Interview with Rachel Brenke: Photographer-Lawyer Extraordinaire

Rachel is both an accomplished photographer and barred lawyer, and is a leading resource in legal documents and contracts for photographers. We got a chance to chat with her a little bit on what she’s up to.

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Tell us three random things about yourself.

  1. I am a cancer survivor.
  2. I have five kids and a fur baby named Archer (#archerb)
  3. I hate to run but I do it anyways – I’m not sure why.

Favorite breakfast food?
Bacon and eggs with a pot of coffee. (yes pot, not cup!)

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What’s something you never leave the house without?
My cell phone (iPhone) – it helps me to my business and my life on-the-go.

What made you decide to pursue a law degree?
I’ve always enjoyed law and solving of issues – especially ones where you can argue either side. The law can be super vague in areas and it makes it so fun to develop arguments.

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How did you get interested in photography?
We had our second child and I realized that all the underexposed, blurry phone pics weren’t cutting it. I started learning photography, then it quickly became an escape from the pressures of my career at the time and helped me to feel like ME when going through graduate and doctoral school.

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Tell us a little bit about your decision and process of combining photography and law and what made you decide to do it.
I was running my own photography business during law school and realized, as many photographers were consistently asking me the same questions, that there were a lot of mysteries to the law to these business owners. I had already been consulting for small business owners outside of photography when I received my MBA (before law school) so the jump from general small business owners to photographers was super easy. It was also a lot more fun because I had been running my own photography business so I understood firsthand the issues these photographers were facing. I could provide help from an experienced point of view, not just educated.

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What are some of the most common legal mistakes that photographers make?
The most common legal mistakes I see photographers making are not setting up their business right, failing to pay appropriate taxes, and not understanding (or even having) a contract that is legally sound plus business sound.

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What other projects do you have in the works?
I’m currently working on the follow up book to TheLaundryList (can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks) that will be released in 2015, as well as a cookbook and children’s book.

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Tell us a little bit about Biz Revamp.
BizRevamp is the go-to business course for Photographers. It’s full of information like business formation, legal, client management, and then some. It really helps remedy some of the common, repeated issues I see photographers making when they fail to set up their business correctly in the first place.

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Does it work for photographers in other countries?
I have quite a few Canadian photographers in BizRevamp right now – obviously the American law resources do no translate but the course has so much information for photographers in general that the legal information is just a drop in the bucket. We get into client issues that, honestly, are quite often handled through management techniques and not the law – despite how many believe the law has rule – sometimes a simple handling of a client can fix the issue.

You can check out Rachel’s blog here and information about Biz Revamp here.

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Article by Beth Teutschmann.

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