When you book your wedding photographer, you should be sent a contract to sign. Whilst the word contract can be a bit scary, it’s really just a written agreement that protects both parties and makes it clear what is and isn’t included within the wedding photography package.
So what should you expect to see in a wedding photography contract? Here are a few of the things that you should find in the contract. If they are not there or not clear in your contract, then simply ask your photographer about it.
- A list of what services are included in the package and at what price. This may or may not be limited to a certain number of hours coverage on the day, the final number of images you will receive, how they will be delivered and whether or not there is an album included too.
- An “model release” clause. This section means the photographer is allowed to use the images in their publicity and marketing efforts. This could be posting them on social media, their website, blogging them or submitting them to publications and competitions. For photographers, being able to show our best work is crucial for us to book more clients and keep doing the job that we love. After all, you probably found us via Facebook or our website. We love being able to update our portfolios and blogs with new and exciting new images.
- A deposit and cancellation policy. Wedding dates are often booked up to a year in advance. As photographers, we can only photograph one wedding on a given date, and many of us will only take on a limited number each year in order to provide you with the best service we can. This means that when you decide that you want to book us, we will ask you to commit to us by signing a contract and paying a deposit. The amount of the deposit varies between photographers and countries, but it’s usually between 30-50% of the final price. This deposit is in most cases non-refundable. It confirms to us that you are serious about booking our services and we will no longer accept other business on your date (or usually the entire weekend surrounding it).
- Copyright. As photographers, our images are protected by copyright law. In your wedding photography contract, we giving you the rights to your images for personal use. This means that you can post your images on social media or print off as many copies as you like to give to family and friends. What it does not allow is for you to re-sell your images to magazines or other businesses, or for your to make changes to the images, such as posting them with added Instagram filters. Why? Because although we love Instagram too, we have worked hard to create a certain look to our images, and by making changes to them on platforms such as Instagram, it can misrepresent the brand we have worked very hard to create.
- The Photographer’s Responsibilities. The contract is designed to protect both parties, so there should be a clause that says that if the photographer cannot attend, the photographer will refund the money that has been paid, and will help you to arrange a suitable alternative.
Other things you might find in the contract include an exclusivity clause, i.e. that you only hire one professional photographer, a request that guests not interfere with the photographer doing their job, i.e. standing in front of the photographer, meals, travel, accommodation and other extra costs associated with the wedding (if relevant), image archive procedures and delivery times for the final products.