A photography contract is established between a photographer and their client and defines the scope of services to be provided by the photographer.
Both parties sign this legally binding document and determine what the client can expect to receive, the time and date of the services, and when and how the photographer will be paid. Having a signed contract can prevent disputes about the services and products later.
When to Use
Any time you are offering your services in a professional capacity, you should have a contract. Some common scenarios for a photography agreement 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 precisely what you will be doing so that you and your client will be on the same page before you arrive. A contract can help avoid 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, set up clear parameters for your work, and meet deadlines. Once you have completed one contract, a client will likely want you back because you have already shown you can deliver.
What to Include
A photography contract is a legal document; some information is essential in case you and a client ever end up in court:
- Date of contract – This is the date you and your client entered the agreement. 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 name.
- Services to be provided – These are sometimes called deliverables. Explain what you will offer and how each will be billed.
- Payment method – How you will be paid. The contract should note whether the client makes a down payment or prepayment.
- Right of inspection and rejection – If your client can refuse the final product, the contract should mention this. 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 any monetary interest is outstanding in the product, you may include a clause retaining ownership until all fees are paid.
- Image rights – Some photographers license their 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 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 differ from the date of the photography contract.
Popular Contracts for Photographers
You can use our photography contract template for most photography jobs and add 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 to ensure the wedding couple signs. A wedding photography agreement outlines payment terms, legalities, and crucial details that must be agreed upon. Alongside the usual information that should be included in any photography contract, a wedding photography contract needs to have:
- 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 essential documents that can be used for any 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 must 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 have.
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 agreement sample. This printable template can be downloaded in PDF or Word format.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a photography contract?
If you’re a professional photographer, you must use a photography contract. Photography agreements are essential for ensuring you get paid and that you and your client know what is expected of each other. It prevents misunderstandings and ensures 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, they are legally binding.
Do photographers get paid before or after?
The photography contract typically outlines whether photographers get paid before or after a session. Typically, professional photographers will require a portion of the total to be paid upfront and the remaining balance paid before the session 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, not the actual product, so sitting fees don’t include printed imagery or digital image files. After seeing the images, clients can decide what investment they’d like to make.
Can I write my own photography contract?
Yes, you can write your photography contract. The easiest way to create your photography agreement is by using a template. Using a template means you 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, typically stating if the client can cancel the contract before a specific date. If it’s a mutual cancellation, you can use a notice of contract termination to cancel the contract officially.
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 must include all the essential details about the intended photography session. A photography agreement template is the easiest way to write a photography contract. Just fill out the blanks, such as client details, payment terms, and what services will be provided.