While all types of photographers should be using contracts for their sessions, having a solid wedding photography contract is an absolute must when you’re a wedding photographer. Verbal agreements don’t hold up in court, unfortunately. While one would hope that you and your clients don’t ever need to be put in that situation, you’ll definitely want a contract in place. Weddings are one of the biggest life events your clients will experience. You will want to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row before your client’s big day. Your contract is to protect you in case anything goes wrong and also set clear expectations for your clients. This is our list of top 5 things all wedding photography contracts should include.
1. Terms of Payment
Money talk is hard but is a very important conversation to have with your clients. Including a section in your contract about payment terms will help give a clear timeline for payments and hold your clients accountable. In this section, you’ll want to include: the cost for the service/package, additional fees, retainer amount, dates for when amounts are due, and non-payment clauses.
2. Cancellation and Rescheduling Clause
With the recent pandemic, cancellations and reschedules have been more common in the photography field especially for weddings. Include a clause for if the client cancels/reschedules. Lay out your details of what happens if the client reschedules or needs to cancel – for example what your reschedule fee is and what happens if you’re not available on their date chosen for rescheduling. You’ll also want to include a cancellation clause for if you need to cancel. Things happen – injuries, illnesses, etc that may prevent you from shooting. You’ll want to assure you clients what their options are if you are unable to shoot their wedding.
3. Delivery timeline
Brides are always eager to get photos back from their special day. You may run into some brides that like to ask you constantly about when to expect their photos to be delivered. Set up clear expectations about turn around times for proofs, edited galleries and products in your contract so your client is aware up front and can refer to this info as a reminder.
4. Meals and Breaks
Weddings make for a long day of work and you deserve some breaks! Be sure to outline your expectations for reasonable amount of breaks during the day. You also deserve a meal if you’re working several hours that day and you can include this in your contract as well. Don’t forget about your second shooter – you’ll want to outline breaks and request a meal for them as well.
5. Equipment Damage
Accidents happen! The bride’s uncle accidently knocks over your off camera flash or a kid pulls your camera down off the table. Photography equipment is not cheap and is a valuable tool to your business. If something breaks, you’re unable to shoot and do your job. It should be the couple’s responsibility to replace the broken item if the damage was from the result of a guest at the wedding.
These are just some of the key things you’ll want to cover in your wedding contract. Your contract should help keep you and your clients organized for their big day and hold all parties accountable. If you’re struggling with creating a contract, then you can check out The Lawtog which is a great resource for photography contracts.