Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements for Photographers
PPA often talks to members who are looking for a “non-compete” agreement that they
can present to their employees. Please be aware that state laws on covenants not to
compete vary widely; in fact, such agreements are prohibited in some states as an
unlawful restraint of trade. In other states, there are restrictions on when an employer
may present such an agreement to an employee and, in certain situations, it may be
necessary to pay employees additional compensation for signing an agreement. PPA
recommends that you consult with a local attorney before asking anyone to sign a
non-compete or non-solicitation agreement.
Non-compete agreements generally contain three key restrictions: specific business
activity related to the employee’s duties, territorial limits, and a specific time period.
Non-solicitation agreements are similar except that they generally restrict activities in
regard to certain clients of the business.
Sample Non-Compete Language
Employee agrees that he or she will not engage in the business of ____________
(restricted activity) within ______________ (geographic limitation) for a period of
____________ (time limitation) following termination of their employment. This clause
shall be effective regardless of the reason for the termination of employment.
Sample Non-Solicitation Language
Employee agrees not to solicit any customer of (STUDIO NAME) with whom they have
contact during their course of employment for _______________ (services offered by the
studio) services for a period of ___________(time limitation) following termination of
their employment. This clause shall be effective regardless of the reason for the
termination of employment.
Even in states where these agreements are legal, an overly aggressive approach in
drafting the terms of the agreement can cause it to be unenforceable. Indeed, while courts
in some jurisdictions will modify an agreement in order to make it enforceable, others
will invalidate the entire agreement even if just one portion of it is considered
Most courts review non-compete agreements by asking whether the agreement is
designed to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer without unduly
burdening the employee. Generally, the more specific you can be regarding the prohibited
business activity, the shorter the period of restriction and the smaller and more specific
the geographic area, the better your chances of success.
This document is provided to members of Professional Photographers of America for
general information purposes and shall not be considered legal advice. PPA strongly
recommends that photographers contact local counsel to determine the enforceability of
any non-solicitation or non-compete agreement.