One of the most important things to do when you’re interviewing wedding photographers, or after you’ve chosen a photographer, is to carefully read the wedding photography contract. A written agreement between you and the photographer should be created to keep everyone protected and to prevent any miscommunication. The number 1 reason to have a wedding photography contract is to make sure you get what you paid for.
Photo Source: Hazy Skies Designs
Wedding Photography Contract – Do Not Rely on Verbal Agreements
A recent news story about a dispute between a couple and their photographer illustrates why it’s so important to get a contract and to have EVERYTHING included in that contract, even if you have to do a revision of an existing contract. The couple, who came to an agreement with their wedding photographer to pay $6000 to shoot the wedding and receive a “40 page 8.5×12 Storybook Album with up to 80 images,” claims that they were asked to pay an additional $150 for the album cover, which, they say, was not included in the contract. You would think that the album cover would be part of the Storybook Album but in this case it wasn’t and the clients never received their album from the photographer because of the dispute. The news story reports that the photographer mentioned the extra charge during a meeting with the couple, but that the charge was not listed in the contract. You can read the whole story here.
As a paying customer and as a photographer, verbal agreements can lead to trouble. People can forget what was said, especially during a hectic time like wedding planning, so having everything documented confirms the details and keeps both parties safe.
Here are some things that every contract should have:
Names and contact info for you and the photographer (address, phone numbers, email, etc.)
Name of the photographer(s) who will be shooting the wedding
Hours of Work
Dates, an exact number of hours the photographer will work, start and stop times, and addresses where the photographer will need to be (from rehearsal to reception)
Price and Terms of Payment
Total cost (as specific as possible)
Reorder price if you decide to order additional prints later
Deposit amount and date paid
Remaining balance and due date
Cancellation and refund policy
Deliverable Items and Time Periods
Number of proofs you’ll receive and how you’ll receive them (Disc, digital download or hard copy)
Date proofs will be ready and how long you’ll be able to view them
When and how you’ll receive your order (dvd, albums, prints) and any other package or delivery fees
If ordering an album, document the number of pages, album style, cover material, turn around time, how it will be received
Who owns rights to the photos
Restrictions on posting or distributing photos on social media and elsewhere
Once you’ve read and signed the contract, get a copy and keep it with your other wedding records. You might also want to save any written correspondence you have between you and your photographer, just in case. Contracts and keeping tabs on documents can seem daunting and impersonal, especially when dealing with vendors you really like, but you never know what can happen. Better to be safe than sorry.