You’ll be signing a lot of contracts for your wedding. You’ll sign a contract with your wedding venue, your decorator, your entertainment, your caterer, and most importantly, with your partner. All of that paperwork can make a person go crosseyed. Nevertheless, those contracts are important because it is best to have everything written down so that everyone knows what is what, who should do what, and what happens if things go wrong. Your wedding photography contract is one of these important documents, but unless you’re a wedding photographer, you might not know what should be in it and what it should say. That’s what I’m going to go over in this blog.
In this blog, I’ll cover this:
- Your payment schedule
- Additional fees you may incur
- Delivery and timeline of your photos
- Termination, cancellation, and return of your deposit
- Your photographer’s liability
Every wedding contract must contain a detailed account of what is included in your wedding collection and the financial components of it. For example, the total of your package, what your retainer is, and when payments are due should all be included in your contract. So be sure to have a close read over this section.
- The amount of your retainer.
- The due date of each payment
- The total amount of each payment
- Whom to make payments to.
- How each payment is to be made.
- What happens if payments are late.
- Your photographer’s refund policy.
Your contract should outline every additional charge you might be subject to. This can include tax, travel, overtime, and more. This section should include under what circumstances you may need to pay additional fees, how much they are, and due dates for those fees.
Additional Fees Checklist
- Taxes, if applicable.
- Fees for additional hours of coverage.
- Travel expenses including mileage, meals, and accommodations.
- If you are required to provide your photographer with a meal.
- Additional fees for products ordered after order deadlines.
- The time at which products will be released if payments are late.
Delivery and Timeline
Your wedding photography contract should include specific dates and timelines regarding how long it will take to edit your photos. You should also find when your gallery will be delivered, when you can download your photos, and when your final printed artwork will be delivered.
Here are some examples from my contracts of what you should find in your contract regarding your photo gallery:
You will have access to your online gallery within 30 days of your wedding date.
Your gallery will be accessible for 21 days from the date I share it with you. All prints, books, and keepsakes must be ordered within that time.
If you need access to your gallery beyond the expiry date you will be charged at a rate of $100 per every additional 7 days.
In an effort to get your album to you quicker, I will provide a total of one album draft revision at no cost. Additional revisions will be charged at an hourly rate of $125 per hour.
Delivery and Timeline Checklist
- The date your sneak peek will be available.
- The date when your final photos will be available to you.
- How long you can access your photos for, and additional fees for extending that time.
- The final date for ordering printed artwork.
- Expected artwork delivery dates.
- How your photographer will deliver your printed artwork.
In my career as a wedding photographer, I have had 2 weddings cancelled. And during COVID-19 restrictions I had about half of my weddings rescheduled (several times). What I learned from the chaos of COVID wedding rescheduling is that a lot of wedding vendors hadn’t included details about what happens if their weddings reschedule. Thankfully I did.
Your contract must outline how much you owe and when. It should include how to make a payment and what happens when those payments are late. Finally, it should outline what the photographer’s procedure is for refunds.
Here are some examples from my contracts of what should be in your contract about cancelling or rescheduling:
If you reschedule the wedding and I am able to book your new wedding date we will update this contract and apply your payments to the new date.
If you reschedule the wedding and I am unable to book your new wedding date, all payments up until the date of cancellation will not be refunded.
If you cancel the wedding and I am able to rebook the original wedding date with other clients I will refund all of your payments within 30 days of signing the new contract.
If you cancel the wedding and I am not able to rebook the original wedding date, all payments up until the date of cancellation will not be refunded.
- What happens if you reschedule your wedding date and your photographer is available for the new date.
- What happens if you reschedule and your photographer is not available for the new date.
- Your photographer’s procedure should you cancel your wedding.
- Reasons why your photographer might cancel your coverage.
- What happens if your photographer cancels your coverage.
Sometimes things go wrong. In fact, I once had a memory card corrupt from one wedding. Luckily for us, that card only housed a selection of photos from the wedding day and I had backups on another camera. Nevertheless, this was a scary reminder that things can potentially go sideways against everyone’s best effort. Your wedding photography contract should clearly outline your photographer’s liability should something go wrong, the service they can and cannot provide, and what you should and should not expect.
- The limits on what your photographer can provide.
- What to expect with regards to your shortlist, what is possible, and what is not.
- What happens if your photographs are lost or damaged.
- How long your photographer will backup your photos for.
- Procedures for acquiring permits for photography locations.
Wedding Photography Contract Guide
There is more you should know about your wedding contract. For example, what editing will your photographer do, who owns the copyright to your wedding photos, and how is your photographer handling all of that private information they’re collecting about you like your credit card information, home address, and other contact information.
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