The Bride’s Guide To Reading A Photographer’s Wedding Contract

You may not lose your soul, but you may feel as if you did if you sign a contract that rips you off! Contracts must include an itemized list of everyone’s responsibilities and expectations.

Contracts and Expectations

I was once told in a contract law class that the best way to stay friends is to keep a contract. As I see it, I am a friend to my clients and as such I want to remain friends for a very long time. A contract that benefits all parties is one of the most important tools to ensure that there are no misunderstandings concerning allocated responsibilities. Your photographer should have no problem including anything that you both agree to in the contract. Since most contracts are signed six to twelve months in advance it is quite possible that you and/or the photographer may forget what was agreed upon. Contracts serve as a helpful reminder if this situation occurs. Here are a few subjects that should be included in the contract BEFORE YOU SIGN:

  • Contact information of the bride and groom.
  • The future address and phone number of the bride and groom after the wedding.
  • Contact information of the photographer.
  • There should only be one exclusive photographer (paid photographer) at the wedding. The photographer should not have to compete with another photographer for the important shots; it makes for a very unhappy bride.
  • The photographer should not open your entire wedding gallery to the public without your permission. Weddings are private events and as such should be kept that way unless otherwise permitted.
  • Model Release. The photographer should only use the photographs for advertisement purposes.
  • A “Limit of Liability” clause should include the particulars concerning any photograph that is lost. What are the terms of your compensation? Please do not sign a contract unless it has this clause.
  •  What is the cancellation policy? Be sure the wording is very clear about what happens if you cancel and what monies, if any, will be returned.
  • What are the terms of your usage and reproductions of the photographs?
  • What is included in your wedding photographic collection? Anything and everything that the photographer is promising to give you needs to be written down. Please do not sign a contract unless it has everything that you two have agreed upon.
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