Ask An Agent / I haven't been paid!

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly feature answering your questions about the business of photography– the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt! If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything.

Dear Ask an Agent,

I am owed over £6,000 for a job I shot nearly 9 months ago, have you got any advice on how to get the client to pay me?

Theresa Beard

© Iain Crockart

Hi Theresa,

Thanks for getting in touch, sorry to hear you are having problems getting paid, 9 months is unacceptable.

When we have slow payers, the first thing we do is refer them to our payment terms which state…

‘’Terms of payment are immediate on invoices for expenses in advance and 30 days from date of all other invoices…. We reserve the right to charge 2% interest per month (or part thereof) on amounts overdue.’’

The first sentence will hopefully wake your client up to the fact that 90 days is really very overdue, and the second that they have potentially incurred nearly £250 in interest.

Another effective line in our terms and conditions, in the clause on usage, states this…

‘’The Usage Licence comes into effect from the date of full payment of the relevant invoice(s).’’

So you can tell your client that, if they are using the images already, they are essentially in breach of copyright.

It’s really important to include a comprehensive set of terms and conditions with all your estimates and invoices, this should help protect you in situations like this. Often just referring a client to ‘the small print’ can be make them realise you mean business and enforce your point more strongly than just chasing an overdue invoice. You can find a full set here in my new here in my new book.

If this doesn't prompt them to get their act together, you could then send a legal letter. There are actually some templates available online (if you have a search) for late payment reminders, they are mostly inexpensive and some are free.

If the above tactics don’t work, you would then need to refer the case to a solicitor, but hopefully you won't have to resort to this and you will get paid soon!

Whether you’re a creative director or a student, a photographer or a designer, an art buyer or an assistant, if you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to and we’ll answer as many as we can!

Please Note:

We reserve the right not to enter into ongoing correspondence.

We reserve the right not to answer all questions sent to Ask an Agent.

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This advice should be taken as a guide only.

Lisa Pritchard, LPA and guest bloggers take no responsibility for any omissions or errors.

The images used in this article are for illustrative purposes only and do not necessarily correlate with specific facts or examples cited in the text.

Please seek professional legal advice should you require it.