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Photography Contract basics

Reviewed by Rocket Lawyer On Call Attorney  Carmina Tessitore, Esq

Photography Contracts protect both the client and the photographer and ensure that everyone agrees on the basic parameters of the job. This document helps the photographer get paid fairly and reassures the client that their needs will be met.


Use the Photography Contract document if:

  • You are hiring a photographer for an event, wedding or private session.
  • You are a photographer who needs a contract to provide to clients.

This contract is simple to make and can be used for a variety of photography business needs including weddings, corporate events, family celebrations, commercial photography, and more.


Other names for this document:

Photographer Contract Agreement, Photo Contract, Wedding Photography Contract


Why do I need a Photography Contract?

Photography Contracts protect both the photographer and the client. The contract outlines the agreements between the two parties such as payment and deposit details, how much time the photographer will spend on-site and editing, what happens if the event is cancelled, and more. Without a written agreement, communication problems, last minute changes or non-payment issues can turn a situation sour quickly. It is best, even if you are working with friends and family, to have a Photography Contract.


What is included in a Photography Contract?

Photography Contracts include the basics such as the names of both parties and payment information. To make a Photo Contract using our template, you'll need the following information:

  • Contact information for both parties
  • Description of the service to be provided including time and location
  • Payment, deposit and cancellation information
  • Number of hours for capturing images and the number of hours for editing
  • Days the photographer has to present samples of the final proofs
  • Dates the contract is active
  • Number of days either party has to correct issues
  • A decision on who will own the images

Other parts of the contract are automatically generated for your convenience and include legal protections such as confidentiality agreements, indemnification, force majeure, warranty, default terms, dispute resolution and amendment terms.


Advice for new photographers

If you are just starting out, you'll want to research common issues to avoid and topics that should be discussed in advance of a gig. Obtaining a Photography Contract is one of the first steps towards avoiding problems, but here are some other situations to consider:

Other photographers
Increasingly numerous people may be capturing images using their phone or camera at the same event you are working. In some cases, even blocking the hired photographers from obtaining the images they were hired to take. You may want to consider talking to your client about limiting mobile phone usage or how close guests can crowd the subjects.

Time scheduled
Many experienced photographers say that it is important to impose strict time restrictions in your contract and to provide information about how much you charge for overtime work. Weddings, corporate events or family celebrations can run into the wee hours of the night and the client may ask you to work later than agreed. Make sure you have a way to address this issue.

Undercharging
Many new photographers underbid for gigs and don't consider additional costs. Don't forget to include fees for expenses such as travel costs, storage devices given to the client, extra editing time, the cost for second shooters, and more. Also, make sure to require a deposit. The deposit should, at the minimum, cover all of your upfront out-of-pocket expenses.

Delivery time
Always give yourself a little extra time to deliver the proofs and the final product. If an issue arises, even a personal one, you want to have enough time available to avoid defaulting on your part of the contract.

Be extra prepared
Remember that you may be onsite for eight hours or more. In many cases, you cannot leave without missing something. You should always over prepare and bring things like: an extra outfit, food and water, extra batteries and storage devices, a backup camera with associated gear, medicine and backup glasses, rain gear, phone and tablet chargers.

Backup plans
If you miss an event, you cannot in most cases reschedule. Your car could break down, a family member may fall ill, or your equipment may be stolen. Whatever the issue, you should have a backup plan in place. If your vehicle is not reliable, you may consider renting a car. If a family member becomes ill, have a backup photographer lined up. If your gear is stolen, use your backup gear and a set of rented equipment. Try to be prepared for any situation.


Other documents to consider for your photography business

Every business requires more than one document to protect its interests. Other documents you may need periodically include:

Photo Release
A Photo Release, or Model Release, releases the subjects' rights to ownership of their image captured by the photographer. With a signed release, you can use the model's image for private or commercial endeavors, such as using their resemblance in the stock images you sell.

Copyright Assignment
This form is used if you want to transfer your copyrighted work to another owner. A Copyright Assignment also works for other types of media such as video or audio recordings.

Model Contract
This contract is used when you hire a professional model for a project. It includes agreements about location, transportation and wardrobe.

Independent Contractor Agreement
If you are providing services for a large event or a particularly long event, there may be times where you'll need to hire a freelance or Independent Contractor to help you. Make sure your clients agree to you having extra help on-site if needed.

Incorporation
If you have not yet formed a legal business entity for your photography business, you may want to consider incorporating as an LLC or another type of business entity.


