Create your own

Free Photography Contract Template

with a bulletproof template & simple e-signing

Customize this

Photography Contract Template

in minutes with

Bonsai's free contract generator

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Photography Contract TemplatePhotography Contract TemplatePhotography Contract Template

Bonsai has helped create 151,954 contracts and counting

"I did a lot of research before switching to Bonsai from another service. The ability to send and sign contracts was a game changer for me. No one else offers such a seamless process from proposal to contract to invoice. It has saved me a lot of time and lets me focus on creative work."
Kevin Tudball
Create a contract

Save time

with simple contracts & invoices

Protect yourself

from late payments & scope creep

Get peace of mind

with a standard & transparent process

Bonsai handles the back office.
You focus on the work you love.

How it works

Choose a contract

from a library of vetted, plain English templates

Select your terms

and fully customize them based on your needs

Sign electronically

and store securely

Create beautiful invoices

and accept payments worldwide

Do the work you love

Bonsai handles the back office

What is a photography contract?

Freelance photographers have to learn to protect themselves while making money and doing what they love; that is, clicking the camera away! One way of protecting yourself is by studying the photography contract sample and learning how to write one. The sample can be the difference between profits and massive losses. It can determine the direction the rest of your freelancing career in photography takes. Making good money without a contract is hard.

Most freelance photographers imagine that once they get hired, that’s the end of it. Like the next thing will be to design a freelance invoice, and they’re ready to earn. Well, that should be the case. However, you can’t just trust your client without an agreement. They’re human, and so, they need something to keep them on their toes, just like you need some pressure to meet your deadlines.

While you trust that your client will pay you on time, and do their part as expected, they may just turn you down when you least expect. You’ve not met them before, and so, how can you trust them without a contract? Therefore, as a photography freelancer, you aren’t safe working without a binding agreement. Both you and the client need to define your responsibilities and your boundaries. Again, as a freelancer, you need to let your client know the limit of your services, to avoid handling tasks that the client isn’t going to pay for. 

Freelance photographers who fail to do this end up working on some tasks for free, and since as a freelancer you wouldn’t want to lose the project, you’ll just have to do it. For any freelancer, that’s discouraging, and especially after working so hard. So, protect your hard earned money by spelling out your roles and responsibilities clearly in the photography contract. You can write one from the scratch, but it’s advisable to read through a photography contract sample to get the format and the flow. 

A photography contract sample guides you on what your contract needs to look like. From the structure to the content. Most of these samples are done by experts, and, therefore, you won’t miss out on the most important details. Some of them belong to top freelance photographers who’ve made it in the freelance world. However, not all are of high quality, and so, before you settle on a specific photography contract sample, make sure it’s of high quality. If you’re not able to tell, seek help from an expert to help you choose from the available photography contract examples.

Now that you have a photography contract sample, where do you start from? Well, it’s simple. Just read through it and pick the necessary points. To make your work easier, use a photography contract PDF template to get the format of the contract. Most templates have the right format and structure to use for your contract. So, once you get the format right, you should get started. 

However, before you start working on your photography contract PDF, you need to know how both you and your client can benefit from the contract. Most photography examples contain these details, but they’re not 100%. Therefore, knowing what the photography contract PDF can bring to your attention and that of the client helps you to include it all. 

Here’s what the photography contract sample can bring to your attention and that of the client.

Photography Contract Template
Image Credits:

1. A photography contract template shows understanding of your limits

The best freelance photographers understand their limits. You’re only supposed to handle the tasks you were hired to do. Failure to define your limits may cause you to offer services that the client isn’t going to pay for or make you ineffective.

Today, more than ever before, it has become important for freelancers to know what they can and can’t do. This is because it can be too tempting to take whatever project or gig that comes along! While that could guarantee you money, you will suffer in the long-term. Why? Clients will notice that you’re not quite as effective in some niches. All your shortcomings will emerge thus killing a source of income.

