Photo Stylists Waiting on Payments For Styling Services

Feb 24, 2024

I know giving a client a contract can be scary.  (I hear this all the time from Freelance Photo and Prop Stylists) You could be thinking . . . I don’t want to give them a long, legal contract because . . . they may not hire me because  I’m “making them sign a contract” ~ they will just hire another Stylist who does not have them sign a contract. (& there are a lot of them!)  Not using a contract as a freelancer is very common.

BUT,  you can’t go into a job without a contract/agreement.  You have to protect yourself.  At the very least, you need to send them a “email confirmation” after you agree to the job.  (A email is a legally binding contract). It is legal and it protects you. BUT, to ensure it is legally binding, you can't just send email agreement to client ~ you do have to ensure that YOU receive an email back from your client stating:  "I agree to your terms". Your email should have your guidelines to accepting assignment, your pay rate, your overtime rate, request for your images/samples (ex. packaging) and your payment due date included. (& what happens if they do not pay on time.)

My Styling Story:   I was hired by a client who thought my “Day Rate” meant that I would be there all day into the night . . . 10:30 p.m. to be exact! Sometimes, a client just doesn’t know and other times it could be intentional.   A side note to that ~ Be mindful of scope creep, that could come creeping' in.  We need to know what we can do to stop scope creep with our clients. (An agreement that states your rate, hours and overtime rate protects you.)  I was VERY grateful for my contract that states that my "day rate" is 8 hours and after 8 hours, I charge for overtime per hour at a higher rate.  (Also, for this job my call time was VERY early ~ 5:00 am.)  So, we need to determine and talk about (have agreement) with our client on our hours.   That 17 hour day (I know, crazy, right?!?) could have been considered/billed at a standard 8 hour day ~ without a contract. Those 17 hour days can happen, sometimes just the nature of the biz, timelines, crunch times, etc.  (I go with the flow!)

*That all being said, I believe we do need to love on our clients.  I just think we need to do what I call 
bend with boundaries. ;)

You don’t want to keep checking your mailbox/email for that check to arrive, right?!?   I work with Photo Stylist’s that tell me:  They have waited over 6 months to get paid or worst: have never gotten paid!


Photographers usually withhold their images until they receive payment from a client . . . while the Photo Stylist (that contributed to those images) keeps checking the mailbox for their check to arrive . . . Just sayin’.  Photographers are business smart. 

I have a Professional Styling Services Contract in our Style Shop or you can use the email in this post until you are ready to purchase your Contract.  Either way ~ protect yourself, your styling and your business.  Building your styling business takes time, money, patience ~ whether that is biz products we have in our Style Biz Shop to prepare you, our topics we chat about here on the Blog like, what photographers look for when they ask you to do a test, the reasons you will not get hired back, or how to get hired for the styling jobs you want.  You know I go "all in" round' here on all things photo styling biz ;)

Few things to keep in mind:

  • Be organized with a Bookkeeping System
  • Set up your Styling Business to accept online payments  (Make it easy for clients to pay you)
  • Use Online (e-sign) Contract
  • Send Invoice due date reminders

If you have questions, please contact me at [email protected]  I’m happy to help!

Bonnie ~


Image Credit | Coffee and Milk via Canva


FREE Business of Photo Styling Guides to help with your Styling Business! Check them our in our Resource Library.


Questions or Comments?

We hope our Blog helps you! Do you have questions or comments on this Post (or any of our Blog Posts!) Please reach out ~ we would love to hear your questions and thoughts.  We get back to all emails within 24 hours (or email us direct at [email protected] )