What is a Contract for Wedding Photography?
A wedding photography contract is a much-needed legally binding document every photography business should use. It doesn't matter if it's a makeup artist contract template, decoration or bridal contract template you'll need to have one written and signed by both parties.
Different from a photography or wedding videography contract, this contract is going to outline your responsibilities and requirements as a freelancer, as well as state your payment schedule and terms, how the images are delivered, ownership of the photos, and much more.
It’s also going to outline the responsibilities and requirements of the lucky couple. Understanding what’s expected of them will help you to do the job to the best of your ability.
Note: Want to get started on your free template now? Sign up to Bonsai and get started straight away.
Why You Need a Wedding Photography Contract
A legally binding document of this type will allow you to conduct your photography business the way you want. You’re not an amateur photographer after all, and your professionalism will show with a well-written wedding photography contract.
A wedding photography contract is also handy should anything happen that involves a violation of your payment terms, disputes between you and the client, or anything else where your interests need to be protected.
Clarifies roles and expectations
As a wedding photographer, you want to make sure that throughout the entire agreement your role is defined and that your expectations are met—no photographer wants to show up on the big day and not know what it is they’re meant to be doing.
The wedding day can be a stressful time for the couple, so by clarifying your responsibilities and expectations, both parties will have some peace of mind that the photographs are handled by a professional.
Protects both parties
A wedding photography contract is a legally binding document, and as such, is going to protect both parties’ interests before and after the wedding day.
Both you and the couple will have specific requirements that you’ll want agreed to. If there are any disputes, you can always seek legal advice from an expert. However, no one wants to pay additional legal fees on top of what a wedding costs! A great way to get around this is by using a wedding photographer contract template from Bonsai—they’re already vetted by legal experts, and better yet, they’re free to use.
Sets out payment conditions and work hours
You’ll have your own payment conditions that the client should agree to, which will be outlined in the contract. It’s important to add these in for assurance you’ll be paid the right amount and on time.
It’s a good idea for you and the client to outline your working hours too. This way both parties will know your schedule and easily be able to plan it out with the events on the wedding day. If you don't have one already, it's a good idea to set up your own invoice template as well.
What Should Be Included in a Wedding Photography Contract?
There are a lot of different things that need to be included in a wedding photography contract. Clauses for exclusivity, event photographer contract coverage, videography, different ceremony venues, wedding guests, dress code, retainer fees, a non-refundable deposit, replacement photographers, and any legal fees are important factors to include for every wedding photographer.
This question is, where do you put them?
While only you can know every little thing you’ll need to include in your personal contract template, we’ve gone ahead and listed some of the very basic elements that every wedding photography contract should include:
- Contact details of both parties
- Deliverables and their costs
- Venue details
- Date and times of service
- Cancellation policy
- Force majeure and liability
- Travel and expenses
- Termination of the contract
- Camera and film details
- Other elements to consider
Contact details of both parties
No contract should be without the contact details of both parties. When starting a wedding or DJ contract, you will include both your names, your job description, and the preferred method of contact. You may also want to include a physical address for sending the photos and invoicing reasons.
Deliverables and their costs
Outline everything you’ll be doing for the client on (and after) the wedding day.
This could include tasks such as taking pictures of every guest, videography, or touching up the photos with software. Every deliverable should have a cost attached to it, so the client is fully aware of what they’re agreeing to.
Date and times of service
You’re going to want to give a specific time period for the work you’ll do, as well as the dates you’ll be working. Some wedding photographers will touch up photos using software, so you’ll want to state any dates and times of service for that as well.
Sometimes unforeseen circumstances lead to the wedding being canceled. It’s important to have a cancelation policy and a non-refundable deposit in place for these situations.
Force majeure and liability
This fancy clause is basically waiving liability should any natural or unavoidable catastrophes stop you from delivering the work on the wedding date.
This clause will provide you with protection against anyone unlawfully using your photography, equipment, software, or techniques that are copyrighted by you. Also, importantly, you’ll be able to give permission or ownership of the photos.
Travel and expenses
Depending on where the wedding is or if there’s a dress code, it’s a good idea to agree on how the client will reimburse you for these expenses.
Termination of contract
Termination of the contract can be when the job is completed, when you receive your final payment, or if the wedding is canceled. You and the client will need to agree to the criteria for a terminated contract.
Camera and film details
Here you should list out your camera and film details which you’ll be using on the wedding day. You may want to state which parties are accountable or held liable should anything happen to your equipment too.
Other elements to consider
Depending on the type of photography work you provide, you may want to be the exclusive photographer for the event.
Faulty equipment can happen to the best photographer. You’ll want a statement here explaining what happens when your equipment (or the equipment from another party) becomes faulty and stops you from achieving your obligations.
If you’re using a Polaroid or printing the photos out, printing errors can occur. It’s a good idea to state what happens in these situations.
For wedding photographers, you may want to have a statement about what happens when a post-production limitation occurs.
A suitable replacement photographer
If you've double-booked yourself or simply need to cancel due to the wedding date, it’s a good idea to state whether or not you’re responsible for organizing a suitable replacement photographer.
How to Write a Wedding Photography Contract
Using the information above, you'll be able to write as many wedding photography contracts as you need. If you're in a rush or don't want to spend that much time and effort on it, we recommend using our free wedding photography contract template below. Simply click and download the template for yourself, which you can customize and edit your wedding photography services to your liking.
Sample Wedding Photography Contract
Sign up to Bonsai now for free and start creating your wedding photography contract. It has all the basic elements you’ll need to get going.
Wedding Photography Contract FAQs
Wedding photographer costs
As of 2021, the average price range for wedding photography in the U.S costs between $1500-$3000.
Please note that this is heavily dependent on your experience, what state or city you’re in, as well as the client involved.
Do wedding photographers need contracts?
You don’t technically need a contract as a wedding photographer, but you should have one.
A contract is your safeguard against a client ghosting you and ignoring your invoices indefinitely. Although this can happen anyway, a contract is going to guarantee you credibility should you wish to take legal action.
Wedding photography contract tips
Get yourself a wedding photography contract template.
If you plan on having more than one client, a contract template is going to help you steamroll through the negotiation process. Using the free wedding photography contract template from Bonsai, you’ll save a lot of time and money in legal fees from having to hire a lawyer to write one for you.