Following is an example of what you would expect to find in a wedding photography contract.
It outlines all the finer details you should be aware of before you sign on the dotted line.
Unless you are an expert in legal-speak it’s very difficult to know what should and shouldn’t be included in your wedding photography contract and to fully understand how what is there impacts on you. We all know to check the small print, but sometimes deciphering it isn’t so easy.
There is no set formula for this type of contract however; there are a number of basics which it should include, so what should you be looking for?
Firstly, and most importantly, there should be one! For a professional wedding photographer, having a well thought out and well written contract which addresses the various conditional agreements between photographer and client is not only vital to underlining their professionalism, but also to establishing trust between the photographer and the clients entering into the agreement.
Trust is an extremely important part of the relationship between a wedding photographer and their clients and any true professional will require you to complete a contract as part of their booking process.
Your photography contract is particularly important. Not only will your photographs be the most real and long lasting testimony to your special event, but, unlike the other services you book for your wedding, you will not see the final product until an amount of time after you day is over.
A photographer shouldn’t be afraid to provide a copy of their contract even on first contact. Many photographers will volunteer or provide a copy of their contract immediately. Lots of photographers publish their contract on their websites. If it isn’t offered, ask to see a contract before becoming too involved with a particular photographer. If you can’t agree to their terms and conditions and they cannot adapt to your requirements, then they are not the photographer for you and you can make this decision before setting your heart on their photography for your wedding!
When planning a wedding, every couple prefers to concentrate on the interesting, fun and exciting aspects of their day…who wouldn’t? However when booking wedding services, especially for a destination wedding, it’s vital to have clear, detailed contracts of service with each of your chosen wedding suppliers.
Your wedding photography contract is a paper-based handshake between you and your photographer and when there are thousands of miles between you, that handshake is more important than ever!
If planning a destination wedding, different laws may apply and terms and conditions of service may not be standard, therefore, it is paramount that you and your photographer both sign a binding agreement that clearly lays out – and confirms your understanding of – the agreed services and products, the terms and conditions applicable, the requirements and rights of both parties and the consequences should either party cancel or not uphold the agreement.
Wedding photography is a very unique field of work. Capturing and creating truly beautiful and ‘real’ moments and emotions from a wedding day is virtually impossible if a photographer has not created a mutually trusting and comfortable relationship with their clients.
A professional wedding photography contract is, of course, a photographer’s means of protecting themselves and their work. However, professional photographers recognize the importance of providing clients with full peace of mind, and an important part of this is clearly representing themselves and their commitment to their clients through their wedding contract.
Sample Wedding Photography Contract
- Full Names and Contact Information
- Details of your Day
- Photography Package Details
- Post Production Timescales, Completion & Delivery
- Costs & Payment Terms
- Client Cancellation Terms & Refunds
- Photographer Cancellation Terms & Refunds
- Copyright & Reproductions
Full Names and Contact Information
Your wedding photography contract should list full names and contact information for both bride and groom and for your photographer.
Details of your Day
The date, times and location(s) for your wedding and reception should be included in the body of your wedding photography contract. You may not have specific details such as timings for the various events of your wedding day, especially if you are booking your photographer well in advance. However your photographer should have a clear outline of when – the day and at least a start time – and where – the town if not the venues – they will be photographing you, at the time of confirming your booking. This way your photographer can plan travel times to – and if necessary between – your chosen wedding locations at the earliest opportunity, so there is no confusion at a later date.
Photography Package Details
The contract should outline the full details of your chosen wedding package. You may know how much time the photographer has agreed to spend with you but you should also know exactly what will result from that time together. Your contract should detail package specifics such as how many photographers and assistants will be present on your wedding day, the final number of photographs you will receive and how you will receive these – in an album, as loose prints, on DVD, etc – whether your pictures will carry a photographer’s logo and whether you have rights to reprint your pictures and to publish them anywhere you like. Ensure that full details of the package agreed with your photographer are listed on your contract. The more information the better so if you’re concerned about any aspect of your package in particular ask for details to be added to your contract. If it has been agreed between you and your photographer then it should be in your contract, laid out in black and white!
