Cancellation Policies: Best Practices for Real Estate Photographers

Real estate photographers have a lot on their plate when it comes to accepting more client projects. Depending on the line of services they offer, the bulk of their work even goes far beyond photographing and retouching images.

Some professional real estate photographers opt to branch out even to video editing, 3D tours, drone shots, and virtually staging the images. When it comes to the latter, knowing the ins and outs of 3D software are one thing, but knowing how to efficiently design interiors virtually is another skill set required.

Because of all the time, effort, skill, creativity, and resources you put into each project, it is important that you protect your rights and your work. Policies such as refunds, cancellations, and the like are some of the most common issues that businesses run into. To keep both you and your client secured, here are the best practices we suggest implementing

Can a photographer cancel a contract?

Simply put, yes a photographer can cancel a contract but if, and only if, it clearly states within the cancellation clause that they are allowed to do so.

An important clause to include in your contract when discussing cancellation policies is the instance wherein the photographer may be incapacitated. This section should also include potential reasons why the photographer may cancel so as to be able to determine later on if the reasons given are legally acceptable.

It is also important to state whether or not it is required for the photographer himself or herself to be sick, injured, and the like, or is it acceptable if the dependents of the photographer are those affected by the circumstances.

If an illness or death provision is not something you would like to add in, you may opt to include a force majeure section. Force majeure, also known as “acts of God”, are instances which are deemed unavoidable and unforeseeable, and effectively prevents you from being able to perform your agreed services. An example of this would be natural disasters, wars, pandemics, and the like.

Are photographer deposits refundable?

More often than not, professional real estate photographers would require a certain percentage of the total agreed cost as a deposit. This deposit serves as a reservation or confirmation that the client is acquiring of the said service on the dates specified.

Because making an appointment to fulfill a project means that the photographer will be unable to book with other clients during that time, the deposits are typically non-refundable and will essentially serve as the cancellation fee should the client change their minds.

Some photographers, however, will allow refunds of either the total amount or a percentage of it up to a certain time. This is not very commonplace, and is up to the photographer’s discretion.

Still, other photographers can offer you the option to reschedule to a future session date instead. For example, you can rebook your confirmed date at least 72 hours before the day to prevent having to pay the cancellation fee and forfeiting your contract. The deposit or session retainer paid previously for the original event date will now credit to your new confirmed date.

What is a fair cancellation policy in real estate photography?

Below are some examples of the most common cancellation policies

  • If the client reschedules their session at least 72 hours before the agreeable date, they will avoid cancellation fees.
  • The deposit or event retainer fee paid will be credited to the newly agreed project event date.
  • Deposits are non-refundable and will serve as cancellation fee if the client cancels.
  • Should the photographer be unable to perform the contract due to casualties, illness, emergencies, or acts of God, the photographer will refund the deposit in full.

There you have it!  As long as you ensure that your policies protect both you and the client, and are equally fair for both parties, you should have a secured and strong contract.