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The Wedding Photography Contract

written by: Mayflor Markusic•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/31/2009

Being a new wedding photographer can be tough because you will be working for friends and family who expected huge discounts but will not have any qualms in telling you about what's wrong with the pictures you've taken. Take advantage of this baptism of fire and create a photography contract.

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    Describing your services

    Whether shooting wedding pictures for family and friends or for complete strangers, the wedding photographer must have a wedding photography contract. This legal agreement ensures that the photographer and the bride and groom agree to the specifics of the photography services that will be performed during the wedding day. Unlike the Model Release Form, the Wedding Photography Contract is more complex. It is, after all, part of the business aspect of the photography career. In creating your own customized wedding photography agreement, you can use the sample given here and then decide on the following major points.

    • Professional Fee – This covers the time and effort spent for taking pictures and then processing them and the expenses for the CD and/or the Compact Flash disc. If you don’t own your own equipment, you will need to spend for the rent of flashes and other tools. How do you want to be paid? Would you ask for a non-refundable security deposit? More importantly, how much do you want for your photography services? If you are new to the wedding photography business, it is always best to charge lower and begin to build a reputation. You could even give a discount to the couple if they will allow you to distribute your business card to the wedding guests.
    • Products and Services – Will you give electronic copies only or will you provide physical prints? Prints will entail more expenses. Will you also add photo books, framed posters, t-shirts, and mugs? What will be the sizes of the pictures and how many copies for the pictures? Would you print the photos yourself or would you use another company’s photo developing services? If you need to use the developing services of another company, it is best to shop and compare so that you will have high quality products.
    • Copyrights – Obviously, you wanted to include the wedding pictures in your portfolio. Thus, a model release statement should also be included in the contract. You also wanted to promote your photography business. This is why you must request the bride and groom to acknowledge you as their photographer when they are sharing the wedding photographs with their friends and families.

    Besides the above major points in the wedding photography agreement, there is one other thing to remember that will ensure the success of your wedding photography business: assistance. You will need the help of other people, especially the bride and groom. You will need their cooperation in deciding what pictures to take and when to take them. You will also need their contact numbers and their addresses. Then, you will need the assistance of the wedding coordinator or an assigned person to help you identify the people that you need to photograph. If it is a large wedding, you might want to enlist the help of one or two photographer assistants because it would be physically impossible for you to cover the whole event.