Post Production Timescales, Completion & Delivery
Most photographers have their own individual time scales for post production work on your wedding images and for printing, album production and final delivery to you. Be well aware of your chosen photographer’s time scales, which may also change dramatically during the wedding high season or holiday periods. Ensure your contract details final completion time scales, whether these time scales are set in stone and what will occur if these deadlines are not met.
Your photographer may reserve the right to exceed completion time scales, especially during busier periods and usually this is in order to give the proper time, attention and care to your final photographs and ensure the quality of their final product. This is not a bad thing, but if it is a possibility, be aware! Ensure your contract details this point, to avoid disappointment at a later date.
Costs & Payment Terms
Your contract should detail the full amount payable for your chosen weddings services, ideally broken down by item. Most wedding photographers have a specific timeline for payment for their services.
Whatever your chosen photographer’s payment timeline make sure it is specified in your contract and make sure you read the small print in relation to payment terms and what may occur if you do not meet agreed payment dates. Some wedding photographers may book someone else for your wedding date if you do not pay on time. If your photographer has tailored a payment plan for you personally, in deference to their standard payment terms, ensure this is written into your contract.
Most wedding photographers require a confirmatory deposit payment at the time of booking which can vary between 10% and 50% of the full amount. Some photographers can require payment of the full amount at the time of booking.
Client Cancellation Terms & Refunds
In the event you must cancel your wedding booking or change the date of your wedding, you may, or may not, be entitled to a refund of all or a percentage of the amount paid. Ensure your contract details the terms under which you can cancel your booking, within which time periods and under which conditions you will receive a refund, and the amount that will be refunded. It’s worthy of note that in spite of their stated cancellation and refund terms, many photographers will, under certain circumstances, offer refunds or reduced cancellation fees, so if you do need, for whatever reason, to cancel your booking, don’t be afraid to ask, it can’t hurt!
Photographer Cancellation Terms & Refunds
Know what will happen in case your wedding photographer has an emergency or becomes ill at the time of your wedding. Will they provide – or if necessary hire – someone else to shoot in their place? Does your wedding photographer say that ill or not, they will absolutely be there? Does your photographer guarantee service and, do they guarantee the quality and style of service for which you chose them, if they cannot personally be there? Your wedding photography contract should contain a clause clearly stating your photographer’s specific terms or the alternatives they offer in case an emergency should arise.
Does your photographer reserve the right to cancel your photography booking? It may seem unthinkable and no professional wedding photographer should consider cancelling a booking unless a client does not keep to the terms of the contract, however it can happen. Ensure that your contract clearly states under which conditions your photographer reserves the right to cancel your booking and the applicable terms. Under what circumstances can your photographer cancel your booking? Within what time period prior to your wedding can they cancel? Will they refund all monies paid in the event of their cancelling your booking?
Copyright & Reproductions
Copyright laws, and their application, are subject to differences between countries, and individual photographers. Explore the copyright laws for your chosen wedding destination then be sure of your photographer’s own practice and ensure this is stated in your photography contract.
Some photographers hold rigidly to copyright laws, retaining full official copyright for the purposes of advertising, promotions, and stock licensing. Most photographers grant clients permission to reproduce and distribute photographs, though some will only do so with their expressed written consent.
Many print laboratories will not reprint photographers’ images without express written permission for fear of legal action, so if you have concerns about copyright and future reprinting it is important that your photographer’s terms are clearly laid out in your contract and that you know, should you require their written permission for reprinting purposes, whether this will be provided.
Some photographers waive all rights and provide images to their clients to use freely according to their wishes. If you have been told this is the case with your chosen photographer’s work, make sure your contract states this clearly.
A wedding photography contract should have spaces for three signatures, the bride and groom and the photographer. Ensure you receive a copy of your contract signed by your photographer too.
Finally, it’s important to remember that a contract details the minimum responsibilities and commitments between your chosen photographer and you. Many wedding photographers go well beyond their stated terms and conditions in order to ensure the happiness and peace of mind of their clients. So, if you have any questions, concerns or requests, don’t be afraid to ask. Your wedding photography contract will give you peace of mind, and the right photographer for you will make you unbelievably happy by capturing and immortalizing wonderful memories of one of the most important days of your lives!
The above Wedding Photographer Key Points and Photographs were very kindly supplied by Alfonso Longobardi Photography Studio