Of course, losing the job is the last thing you’d want to happen to you as a freelancer. You know how hard it can be to win a freelance project, and so, you should take care of the one you have. Take time to go through the photography contract sample template to see how well you can define your roles and your limits.

At most, you can only do three things well in any field of photography and life in general! So, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Be specific and realistic.

2. Talk about invoicing in your photography agreement template

Of what use is the photography contract sample if you can’t use it to talk about money? Well, your client knows they’re supposed to pay you after completing the work, but you must be having your terms of payment as a freelance photographer. Any talk regarding money has to highlight invoicing issues and concerns. Like, when do you want to be paid, and how much are you charging for your services?

You need as much income as you can get through your freelancing skills. Invoicing helps you to keep track of all that income. For this reason, it’s an important aspect or element when negotiating the photography contract PDF with any of your photography clients. 

Therefore, define your terms of payment clearly in the photography contract template. Borrow information from the photography contract sample, if you aren’t sure how to go about this, or if you need additional information on the same.

While still on this issue, freelance photographers should be careful to make complete invoices only. That’s the only way you can be sure you’ll get your payment and at the right time. Make sure it contains everything that’s required for the payment to be completed.

What should be included in a photography contract template?

Do not leave issues regarding copyright hanging! Otherwise, the photography contract sample will not be of any use to you. Freelance photographers can fall into the temptation of seeking to impress their clients. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that! However, it’s important to protect yourself and – more critically – your work.

For this reason, the photography contract PDF should stipulate that you intend to retain the copyright for any work a freelance client commissioned you to do. Most photography contract sample contain this part, but in case the one you’re using doesn’t have it, be sure to include. There are serious consequences that come with omitting the copyright part in your freelance photography contract. So, make sure you talk about copyright issues in the contract.

Failure to retain copyright allows clients to use the photos in more ways than they told you, and you know how costly it can be. So, say something before it’s too late into the day.

In addition to the aforementioned, you also need to protect yourself with the appropriate clauses. In photography, the more clauses you include in your photography contract examples with clients the more protection you accord yourself. As you probably know by now, freelance photographers are at risk of losing everything they make. Because of this, they have to learn to include the following clauses in their contracts:

  • Exclusivity clauses
  • Dinner clauses
  • Force majeure
  • Lab errors
  • Substitution policy

In most cases, you’ll find this information well-outlined in the photography contract sample. All you need to do is to go through this part careful and pick out what’s useful for your photography contract.

Take a look at the sample below.

Photography Contract Template Sample
Image Credits:

4. Giving your clients your all when drafting the photography contract template

The clauses serve a crucial purpose, as already stated. They are not only beneficial to the freelance photographers but also protect clients. Remember, the agreement isn’t one-sided. Both of you need to agree, and that means the photography contract is meant to protect the two of you. The more you protect yourself and the clients’ interests, the easier it is for you to offer excellent services to your clients.

Many clients approach freelance photographers with a higher dose of apprehension. Some do so because of previous experiences while for others the apprehension is the result of stories they have heard. Therefore, you’ve got to prove to them that what they’ve heard or know about you is actually true. You can only achieve this by offering quality services based on what you promised in the photography contract template. Give them assurance that you’ll deliver as stated in the contract. Go through the photography contract sample carefully to get this right.

The photography contract sample puts your clients’ fears at ease.

5. Include additional services in the photography agreement template

Do you offer extra services as a freelance photographer? If yes, your clients should know about them and how much they cost. In most cases, your client may wish to obtain these services but they’re not aware they should pay extra for them. Sometimes the client may just add work to the project without reassessing the payment amount. Taking additional tasks without pay is a waste of time, and so, you need to safeguard your scope of work. Of course, trying to explain this to your client after they’ve allocated you the tasks is hard. That’s why you need to spell this out clearly in your photography contract pdf. 

Most photography contract examples contain this section. So, go through it carefully to get the flow. Given that you’ve worked on many freelance photography projects before, you know those extra services that a client may request for. So, be sure to include them. However, if you’re a newbie in freelance photography and it’s your first project, you may have to borrow ideas from a photography contract sample or seek help from an expert. Even so, don’t think it’s a difficult task. With time, you’ll find your way. 

