March 11, 2019

Fine Print | Wedding Photography Contracts

What do you need to know about Wedding Photography Contracts?

I think the first thing you should know about any Wedding Photography contract is that a good contract protects both parties–the provider and the client.

When couples begin planning their weddings, one of the many services they look for is Wedding Photography.  Like any other product or service, there are different levels of expertise, professionalism, and talent in the Wedding Photography field.

Rustic Fall Barn Wedding Photo

A contract with any Wedding Vendor should clearly spell out expectations and address most if not all situations and conditions.  Helpful Hint:  If your vendor of choice works without a contract run–do not walk–away.  Fast.  I would argue that any Wedding Photographer working without a contract is an amateur.

Wedding Reception Saratoga Springs NY
You can relax and have a good time when you know you have a good contract in place.

So what is included in a professional Wedding Photography Contract?  To begin with, the most basic information should be documented in a contract.  This includes the names of the Contracting Parties, the event date and time, and any pertinent venue information.  Example:  Cindy Lou Who and Bob the Builder are getting married on December 25, 2019 at the Saratoga National with the Ceremony Time of 3 PM, reception to follow.

Saratoga Mansion Wedding Photos
The names of the Contracting Parties, date and time of the event, and the venue(s) are all important to have in your contract.

Next, the amount of time contracted and what services and products are included should be clearly listed.  Example:  Eight hours of photographic coverage, a second photographer, an album with 20 pages, and digital files with printing rights for $xxxxx.  I am a big fan of spelling all these things out in print.  For example, if it just says Bridal Album, the size could be wide open for interpretation.

Saratoga Springs NY Elopement Photo

After that, there should be clauses spelling out what happens in certain circumstances.  Is the retainer non-refundable?  What is the payment schedule?  Liability–what happens if the photographer’s equipment fails and you get no images?  Do you get your money back?  How much is Overtime if you want your Wedding Photographer to stay at the reception a little longer?  Is there Shipping and Handling on your order if you live out of town?  Is there a deadline or penalty if you do not choose your album images in a timely manner?

Wedding Albums Saratoga
Is a Wedding Album included in your package? Make sure it is in your contract!

Many items in contracts are relatively simple, straightforward things that should be spelled out up front in order to avoid confusion later.  Managing expectations on both ends is critical.

Upstate NY Wedding Photographer
Make sure you work out your Timeline with your Wedding Photographer to ensure both paries are on the same page about the times certain events will be taking place. If there are specific shots or locations you want, be sure you are clearly communicating that as well!

Did you enjoy this post?  You might also like this post on Wedding Planning.

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Susan Blackburn is a Wedding and Portrait Photographer living and working in the Saratoga Springs NY area.  She services clients in Saratoga, Lake George, the Adirondacks and beyond.