At the end of April I compared my top two picks for Apps that let you do model (property, etc.) releases right on your iPhone. Back then I challenged both developers to take the great apps that they had created and add just a few missing things to make their Apps the "Ultimate App." Well today, I get the pleasure of reviewing the first major update out of the gate by Michael Shiffler and it's actually a NEW App called Contract Maker Pro. I have to give Michael credit for not only "listening" to my advice and implementing every single thing I asked for, but also for going beyond what I was asking for and developing a great new "multi-purpose business tool!"
Totally Customizable Contracts
Photographer's Contract Maker (PCM) was already ahead of the competition in terms of the number of placeholders (fields) that you could insert throughout your Contract, however, this new Pro version blows away everything else out there. Not only do you get all the same types of placeholders as with PCM, but now you get 10 "Custom" text fields that you can assign to whatever data you want to capture, 5 Roller fields (you know the kind that give you the wheel to spin to select a value), 6 custom checkboxes and even a Counting Number placeholder to automatically increment the value (ie. Contract Number). You even get to choose between 5 different fonts to format your contract in. This goes way beyond model and property releases. The idea here is that this is not only a great tool for Photographers and Videographers, but it's also great for ANYONE that needs to generate a totally customized contract and have clients sign off on them electronically on the spot.
I got what I wanted! – One of the things that I really hoped for the most in the update was the ability to easily add a photo on the spot to the contract. Maybe it's a shot of the model you just photographed or a drivers license to verify age, etc. They added this ability, while still maintaining the ability to pull the photo from your Contacts. Speaking of Contacts, you can import them as you need them from your Address book and they stay there! You can use them again and again going forward without having to hold on to the old contracts. They also added a custom logo feature with an ON/OFF switch so that I can turn it OFF on the contracts that it doesn't belong on. They even implemented the "shake to clear the screen" on the signature panel if you want to start over.
What about a native iPad version?
Although this App works on the iPad, it doesn't yet take advantage of the iPad's screen natively. While at first I envisioned that I'd want to run my "model release" app on the iPad, in actuality I prefer doing them on my iPhone for one simple reason. On the iPhone I can snap a photo and immediately include it on the contract. Doing the same thing on the iPad would require multiple steps since the iPad doesn't have a camera. Now with that said, I can certainly see someone that doesn't require the ability to take a photo on the spot, wanting an iPad version and the developer's ears are open. So you can chime in with your thoughts about it in the comments below. For me it's a non issue and even though I had an iPad version of the the competitor's App, I still did it on my iPhone.
The Bottom Line
This is a MUST have for Photographers! It's also the most customizable App out there and the fact that it supports contracts up to 5 pages means that it should work for just about anyone. So whether you're a photographer or not, if you have a need to do digital contracts this is your app! Although there are customization features galore, I'd still like to see a little more work done in the formatting of the final release. Currently there's no way to see if your release spills over onto a second page until you actually generate one to test. A minor thing, but hey since they did so much work on everything else I can nitpick a little
The fact that they implemented every single feature I wanted (and features I hadn't even thought about) earns this App my coveted 5 Star Rating! I can't wait to use it on my next photo shoot!
Yes it can be awkward signing with your finger so get a stylus!
If you're going to be a doing a lot of these, you might want to make an investment in a iPhone stylus to make it easier for your clients to sign. I got one of these and I LOVE IT! Makes it so much easier to sign!