What To Include
Though each photographer’s style is unique and each wedding slightly different, most wedding contracts will contain some essential elements.
The name and contact information of the couple and the photographer should be included in the agreement.
Locations and Schedule
Weddings will generally have at least two locations where photos will be taken. Each address should be specified along with the date of the wedding and the schedule for the proceedings. Some things the photographer may need to be mindful of are:
- Where the bride will get ready
- Where the groom will get ready
- The ceremony venue
- The reception venue
- The location of specific photos, including family photos, couple’s only photos, bridesmaid and groomsmen photos
It is important to note how much the photographer will be paid for their services and to define all payment deadlines. The contract should also state how long the photographer will be capturing the event, and at what rate overtime will be charged. It is also standard to include a nonrefundable deposit in the contract.
The payment method may also be specified. Many photographers prefer to avoid credit cards due to the extra fees. It should be determined whether payment will be made by cash, cheque, credit card, or another transfer method such as Venmo.
Policy on Cancellation, Rescheduling, and Refunds
Since many weddings are booked months or years in advance, it is crucial to have a policy set in place in the event of any issues that may interfere with the wedding. The photographer’s cancellation, rescheduling, and refund policy should be clearly stated in the contract.
Most photographers will have a copyright clause in their contract, which states that the photographer retains the right to all photos. The couple will be able to use their images for personal use but not for any sale or commercial use unless specifically authorized by the photographer.
It is common practice to include a model release in the agreement. This states that the couple consent to the photographer using their images for their own advertising, marketing, and promotional use.
Every wedding is different, and every photographer has their preferences regarding how they want to manage their business. Some common considerations that may appear in a wedding photography contract or agreement are:
- Whether to include RAW photos (most photographers don’t).
- Guidelines regarding guest behavior and harassment.
- If location permits are required, a clause stating who will be responsible for acquiring them.
- Turnaround time, number of photos to be edited, and editing style.
Most wedding photography contracts will contain a clause stating that while they will do their best to capture all requested shots, due to the nature of event photography, the photographer will not be held responsible for missed images due to circumstances beyond their control, such as weather, technological errors, or an unwilling subject.
A well-drafted contract is important to protect both photographers and their clients. Occasionally, an unhappy couple may attempt to sue their wedding photographer. Three common types of lawsuits brought against wedding photographers are:
- Breach of Contract. This lawsuit is brought about when the couple believes that the wedding photographer failed to provide the services they promised. Usually, this occurs when the photographer fails to capture the event, loses photos, or does not show up.
- Misappropriation. When the photographer uses an image without being given the appropriate authorization from the photographed party.
- Misrepresentation. This occurs when a photographer is accused of committing or misstating a contract term so that the client will sign the agreement.