Photography Contract

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A photography contract is a legally binding document between the photographer and a client that stipulates the scope of work, terms of payment, and dates for service and delivery of the final products. Modify this contract template on Lawrina to make all necessary arrangements that meet your and the other parties’ expectations.
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Template Description

Paper titled "Contract for photography services"; pencil, camera, coins, album

A photography contract serves to protect the rights of the photographer and their client, ensuring timely delivery of the work requested. An example of a photography contract helps to figure out the needs of each client, as well as any additional requests that may need to be covered by the agreement.

A photography contract template will significantly help photographers who do similar shoots and don’t need to amend each agreement very much. It will give the client and the photographer a clear overview of the terms of the work.

What Is a Photography Contract?

A general photography contract is not unlike other contracts between two parties. This agreement is set between the photographer and their client. The contract details the scope of work and services offered by the photographer, the estimated or set delivery date, the delivery terms, and the payment. There may be additional elements like a payment schedule or a detailed final product description. The more detailed, the better.

A photography terms and conditions template is designed to protect both parties of the contract. 

Insight

In short, an example photography contract helps to establish clear communication and expectations between the parties beforehand and explains precisely what the client may purchase from the photographer. 

Parties of the Photography Contract

The parties to a photoshoot contract are the people who agree to provide a service, product, or benefit in exchange for a consideration. In most instances, a photographer agrees to photograph a person or persons either in a portrait setting or during an event in exchange for money. Photographer contracts forms usually have two parties:

  • The Photographer –– The party who will contract to provide specific services on a certain date and time for a client in exchange for remuneration (usually a monetary sum). 
  • The Client –– The party who contracts with the photographer and agrees to pay a specific consideration in exchange for the photographer providing their services on a certain date and time.

Key Terms

While photography contracts for beginners may include unique terms and considerations, most photography agreements include the following key terms:

  • Name of photographer or photography company –– The photographer contract sample should include the name of the specific photographer who will provide the services. If the photographer has the option of using an associate or contracting the services of another photographer, put it clearly in the contract.
  • Name of the client –– Define the client in the contract so that the photographer is clear to whom they owe their duty. 
  • Contact information –– This applies to both parties. It is crucial that the parties to the contract have more than one means of contacting the other party.
  • Description of the services to be provided –– Clearly describe the services and contract pictures, so there is no misunderstanding. It should also include any additional items for sale, such as copies of the images, framing, etc.  
  • The date and location of the photography services –– The contract should state exactly what date and time both the photographer and client will arrive at the location for the session. 
  • Agree on a payment schedule –– A commercial photography contract template should expressly detail any deposit/payments required and the deadline for making all payments. This section of the contract should identify what types of payment are acceptable and how to make payments – check, electronic transfers, cash, etc.
  • Include a signature and date line –– Each party must agree to the contract.  
  • Cancellation provision –– You should include a provision that covers how the photographer or client can cancel the contract. Usually, you will want to provide a deadline for the cancellation of the services. The photographer may want to include a provision in the event they are ill, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to perform and in what situations another photographer may be substituted. A client will also want to know the last date to make changes or cancel the contract.
  • Image rights –– The contract should clarify who owns the images and at what point to transfer the rights to an image. Images offered for viewing prior to purchase are usually samples and have watermarks with the photographer’s name to prevent use without purchase.
  • Other considerations –– The parties should itemize and describe any additional or special terms and considerations.

Who Should Use a Photography Agreement Form?

A photographer should offer and prepare a printable photography contract template for all prospective clients. By doing so, creative professionals can protect themselves and their businesses from any possible legal issues. 

Photographers can provide professional services to individuals and business entities. Some specialize in portraits or weddings; others work only with businesses and marketing. Some are generalists. 

Examples of the services that photographers can undertake with commercial photography contracts include: 

  • Photo shoots with newborn children, older children, teenagers, or models;

  • Event photos for sports, concerts, weddings, funerals, and birthdays; 

  • Family and individual portraits, including pet photography; 

  • Brand or business photography; 

  • Commissioned photography for nature, wildlife, or landscape; 

  • Boudoir photography, interior photography, macro photography, or digital photography.

What To Include in the Photographer Contract Form?

While drafting your general photography contract pdf template, be sure to incorporate provisions that protect your interests as well as your client’s. Discussed below are the standard clauses a meet the  template should contain.   

Summary of What Each Side Will Deliver

Each party can make their requirements and expectations clear using a model agreement for a photoshoot. The contract should outline what the photographer and the client agree to deliver in detail. That will be used as the basis for judging the quality of work.

