same concept is at the most basic level you want to outline, OK, what am I as a photographer promising you as to the client and what the client? Are you promising me? And then you think through OK or there what? What’s unique to, you know, this type of shoot? And so, like, you know, I’m pregnant right now. I’m hiring a newborn photographer. Well, there’s certain things that are very unique to newborn photography. Right. Like what if I can’t make that date because I’ve just brought the baby home, you know, and it’s a disaster, you know, like, do I have flexibility to change, you know, the day, you know, that you might address differently in a newborn photography session versus, you know, a corporate sales event. So. So to answer your question, there are going to be overlapping issues, but there are going to be certain nuances that are going to be distinct based on the type of photography you’re doing, because just as not every photographer can shoot every type of style. I think not every contract can necessarily address every type of issue for these different types of photography services. And are there other things that the average photographer may not be considering that can help protect their business legally? Oh, gosh, there’s so much we talked about. You know, the whole hiring of people, that’s a whole other conversation. You know, I think also. When you’re gonna be using these images, although you own the rights to the photos, let’s assuming you haven’t otherwise granted them away or it’s not an employer employee relationship, you or the copyright owner. There are no rights of publicity and rights of privacy. So if there is somebodies, you know, it’s a picture of a model or it’s a picture of a bride or whatnot. You know, you have to be careful about how you use those images of somebody else in connection with promoting your business. So usually you have to get a release. You have to get permission from them authorizing you to use their likeness and their appearance in connection with, you know, let’s say you’re going to use these images on your website or on your social media. So that’s one thing to think about. Another thing is, you know, we live in an online world nowadays. Most of us don’t even have a storefront. We don’t have an office. You know, we work from our laptops. And so having an online presence is going to require that you take care of your online home. So that’s your Web site, your social media. So thinking about things like privacy policies in terms of service and just and making sure that you’re online home has been addressed as well. How you communicate things online. There are. So there’s rules about everything. And so just being aware of that as well. It’s not just always the kind of face to face interactions. It’s also how we represent ourselves online and just as a brand.

Megan Breukelman: [00:26:40] And what are some of the potential repercussions of photographers operating without those kind of legal protections?

Annette Stepanian: [00:26:49] Well, the risk I mean, it runs the gamut. Right. It depends on the issue. You know, the risk goes from all the way of having an unhappy client who wants their money back. No one wants to take you to court because they feel like they didn’t get to the level of service that they wanted all the way to. You know, if you are using somebodies image without their permission, you know, they might ask you to take down like a cease and desist. If you’re hiring people who and classifying them as independent contractors and they should be classified as employees, you might have an audit brought against you and have to pay back taxes and penalties. So it runs the gamut. It’s really about, you know, it’s so easy to start a business these days in terms of just like getting going, in terms of, you know, a lot of the barriers to entry feel very low. It’s like, well, let me just create a social media profile
and put up a Web site and I’m in business. But no, you have to kind of take a step back and say, OK, what are the things that I need to do to make sure I’ve got my legal ducks in a row? And in fact, if you go over to my Web site, I’ve broken down kind of the five areas that most business owners need to be thinking about. Some of these that we discussed here today, they’re kind of like big bucket areas that you want to make sure that you’re addressing or you’re familiar with as your starting and growing your business.

Megan Breukelman: [00:28:23] Honestly, yes, it’s way easier to build a brand than a business these days. And I think that’s where a lot of photographers kind of hit a wall with their operations. So I’m definitely I’m glad you mentioned that kids like nowadays you can hop on Instagram and build a following like that and you have a business, but you’re not protecting yourself, you know?

Annette Stepanian: [00:28:42] Yeah, it’s so true. And that’s I think where I see a lot of people, they’ll they’ll be going in there kind of cutting it close. You know, they’ll have a few close encounters and then they’ll be like, OK, at a certain point they feel like they have too much to lose. And that’s when they kind of go back and do the stuff that they should have done in the beginning. So I understand why people do it this way. But I guess my overall message is ideally, if you could do it up front, get get your ducks in a row up front. But at some point in your business, like you can’t keep avoiding this, it’s it’s stuff that you are putting yourself out there. You’re you’re in commerce and there are rules around that. And so we need to make sure that you are in compliance with those rules.

Megan Breukelman: [00:29:31] And for those people who are looking to kind of start protecting themselves, so you have contract templates on your legal behalf. So tell us about them. What kind of templates do you have?

