15 Things You Should Know Before Signing Your Wedding Photography Contract
What’s Included in Your Photography Agreement. What Should You be Aware of?
Planning your wedding is an exciting time. However, there are many things you need to consider to help make your day run as perfectly as you imagined. This should include all the finer details of your photography agreement that you probably haven’t even thought about.
Your wedding photography agreement will help you and your photographer become clear on expectations and any legal, professional requirements.
As much as you communicate with your photographer, having a contract allows you both to come back to a point of reference – should any miscommunication happen. And as such is life, this can happen – we’re all human.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should expect from your photographer. So, here I have listed the top 15 things you should know, and have clearly outlined, before signing your agreement.
1. Package Inclusions. This should clearly outline what package you are paying for. It should include the price, location, and date of the wedding.
2. Editing Timelines. Every photographer will have different time frames, workflows and editing styles. There is no right or wrong and it can depend on your package. This is something you need to discuss with your photographer. Generally the Maximum is 3 months. You should also clarify how edited files are included in your package.
3. Insurance and Public Liability. All companies should have these. It protects you and your photographer if an accident occurs. And yes, injuries can happen.
4. Retainers. Most photographers will require you to pay a Non-Refundable Retainer to secure your booking. This is dependant on your photographer and should be clearly stated.
5. Payment Terms. Again, every photographer has their own different terms. The main things that need to be listed on your agreement are: Payment due date; agreed payment arrangements (how you are paying); cancellation terms and conditions.
6. Copyright. This is a big one, and one that not many people would be aware of. Generally copyright remains with the photographer. The clients will be granted full printing release, and this will depend on the photography company. It is important that you understand and discuss any editing provisions and that you are happy with their editing style. Editing the images yourself, and sharing with others including filters can be a breech of copyright, so always check what you can or can’t do.
7. Backup Photographers. Although we try our best to keep in tip top shape, life happens. Your photographer should be able to advise who their backup photographers are. Every photographer should have professional shooters who can step in to cover your special day. These are generally in-house photographers who have shot with your photographer and know their style. This discussion is a must have during any booking.
8. Backup of Files. All photographers should have a backing up system of files, and will have different terms on how long they are held. Mine are held within 7 years. There should also be a discussion on backup equipment should anything malfunction. Most primary photographers will have 2 cameras on them. I also keep a spare in the car.
9. Commercial Release. Another big one. Some venues will request a copy of images to use for advertising purposes. Please bear in mind it’s always good to refer back to your photographer, as there are commercial license use for billboards etc, which can incur a fee.
10. Cancellation charges . It is important to know what is covered in the cancellation of the wedding. Generally the deposit is non refundable, as it is used to secure your date. However, every photographer has different terms and conditions, so make sure you check it out.
11. Meals. Most often, a meal is not needed unless covering reception and generally only for packages over 6 hours. Like all other jobs photographers have health and safety regulations to adhere to, so you can expect they will need to have a break and a quick bite to eat – generally while your guests are dining.
12. General Health & Safety. Yes, photographers are governed by this. We are there to capture your day SAFELY. You can expect in your agreement that there will be a clause on good behaviour – for all parties, as well as guests. It is important to note photographers should NOT consume any alcoholic beverage on your special day, even if you would like them to, as it can void their insurance.
13. Second Shooters. Sometimes you may have a package with two shooters. This can vary amongst photography companies. Generally the second shooter is employed by the company you have hired, so the files they have taken are edited and owned by the company you are hiring. No second shooter should be promoting themselves at your wedding as they are contracted in.
14. Wet Weather Backup. Essentially this is up to the couple, but so important. Discussion should be had about a back up plan if it rains. Whilst we can shoot in light rain and create ideal shots, if it is heavy and all day you are going to need a space to have your ceremony and keep all guests dry. 15. Run sheets and meetups. Bottom line here is – communication! Regular communication of at least two meetings should happen to discuss your run sheet and any special shots you want.Your special day is important to us and we want you to be at ease on your day.
Hopefully, some of these subjects have been helpful and you will feel confident when you are handed your photography agreement.
The best advice I can give is to be educated and ask as many questions as you like. Understanding what is expected of both you and your photographer is extremely important.