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What is a wedding photography contract?

A hobbyist or amateur wedding photographer might not appreciate the important role a wedding photography contract template plays. Professionals have a better understanding of what they can achieve with this tool though. The template prepares them adequately for any negotiation they go into with existing or prospective clients. Most wedding photographers are freelancers. They need all the protection they can get to provide excellent services. A wedding photography contract PDF offers them the much-needed protection and guarantees. 

A wedding photography contract has various components. Favorable or successful transaction with a client depends on the photographer’s ability to understand all the different components of the wedding photographer contract template. A template offers the photographer an opportunity of doing just that.

A basic contract is good enough but only if it contains all the relevant elements. A good wedding photography contract sample sets you off on your way to a successful and professional career as a wedding photographer. The contract works well for you and the client. Therefore, the two of you should learn everything about it. 

Study the wedding photography contract PDF well since you have more responsibilities. 

Wedding Photography Contract Template
Image Credits courtesy of: printablelegaldoc.com

1. Professional counsel in your wedding photography contract template

During the early days of your career as a wedding photographer, you may not have the money required to hire the best legal representation. A veteran photographer has no excuse for not consulting a lawyer. Nevertheless, there is a starting point. It is not impossible to find a lawyer who can guide you on the different aspects or elements of the wedding photography contract sample.

However, examine the wedding photography contract template well to familiarize yourself with all its major and minor components before sitting down with a lawyer. Consult your legal representative before including anything on the wedding photography contract PDF. 

What should be included in a wedding photography contract template?

A person looking at the wedding photographer contract template is bound to ask if it is really necessary. After all, such a photographer might be under the impression that most of the issues highlighted in the contract are better off discussed with the client verbally. However, with more experience, such a photographer will realize that people change. Verbal agreements are harder to enforce legally. With verbal agreements, the issue is more often a case of ‘he said, she said.' 

Without a contract, how will the freelance photographer solve the issues that can arise during the project?  Issues such as camera equipment failure, natural disasters, moody clients, illnesses, and other challenges can affect the progress of the project. In such a case, there should be an agreement as to how issues that hinder the progress of the project will be handled.

One of the most important reasons for working with a wedding photographer contract template is to avoid issues of non-payment. A contract protects you against clients who may be looking for the opportunity to get quality services at no cost. Photography is a creative art. The world still has people who do not appreciate creative arts.

A wedding photography contract PDF protects you from people who do not appreciate the expert and professional services you provide or realize that you need to be paid to keep your business running. To this end, you cannot take the wedding photography contract template casually.

The template is the first step towards insuring yourself against clients who wish not to pay. Study your template to avoid being shafted. A wedding photographer contract template also helps to clarify each party’s responsibilities. Granted, drafting a contract is not a good use of your creativity.

Nevertheless, the wedding photographer contract template is one of the most important paperwork for your business. The contract helps you to handle issues that would otherwise rob you of your peace of mind. Even if you lack the services of a legal department that you can consult any time you want to, you still owe it to your business to draft a full-proof contract. 

A well-drafted wedding photography contract sample outlines: 

  1. The full scope of the job/project
  2. Scheduling demands
  3. Expectations of the parties involved 

3. K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Simon)

Check the wedding photography contract template, and you will realize how simple it is. Yes, the fact that a contract is a legal document does not mean you should include all the legal mumbo-jumbo you know. Keep it simple, Simon. A simple and well-written wedding photography contract PDF that everybody can understand is still a legally enforceable document. Keeping it simple ensures all the parties involved understand what the project or work entails.

Therefore, it removes the excuse somebody might present of being unable to understand what a clause means. If anything, the two parties should only sign the contract once they understand all clauses fully. Once again, the onus is on you, as the freelancer, to clarify or seek clarification for everything included on the wedding photography contract sample. Otherwise, you may never get the remuneration you deserve after putting your creative juices to use.

Clarify your role, so the client never tries to force you to wear an inappropriate hat. Clarify what each role you play entails. Failure to clarify such seemingly obvious issues could mean providing technical support in something that has nothing to do with wedding photography and for which nobody pays you. 

4. Timeframe for the wedding photography contract template

How much time will the work or project last? Wedding photography normally lasts a day – the day of the wedding. However, there are times when the client may need your services before or after the wedding day. This could be for a pre-wedding photo shoot. Whatever the case, clarify these time-related issues on the contract. Even on the wedding day, you need to agree on the time when you will begin working and when you’ll finish. Do not wait until the wedding day to try talking about such issues. Failure to address these matters early exposes you to huge and costly risks. You may end up with a dissatisfied, unhappy, angry client who looked forward to your services beyond a day. 

Deadlines may not be popular with most freelance wedding photographers. However, it’s important to include and specify them in the wedding photographer contract template. Each project must have a beginning and an end. It must have a start date and an end date. Working with deadlines exposes you to more pressure but is ultimately good for you. You do not have to submit the wedding photos the same day you take them, unless this is what the client wants. Therefore, give yourself ample time. Negotiate for a timeframe with which you are most comfortable with completing the work. 

Failure to specify deadlines could see you working several days or weeks after the wedding. You can also easily get into conflicts with the client if s/he expects deliverables too soon. Additionally, the scope should be addressed too. Aside from when deliverables will be available, it should also address issues of when certain key communication/feedback should be provided by either party. Remember to include a clause stating how much time a client has to respond to your concerns. 

