Top 9 Things to Include in Your Wedding Photography Contract
As a new Wedding Photographer, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of booking your first wedding. With all of the details that go into the booking process, it can get confusing when you start to put together your Wedding Photography contract. What do you include? What do you not include? How long should it be? These thoughts are all perfectly normal, and the key to creating a contract that will cover all of your bases, as well as allow your clients to clearly understand their expectations from you and vice versa. Check out our Top 9 Must-Haves for your Wedding Photography contract:
1. Rescheduling Clause for Clients
This is such an important piece to cover in your Wedding Photography contract. Many times couples start planning their wedding before confirming all vendors’ availability.
If any other of their preferred vendors is unavailable on their requested day, they might want to reschedule the wedding.
I have a strict policy on this.
When a wedding couple requests to change the date of their wedding, and I am available on the new date, I charge a 25% rescheduling fee.
It may seem a bit steep to you, but the reasoning is sound: there’s a good chance I had to turn down a prospect couple for the same date this client wants to reschedule their wedding to.
Now, and I just lost a new client because this one decided to take their desired date.
If I am unavailable for the requested rescheduled date, then the deposit is non-refundable.
2. Rescheduling Clause for Wedding Photographer
That’s right! Even you, the Wedding Photographer, need a rescheduling clause.
It is your responsibility to be at the wedding, no matter what.
The couple has paid you a good chunk of change for you to capture their big wedding day. Unless you have a physical impediment, you need to be there.
If I have a severe injury or illness that makes me incapable of the job, it is my responsibility to find a qualified wedding photographer replacement to guarantee that the couple won’t be left in the dust. Remember, the show must go on!
3. Delivery Timeline
Always be sure to have a guaranteed date on your contract!
My delivery timeline states that the couple will receive their images within 90 business days from their wedding day.
Many couples have specific ideas in mind to do with their images, and having a set time will ensure that their timeline is accurate.
Being transparent and straightforward about the receiving date is key to maintaining good, returning clients.
Just make sure you hold up your end of the deal as well!
4. Outdoor Wedding Venues
As a wedding photographer, you know how important (and expensive) it is to maintain quality equipment. This clause is vital for your sake and the sake of your clients as well.
Weather is such a tricky thing to predict in advance.
If inclement weather has the potential to ruin your equipment, then it is unfair to both parties.
It is the couple’s responsibility to have a backup venue in case of bad weather. And they should know that they will be paying your full fee, even if you are unable to provide the same amount of footage, due to weather conditions.
5. Wedding Venue Restrictions
DON’T OVERLOOK THIS! I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure the wedding couple understands the importance of knowing all venue restrictions.
The couple is fully responsible for receiving these restrictions and passing them along to you.
Many wedding venues have very particular restrictions, such as keeping a certain distance away while photographing or staying within a specific section. Some limits can severely alter the types of photos you can capture, having a high impact on the results.
Ensure that the couple is aware of these so that they can plan the photos with you.
6. Crew Meals and Breaks
You and your crew should require a quality meal during the wedding dinner service. And under no circumstances should you settle for a subpar vendor meal.
Make sure the wedding couple relates this to their planner and venue.
Feeding the crew is an often forgotten “detail,” which leads to a hungry and sluggish team.
The photography crew works very hard for long hours, and it is pertinent to ask the wedding couple to provide them with a quality dinner.
7. Damage to Equipment
Photography equipment is an expensive and valuable item. Without it, you are out of a job.
If a “happy” guest or a wedding vendor accidentally breaks your equipment, it should be the couple’s responsibility to replace the said item.
I have a 3-day rule for the equipment to be replaced. You need to make sure your photography tools are replaced promptly, or it might cost you your next client.
I won’t hover on this too long. This one is a no-brainer.
Copyright is a serious and important topic to cover.
Make sure you have a detailed copyright agreement ensuring that your photos stay your photos. Be sure to mention crediting when posting to social media or anywhere else on the internet.
Last but not least, the dreaded finances section. This section is where you can spell out your costs for the wedding couple to see.
The financial section includes, but not limited to, retainer, package fee, added fees, and non-payment clauses.
This way, it keeps everyone accountable and gives the couple a clear payment timeline of when the wedding photography fees are due, and how much it will be.
Weddings are magical events to cover, and it is an honor that couples choose us to help capture one of the most important days of their lives.
Having a clear and straightforward contract ensures that everyone fully understands their expectations and keeps both parties accountable and organized.
I hope this post on writing a wedding photography contract has helped you.
Bonus For You!
Below you will find my ENTIRE Wedding Photography contract.
It is the same contract I send to brides. This contract has been reviewed by two lawyers and including several clients who are lawyers.
Please consult with a lawyer before using this in your own business as each state has its own legal nuances. Here it is:
A. 1. Agreement To Hire: ______ hereafter referred to as “CLIENT,” agrees to hire Vitor Lindo Photo + Video LLC, hereafter referred to as “STUDIO” for the purposes of producing an artistic and/or documentary style Wedding Photography representing and commemorating the events and activities of the CLIENT’s Wedding day.
