Tips for Wedding Photography Contracts
As a photographer, your contracts matter. Making sure you have all the proper legal language helps protect you and your business. This is one of the reasons we recommend using our wedding photography contract template.Download Template
Your contracts have two components, the legal protections which prevent you from being held liable, and expectations of you and your client. Here are some tips for wedding photography contracts you need to know about what you will find in our wedding photography contract template and tips for understanding why they are there.
Here’s what we will be covering:
- Important Components for Wedding Photography Contracts
- General Contract Best Practices
- Time Frames and Other Specifications to Include in Wedding Contracts
Important Components for Wedding Photography Contracts
There are several “parts” to a wedding contract which must be included. They are:
- Contract — this is the component which defines your business name, your client’s name, and all relevant contact information. This page should also include the date and location for which the event is booked. Naturally this page will also include the signature of both you and your client.
- Agreement — this can be as little as one line which simply defines that both parties have willingly entered into the agreement.
- Payment and deposit — explains in detail expectations of down payments and final costs as well as what is included for the total price.
- Rights and usage — defines the agreement of what you will provide to the client as well as how the copies of the photographs may be used by the client (e.g. will they have full printing rights or will you maintain them).
- Model release — details regarding how you may use the images for advertising purposes including in your portfolio, in advertising, etc.
- Details — information regarding travel to and from event, schedule of events, and whether there is an agreement you will serve as sole photographer of event.
General Contract Best Practices
There are matters which you should include in the contract as clauses, so everyone is on the same page. Some of these include:
- Client rescheduling — if you are going to commit to a certain date and your client reschedules their wedding you may include a reschedule fee in this section.
- Changes in your availability — put in writing what happens if something unexpected occurs and you are unable to fulfill your obligation the date of the wedding. Perhaps you have a backup photographer.
- Delivery date — the guaranteed date which you anticipate having photographs prepared from the wedding.
- Venue issues — this is particularly valuable when a venue is outdoors or when they have specific restrictions. Determine what backup plans there are if the weather does not cooperate for an outdoor ceremony. Determine if the venue has restrictions on photographer space/distance from attendees.
- Team breaks and meals — make sure the agreement is you and your team are included in the catered meal count and allow for sufficient time for them to eat. This should be in writing so there are no questions.
- Equipment damage — while you may not want to consider this, there is always a chance a guest or vendor at a wedding may damage your equipment. Make sure you have a detailed clause in your contract to prepare for this eventuality.
- Copyright and sharing — the photographs you take are copyrighted by you. Make sure you are asking for credit if these are shared online or in other public venues.
Time Frames and Other Specifications to Include in Wedding Contracts
In addition to including information regarding the previously mentioned items, there are other items which you should include in your wedding photography contract including:
- Indemnification - holding you harmless for loss, damage, or liability from their violation of terms, and holding you harmless for any non-performance cited by a third party.
- Assignability and parties of interest - whether the contract is binding upon the respective successors and assigns of the parties
- Amendment and waiver - noting the contract may be amended if properly executed by each party.
- Independent contractor statement - states the parties have no joint venture or similar relationship
- Arbitration agreement (if applicable) — how you will resolve differences if a dispute arises.
- Late fees/charges — spelled out clearly.
- Governed by law of (locale) — usually the state in which you or the bride lives.
- Time frame for deposits/payments — must be clearly spelled out.
- Time frames for replacing damaged equipment – time is money if your equipment is damaged.
Our wedding photography contract template protects the bride and groom but also protects you from legal liability. Making sure you have prepared a legally binding contract and have it properly signed and dated protects everyone.