The photographer can outline the following:
  • The expected quality and resolution of the deliverables;
  • A certificate of authenticity or ownership rights;
  • The size and format of the photographs.
     
The client may agree to deliver the following:
  • Equipment or tools;
  • Deadline for feedback and additional requests;
  • Covering of fees involved in the work process;
  • A shot list or another description of expected deliverables.

As each case is unique, these are just some examples of how to make a photography contract and what the parties can request and expect from each other.

Full Contact Information

A photography contract is only valid if it contains the contact information of the photographer (or agency) and the client (or business). That includes both parties’ full names, addresses, emails, and telephone numbers. If one or both parties are operating on behalf of a business, the contract should also include the name of that business.

Start Date of Contract and Shoot Date

The start date of the photography contract is among the things that make it legally binding. Therefore, it is necessary to include a start date for the service. This way you also avoid any misunderstandings regarding the timing. The shoot date will confirm that things are moving along as planned and the deliverable will be ready in time.

Payment Schedule

This is one of the most important parts of the photography contract; it’s the part that ensures the photographer gets paid. The payment schedule should include all the fees the client will be expected to pay and any additional fees that may need to be added to the final price. Each fee should have a payment due date for the client. Finally, include a description of the consequences of missing a payment.

Cancellation Policy

What will happen if a client cancels a booking on short notice? Will you refund the deposit, or will the client forfeit the deposit? What are the circumstances for refunding a deposit? These are questions to keep in mind when drafting your cancellation policy. 

Warning

Additionally, as a photographer, you may face a client’s rejection of your work product, leading to the client’s refusal to pay for your finished job. For these situations, you should set a rejection fee and ensure that the client is aware of this provision upfront and agrees to it.

In return, the client may be allowed leeway to control the photo shoot and immediately notify you if anything goes wrong or is not meeting the client’s expectations.  

In other cases, your client does not have a right to refuse the images you made.

Copyright Ownership and Transfer of Use Rights

man signing a contract for photography services

Most photographers maintain ownership of the work and only give clients the right to use it depending on the nature of the work and the compensation. This section should denote that you, as the photographer, will permanently own the copyright to the work. This section should also have language conveying that you are granting the client the right to use the images for a limited timeframe or limited capacity, especially for photos the client will use for profit.  

For portraits and other non-commercial forms of photography, you may wish to permanently assign ownership of the work to the client.

Property or Model Releases

You must include a release clause if the project entails taking photos of a model or someone’s property. This clause guarantees that the other party has released the photographer from liability or lawsuit based on invasion of privacy or defamation of character for using his or her likeness or the likeness of the property.

Post-Production and Editing

editing photos, camera, money, document

If you, as the photographer, are expected to deliver edited work (as opposed to raw images), include all the relevant services in your photography contract template. Consider the following:

  • Changing the size of the photos and/or cropping them;

  • Changing the format of the photos from the original;

  • Altering the images through changing the brightness, contrast, highlights, and other;

  • Any other post-production or editing you may conduct.

Extra Fees

Extra costs, such as travel expenses, required permit fees, and costs associated with significant editing requests, are usually subject to additional fees. This clause should state that the client is responsible for covering these additional charges.

Liability Limitations

The liability limitation clause should cover what will happen in the case of a party sustaining damages or if the photographer cannot deliver the services due to unforeseen circumstances.

Warning

Please note that these are examples of standard clauses that are typically contained in a photography contract and are guidelines rather than mandatory provisions. The key element, however, is that both parties must sign and date the contract for it to be valid.   

How To Write a Photography Contract?

The parties to a contract should carefully consider their expectations and needs and include all relevant terms and conditions. However, the following steps may be helpful when creating a general photography contract template:

  1. Identify the name, address, and contact information of the photographer and client;

  2. Write down the date and time for the photography session or event;

  3. Provide the exact address for the photography session or event;

  4. State exactly how long the event or session will be photographed;

  5. Describe exactly who and what will be photographed;

  6. Indicate the monetary amount the photographer will charge in exchange for the photographs;

  7. Specify exactly when, where, and how the client will pay all deposits and installments;

  8. Expressly state any cancellation terms, including the deadline to cancel the contract, whether the photographer will forfeit or return any deposits and what will happen if either party breaches the contract;

  9. Expressly and clearly itemize any special or unique requirements;

  10. Clearly set forth the terms for the rights to the images.

How To Use a Photography Contract

A photography contract will be handy at all stages of cooperation between a photographer and a client. At first, you may use it as an identifier of the terms of your collaboration. It will set clear expectations for both parties regarding the payment and services provided. This way, both parties will understand the steps they must take to ensure smooth and fruitful cooperation.