B. 1. Booking Guarantee: Upon signature of contract and deposit received, the CLIENT is guaranteed the STUDIO’s presence at CLIENT’s Wedding on (date).
B. 2. Delivery Timelines: The CLIENT is guaranteed to receive the final products within 90 business days of their Wedding day.
B. 3. Communication: The CLIENT should expect to receive periodic emails and requests for information both before and after their wedding date. Couples are encouraged to respond to requests in a timely manner and to communicate questions, changes in schedule, as soon as possible, and directly with the STUDIO. The STUDIO cannot be held responsible for any damages, missed specifics on the day of the event, or any other misunderstanding as a result of the couple’s not communicating preferences, timelines, special moments or people, or other important factors. CLIENT understands it is their ultimate responsibility to ensure that information gets to the STUDIO, and not rely on another Wedding vendor they have hired.
B. 4. Client Cancelation Policy: Should the CLIENT decide to cancel their Wedding, the retainer given is non-refundable. Should the CLIENT decide to re-schedule the Wedding, the STUDIO will accommodate this rescheduling if the STUDIO’s calendar is open for the rescheduled date. This rescheduling fee is 25%. If the STUDIO’s calendar is not open for the rescheduled date the deposit is non-refundable.
B.5. Studio Cancelation Policy: Once this contract is signed and the deposit is received, the CLIENT is guaranteed the STUDIO’s presence at their Wedding. The STUDIO will make every good faith effort to work at the CLIENT’s Wedding even in the event of sickness. Should the STUDIO not be able to be present at the CLIENT’s Wedding due to serious injury, the STUDIO is responsible for finding a qualified replacement.
C. PHOTO PRODUCTION POLICIES
C. 1. Purpose: The CLIENT understands that they are hiring the STUDIO for the purposes of capturing a Photojournalistic style Wedding Photography.
C. 2. Liability of Missing Photos: The STUDIO is not liable for any photos not included in the final product. The STUDIO makes every effort to ensure that data is protected from the moment it is recorded. We lock our memory cards so they cannot be overwritten, we store them in a waterproof casing, and we back up your data to the redundant hard drive. However, as with any technology, technology can fail or the unthinkable accident and/or damage can happen. The STUDIO shoots tens of thousands of individual photo/video files each year, per camera, for a total of over 100,000.00 files per year (50 weddings per year with an average of 2,000 files per wedding). A small percentage of these files, around +/- 0.0001% will be corrupted, this is the nature of technology. Unfortunately, corrupted files are not recoverable at all and totally out of our control. In addition, if your package includes film photography, we remind you that once the film is shipped to the labs for processing the mail is out of our control. However, in the case of any loss, damage, or theft of footage, the STUDIO will work with the individual CLIENT to remedy the situation, depending upon the severity of the loss. However, the CLIENT agrees that the STUDIO will not be held legally, financially, or emotionally liable for any footage loss due to force majeure, civil unrest, fire, flood, corruption, theft, or damage.
C.3 Re-edits to photos: The images the CLIENT receives are fully edited and prepared for printing, however, no photoshopping or “retouching” is done to any of the images. Some images do receive more editing, such as bride and groom portraits, but any specialty services must be purchased separately. These services include blemish removal, slimming, “head-swapping”, and other services. The fee for any “photoshopping” is $150/hr with a two-hour minimum.
C.4. Engagement Sessions: These sessions last around 1 hr and are only available on weekdays. The delivery of engagement sessions photos is four weeks. Rush order of engagement photos is $250 and will shorten the delivery to one week.
C.5. Backup and storage of photos: The STUDIO advises clients to back up their photos to three separate drives immediately after receiving them. The STUDIO is not responsible for keeping copies of the CLIENT’s photos after delivery, however, the STUDIO does keep master backups of all the files for up to 6 months after a wedding.
D. EVENT POLICIES
D. 1. Exclusivity: The STUDIO is the exclusive official Photographer and the CLIENT agrees that no other professionals will be present. The STUDIO cannot guarantee that any particular crew members be present at your Wedding (this includes the STUDIO owner), any and all of our professionals are fully capable of capturing the CLIENT’s Wedding day.
D. 2. Outdoor Venues: Under no circumstances can our crew shoot outdoors in extreme inclement weather, due to the nature of our equipment and/or for the safety of our crew. In the event that the weather takes a turn for the worse, it will be the sole discretion of the lead STUDIO crew member whether recording can take place, depending upon the amount of moisture getting on the equipment. In the event that there is a borderline situation in the heaviness of rain, the CLIENT understands that the final product may consist of less footage/photos then was originally intended. The payments rendered are non-refundable if poor weather or force majeure prevents taping and the CLIENT is still responsible for paying the remainder of the STUDIO’s fee. It is the CLIENT’s responsibility to have a back-up indoor venue.