Sample Photography Contract

More than just a template, our step-by-step interview process makes it easy to create a Photography Contract.

Save, sign, print, and download your document when you are done.

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Photography Contract basics

This contract is simple to make and can be used for a variety of photography business needs including weddings, corporate events, family celebrations, commercial photography, and more.


Other names for this document:

Photographer Contract Agreement, Photo Contract, Wedding Photography Contract


Why do I need a Photography Contract?

Photography Contracts protect both the photographer and the client. The contract outlines the agreements between the two parties such as payment and deposit details, how much time the photographer will spend on-site and editing, what happens if the event is cancelled, and more. Without a written agreement, communication problems, last minute changes or non-payment issues can turn a situation sour quickly. It is best, even if you are working with friends and family, to have a Photography Contract.


What is included in a Photography Contract?

Photography Contracts include the basics such as the names of both parties and payment information. To make a Photo Contract using our template, you'll need the following information:

  • Contact information for both parties
  • Description of the service to be provided including time and location
  • Payment, deposit and cancellation information
  • Number of hours for capturing images and the number of hours for editing
  • Days the photographer has to present samples of the final proofs
  • Dates the contract is active
  • Number of days either party has to correct issues
  • A decision on who will own the images

Other parts of the contract are automatically generated for your convenience and include legal protections such as confidentiality agreements, indemnification, force majeure, warranty, default terms, dispute resolution and amendment terms.


Advice for new photographers

If you are just starting out, you'll want to research common issues to avoid and topics that should be discussed in advance of a gig. Obtaining a Photography Contract is one of the first steps towards avoiding problems, but here are some other situations to consider:

Other photographers
Increasingly numerous people may be capturing images using their phone or camera at the same event you are working. In some cases, even blocking the hired photographers from obtaining the images they were hired to take. You may want to consider talking to your client about limiting mobile phone usage or how close guests can crowd the subjects.

Time scheduled
Many experienced photographers say that it is important to impose strict time restrictions in your contract and to provide information about how much you charge for overtime work. Weddings, corporate events or family celebrations can run into the wee hours of the night and the client may ask you to work later than agreed. Make sure you have a way to address this issue.

Undercharging
Many new photographers underbid for gigs and don't consider additional costs. Don't forget to include fees for expenses such as travel costs, storage devices given to the client, extra editing time, the cost for second shooters, and more. Also, make sure to require a deposit. The deposit should, at the minimum, cover all of your upfront out-of-pocket expenses.

Delivery time
Always give yourself a little extra time to deliver the proofs and the final product. If an issue arises, even a personal one, you want to have enough time available to avoid defaulting on your part of the contract.

Be extra prepared
Remember that you may be onsite for eight hours or more. In many cases, you cannot leave without missing something. You should always over prepare and bring things like: an extra outfit, food and water, extra batteries and storage devices, a backup camera with associated gear, medicine and backup glasses, rain gear, phone and tablet chargers.

Backup plans
If you miss an event, you cannot in most cases reschedule. Your car could break down, a family member may fall ill, or your equipment may be stolen. Whatever the issue, you should have a backup plan in place. If your vehicle is not reliable, you may consider renting a car. If a family member becomes ill, have a backup photographer lined up. If your gear is stolen, use your backup gear and a set of rented equipment. Try to be prepared for any situation.


Other documents to consider for your photography business

Every business requires more than one document to protect its interests. Other documents you may need periodically include:

Photo Release
A Photo Release, or Model Release, releases the subjects' rights to ownership of their image captured by the photographer. With a signed release, you can use the model's image for private or commercial endeavors, such as using their resemblance in the stock images you sell.

Copyright Assignment
This form is used if you want to transfer your copyrighted work to another owner. A Copyright Assignment also works for other types of media such as video or audio recordings.

Model Contract
This contract is used when you hire a professional model for a project. It includes agreements about location, transportation and wardrobe.

Independent Contractor Agreement
If you are providing services for a large event or a particularly long event, there may be times where you'll need to hire a freelance or Independent Contractor to help you. Make sure your clients agree to you having extra help on-site if needed.

Incorporation
If you have not yet formed a legal business entity for your photography business, you may want to consider incorporating as an LLC or another type of business entity.

Use the Photography Contract document if:
  • You are hiring a photographer for an event, wedding or private session.
  • You are a photographer who needs a contract to provide to clients.
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