What to include in your photography contract is probably a phrase every photographer has looked up at one point or another. And for good reason… as business owners, we need to be protected. Here are some questions I’ve seen pop up everywhere recently:
What contracts are you using?
Where should you purchase one from?
What should it include?
All of these are great questions, and after running my photography business for almost a decade, I have definitely learned a thing or two about the importance of having a contract.
As a disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer and I’m not offering legal advice. However, my favorite way to learn is to hear from other friends in the industry and their past experiences. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I like to share what works in my business… and what doesn’t work so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Here are 3 things that you MUST include in your wedding photography contract!
- Engagement Session Paragraph
- Wedding Album Paragraph
- Price Protection Paragraph
Engagement Session Paragraph
If you include a complimentary engagement session with your wedding collection, I recommend that you have a clause in your contract that outlines exactly what happens if the couple fails to schedule their engagement session before the wedding. Per my contract, all clients must schedule their engagement session at least a week prior to their wedding date in order to take advantage of the free session. If they do not schedule their session before the wedding, I as the photographer, am not liable for the lack of the session and will not be required to schedule a replacement session of any kind.
Wedding Album Paragraph
Do your clients seem to be dragging their feet when it comes to choosing their favorite images to include in their wedding album? Then you need an album clause! My contract states that the image selection for all album orders needs to be done within 30 days of the online gallery becoming available to the client. If they fail to let me know which images they would like to include in their album, the client forfeits all rights to receiving their album or pay a fee to move forward with the album order after their deadline has passed. I’m not doing this to be mean, and I’m very understanding with my clients. However, when months pass (sometimes even years) and they still haven’t gotten back with you about their wedding album, you need to have all of your bases covered.
Price Protection Paragraph
Another important clause in my contract is related to my standard price list. This basically informs my clients that my price list gets updated periodically, and any future orders will be charged at the prices in effect at the time when the order is placed. For example, the prices for a wedding album or additional hours of coverage might cost more in the future than it does at the time of booking. This way, you are not obligated to honor prices from previous years depending on how long in advance your clients booked you as their photographer. As your business grows and you perfect your skills, you need to be able to charge your worth. This can also be used as a marketing tool to add urgency and scarcity to your offerings.
A few years ago, I had a bride book my highest collection which included a legacy wedding album. When she had to provide payment for the remaining balance 30 days before the wedding, she decided that she did not want to purchase an album anymore. Since I did not have anything in my contract about this, I lost hundreds of dollars when I decided to honor her wish. When I joined HoneyBook, I looked through the contracts they had available with my membership and noticed a very important line that I have since implemented in all of my contracts as well. This sentence states that “all services contracted cannot be deducted, but additional services can be added”. Had I had this clause in my contract years ago, I wouldn’t have lost a lot of income that my business was counting on in those early days.
Luckily for you, I teamed up with HoneyBook to give you something I’ve never offered before: 8 months of HoneyBook for ONLY $1/mo.
If you’re looking for some great photography contracts and templates, you can access some amazing ones for FREE when you create a HoneyBook account. What can you buy for $1 these days?
- 1/3 of a cup of coffee
- 4 gum balls
- half of a pack of post-it notes
Yeah, last time I checked, a buck could only stretch but so far. You can definitely not find attorney-proofed photography contracts for $1.
But what if you took that dollar and put it towards something that will actually make a difference in your business? If I were you, I would create a $1 Honeybook account and get access to professional contracts to cover your business.
If you’ve been thinking about what to include in your photography contract, I hope you found this blog post helpful!