The Ins and Outs of Photography Contracts



Planning a wedding or event involves the signing of multiple contracts and more than likely, spending large sums of money.

These higher stakes require you to not only read your fine print but understand what you are reading. It’s important that both parties (the vendor and client) understand their agreement as well as their responsibilities once the contract is signed.

Let’s take for example, photography contracts today.

Photography contracts can be simple agreements, detailing expected services and payment schedules. However, photography contracts can often include much more information as well.

Before you sign, learn what is typical, what to look for, and what should trigger red flag alerts when reviewing a photography contract.

The Basics

Photography contracts should spell out the essential details of the agreement between the purchaser and the company.

These details should include:

  • date and time of the event to be photographed
  • name of the contracting party
  • locations of the event or events being photographed
  • duration of shooting (with start and end times)
  • number of shooters
  • a payment schedule
  • the photographer’s responsibility to deliver digital images
  • any agreed-upon products
  • terms of contract termination
  • copyright policy

Copyright Policies

It’s critical that you understand your photographer’s copyright policies, which should also be listed in the contract.

You should own your pictures and have the ability to print them anywhere you’d like. In the world of digital images , every event host should have the rights to the pictures from their big day.

Photo credit: Classic Photographers

Ask Questions

If you have concerns about a particular section of your contract, don’t be afraid to express and ask questions. Many event hosts are concerned, for example, about needing to change their event date, and if there will be fees involved. There are likely some policies about date changes as well as policies for true cancellations – it’s important to ask the photography company you are working with as each company may have different policies.

If your photographer provides an explanation of a contract section and you still have concerns, consider asking if the contract can be edited. Some sections are easy to adjust, and others are non-negotiable.

You ultimately have the right to sign or decline a contract after you’ve reviewed what your photographer is offering. Strong differences of opinion about very basic policies and procedures are definitely valid reasons to be concerned. If you find that you cannot negotiate, you may wish to keep interviewing other photography companies.

Photography contracts are high value, so we highly recommend that you take some time to really review yours, ask questions, and sign only when you understand your rights and your responsibilities, as well as the rights and responsibilities of the photography team.

Keith Phillips is the Director of Business Development for Classic Photographers, a company that provides high quality wedding photography and videography services for the budget minded couple.  

Of Possible Interest:

Bridging the Gap- How To Select A Wedding Photographer