A photography contract, like any other service contract, is a contract between a photographer and their client that defines the scope of services to be provided by the photographer.
It is signed by the photographer and the client and determines the photos to be taken, the time and date of the services, and when and how the photographer will be paid—having a signed contract in place can prevent disputes about the services and the product later.
What Is a Photography Contract?
A photography contract is a legal contract that specifies what services you as the photographer will provide, and what you will not provide. It details what the client can expect to receive, when they can expect the final product, and what they must pay you for your services.
A contract is a binding legal document and can be presented in court to show that you and your client had an agreement that you would be paid for services rendered.
When To Use a Photography Contract?
Any time you are offering your services in a professional capacity, you should have a contract. Some common scenarios for a photography contract include:
- Weddings and receptions
- Modeling portfolios
- Business headshots and office photos
- Children’s portraits
Whenever you are hired to take photographs, you should have a contract that outlines where and when your services will be used. A contract can determine what shots you will provide, including formal photos and candid pictures.
Why Use a Photography Contract?
A photography contract helps establish exactly what you will be doing so that you and your client will be on the same page before you arrive. Having a contract can help avoid any possible conflicts and uncertainties before the photo shoot starts. You can also answer questions ahead of time instead of discussing them while you are there and wasting valuable minutes.
A photography contract also establishes your professionalism. It demonstrates that you can communicate with your client, establish clear parameters for your work, and meet deadlines. Once you have completed one contract, a client is more likely to want you back, because you have already shown you can deliver.
What To Include in a Photography Contract
A photography contract is a legal document, and some information is essential in case you and a client ever end up in court.
- Date of contract – This is the date on which you and your client entered into the contract. It might be different than the date you signed it.
- Party information – Your name and address and your client’s name and address. If you have a photography business name, you must use that, not your own name.
- Services to be provided – These are sometimes called deliverables. Explain what you’re going to provide, and how each will be billed.
- Payment method – How you will be paid. If the client makes a down payment or a prepayment, this should be noted on the contract.
- Right of inspection and rejection – If your client has the right to refuse the final product, this should be noted in the contract. If you do not want them to have this right, this must be spelled out in the contract.
Legal boilerplate – Clauses that you may wish to consider include:
- Force majeure – You are not responsible for your inability to perform due to acts of nature, war, or other acts beyond your control.
- Security interest – If there is any monetary interest outstanding in the product, you may include a clause retaining ownership until all fees are paid.
- Image rights – Some photographers license their own photos or license the rights to reproduce the images online or commercially. If you want to include this in a contract, you should speak to an intellectual property attorney.
- Dispute resolution – If you prefer your case to be mediated or arbitrated, rather than litigated, you should include a clause requiring this type of dispute resolution before a lawsuit can be filed.
- Right to cancel – If your state has a three-day right of cancellation, you may include this in your contract.
- Signatures – You and your client should sign and date your contract. The signature date may be a different date than the date of the photography contract.
Popular Contracts for Photographers
You can use our photography contract template for most photography jobs, just add in any specific details required.
Wedding Photography Contract
Although a wedding photography contract isn’t the most exciting part of wedding planning, it’s an essential document that you need to ensure the wedding couple sign. A wedding photography agreement outlines payment terms, legalities, and crucial details that need to be agreed upon. Alongside the usual information that should be included in any photography contract, a wedding photography contract needs to include:
- Biographical and wedding-day information
- Photography package details
- Deliverables timeline
- Rescheduling parameters
- Potential overtime hours
- A meal clause
Event Photography Contract
Event photography contracts are important documents that can be used for any kind of event. From engagement parties to corporate events, an event photography agreement outlines the obligations of both parties on the day of the event. Make sure you include the full name and address of the event organizer and the duration of the event.
Real Estate Photography Contract
Real estate photography contracts are crucial for outlining the expectations and goals of your real estate photography client. You need to ensure the client understands their rights and responsibilities and the rights to use finished images.
Portrait Photography Contract
Portrait photography contracts outline an agreement between a photographer and a client, wherein the photographer agrees to do portrait photography for the client in exchange for compensation. Portrait photography sessions typically last a day and need to include the typical essential information that all photography agreements should include.
Commercial Photography Contract
Commercial photography contracts are used between a photographer and any commercial client. They outline the expectations of both parties, payment details and specific details about the photography session.
Photography Contract Sample
Below, you can find a photography services template. This printable template can be downloaded in PDF or Word format and allows you to create a photography contract online with ease:
Photography Contract FAQs
Do I need a photography contract?
If you’re a professional photographer then you need to use a photography contract. Photography agreements are essential for ensuring that you get paid and that both you and your client are aware of what is expected of each other. It prevents any misunderstandings and makes sure that you and the client are on the same page.
Are photography contracts legally binding?
Photography contracts, like any service contracts, are legally binding agreements. They are made between a photographer and a client regarding the professional services of the photographer, and once signed, are legally binding.
Do photographers get paid before or after?
Whether photographers get paid before or after a photography session is typically outlined in the photography contract. Typically, professional photographers will require a portion of the total to be paid upfront and then the remaining balance paid before the session takes place or on the day of the job.
What is the sitting fee for photographers?
Also known as a session fee or a creative fee, the client pays a sitting fee to cover the costs of a photography session. It covers the service being provided, not the actual product, so sitting fees don’t include printed imagery or digital image files. After seeing the images, clients can decide what type of investment they’d like to make.
Can I write my own photography contract?
Yes, you can write your own photography contract. The easiest way to create your own photography agreement is by using a template. Using a template means you simply have to fill in the blanks and all the essential information and legal jargon are included.
How to cancel a photography contract?
To cancel a photography contract depends on the situation. A photography contract will include a section on the right to cancel, which will typically state if the client can cancel the contract before a certain date. If it’s a mutual cancellation, then you can use a notice of contract termination to officially cancel the contract. In some contracts, you may be able to cancel the agreement but could lose your deposit. In the case of a dispute, the photography contract will state how this should be resolved, such as court litigation, binding arbitration, or mediation.
How do I write a photography contract?
To write a photography contract, you need to ensure all the essential details about the intended photography session are included. The easiest way to write a photography contract is to use a photography agreement template. Just fill out the blanks, such as client details, payment terms, and what services will be provided.