Important Considerations for Your Photography Contract Template

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PDF Template - photography contract template

Below we’ll cover:

  • Basic Details Needed in the Photography Contract
  • Clauses to Add to the Contract
  • Mistakes to Avoid
  • Links to Additional Resources
  • Getting the Contract Signed

Basic Details Needed in the Photography Contract

As a photographer, you need to ensure you have adequate protection for yourself and your business. Photography is an art form, and conflicts can arise when you do not meet the expectations of your client while producing your art. A clear, easy-to-understand contract limits the risk of miscommunication and provides important legal protection for both you and your client should something go wrong.

Make sure your photography contract has the details about the session, its costs, and your contact information. The basic details for a photography contract template include:

  • Session date
  • Session location or venue
  • Copyright retention for your photos
  • A detailed description of the services you will provide
  • Breakdown of costs and fees
  • Discussion of deposit
  • Contact information for you and your clients

Clauses to Add to the Contract

In addition to this basic information, you will want to add some specific contract clauses to your session and your overall studio processes. These include:

  1. Retainer Requirements – If you require a deposit or retainer to reserve a photo session time, explain what this is. In this clause, make your policies clear, indicating how you will handle a scenario where a client backs out of the session after paying the retainer. Keep in mind that any fee you keep if the client cancels must be called a retainer, not a deposit.
  2. Limited Liability for Non-CompletionProtect yourself if something happens and you cannot fulfill your end of the contract. Indicate that the only thing you are required to do if this happens is to return your client’s payment. Include loss of images due to fire, theft, or malfunction of equipment as part of this clause.
  3. Liability for InjuriesUse a clause to protect yourself from liabilities for injuries during your session.
  4. CancellationHow far out do you allow cancellation or rescheduling? What happens if you need to cancel? What situations would you require cancellation or rescheduling?
  5. Copyright, Print Release, and Reproduction Rights – As a photographer, you automatically own the copyright on the photos you produce. If you plan to allow your client the rights to print or reproduce the images, that needs an explanation along with your print release requirements and delivery format. If not, you should indicate your printing rights are retained in the contract, even though it is legally your right, to avoid misunderstandings.
  6. Model Release – Most photographers use work from past clients to market their services. Adding a model release gives you the right to do this, and also ensures your client is not surprised when their face becomes part of your marketing.
  7. Turnaround Time – Clients often feel anxious to see their pictures and may start asking for them far too soon after an event or session. Add a clause about your turnaround time to the contract.
  8. Payment and Contract Deadlines – Add a clause indicating how quickly you expect final payment and return of your signed contract. You can use Nitro Sign to get any of your contracts or important documents signed quickly and easily!

Mistakes to Avoid

As you customize your photography contract template, avoid these mistakes:

  • Don’t tie your clients into the model release, as some may not want their images public. Allow clients to opt out of the model release.
  • Failing to add a modification clause could hurt you. Give yourself permission to modify the contract, but add that both you and the client have to agree to it and add a waiver. Do not allow oral agreements.
  • Remember to specify all costs, and if you are photographing events, add verbiage that clearly indicates how much time is included, what you charge if you go over your time at the client’s request, and whether you can leave at the end of your time if the event is not over.
  • Avoid making the contract unreasonable, such as changing excessive cancellation fees. Even if it is signed, it could be overturned in court.

Links to Additional Resources

For more information about photography contracts, visit:

Getting the Contract Signed

Once you have a contract, you need to ensure it is signed by both you and your client. Nitro makes it simple to collect signatures. Simply customize the photography contract template to meet your specific needs, and send it to your client. The eSigning removes workflow barriers to get your signed contract returned. Start your free trial of Nitro today.

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