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.
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: