Legal Guide for Photographers: 5 Elements to Consider

We published a legal guide for influencers a few weeks ago and thought it would be interesting to try this formula with various jobs. We often get questions from photographers who wonder what they should be aware of, legally speaking, so we decided to compile some of the most important elements into a blog post!

Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding a photographer’s legal needs, send us an email at


Service agreement

Yes, we know. You’ve heard us say it a million times: service agreements are important. But we swear we only keep repeating it because it is true. If you’d like to get more information about how a service agreement can help you, you can check out this blog post. Service agreements are important, as they allow you to, amongst other things, protect your intellectual property and set expectations between you and your client. So make sure you have a proper one!


Licensing agreement

If you plan on letting other people use your work, you need a licensing agreement. This type of contract allows you to give certain rights (broadcasting, reproduction, etc.) on your work while still maintaining your intellectual property rights. Licensing agreements are particularly important if you do a lot of commercial work.


Model release form

Yes, you took the photo, but you cannot use it without first getting the consent of the person you photographed! Make sure your clients sign a model release form and that they are fully aware of the document’s implications. If you are taking pictures of minors, do not forget that you need their parents’ signature in order to use the shots.



As a photographer, there are two types of insurance you should be looking into: liability insurance and equipment insurance. Liability insurance will be particularly useful if you end up in any court proceedings due to mistakes you have made (injuries and various accidents, for instance).

Equipment insurance is pretty straightforward: it protects the equipment you own and use as a photographer. If anything were to happen to your equipment (dropping, weather damage, etc.), equipment insurance would come in very handy. Determine the cost of replacing your equipment and get insured for at least that amount.


Sales tax

In Quebec, you have to register to collect sales tax if you have made more than 30,000$ in the past 4 consecutive civil trimesters. If that’s the situation you are in, make sure you are registered.

However, keep in mind that collecting sales tax even before you hit 30,000$ has one big advantage: you can claim sales tax paid on your business expenses (equipment, marketing, transport, etc.) This is particularly advantageous if you’re just starting out. In some cases, you might even get a sales tax refund!


If you have any additional questions you would like to ask us regarding law and photography, do not hesitate to send us an email at or click on the link below to schedule a consultation.

About the author