Wedding Photography Contract Template Sample
Image Credits courtesy of: etsy.com

What are the essentials of a wedding photography contract?

As you will have noted from the wedding photography contract template, it’s important to talk about deliverables. Here, the freelance photographer explains to clients how the final product will look like. In this case, the wedding photos are the final products.

So, the contract should clearly state that the client has hired you to take wedding photos and/or videos. The wedding photography contract sample should go further to indicate that you will be delivering these photos and videos in a specific format. Deliver them in a format the client can access easily. 

Choose a simple file format for delivering the photos and videos. Here, you also need to embrace the K.I.S.S approach. You cannot do that before taking some time to understand the client’s needs. Some clients are knowledgeable enough to know what to do with the different types of file you send them.

Others lack the technical know-how; hence, are more likely to feel overwhelmed when you send them too many files beyond what they expected. While it is good to surpass the client expectation, be careful not to overdo it. Be ready for endless and needless pestering from any client who feels overwhelmed. Learn more tips and best practices in our guide about how to get into photography.

6. Finances of the wedding photography contract

Check the contract template, and you will notice that it talks about finances a lot. In freelancing, it is normal to bill on an hourly basis. Feel free to engage with the client based on an arrangement that favors both of you. At this point, it is worth stating that the contract is more than a document that talks about what you will charge for your wedding photography services. It establishes and defines the relationship existing between you and the client. Nevertheless, it cannot ignore the issue of money. 

Wedding photographers provide a service for which they expect remuneration. Many times, the two of you will negotiate and arrive at a rate that favors both of you. No matter how long the negotiations take, do not proceed with the work before including these rates on the contract.

Check the wedding photography contract template again, and you will notice there is a section for this kind of information. Failure to include this amount on the contract could open the door for a dishonest client to “conveniently” forget what you agreed upon. State the amount clearly on the contract to avoid naughtiness or forgetfulness. 

The wedding photographer contract template should indicate the initial deposit fee or down payment you agreed on, which is essential for ensuring that no party backs out. Clients may want to skip the initial deposit fee, but you should let them know that it’s for their good too.

If they ask you to explain how it benefits them, show them that the fee ties you to that particular project. Without anything to make you commit, you may look for a different client, which would then not augur well for the client with whom you are currently negotiating. 

Even if the client pays the down payment, the two of you can still opt out of the contract. Each wedding photography contract you sign should have a termination or cancellation clause. It is normal for misunderstandings between a wedding photographer and client to occur.

As stated earlier, wedding photography is a creative art. Sadly, some clients do not appreciate it for what it is. Therefore, they may want or ask the photographer to do other “strange” duties that have nothing to do with photography. The cancellation clause is important too just in case you or the client falls sick. 

7. Professionalism with the wedding photography contract template

A contract ought to be professionally written. It must highlight and focus on your professionalism. The wedding photography contract sample can also help market your services. It offers you yet one more opportunity for impressing your existing and prospective clients. Therefore, make sure it features the name of your wedding photography firm or business. Check that the phone numbers, emails, physical address, website and any other contact information posted on the contract is accurate.

Wedding Photography Contract Template Example
Image Credits courtesy of: template.net

Include your name and the options clients have of reaching you, which could be via: 

  • Email
  • Phone 
  • SMS

A professionally written contract also has a brief summary of the services you provide. If you're taking pictures of people that you want to re-use in other works, you must use a model release form to cover general legal issues that might arise.

8. Project details for the wedding photography contract template

As you will notice from the wedding photography contract template, it is good to include the details of the project. These details include the location or venue. They also include the exact dates and time the client will be expecting your services. Some clients may hire you to shoot their engagement session in addition to the wedding day celebrations. Check that the wedding photographer contract template has all this information. Most clients have different venues, dates, and times for engagement and weddings. 

Therefore, confirm this information with the client before jotting it down on the contract. Fill the contract with as much accurate details to avoid miscommunication and panic. Make the contract as detailed as possible, so the clients know where you are on the date of the event. For example, you can inform them you will arrive an hour or two earlier before the engagement or wedding starts. This way, you keep their minds at ease.

Remember, the client may need your services at the place where they get ready, during the actual ceremony, and afterward at the reception. Do not leave anything to chance. Again, you can learn how to write these details by evaluating the template. 

Therefore, take your time to go through the contract template. It will educate you on many issues and prepare you to negotiate a good contract with your clients. It prepares you, so nothing takes you by surprise during the negotiations. The template is ideal for a newbie or a veteran of the freelance wedding photography industry. The template equips you to outline contingencies to follow in case the unexpected happens. Protect yourself with a solidly and professionally written contract.

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

Wedding 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. WORK AND PAYMENT.

1.1 Project. The Client is hiring the Photographer to do the following: The Photographer will assist the Client with photography services.

1.2 Schedule. The Photographer will begin work on August 22, 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 $90.00 (USD) per hour. Of this, the Client will pay the Photographer $350.00 (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 5.0% per month on the outstanding amount.

2. OWNERSHIP AND LICENSES.

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. REPRESENTATIONS.

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. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.

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. INDEMNITY.

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. GENERAL.

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.

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