D. 3. Venue Restrictions: It is the responsibility of the CLIENT to secure the permission of the venue or other officials to Photograph the ceremony. The payments rendered are non-refundable if such officials prevent Photographing or force us to shoot from really far away. The CLIENT understands that if a venue limits our placement and movement of the camera then the quality and artistry of the final product can and will be impacted.
D. 4. Preparation Period: During the hair, makeup, and dressing portions of your day, we strongly advise your location to be in a large, clean room with large windows and ample natural lighting. If any portion of preparations occurs in a dark, small, cluttered, dimly lit, or artificially lit room, the CLIENT understands the quality of the video/photos may suffer.
D. 5. Crew Meals and Breaks: The STUDIO’s crew requires a quality meal during dinner, under no circumstances can we eat sub-standard “vendor-meals,” please relate this to your planner and/or venue, feeding the crew is an often forgotten detail which leads to a hungry and sluggish crew. The crew works very hard for the CLIENT during the entire day and it is our policy to ask the CLIENT to provide the crew with a quality dinner.
D.6. Crew Dress Code: The STUDIO’s crew is guaranteed to show up in proper attire in relationship to the dress code for your Wedding. This normally means dark pants and a dress shirt.
D.7. Guests and Cellphones: We kindly ask that you thoroughly remind your quests that you have hired a Professional Videographer to record your Wedding. We mention this because we have seen countless Weddings photos where a guest can ruin a photo by standing in the middle of the aisle taking a photo with his iPad. Please, help us make your video/photos look great.
D.8. Disc Jokey Lights: A DJ can be a photographer’s best friend or worse nightmare. We discourage strong colored DJ lightings like deep purples or forest greens. These can make it more difficult to capture your wedding. Here are some colors that are easier to work with soft yellows, baby blue, easy green, and light pink. Also, some type of spotlight is extremely helpful. Even a small one, this is helpful to light guests and the couple during toasts.
D.9. Amount Of Light During Reception: Many venues like to dim the lights during many parts of the reception, we kindly remind our CLIENTS that cameras need a minimum amount of light to work with. Sometimes this means having the lights brighter then you would like.
D.10. Damage To Equipment: If during the course of the wedding, any of the STUDIO’s equipment is damaged due to the fault of any of the wedding guests, or any other vendor contracted by the CLIENT (including but not limited to, venue workers, wait staff, planners) the CLIENT is liable for payment to replace that piece of equipment. The CLIENT agrees to pay for said damage within three days of the wedding.
E. CLIENT PACKAGE DETAILS.
E. 1. Products and Services: All products and services to be delivered by the STUDIO are listed in this section. If an item is not listed here, the CLIENT should not expect to receive it. CLIENT understands that there have been no other insinuations of delivery for any product or service that is not included in this description. These include:
- XXX Hours of coverage
- Other deliverables
F. COPYRIGHT AND USAGE
F. 1. Copyright: The STUDIO reserves all intellectual and ownership rights to the photos captured as well as the final product. CLIENT shall retain personal ownership right to the physical copies and final work contained therein, with rights to share their photos at their leisure and for personal use, but the CLIENT ‘s rights to the final work shall not supersede the STUDIO’s rights to ownership. CLIENT shall never attribute the final work or any portion of it to himself or herself or any business or commercial interest they own or use the work or any portion of it for commercial purposes. The STUDIO may use any visual imagery captured for demonstration, advertising, or other purposes so as to promote the STUDIO and attract new clients. No CLIENT shall be compensated for the use of their Wedding photos/videos or any portion of it. No marketing material will be displayed in any area that by association would hurt or otherwise injure the CLIENT ‘s name or reputation.
G. 1. Retainer: The CLIENT’s retainer payment of 50% is due immediately after the signing of this contract. With the second and final payment of 50% due 30 days before the wedding day.
G. 2. Package Fee: The STUDIO created a customized package for the CLIENT’s Wedding day. This $XXXX package includes all the aforementioned deliverables.
G.3. Added fees: 7% GA tax is charged on every package. Beach weddings incur a $100 equipment cleaning fee.
G.4. Non Payment: If a CLIENT does not pay for the full price of the wedding package by the agreed-upon time frame the STUDIO will work with the CLIENT to accommodate a more flexible payment schedule. However, the CLIENT understands that they can only receive photos/albums if the CLIENT has paid all fees. This means that if the STUDIO has photographed the CLIENT’s wedding, the STUDIO has the right to withhold the photos until full payment for the fees agreed in this contract is rendered.
H. 1. Agreement: This Agreement incorporates the entire understanding of the CLIENT to all its terms. Any modifications of this Agreement must be in writing in the form of an Addendum and signed by all parties. Handwritten or email modifications to this agreement shall be void. The CLIENT signing below shall be fully responsible for ensuring that full payment is made pursuant to the terms of this agreement. The laws of the State of Florida shall govern this Agreement.
I.1. Offer Validity: This contract constitutes an offer of services to the CLIENT and is only valid for 10 days after it’s sent. The STUDIO cannot guarantee your date to be available until this contract has been signed and a deposit has been made. We thank you for your business, please call Vitor Lindo at 912-604-1544 if you have questions.
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