We don’t mean to sound dramatic, but contracts can be a lifesaver for your wedding photography business. It protects you, your business, and your clients. But let’s face it, crafting the perfect contract from scratch can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to save you from that unnecessary stress.
From wedding photographer contract templates to what information should be included, here’s everything you need to know about creating a contract for your business. But remember, each state has different laws regarding small businesses, so before signing on the dotted line, take your contract to a lawyer to review for ultimate protection.
Why Do You Need A Contract?
A contract is a legally binding document detailing an agreement regarding a service. Not only is it in place to protect your business, but it’s also a way to get on the same page with your clients. After reading through the contract with your clients, everyone will have a clear understanding of what exactly is expected.
It should be clear, concise, and direct about what your client can expect by working with you. At any moment during your time working with the couple, you should be able to refer to your contract to settle any questions, concerns, or possible disputes that may arise.
What Should You Include In Your Wedding Photographer Contract?
Contracts are vital for wedding photographers, and there’s a long list of necessary things to cover. While the contents of each contract may vary from client to client, the fundamental contractual elements remain constant. To ensure proper coverage, here’s what you should include.
Start off with the basics, including the names and contact information of the couple and the wedding vendor.
Description of the Services
Follow up the basics with a short description of what’s included in the contract, along with the services provided. This includes the date and timeframe that the services are being provided as well as any other relevant descriptions, including package contents and location of services.
Your contract should also include the price of your services and a detailed payment schedule that your clients legally have to abide by. Outlining how much is due on exact dates will protect you from clients trying to pay late, continue negotiating pricing, or avoid paying. For extra protection, add a clause that states a late fee that will be added to the final cost.
In this section, you can also include any extra fees that could arise so your clients aren’t hit with any surprises. Some examples could be overtime fees, permits, travel costs, etc. This will have to be tweaked and personalized to each client.
Means of Delivery and Turn-Around Time
Soon after your couple’s wedding, your clients will be eager to see images from the day. Be sure to include a section in your wedding contract talking about how you’ll deliver images to your clients— whether that be with a photo album or an online photo gallery. You’ll also want to clearly state your turnaround time to hopefully stop clients from bombarding your email asking when they will receive their gallery.
Client’s Usage Rights and Copyright Information
Protect your work by stating all the copyright information with your clients in your contract. While they’ll have unlimited personal use, that doesn’t come without rules. Remember, couples aren’t just sharing images from their wedding, but they are sharing photographs that could attract future clients. That’s why you want to create a brief description of how clients can use their images for personal use, including how you wish to receive credit when posted. It’s also wise to note that no alterations of any kind take place.
Be sure to express to your clients ahead of time that you are the only hired photographer hired. Loved ones can capture their own images for personal use, but no guests should be taking photos to include in their online portfolio. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing Uncle Bob try and get in the aisle with you during the first kiss. This protects the clients—getting the images they hired the photographer to get—and the photographer.
If a couple chooses to terminate the contract, then a cancellation contract must be brought forward and signed by both parties. At this point, a deposit has likely been made. So what happens to that payment if the couple chooses to cancel on you? Partial refund? No refund? Whatever you choose, be clear and direct in this clause.
Wedding Photographer Contract Templates
Protecting you and your wedding photography business starts with a strong contract. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re an industry pro revamping your behind-the-scenes workflow, there are quality contract templates you can tweak to match your brand. Here are a few of our favorites.
1. The Customizable Contract Set by India Earl
What’s Included: Never question the reliability of your contracts using this customizable contract set, written by a lawyer—includes two sets for both photographers & videographers.
2. Wedding Photography Contract by Dawn Charles
What’s Included: This downloadable bundle written by a lawyer has customizable fields that can be easily tweaked to match your brand and for each client.
3. Ultimate Wedding Bundle by TheLawTog
What’s Included: The Ultimate Bundle includes contracts to cover your client relationship plus those you’ll work closely with during the event, including an engagement portrait contract, second shooter contract, rescheduling addendum, third-party payor addendum, album design contract, payment plan contract bundle, wedding vendor license.
Price: bundles begin at $1649
4. Wedding Photography Contract Template by Twig and Olive
What’s Included: This downloadable bundle includes instructions, a cover page template, and a contract template that can be tweaked and reviewed by your lawyer to match your business.
5. Wedding Contract Template by Elizabeth Grant Photography
What’s Included: Looking for a clean, non-legalese, to-the-point wedding photographer contract to use with all types of clients? This one is perfect for you. Created by a lawyer, it’s sure to keep you and your business protected.
You’ve officially updated your contracts, but why stop there? There’s a long list of improvements you can make to revamp your photography business. And if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, take on our 11-day challenge to revamp your business in 2023.