This is the second blog post in a three-part series of blog posts. I’m bringing attention to and explaining some pretty common clauses in wedding photography contracts. The first post covered those you need. In fact, if your contract is missing any of the key clauses listed in this first post, you shouldn’t sign it. It’s an incomplete contract and is not a clear meeting of the minds and you’re basically operating on a handshake.
This post, Part 2, will cover some clauses that are standard and are neither really hurtful or helpful. My last post, Part 3 (coming soon), in this series will cover those you want to stay away from… at all costs.
From a couple’s point of view, these are the parts/clauses of a photography agreement or contract will probably see, but they really don’t benefit you or the photographer much over the other. They are standard inclusions and don’t warrant too much worry (unless you’re expecting a lot of unruly wedding guests or non-compliant wedding vendors).
Common Clauses in Your Wedding Photography Contract Explained
- Safe Working Environment
- Your photographer wants a safe working environment and doesn’t want to be hassled or threatened by any of your wedding guests. This clause usually prescribes that they give the client a chance to rectify this situation before they walk. It happens more often than I’d like to admit, but when it does, the scenario is usually a female photographer getting harassed by an intoxicated groomsman. At first, the harassment is of a sexual nature. After those advances are declined, the harassment usually turns to a more violent or disruptive nature. Luckily, I’ve never personally experienced this, but I’ve read about it many times Online and have even had a few colleagues admit that it’s happened to them. The standard language in this clause usually says that the photographer can leave the wedding without naming a replacement photographer and no refund is necessary.
- Exclusivity Clause
- This clause just means that your photographer wants to be the only one taking professional images at your wedding. This clause may prevent anyone else (guests included) from shadowing them and taking pictures of the photographer’s setups and poses. This may also prevent other vendors from taking pictures and then passing them off as if they were the photographer for the event. Sometimes this happens when a vendor offers two or more services, but was only hired for one, i.e., video and photography, or DJ and photography. More often, this happens when one of your guests is an aspiring photographer. They then use these ‘bootlegged” images to promote their own brand, spanking new business and pass them off as if they had been contracted to cover the wedding.
- This is a clause that protects the photographer if you become unable or unwilling to take pleasing images on your wedding day (i.e., distraught, intoxicated, etc.). A photographer can’t take pretty portraits if you or your partner are passed out in the getting ready suite.
- Model Release
- This clause gives your photographer permission to use the resulting images to market their goods and services to other people. It could mean that they also use the images to enter into print competitions, be featured in magazine or third-party blogs, or even sell the images to stock photography providers.
- Image Retouching
- This clause should outline what images, when, and to what extent your images will be retouched and whether or not there will be any additional charge. For example, my collection fees include that all of my delivered wedding images receive a basic edit. Exposure, color balance, shadows, highlights, midtones, contrast, saturation, re-cropping and straightening are all tweaked. It also includes that any additional images that get printed through me (album inclusion, wall art, save-the-dates, etc.) receive extra retouching (cloning background distractions, blemish removal, teeth whitening, etc.) if they need it. Any retouching specifically requested by my clients that is not printed through me incurs a fee.
- Album Design
- This should outline the methods and timelines for album design and what happens if you should fail to meet those deadlines. For instance, I strive to deliver my clients’ wedding albums within 90 days of their weddings. I have deadlines assigned to tasks for my clients. For instance, when I deliver a proof of the album, I ask them to either approve it or send it back with revisions within seven days. Failure to meet that deadline equates in automatic approval. Though I’ve had a few clients not meet the deadline, I’ve never actually enforced the clause. Even so, I usually always meet my 90-day delivery goal! I wouldn’t recommend testing whether or not your photographer will enforce any of their clauses!
- Product Pricing
- If you’ve been supplied with any product specific pricing, it is standard to be notified of how long your photographer will honor that pricing. Our suppliers change their pricing frequently, and we can’t honor prices forever.
- This would include all the standard contract legal clauses which include, but is not limited to, who pays for legal fees in the event of a legal action, whether or not arbitration is required before a suit is allowed to proceed to court, who has jurisdiction over the matter, what happens if a piece of the agreement is found to be unlawful, etc.
These are the some standard clauses that you will most likely see in your agreement with your photographer. They’re neither harmful or helpful… with exception to the legalease. The legal terms can work both for you and against you. Just read all the others and make sure you understand them and are okay with them.
Next up… inclusions in your wedding photography contract that you should be leery of… IN FACT, you should run the other way and not sign an agreement if it has these clauses!
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I am San Antonio’s most unique wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day turnaround, same-day prints, same-day slideshows and Italian handcrafted wedding albums.
I am an internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding and senior photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I pride my business in offering a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations. As a full-time professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide amazing, memorable and full-service photography.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents would be proud of!
The post, Common Clauses in Your Wedding Photography Contract Explained (Part 2), first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.