What to Know About Your Wedding Photography Contract

A bride and groom looking at a camera with their wedding photographer.

There is so much fun that goes into wedding planning, but until you’re engaged and going through the process yourself, you don’t necessarily realize just how much paperwork is involved. Wedding contracts can be a bit tedious, but they’re an important part of planning your big day. When it comes to your photography contract, there are different aspects you’ll definitely want to know about and verify before signing on the dotted line.

The Basics

There are certain basic items that should be included in this contract. These include: the names of you, your fiancé, and the photographer; the date, time, and location that they have agreed to work with you; the number of hours of service they will provide; the number of cameras that will be used and what format they are (film, digital, etc.); the total cost; payment due dates and schedule; and preferred and accepted methods of payment.

The Copyright Information

A bride and groom in a field with a photographer taking a picture of them.

The idea of copyrights surrounding your wedding photos may not be top of mind, but it’s definitely something to look for in your contract prior to signing. Some photographers have clauses in their contracts that state they own the copyright of all photos they take. That would mean that they are the “owners” of the photos, and they will likely grant you certain exclusive rights to them. These may include the right to reproduce photos, to distribute copies of the photos, and to display them publicly. If this is not something mentioned in the contract, inquire with your photographer about it to be sure.

Non-Disparagement Clause

A non-disparagement clause may or may not be included in your wedding photography contract. This would prohibit you from leaving a negative review. This is important to note because if you don’t realize it is a clause in the contract and you do write a negative review, the photography company could technically lodge a lawsuit against you.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Especially with the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the need to cancel or move events, it’s more important now than ever to understand the cancellation and refund policy in regards to your photographer. Ensure that you are comfortable with the policy as outlined in the contract. If there is nothing mentioning cancellations or refunds, request that a clause be added for the protection of your investment.

What’s Included

A photographer taking a picture of a bride and groom in a field.

Your photography contract should also outline what is included with the price you’re paying for this service. Besides actually taking the photos, the contract should include details surrounding the turnaround time of when you’ll receive them, how you’ll receive them (digitally vs. prints), and what the editing process is like. You can also check to see if any additional information is included, such as pricing for ordering prints through your photographers or ordering albums through them once photos are ready.

Privacy Information

If you don’t want your photos to be available to the public after they’re ready, you may want to see if there is any information about privacy and the use of these photos. For instance, check to see if there is a clause surrounding the photography company’s right to post photos publicly on their website or social media. If this isn’t mentioned and it’s something you want to protect, ask that it be written into the contract for you.

Extra Fees

You want to have a full idea of what the total cost will be for your wedding photography from your contract. Ensure that it includes any additional fees such as taxes, service fees, payment processing fees, and travel fees. You’ll also want to know how much overtime fees are, in case you decide on the day of your wedding to add more time with your photographers.

This may seem like an almost overwhelming amount of information, but it’s important to note that all of it is present in your contract in order to get the most out of your photography service and protect your investment.

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