Annette Stepanian: [00:29:42] Yeah. So I have a bunch of templates for photographers, for other industry professionals. And basically, the way that there’s a really cool tool on the website, I think on the home page where you can kind of put in what industry you’re in, how long you’re in business, have been in business for things that ask you a few basic questions and then it’ll like generate a list of potential contracts you might need for your business. And so the way the templates work is, you don’t want to just throw a template your way and they just send you on your way. I really want to educate you and I want you to walk out of the whole experience feeling like I’m in control. I understand contracts. I know how to answer a question. Should a client have a question about my contract? So what I do is I walk you through a three step process for setting up your contracts. And contracts are actually a really great way for you to think about your business in a very thoughtful manner. Just to take that minute to reflect on like I have this really cool opportunity to build whatever I want to build. Like I don’t have to do it any other way. I don’t have do it how you do. Sam does it or how Megan does it. I could just do how I want to do it. And so I walk you through a process of thinking through that, customizing the contract and then setting up the system so that this is kind of running on autopilot in terms of like your contracts. So and then with each template, you also get. I walk you through each section, each paragraph of the contract with videos explaining to you what they mean, how you might go about customizing it. So again, you walk away again, not so much like, oh, here’s another document, I just fill in the blanks. But to walk away with a comprehensive understanding and confidence in your contracts.

Megan Breukelman: [00:31:35] That is such a smart setup. And I love that you’re educating people and walking them through the legal process. That’s because, like I said before, like, it’s really daunting for people who have no idea what they’re doing. I’ve been in that boat like I get it. And at what point should a photographer look at having a lawyer versus using templates?

Annette Stepanian: [00:31:54] That’s a really great question. I mean, if you can afford to have a lawyer, do it for you. From day one. Go for it. You know, templates are really there for people who maybe don’t have the resources yet or aren’t willing to spend the money to have a lawyer do it. Or if, for example, what I find a lot of people come to me for is they’ll say, I’ve gone to another lawyer. I try and explain to them what I’m doing, but they just look at me like I like I’m like this crazy Pacific it, you know. So if you feel like the lawyer who you’re working with has the knowledge but may not have the industry familiarity, like they don’t really get like what you do or whatnot. It’s also a really nice way to bridge that gap. So because I work with photographers, for instance, I understand things like, you know, the nuances or the things that you guys go through. So the template reflects that. And so you could get the template, customize it, and then have a lawyer in your local state review it and just like tweak it or make revisions and things like that. It’s usually gonna be a lot more affordable to do it that way than to have a lawyer draft it from scratch. So like I said, if you could afford a lawyer and you feel like you have someone who gets your business, just have them draft one for you. But if you feel like you can’t, those two don’t apply. A template might be a good option for you at this point.

Megan Breukelman: [00:33:24] And do you have any further advice for photographers who are looking to grow their business in a safe and legal way?

Annette Stepanian: [00:33:31] Oh, God, there’s so much. I think the biggest thing is because it just. The biggest thing I want to say is stop looking around in the industry and seeing what everybody else is doing and like just mimicking that, you know, whether it’s with like the law or taxes or your business or just even how you market yourself. I think it’s it’s really easy for all of us, whether you’re photographers or not, to kind of. Especially we were first starting out. We feel very we don’t know what we’re doing. And so we’re kind of looking at our neighbor who’s just like, well, if she’s doing it this way, like, it must be working. You know, that may not be true and it may not be the right thing to do. For example, this whole independent contractor situation, I think it’s really important for you to think for yourself to think that. What is it that I want? How do I want to design this business? How do I want to architect it? And then figuring out the answers to those questions, even if that it looks different than what your neighbors are doing or your peers in the space are doing. I think that just sets you apart again from the competition. But also it it will hopefully end up feeling more fulfilling because you’re creating a business that’s actually reflecting your values and reflecting your strengths and what you’re passionate about versus what you use. Do you think you should be doing well?

Megan Breukelman: [00:34:58] This has been a super great conversation. I want to know where listeners can find you. So, you know, we can keep up with you and your legal BFA.

Annette Stepanian: [00:35:07] Yeah, well, you can find all the templates and the trainings over at your legal F F dot com. There’s also a quiz. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you could take a little quiz there to find out if
the contracts that you do have, if they’re up to snuff, you can also find me at a net site opinion dot com. That’s kind of hard to spell, but you can find me there.

Megan Breukelman: [00:35:31] I’ll put it in the show notes!

Annette Stepanian: [00:35:33] Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. Yeah. You can find me there. You’ll find me on Instagram. And I also have my own podcast called Office Talk. So all of that stuff is housed. If you just go to my website and that’s depending dot com, you can find your way to all of those things.

Megan Breukelman: [00:35:50] Well, thank you so much for your insights. And it’s been so great having you on the podcast and we’ll definitely put all those links in the show notes. And I definitely recommend to anyone listening to go and check out on that. She’s got a ton of amazing resources to protect your photo business legally and keep you covered.

Annette Stepanian: [00:36:08] Thank you, Megan, for having me. I hope this hasn’t been too daunting for people. Hopefully it’s been informative and hopefully people are willing to are ready to take action.

Megan Breukelman: [00:36:18] Thanks so much for tuning into the Photo Opp Podcast. If you liked this episode, I’d love for you to leave a review and let me know what you liked and what you want to hear more of. Also, head on over to the Facebook community and participate in some conversation with fellow photographers. If you want to reach me directly, feel free to DM me @meganbreukelman, which is linked in the show notes as well. Thanks again for listening, and I’ll see you in a flash.

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