What are the essentials of a photography contract?

Are you comfortable working with tight deadlines? Can you deliver tasks on time? Your client would like to know this, and that’s why your photography contract PDF should talk about it. Most freelancers end up brushing shoulders with their clients simply because they deliver late. While in some circumstances that’s allowed, the truth is, your client may not always accept late delivery. That’s why as a freelance photographer, you need to define the amount of time you need to complete each task.

Most freelancers want to impress their clients by showing how fast they can complete the tasks. At the end of the day, they either deliver substandard work because they did things in a hurry or fail to meet set deadlines. Of course, this interferes with the relationship between you and the client, who may decide to end the project. You don’t want that, right? Therefore, talk about deadlines that you can meet, and do your best to achieve them. A photography contract sample should guide you on this. 

Try to work with achievable milestones. Keep in mind that your client isn’t interested in how fast you can complete the task, but how accurate and timely you are. They say, “better slow but sure.” But even then, don’t drag so much. Just complete the task as fast as you can and pick the next one. 

7. Termination of a photography contract template

Like any other agreement, some unforeseen circumstances may cause either of you to discontinue the services. Since it’s an agreement, you just don’t walk out of it anytime you want. Remember, in case of termination, either you or the client will be affected, depending on who is canceling it. A breach of contract can be costly, and so, you need to spell out the terms of termination to protect both parties. As a freelance photographer, you need to leave room in the contract that gives both of you an exit that’s not costly. 

For instance, you can specify the amount of money and the tasks the client should pay for in case they decide to discontinue the services. On your part, it will protect you from losing what you’ve already earned, and on the part of the client, they’ll not have to spend more than their budget. Most photography contract examples contain a termination clause. Therefore, go through it and borrow ideas from it. 

As you do this, make sure you don’t complicate things. Some freelancers create tough terms that may end up scaring the client. Remember, none of you is planning for a termination. It’s something that may just happen, and so, the terms should be fair to both of you.

8. Terms of delayed payments covered in the photography contract template

After working so hard on your client’s project, the last thing you’d expect is a delayed payment from them. While you may have invoiced your client on time, they may just end up paying you later than you expected. Of course, it would be a disappointment but you may not have the courage to face them about it. Therefore, to be on the safe side, make sure you include terms of delayed payments in your contract. Do you charge interest or a fee on late payments? Don’t shy away from mentioning this in your contract. You have the right to take such actions in case of delayed payment, but your client should know about this before you start working on the project. 

Most photography contract examples contain this clause. So, you can borrow ides from here. Even then, don’t put high fees or interests. Be human enough to understand your client. 

As demonstrated here, clients need to know that the freelance photographer is a trustworthy professional. Getting everything – including your promises and vows to clients – down on paper is the best way of reassuring them that you’re the real deal!

It’s unfair for the freelance photographers to expect clients to trust their word only. Prepare the photography contract PDF, sign it together with clients, and win their trust! It’s much better this way.

Use this template

The simplest way to create a legally sound contract. Check out an example below

Photography Contract Template

This Contract is between Sample Client (the "Client") and John Doe (the "Photographer").

The Contract is dated [the date both parties sign].


1.1 Project. The Client is hiring the Photographer to do the following: General photography services.

1.2 Schedule. The Photographer will begin work on April 17, 2020 and the work is ongoing. This Contract can be ended by either Client or Photographer at any time, pursuant to the terms of Section 4, Term and Termination.

1.3 Payment. The Client will pay the Photographer a rate of $128.00 (USD) per hour. Of this, the Client will pay the Photographer $2,000.00 (USD) before work begins.

1.4 Expenses. The Client will reimburse the Photographer's expenses. Expenses do not need to be pre-approved by the Client.

