You’re a photographer and you’ve booked a gig. You need a wedding photography contract. We’ve got you covered!
As much as the legal aspects of being a wedding photographer might not be the most exciting part of your job, when you’re a creative solopreneur, they are still incredibly important. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that few things are more important for a wedding photographer than having a watertight wedding photography contract.
Thankfully, there is a fairly standard set of things that your wedding photographer contract should include. That means there are lots of great free wedding photography contract templates online that you can simply tweak to suit your business.
But before we jump in and our pick of the best, here’s a short wedding photographer contract crash course…
This article will come up with:
- benefits of having a wedding photography contract
- terms that any wedding photography contract should include
- an overview of each wedding photography contract template
- a few other things that make a wedding photography contract so important.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Table of contents
- Why do you need to bother with a wedding photographer contract?
- What are must-have terms any wedding photography contract should include?
- What if the client isn’t happy with the wedding photography contract?
- Our 5 favorite free wedding photography contract templates
- Rocket Lawyer
- Minor model release form add on
- A little design inspiration for your wedding photography client…
Why do you need to bother with a wedding photographer contract?
Isn’t a verbal agreement enough? No, it really isn’t.
A great wedding photography contract will set out all the necessary terms to protect your wor. Avoid any nasty surprises, and keep your photography business ticking along smoothly.
After reading and signing the wedding photography contract, both parties should know exactly where they stand when it comes to aspects such as terms of work, agreed costs, and output expectations. This is not only incredibly important to protect you as the wedding photographer, but also to protect your clients.
It’s therefore super important that you put the necessary time and effort into crafting a contract that clearly states your expectations. As well as what your wedding photography clients should expect from your service.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes. They are right in the midst of organizing one of the most important days of their lives. Even the most chilled out, go-with-the-flow types would be forgiven for having things slip their mind. You will be getting confused between agreements with different vendors and suppliers.
Misunderstandings happen easily; especially when speaking on the phone or discussing terms via email or text message. A contract is the only way to be 100% sure that all particulars are laid out. More, the rules have to be fully understood by everyone involved.
And being specific is crucial: try to avoid using generic terms like “the photographer” and “the client”. Ideally, you’d create a unique wedding photographer contract for each booking, and would aim to be as detailed as possible; using people’s names, venue locations, dates, and any statutory laws that may apply.
What are must-have terms any wedding photography contract should include?
It’s not fun to consider what could go wrong during the project. But by running through these scenarios in your mind, you are important to protect yourself (and your clients) against all eventualities.
Of course, many of these details will vary from business to business. There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these points. In many cases, it simply boils down to personal preference.
Remember: it’s good practice to revisit, revise, and hone all the specifications within a contract for each new client you take on. If something’s not explicitly stated in your contract then you leave yourself open to potential conflicts (or worse still – lawsuits!) down the line. So, it’s better to add in more rather than less to cover yourself.
An effective wedding photography contract should cover:
- The number (rough, at least) of images you’ll deliver
- The expected timeline for completion. Will the couple have final images a week, two weeks, or a month after their wedding day?
- How many photographers will be present on the day? Do you work alone, or in a team? And how will this play out on the day? Will you take on different roles, to ensure all the desired shots are achieved?
- How many hours you will work on the day? When will you begin, take breaks, and end?
- If any additional photo sessions are included in the agreed price. Are you open to this as an extra, if desired?
- What form your final output will take. Will the couple receive a USB, CD, digital download, or physical prints?
- What level of editing and treatment the shots will undergo. Should they expect full touch-ups or set filters?
- Specific contributions or clarifications you need from the client, ahead of the wedding day. What do you need them to arrange for you ahead of the day?
- What costs do you expect the client to cover? Will they be expected to cover your food and travel, for example?
- Any limitations to your service that you want to put in place. For example, what happens if you get sick, or if you incur an injury on the day?
- Detailed cancellation terms. Most wedding photographers will take a holding deposit, which can be held back should the couple cancel on you close to the day.
- And, lastly, what rights you’ll retain to the images upon completion. It’s important to make sure the couple gives permission for you to share their wedding photos as part of your ongoing promotion. More, be sure that they won’t alter with the images (by editing them at home, for instance) as this could be a misleading representation of your ability or finish quality.
What if the client isn’t happy with the wedding photography contract?
All contracts can and should be open to discussion.
As mentioned previously, the contract is in place to benefit both you, as the photographer, and the happy couple you’re working for.
Flexibility is an important ingredient for any working relationship. So, when you send the contract over, make sure you ask the client to come back with any questions or concerns until you are both satisfied.
For example, if the client doesn’t want to sign a model release because they are uncomfortable with their image being used for marketing then allow them to make this clear. This can happen; it simply means you need to think outside the box. Are they happy, instead, for you to share landscape or inanimate shots – such as table decorations and place settings – in your portfolio?
Once you’ve smoothed out all differences, then you can sign on the dotted line.
Speaking of which: you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to create a stellar contract, and then forget to get it signed. Especially if it’s sitting in the client’s email inbox, and you’re keen to push on with other preparations.
However, you should be aware that your document will not be legally binding, at all, unless it’s signed by both parties involved.
Our 5 favorite free wedding photography contract templates
You don’t need to hire a lawyer or pass the bar to get your hands on a strong wedding photography contract.
There are plenty of places to find a free wedding photography contract template online. But don’t forget to make yours specific to each project you take on.
Before using any online photography contract template, read through the document in full, and familiarise yourself with its content. By doing so, you eliminate any risk of accidentally copying and pasting specific terms or conditions which clash with your intentions.
Refer to the contract checklist above, and replace generic jargon like “the photographer” and “the client” with first and/or second names.
If you prefer a life of minimal paperwork, then this Statement Of Work with a pricing overview might chime with you.
This sample wedding photography contract encompasses most of the major details, alongside an itemized breakdown of your costs; all in the same document. It’s kind of like a contract and invoice rolled into one, which makes it incredibly easy to both understand and use (for you and the client). As a bonus, it’s also approved by industry professionals.
It can be customized in just a few seconds. You can either download a pdf for free or try out the online editor free for 14 days.
⭐ Contract terms included:
- Contact Information
- Event Information
- A table with the photography services that will be provided and their prices
- Wedding photography contract terms – this section includes an agreement that the photographer will provide all the services mentioned in the table above
- Payment – here will be mentioned the percentage of the deposit and the date on which the rest of the amount will be paid.
- Cancellation – this template includes a section with a cancellation date and how it will be done (a written cancellation notice via email)
- Reschedule – there may be times when your clients will reschedule the ceremony date, so PandaDoc provide a paragraph with the necessary terms
- Liability – this part includes a situation in which the photographer will be unable to provide the goods and services outlined in the table
- Digital media – the responsibility of clients to request any desired prints, products, or files and the date until this must be done
- Pricing – a section with the additional services requested by the clients and their price
- Responsibilities – the responsibilities of the photographer and its clients
- Harassment – a paragraph that assures the safety of the photographer
- Coverage – besides the good and services provided by the photographer, this template also include a paragraph with the event coverage for the listed hours at the venues listed
- Image processing – a part that mentions the editing process and the type of edited pictures that will be delivered to the clients
- Model release – this section will give the photographer the freedom to use the pictures for advertising, portfolios, or other lawful purposes
- Copyright – a clause that makes all the photographs and footage the property of the photographer
- Unauthorized reproduction – for this section, the clients agree not to reproduce or modify any digital material provided by the photographer
- Approval – the signature of both groom and bride.
– This template contains most of the necessary details;
– It includes a table with the services and the prices for every service;
– You can customize every piece of information.
– It doesn’t include a clause that stops guests not to interrupt the photographer’s work by taking pictures (however, you can add it).
We love this free wedding photography contract template on Docracy for its simplicity. Just edit the highlighted areas with your personal preferences, customize it to your client, and hey presto, you’re good to go!
You can either choose to edit and send it online. Or you can download a copy as a pdf, word doc, or HTML file.
What’s more, this contract has been developed for wedding photographers by wedding photographers over the last 6 years. It’s now on its fourth release. If you spot any areas that you think are missing, you can even create your own branch for version number 5.
⭐ Contract terms included:
- Date of Wedding
- Clients Name
- Ceremony Information
- Reception Information
- Contact Information
- Amount agreed
- Booking fee/deposit
- Meal – if the length of the attendance exceeds a number of hours decided by the photographer, the clients must offer a meal
- Confirmation – a signed wedding photography contract and a booking fee to confirm the services that will be offered by the photographer
- Pre-Wedding Consultation – a section that includes photographer duties regarding planning, logistics, and timing where needed
- Cooperation – good cooperation and communication between clients and photographer; also, the photographer can ask for a helper (usually the best man)
- The Schedule – this part highlights the need for punctuality of the photographer to produce the necessary material
- Paparazzi Wedding Guests – the guests should not interrupt the photographer’s work by taking pictures
- House Rules – the technical limitations that must be imposed on the equipment used on both the Reception and Ceremony venues
- Copyright Law – all digital materials become the property of the photographer and should not be used by clients for commercial uses.
- Model Release – this clause offers the photographer all the rights to edit, publish, and use the images.
- Limit of liability – in this paragraph will be highlighted what happens if the photographer can no longer offer the services mentioned in the contract
- Booking fee/deposit – if the clients will cancel the wedding event, the booking fee will not be refundable
– This template is pretty simple and includes most of the necessary information;;
– You can customize the contract template
– It lacks some clauses (reschedule and coverage).
After feeling frustrated at the lack of wedding photography contract templates that are simple enough for clients to understand, Australian wedding photographer Daniel Cheung decided to create his own.
The result is this ultra user-friendly wedding photography contract template which is, in his terms: simple, fair, and free to use.
Simply download the file, edit it for your business and clients, and fire away!
⭐ Contract terms included:
- Deliverables – the date of the wedding day, shooting hours, and the image processing part
- Payment – the amount paid for the services provided and any additional photography coverage required
- Change of date and/or venue – the photographer will be notified if there will be a change regarding date or venue; also, understanding that in this situation, the photographer may not be available
- Cancellation – a preset date until the cancellation can be made without any refund
- Copyright – the photographer can fully assume the ownership of the digital files
- Privacy – the photographer can use the wedding pictures in the public domain with his clients’ permission
- Meals + OHS + Breaks – the clients might offer to the photographer a dinner meal, a table, and allow him to have breaks
- Illness/Injury – if something happens to the photographer, he should find someone to replace him or make a full refund of money.
- Harassment – there is a clause that defends the photographer from experiencing any inappropriate behavior from any guest
- The signature of clients and photographer
- The date of the contract
– This template includes information about meals and breaks that a photographer should have;
– You can download this contract template and edit it.
– A clause where the guests aren’t allowed to bother the photographer when taking pictures is not mentioned.
♟️ Rocket Lawyer
The Legal firm, Rocket Lawyer, has transformed the process of building your wedding photography contract template into a simple online questionnaire.
Simply select your terms for each part of the contract, download, print, and sign. Better yet, you get the assurance of knowing this template has been verified by lawyers to make sure that it’s watertight.
⭐ Contract terms included:
- A description of the services that will be provided
- Payment, deposit, and cancellation information
- Number of hours for taking images and editing them
- The number of days the photographer has to present the final proofs
- Dates the contract is active
- Number of days either party can correct issues
- A decision on who will own the images
- The signature of clients and photographer
– This template is verified by lawyers;
– You can download, print, and sign the contract.
– This template doesn’t encompass information related to meals, breaks, liability, or harassment.
♟️ Minor model release form add on
Weddings are usually attended by a wide range of friends and family: including children.
As such, you could consider getting permission to photograph ‘minors’ – who may be under 18s or under 16s, depending on which country you live in.
It’s probably over the top to ask for written permission from the parents of every child in attendance. For guests who’ll feature heavily in your body of work (be it bridesmaids, flower girls or page boys) it may be worth having a dedicated section of the contract to ensure you have a crystal-clear go-ahead.
This minors release form is a great addition to any general wedding photography contract you’ll be writing up.
⭐ Contract terms included:
- The name of the child who will be photographed
- The name of the parent/legal guardian and the relationship with the person giving the authorization
- The venue where the photographer will take the pictures
- Disclose types of media publication – notify them how you will use the pictures and ask for their permission
- The parent/legal guardian signature and the date of authorization
Most parents who have their children photographed want to ensure that the images will be used in the correct manner. Well, as a wedding photographer, you should definitely add to your wedding photography contract a minor photo release form. Don’t forget; you have to keep it all legal!
All these wedding photography contract templates have different terms, so it’s up to you to introduce in your contract what works best for you. However, if you want to create a wedding photography contract like one of these, you need a running website and the Kali Forms plugin that will help you build the agreement.
And finally, a little design inspiration for your wedding photography client…
As a creative, can you think of a way to make your contract more aesthetically appealing?
Add your logo, as a way of personalizing your paperwork. More, consider how you can bring in wedding-related illustrations to transform a needs-to-be-done formality into a joy to engage with.
Hopefully, you now not only appreciate the importance of utilizing contracts during wedding photography work but also have all you need to find the best wedding contract template for you.
Contracts don’t have to zap all the fun from your photography work.
When used well, your wedding photography contract template will be an indispensable part of your business.
If you’re a wedding photographer, you might want to check out our piece on what should a photographer wear to a wedding. So you’re sure you’ll blend in. Alternatively, we’ve also got a great collection of wedding photography tips we think you’re going to enjoy.
Disclaimer: The following advice has not been reviewed by a lawyer. It is provided for free to the community and is intended to be a guideline rather than a comprehensive, complete contract. It may also be missing provisions applicable to your type and location of photography. Modula is not responsible for any damages, lawsuits, or disputes that may arise from the use of this contract temp
To conclude, you have to keep things legal. It is essential to make a wedding photography contract and make sure that everything is as it should be. All these papers can seem monotonous and a waste of time. But it’s better to be sure that you establish with your clients from the beginning the necessary aspects. It’s a win-win for both of you.