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 contract 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 contract. 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 contract 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 template well since you have more responsibilities.
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. 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 contract.
A person looking at the 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 contract 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 contract 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 contract also helps to clarify each party’s responsibilities. Granted, drafting a contract is not a good use of your creativity. Nevertheless, the contract 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 contract outlines:
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 contract 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 contract. 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.
Check your preferred wedding photography contract template from these simple examples.
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 contract. 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.
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 contract 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.
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.
Check this wedding photography contract template to see how it tackles the issue of fees.
The contract 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.
A contract ought to be professionally written. It must highlight and focus on your professionalism. The contract 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.
Include your name and the options clients have of reaching you, which could be via:
A professionally written contract also has a brief summary of the services you provide.
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 contract 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.