How to Write a Contract for Your Wedding Photographer
Cover working hours, photo styles, cancellation and more
By MiShaun Taylor
Weddings can be stressful enough, but this stress can continue even after the wedding if you and your photographer haven't hashed out a contract that's clear and agreeable to both of you. So sit down with each other, lay out your expectations and create a contract that you'll both be happy with. Provide a copy for each party, and lock this contract away somewhere safe, should you need to enforce it later.
- What You Need to Know
- When writing a contract for your wedding photographer, you should outline all the details that you and the photographer have agreed upon, as well as describe what will happen in the event something does not go according to plan. You should include everything from the essentials of the deal to simple personal preferences regarding the photos.
Review sample contracts. You should review a few sample wedding photographer contracts to get an idea of sample photographer agreements and what is included in them. You can find samples online or ask a few photographers to send you theirs.
Designate names of the parties. The contract should start with the names of all the parties and the date the contract will be signed. Use the parties' full names and take care to ensure that the spelling is correct. You should specify the photographer's name, the number of assistants, and the name of the photography company.
Describe the photography services to be provided. Start from the beginning and list all services to be provided, including any engagement or bridal sittings. Also specify whether the photographer will take pictures only of the wedding and reception, or if he will take photos at a cocktail hour or a rehearsal dinner as well. Be sure to specify whether the wedding portraits will be taken before or after the wedding, so that all time requirements are clear. If you expect the photographer to play a part in directing the flow of the reception, put that in writing.
Designate time, date, location and hours to be worked. Spell out exactly where and when the photographer should arrive on the wedding day and how long she is expected to take pictures. A late policy should be made clear, including a monetary penalty if the photographer is late. You should also agree on when breaks will be taken, how long breaks will last, and whether the photographer will be provided a plate of food at the reception.
Give a detailed description of payment terms. State the amount of the deposit and overall fee and say when the deposit and balance of the bill are each due. Indicate whether the deposit is refundable or not. Ask for an installment payment plan if you need one. Will the overall fee include engagement and bridal picture sitting fees, as well as the actual portraits? If possible, itemize all costs, including any overtime fees that could be charged. Ask if there are travel fees or taxes.
Describe the cancellation policy. Write out the cancellation policy, and address whether the deposit is refundable. State how far in advance is it acceptable for the photographer to cancel, and list allowable substitute photographers in case there is an emergency. Require that the photographer bring backup cameras and lights in case of an accident or malfunction.
Address all issues regarding the photos themselves. List the number of proofs you will receive and the complete package details. This should include details such as the size and number of final prints and when you will receive the final product. If you want a digital CD of the photos, be sure to indicate this, as the photographer may have strong preferences regarding printing rights. Price albums or photo books, if that service is offered. Specify whether you want the pictures to be formal/traditional, casual, creative, or modern. Also write how many portraits and pictures will be taken and who should be included in the pictures.
Sign on the dotted line. All parties should sign and date the contract and initial each page. Provide copies for each party.
About the Author
With more than 15 years of writing experience, MiShaun Taylor specializes in wedding-related articles.
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