1.5 Invoices. The Photographer will invoice the Client weekly. The Client agrees to pay the amount owed within 15 days of receiving the invoice. Payment after that date will incur a late fee of 1.0% per month on the outstanding amount.


2.1 Client Owns All Work Product. As part of this job, the Photographer is creating “work product” for the Client. To avoid confusion, work product is the finished product, as well as drafts, notes, materials, mockups, hardware, designs, inventions, patents, code, and anything else that the Photographer works on—that is, conceives, creates, designs, develops, invents, works on, or reduces to practice—as part of this project, whether before the date of this Contract or after. The Photographer hereby gives the Client this work product once the Client pays for it in full. This means the Photographer is giving the Client all of its rights, titles, and interests in and to the work product (including intellectual property rights), and the Client will be the sole owner of it. The Client can use the work product however it wants or it can decide not to use the work product at all. The Client, for example, can modify, destroy, or sell it, as it sees fit.

2.2 Photographer’s Use Of Work Product. Once the Photographer gives the work product to the Client, the Photographer does not have any rights to it, except those that the Client explicitly gives the Photographer here. The Client gives the Photographer permission to use the work product as part of the Photographer's portfolio and websites, in galleries, and in other media, so long as it is to showcase the Photographer's work and not for any other purpose. The Photographer is not allowed to sell or otherwise use the work product to make money or for any other commercial use. The Client is not allowed to take back this license, even after the Contract ends.

2.3 Photographer’s Help Securing Ownership. In the future, the Client may need the Photographer’s help to show that the Client owns the work product or to complete the transfer. The Photographer agrees to help with that. For example, the Photographer may have to sign a patent application. The Client will pay any required expenses for this. If the Client can’t find the Photographer, the Photographer agrees that the Client can act on the Photographer’s behalf to accomplish the same thing. The following language gives the Client that right: if the Client can’t find the Photographer after spending reasonable effort trying to do so, the Photographer hereby irrevocably designates and appoints the Client as the Photographer’s agent and attorney-in-fact, which appointment is coupled with an interest, to act for the Photographer and on the Photographer’s behalf to execute, verify, and file the required documents and to take any other legal action to accomplish the purposes of paragraph 2.1 (Client Owns All Work Product).

2.4 Photographer’s IP That Is Not Work Product. During the course of this project, the Photographer might use intellectual property that the Photographer owns or has licensed from a third party, but that does not qualify as “work product.” This is called “background IP.” Possible examples of background IP are pre-existing code, type fonts, properly-licensed stock photos, and web application tools. The Photographer is not giving the Client this background IP. But, as part of the Contract, the Photographer is giving the Client a right to use and license (with the right to sublicense) the background IP to develop, market, sell, and support the Client’s products and services. The Client may use this background IP worldwide and free of charge, but it cannot transfer its rights to the background IP (except as allowed in Section 9.1 (Assignment)). The Client cannot sell or license the background IP separately from its products or services. The Photographer cannot take back this grant, and this grant does not end when the Contract is over.

2.5 Photographer’s Right To Use Client IP. The Photographer may need to use the Client’s intellectual property to do its job. For example, if the Client is hiring the Photographer to build a website, the Photographer may have to use the Client’s logo. The Client agrees to let the Photographer use the Client’s intellectual property and other intellectual property that the Client controls to the extent reasonably necessary to do the Photographer’s job. Beyond that, the Client is not giving the Photographer any intellectual property rights, unless specifically stated otherwise in this Contract.


3.1 Overview. This section contains important promises between the parties.

3.2 Authority To Sign. Each party promises to the other party that it has the authority to enter into this Contract and to perform all of its obligations under this Contract.

3.3 Photographer Has Right To Give Client Work Product. The Photographer promises that it owns the work product, that the Photographer is able to give the work product to the Client, and that no other party will claim that it owns the work product. If the Photographer uses employees or subcontractors, the Photographer also promises that these employees and subcontractors have signed contracts with the Photographer giving the Photographer any rights that the employees or subcontractors have related to the Photographer’s background IP and work product.