Naturally, it can be tremendously helpful if anything goes wrong and one party fails to deliver on its promises. 

Common Use Cases

Photography contracts are used for a wide variety of situations. Some of the most common use cases include:

  • Wedding and reception photography (engagement photography contracts and wedding photography samples are common for this type of event);
  • Bridal portraits;
  • Senior pictures;
  • Christmas card photography;
  • Family portraits;
  • Newborn portraits;
  • Prenatal/pregnancy portraits;
  • Birthday celebration photography; 
  • Party photography;
  • Pet photography (use a pet photography contract for this).

When Not To Use the Photography Contract

When you’re entering into a client-photographer relationship or the one with legal agencies for photographers, it is almost always necessary to solidify it with a written agreement. The agreement has the power to protect both parties and ensure the work will get done to its full extent. As such, if you are providing a service and expecting to receive payment in exchange for the service, you cannot rely on a verbal agreement to protect you.

For example, you don’t need a photography contract template if you’re not planning to accept any payment for your services, or you’re leaving the payment amount entirely up to the client. Perhaps you have nothing to put in the contract. In this case, the photographer cannot expect any payment for their services, and the client cannot demand for the final product to be delivered on a certain date. When neither party is protected by a contract, there is no room for expectations.

State Law

Each state has contract law statutes that govern all contracts, including photography agreements. Federal laws also inform state law regarding various types of contract law. Federal copyright laws specifically control and influence each state’s photography law. 

Insight

Under the 1976 Federal Copyright Act, federal copyright laws cover a photographer’s work from the moment they create the image. In other words, as soon as the camera shutter clicks, the image created has federal law protection in favor of the photographer or owner of the photography equipment or employer of the photographer. Until they sell the image to the client or other purchaser,  the photographer or their employer owns the image. 

Even though the image is of another person, that person has no right to the image until he or she receives ownership via a sale or gift. The photography contract template should expressly state these facts so there is no surprise to the client. 

Legal Disclaimer

Please note that Lawrina does not provide any legal services. The information on Lawrina’s Site and its downloadable content, including legal articles and templates, shall not be considered legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, and up-to-date. If you require legal advice on your issue, we recommend you contact a qualified attorney licensed in your state. You personally assume full responsibility for any consequences, damages, and costs associated with your use of any content of Lawrina Services available on Lawrina’s Site. 

By using Lawrina’s Site you agree with mentioned above and give your irrevocable consent to comply with and to be bound by the provisions of Lawrina Service terms. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I submit a photography contract to a client?

After using a photography contract template, download the document in PDF, so the client cannot change it. Send it to them and encourage them to provide their feedback. Schedule a call or meeting to discuss the contract and make changes or leave it as is.

Do you know what situations require a photography subject to sign a photo release?

If you are photographing people, models, property, or pets, you will need a photo release. A photo release permits you to publish photographs without the risk of privacy invasion or defamation lawsuits. Depending on the circumstances, you can have a stand-alone talent release agreement or a release clause in the photography agreement. 

Do you need a wedding photography contract?

The short answer is yes, it is best to have a wedding photography contract in writing. For wedding photography services, always prepare a contract that specifies the event date and venue and secures a down payment from the client. The agreement protects the photographer’s interests and minimizes the risk of misunderstanding since the couple’s expectations are documented. The contract gives clients the peace of mind that they have secured a photographer who will show up because they are bound to a legal agreement.

What do I do after creating a photography contract?

After creating a photography contract, you need to give your client time to read it and return it to you with questions or comments. Consider their feedback and implement it when rewriting the contract. Explain your point of view in simple terms.

Are photography contracts legally binding?

A photography contract is legally binding, just like any other contract. When writing it, you must ensure it has all the elements of a legally binding contract. A well-written agreement will ensure your safety in the face of a difficult client and vice versa.

Can you sue a photographer without a contract?

It is virtually impossible to sue a photographer for failing to provide the promised services without a legally binding photography contract. If no documentation proves that the two parties agreed, nothing can be done to solve the issue.

What is the best software for photography contracts?

There are many CRM tools for photographers and photo agencies that can make contract management easier. For your photography contract needs, choose from Studio Ninja, ShootQ, Agile CRM, or Bloom, to name a few. You may also consider using a CRM program that’s not meant for photographers. 

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