A contract in our system is the same as a contract outside of our system; it's a legal agreement between two or more individuals. Contracts can be created in our system and then sent to your clients for them to sign on their PC/Mac or mobile device.
In this article we'll be going over the individual components of a contract, but if you're looking for a higher-level overview of a contract's life-cycle, you can find that here: What's the basic process for creating a contract and sending it to my client to sign?
Step 1: Create the Contract
The first step is to click the Contracts option in the main menu, and then click into the Contracts page from there. Once you're on the Contracts page, click the Create New Contract button found at the top of the page.
Step 2: Add in the Basic Information
After the Create New Contract button has been clicked, you'll be asked to fill out a small form with some of the basic information required for a contract. An example of this form can be seen here:
Each of the available settings are explained below:
- Template: Starting with a template is optional, but it is generally considered the first step in the contract creation process. You can choose from a contract you've made in the past, or you can choose to start with a blank sheet.
- Contract Type: Selecting a contract type will help you keep things organized down the road when you have a bunch of contracts and you're trying to sort through them all. This is a value that isn't seen by your clients, and it's used just for informational and organizational purposes.
- Contract Title: The contract title is displayed in bold across the top of the contract document. It's also used in the subject line of the emails sent to your clients, and it is generally the primary identifier when you're viewing your list of previously created contracts. It should be fairly short and to the point; something like: Model Release for John Smith
- Contract Subtitle: The subtitle is an optional setting, but when it's provided it will be prominently displayed on the contract document directly underneath the main contract title. This can be anything you'd like it to be, but a brief synopsis/overview of the contract contents is what it's primarily used for.
- Due Date: The contract due date is used to determine how long a person has to sign the contract. Signing a contract after the due date is not allowed, and the contract will need to be reverted back to a Draft and then given a new due date before signatures can be added to it once again.
- Contract Signatures: These names and email addresses will be displayed in the signature area of the contract. The names should match the legal names of the people signing the contract, and the email addresses should be double-checked since they will be used for requesting the contract signatures from your clients.
- Photographer: This should be the name of the person in your studio that will be signing the contract. If you'd like to say something like "Alex Brown (Jones Photography)", you are welcome to do that as well.
- Primary Client: Every contract requires at least two signatures; yours and a primary client's. The name and email address provided in this area should match your primary client's name and email address.
- Secondary Client: If you require signatures from two people (other than yourself) on the contract, add the second person's name and email address to this area. If you do NOT require a second signature, leave these areas completely empty.
Step 3: Fill in the Details
After the basic information has been provided, click the Next button to save the basics and move into the heart of the contract. The basic information that you provided in Step 2 (above) will be pulled into the contract details, and you can modify those values in the details area as well.
Here is an example of what the contract details area might look like for you:
The section on the left is known as the Dynamic Content area, and the section on the right is the Contract Layout area. You can modify the contract document using either area, but each side has its own purpose.
The dynamic content area contains three distinct sections:
- Contract Basics: This section contains the titles and the due date that you provided in the original contract creation form. Any changes you make to the these values will be displayed in the contract layout area as well.
- Contract Values: The items found in this area are the variables found in the contract template that you selected when creating the contract. If you started with a blank sheet instead of a template, this section will not be displayed. Each of the items found in this section must be given a value before the contract can be finalized and sent to your clients for signatures. Any changes you make to these items will be displayed in the contract layout area as well.
- Signature Area Details: Similar to the Contract Basics section, the settings found in this section were also provided in the original contract creation form. They include the names and email addresses for everyone that's going to be signing the contract. (Leave the Secondary Client's information blank if you do not require a second signature on the document.)
The contract layout area displays the full contract in its current form. Any changes you make to the values in the dynamic content area will be reflected in real-time in the contract layout area as well.
Variables from the contract template selected when the contract was created (if applicable) will be displayed in blue, and with a blue outline surrounding them. This blue color and outline is NOT displayed in the final contract; it is used only for visibility purposes on this screen.
You are free to modify the contract text as much as you'd like. Any changes you make will only apply to the contract you're currently working with, and they will not be saved back to the original contract template or to any other contract you've previously created.
Step 4: Save Your Changes
Your contract can be saved in either of two ways:
- You can save your contract as a draft. Saving your contract as a draft will allow you to come back and make changes to it in the future. You cannot request signatures on the contract while it is still in draft mode.
- You can finalize the contract. Once a contract is finalized it can no longer be changed, and copies of the contract will automatically be sent to you and your clients for signing. The contents of the email sent to your client can be found, and customized, through the Email Templates page. (You can find the template here: Marketing » Email » Email Templates, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Edit button next to the template labeled "Contract Signature Request.")
And that's it! All of your contracts can be viewed in the Contracts page found through the Contracts » Contracts menu option.