A wedding is a significant event in a person’s life. People hire wedding photographers to capture the moments of this event. Most of the time, they are hired through references from friends and family. For a photographer, it is a professional assignment. So it is essential to discuss all the points with the client before beginning the work.
Once everything has been explained, it should be put down in writing in the form of an agreement between the parties. This agreement becomes the wedding photography contract. Also called a marriage photography contract, it lists the terms decided by the parties, such as the date, place, and time of the event and fee charged for rendering photography services. A similar type of agreement is the wedding videography contract where the client hires a videographer to record the wedding and other associated functions.
Who Needs Wedding Photography Contract?
If you are a couple who is about to get married and plan to hire wedding photographers, you may want to have a wedding contract for photographers. In it, you can include your expectations from the photographer and other terms as to how you want him to cover the wedding. If you are a professional wedding photographer, you should have such a contract in place for your clients so that there is no uncertainty in your communication with them. The client can also be a family member of the couple who is managing the event for them.
Purpose of a Wedding Photography Contract
The main idea behind having a wedding photography contract is to avoid misunderstandings between the client and the photographer. It lays down what each party expects of the other. For example, the client wants the wedding- the ceremony as well as the reception- to be covered. The photographer wants timely payments as per the contract.
All these conditions are written in the contract so that both parties are aware of them. It also puts them at ease and brings transparency to the process. From a legal perspective, the agreement serves as evidence in case there is any dispute between the parties.
Contents of a Wedding Photography Contract
Typically, the contract includes the following terms:
- Names of the parties- This consists of the names and contact details of the client and the photographer.
- Date, time, and location of the places where the photographer will have to work.
If it is a destination wedding, the client will have to bear the travel expenses. In addition to this, he may have to take additional expenses that the photographer may mention.
- Ceremonies and subjects to be covered: This clause states what all services are to be covered. For example, as a client, you may engage the photographer to shoot pictures right from when the bride and groom get ready for the reception. You can also join his services only for the wedding ceremony and the reception.
- Duration of work: This mentions the number of hours the photographer will work on each day.
- Payment: This is a necessary clause and includes all details relating to the payment. It mentions if there is a deposit to be made and how the rest of the amount will be made.
- Cancellation policy: This term states what happens in case of a cancellation. For instance, the photographer may allow the client to cancel the contract in writing at any time. However, any cancellation made close to the event (say, less than eight weeks before the wedding) shall result in forfeiture of any money that has already been paid. Similarly, if the photographer cancels for some reason, he should find another photographer to cover the wedding. If he fails to do so, he will be liable to return the full amount paid to him.
- Rights in the photographs: This is a crucial point to include in the contract. The photographer can state that he owns the copyright in the photographs, and they cannot be used, sold, or reproduced in any manner without his written permission.
- Edits: This clause states that the photographer shall carry out necessary edits on the pictures. Any additional retouching will have an extra cost attached to it.
- Delivery of photographs: It states the time when the client will get the pictures. It should be reasonable, taking into account the editing process and other works that will be required to produce the desired product.
- Photo release: The photo release clause enables the photographer to use the images to promote his business. It is permission from the clients to allow the photographer to use their pictures for his portfolio or commercial/promotional activities.
- Limitation of liability: This clause protects the photographer from any liability that exceeds the cost paid by the client. It limits his liability to the extent of payment made by the client.
- Governing law: It states which state’s law will govern the contract. This avoids disputes regarding jurisdiction.
- Signatures of the parties
How to Draft a Wedding Photography Contract?
When drafting a wedding photography contract, you can include the terms mentioned above and also add those that suit your requirements. It is essential to discuss all the inclusions with the client. This establishes trust in the professional relationship. It also puts them at ease when they are made to realize the significance of the contract and how it safeguards their interests.
If you are a photographer drafting the contract, ensure that you write all the clauses clearly and concisely. You can refer to a sample wedding photography contract on the internet. Keep in mind the following:
- If you work for a studio, mention the name of the studio in the name clause. Add the number of assistants that will accompany you to the event and write their names.
- If the client has not yet decided on the date and venue of the wedding, include a provision that states that he has to inform you about these details reasonably well in advance so that you have enough time to prepare.
- Make sure to specify the number of hours that you will work in a day. This avoids unnecessary long hours of work that the client may expect you to put in.
- Be clear about the terms of your payment. You are free to charge either on an hourly basis or on a project basis. You can ask the client to either pay in installments or make complete payment before the wedding. State everything included in the total price-like prints, digital copies, and albums- also, the excluded items like album covers.
You can add a list of services that you will provide with extra cost. For example, the client may want you to spend a little more time editing some of the pictures and make them stand out from the rest. You can add the additional editing requirements as a separate service that is available at extra cost.
- You can either retain the copyright in the photographs or transfer it to the client using a copyright release form. If you intend to keep it, explain to the client how they can use the images for their personal use only. This includes sharing them on social media after giving you due credit.
- When drafting the clause for delivery of pictures, make sure to specify the form in which they will be delivered. You can provide them in a USB drive or as prints or as DVDs. Clarify this with the client before signing the contract.
Benefits of a Wedding Photography Contract
Planning a wedding can be stressful. There are high chances of the client forgetting or verbal misunderstanding agreements. Having a written contract enables both parties to understand each others’ expectations. It also lends a degree of seriousness and professionalism to the photographer. The contract addresses almost every possible issue that may arise during the event. Since the parties have already discussed it, there is very little chance of a dispute arising between them.
[ Also Read: Event Photography Contract ]
What Happens In Case of Violation?
Almost all wedding photography contracts have a cancellation clause(1). If the contract is canceled according to the clause, there is no issue. However, if a party violates the contract, there are consequences. In such a scenario, you can choose to mediate with the other party and settle without going to court. This avoids litigation costs and saves time. However, if the parties do not want to settle, there is no other option but to go to court(2).
It will look into the violation and assess the situation of both parties before pronouncing judgment. In most cases, the party who has breached the contract is asked to pay damages to the other party as compensation for the loss it has suffered.
Wedding pictures make an essential collection of memories. If you are a client, you need to engage a photographer who understands your requirements. Having a wedding photography contract goes a long way to ensure that things go as planned. It takes care of everything related to photographing the event. It serves the photographer as well as the client and ensures that they are protected. Hence, it is advisable to have this contract in place when hiring a photographer to cover the wedding.