3.4 Photographer Will Comply With Laws. The Photographer promises that the manner it does this job, its work product, and any background IP it uses comply with applicable U.S. and foreign laws and regulations.

3.5 Work Product Does Not Infringe. The Photographer promises that its work product does not and will not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights, that the Photographer has the right to let the Client use the background IP, and that this Contract does not and will not violate any contract that the Photographer has entered into or will enter into with someone else.

3.6 Client Will Review Work. The Client promises to review the work product, to be reasonably available to the Photographer if the Photographer has questions regarding this project, and to provide timely feedback and decisions.

3.7 Client-Supplied Material Does Not Infringe. If the Client provides the Photographer with material to incorporate into the work product, the Client promises that this material does not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights.

4. TERM AND TERMINATION. This Contract is ongoing, until ended by the Client or the Photographer. Either party may end this Contract for any reason by sending an email or letter to the other party, informing the recipient that the sender is ending the Contract and that the Contract will end in 7 days. The Contract officially ends once that time has passed. The party that is ending the Contract must provide notice by taking the steps explained in Section 9.4. The Photographer must immediately stop working as soon as it receives this notice, unless the notice says otherwise. The Client will pay the Photographer for the work done up until when the Contract ends and will reimburse the Photographer for any agreed-upon, non-cancellable expenses. The following sections don’t end even after the Contract ends: 2 (Ownership and Licenses); 3 (Representations); 6 (Confidential Information); 7 (Limitation of Liability); 8 (Indemnity); and 9 (General).

5. INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. The Client is hiring the Photographer as an independent contractor. The following statements accurately reflect their relationship:

- The Photographer will use its own equipment, tools, and material to do the work.- The Client will not control how the job is performed on a day-to-day basis. Rather, the Photographer is responsible for determining when, where, and how it will carry out the work.- The Client will not provide the Photographer with any training.- The Client and the Photographer do not have a partnership or employer-employee relationship.- The Photographer cannot enter into contracts, make promises, or act on behalf of the Client.- The Photographer is not entitled to the Client’s benefits (e.g., group insurance, retirement benefits, retirement plans, vacation days).- The Photographer is responsible for its own taxes.- The Client will not withhold social security and Medicare taxes or make payments for disability insurance, unemployment insurance, or workers compensation for the Photographer or any of the Photographer’s employees or subcontractors.


6.1 Overview. This Contract imposes special restrictions on how the Client and the Photographer must handle confidential information. These obligations are explained in this section.

6.2 The Client’s Confidential Information. While working for the Client, the Photographer may come across, or be given, Client information that is confidential. This is information like customer lists, business strategies, research & development notes, statistics about a website, and other information that is private. The Photographer promises to treat this information as if it is the Photographer’s own confidential information. The Photographer may use this information to do its job under this Contract, but not for anything else. For example, if the Client lets the Photographer use a customer list to send out a newsletter, the Photographer cannot use those email addresses for any other purpose. The one exception to this is if the Client gives the Photographer written permission to use the information for another purpose, the Photographer may use the information for that purpose, as well. When this Contract ends, the Photographer must give back or destroy all confidential information, and confirm that it has done so. The Photographer promises that it will not share confidential information with a third party, unless the Client gives the Photographer written permission first. The Photographer must continue to follow these obligations, even after the Contract ends. The Photographer’s responsibilities only stop if the Photographer can show any of the following: (i) that the information was already public when the Photographer came across it; (ii) the information became public after the Photographer came across it, but not because of anything the Photographer did or didn’t do; (iii) the Photographer already knew the information when the Photographer came across it and the Photographer didn’t have any obligation to keep it secret; (iv) a third party provided the Photographer with the information without requiring that the Photographer keep it a secret; or (v) the Photographer created the information on its own, without using anything belonging to the Client.

6.3 Third-Party Confidential Information. It’s possible the Client and the Photographer each have access to confidential information that belongs to third parties. The Client and the Photographer each promise that it will not share with the other party confidential information that belongs to third parties, unless it is allowed to do so. If the Client or the Photographer is allowed to share confidential information with the other party and does so, the sharing party promises to tell the other party in writing of any special restrictions regarding that information.

7. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. Neither party is liable for breach-of-contract damages that the breaching party could not reasonably have foreseen when it entered this Contract.


8.1 Overview. This section transfers certain risks between the parties if a third party sues or goes after the Client or the Photographer or both. For example, if the Client gets sued for something that the Photographer did, then the Photographer may promise to come to the Client’s defense or to reimburse the Client for any losses.

8.2 Client Indemnity. In this Contract, the Photographer agrees to indemnify the Client (and its affiliates and its and their directors, officers, employees, and agents) from and against all liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) related to a third-party claim or proceeding arising out of: (i) the work the Photographer has done under this Contract; (ii) a breach by the Photographer of its obligations under this Contract; or (iii) a breach by the Photographer of the promises it is making in Section 3 (Representations).

8.3 Photographer Indemnity. In this Contract, the Client agrees to indemnify the Photographer (and its affiliates and its and their directors, officers, employees, and agents) from and against liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) related to a third-party claim or proceeding arising out of a breach by the Client of its obligations under this Contract.


9.1 Assignment. This Contract applies only to the Client and the Photographer. The Photographer cannot assign its rights or delegate its obligations under this Contract to a third-party (other than by will or intestate), without first receiving the Client’s written permission. In contrast, the Client may assign its rights and delegate its obligations under this Contract without the Photographer’s permission. This is necessary in case, for example, another Client buys out the Client or if the Client decides to sell the work product that results from this Contract.

9.2 Arbitration. As the exclusive means of initiating adversarial proceedings to resolve any dispute arising under this Contract, a party may demand that the dispute be resolved by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its commercial arbitration rules.

9.3 Modification; Waiver. To change anything in this Contract, the Client and the Photographer must agree to that change in writing and sign a document showing their contract. Neither party can waive its rights under this Contract or release the other party from its obligations under this Contract, unless the waiving party acknowledges it is doing so in writing and signs a document that says so.

9.4 Notices.

(a) Over the course of this Contract, one party may need to send a notice to the other party. For the notice to be valid, it must be in writing and delivered in one of the following ways: personal delivery, email, or certified or registered mail (postage prepaid, return receipt requested). The notice must be delivered to the party’s address listed at the end of this Contract or to another address that the party has provided in writing as an appropriate address to receive notice.

(b) The timing of when a notice is received can be very important. To avoid confusion, a valid notice is considered received as follows: (i) if delivered personally, it is considered received immediately; (ii) if delivered by email, it is considered received upon acknowledgement of receipt; (iii) if delivered by registered or certified mail (postage prepaid, return receipt requested), it is considered received upon receipt as indicated by the date on the signed receipt. If a party refuses to accept notice or if notice cannot be delivered because of a change in address for which no notice was given, then it is considered received when the notice is rejected or unable to be delivered. If the notice is received after 5:00pm on a business day at the location specified in the address for that party, or on a day that is not a business day, then the notice is considered received at 9:00am on the next business day.

9.5 Severability. This section deals with what happens if a portion of the Contract is found to be unenforceable. If that’s the case, the unenforceable portion will be changed to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable, unless that change is not permitted by law, in which case the portion will be disregarded. If any portion of the Contract is changed or disregarded because it is unenforceable, the rest of the Contract is still enforceable.

9.6 Signatures. The Client and the Photographer must sign this document using Bonsai’s e-signing system. These electronic signatures count as originals for all purposes.

9.7 Governing Law. The laws of the state of California govern the rights and obligations of the Client and the Photographer under this Contract, without regard to conflict of law principles of that state.

9.8 Entire Contract. This Contract represents the parties’ final and complete understanding of this job and the subject matter discussed in this Contract. This Contract supersedes all other contracts (both written and oral) between the parties.


contract templates

Create your own

Free Photography Contract Template

Securing your account...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.