Setting up a contract is a MUST for event photographers, no matter how early on in your career you are. A secure contract can help you outline exactly what your client should expect from your services, as well as provide a safety net should a dispute or unexpected challenge arise.
Here’s what to include in your photography contract:
Clearly outline the specifics of the event, including the date, time, and location. Be sure to specify if there are multiple locations or days involved, and make sure that an end time is provided so that you don’t end up working extra hours without compensation.
Services and Deliverables
Detail the photography services you'll provide. This might include coverage duration, the number of photographers present, and any additional services like photo editing, retouching, or photo album creation. Make sure you specify how many edited photos the client will receive so that they know exactly what to expect from you.
Pricing and Payment Terms
Clearly state your pricing structure, including any packages or hourly rates. Outline payment terms, such as the deposit amount, due dates, and accepted payment methods. Mention any additional fees for travel, overtime, or special requests, making sure these are communicated in advance so that your client isn’t suddenly presented with unexpected extra costs that might be out of their budget.
Cancellation and Rescheduling
Specify the process for handling cancellations, any associated fees, and the timeframe for notifying the photographer about changes.
Copyright and Usage Rights
Define who will own the copyrights to the photos and clearly state how the client can use the images, whether for personal use, commercial purposes, or publication. If the client requests exclusive rights, outline any additional costs involved.
Photo Delivery Timeline
Set expectations regarding the delivery timeline for edited photos. Provide an estimated timeframe for when clients can expect to receive their images and include details about how the photos will be delivered, for example, via an online gallery or a USB drive.
Information About Add-Ons
As an event photographer, at some point, you’re highly likely to encounter one of those clients who tries to push the boundaries. This might mean asking for additional photos, multiple edits, or requesting that you stay longer than initially agreed.
To avoid ending up carrying out a whole load of extra work that you’re not going to get paid for, specify prices for add-ons, communicate these to your client before the event, and include details in the contract.
Liability and Insurance
Specify the extent of your liability for damaged or lost photos. It's a good idea to have professional liability insurance and clarify that clients are responsible for their own belongings during the event.
Include a clause that outlines the process for resolving disputes or disagreements.
Make sure to include the contact information of both parties involved. Add names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of the client and the photographer to allow ease of communication throughout the project.
Finally, consider consulting with a legal professional to ensure your contract is legally sound and compliant with local laws.