James Patrick Photo ShootI have been seeing photographers within our industry attempting to encourage fitness modeling talents to sign exclusive contracts to them limiting their ability to work with other service providers. Here is why I will not be asking my clients to ever sign such contracts.


  1. I truly understand and believe that competition is imperative as it drives creativity and innovation in an industry. An exclusive contract is an attempt to squander that. Having competition makes me a better artist and business owner.


  1. I do not see my life, or my business, as a zero sum game meaning that in order for me to win – someone else has to lose.


  1. It is also better to collaborate with competition and see it as a co-opetition rather than put so many negative connotations onto the word “competition.”


  1. I know it is in the best interest of my clients to have diversity in their portfolios. I cannot create every image that my clients need – thus it is important they work with multiple service providers.


  1. With that, I don’t want to limit my clients’ opportunities outside of working with me including networking potential and the opportunity to connect, collaborate and potentially even get work from other service providers.


  1. I actually enjoy seeing my clients’ success with other great artists.


  1. I much rather play the long game rather than focus on the short term. I’m in it for life, not to be a flash in the pan.


  1. Consider the difference between a marriage and a one-night stand. A marriage requires time, work and investment whereas a one-night stand is solely instant gratification. Asking someone to sign an exclusive contract is like forcing them to sign a pre-nup and wear a wedding ring after the first date.


  1. With that, I also refuse to make promises I cannot keep. Making someone exclusive to only me means I should offer something of equal value in return. What could any artist possibly offer for such a limiting contract?


  1. Finally, I am confident enough in my abilities as an artist and a professional to earn my repeat business rather than contractually forcing my clients into it.


James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto