You’ve seen it before. It’s not the photographer with the biggest camera or the most artistic eye that wins in the world of wedding photography. It’s the best-practiced business photographer.
Smart businessmen or women know how to create their brand and or product, sell it, promote it – and all before 5pm (well, sometimes). For a wedding photographer, branding and creating a product is only half the battle.
One side of the photography business includes observing a plethora of legalities that will help you make the most of your business. One of those legal considerations is a Wedding Photography Agreement or Contract. This agreement will protect you from liability. It also will very clearly lay out expectations for both you and for your clients.
Many photographers have little idea what goes into a Wedding Photography Agreement. The length and content will largely depend on what type of services you provide. Here are a few non-negotiable inclusions:
1. Contract page
This is the basic contact information for both parties making the agreement. Think of this as a “cover page” with impertinent information including:
- Bride (client) name and all contact information
- Fiancé’s name
- Description of service acquiring (i.e. “8 hours of wedding photography and portrait services by photographer)
- Date, time, location of ceremony, reception, and other
- Place for signature and date signed
This specifies that the agreement was made by both parties who fully intent to cooperate within the agreement stipulations.
3. Payment (including deposit or booking fee)
Here you stipulate the total charge for services provided. You also may protect yourself with a required “save the date” deposit that is non refundable.
4. Rights and usage
Will you give the clients a cd of all the pictures? Or will you give proofs only and keep printing rights? Be sure to get this in writing or else you will open yourself to possible losses.
5. Model release
If you are like most photographers, you will want to use the wedding images in your portfolio and for advertising. Be sure to get this written permission in writing and make things easy by including it in the contract.
If you want to be detailed, consider adding a few other inclusions, such as booking and reimbursement for travel fees, schedule of the day, product return, and a stipulation on being the sole photographer.
Many photographers have their agreements online. Do your research before writing an agreement to keep yourself covered. Also refer to the Photographers Legal Guide for more information.
Update: after publishing this post on Wedding Photography Agreements one of our readers, David, kindly emailed us a sample wedding photography agreement that some readers might find helpful. You can view it at Sample Wedding Photography Agreement.