10 Free Photography Contract Templates and How to Customize One

As creatives, we want to just pick up a camera and create beautiful photos. Once you start charging for your services, though, it’s time to make things official. One of the first things to create for your business is a photography contract, but where to begin?

In this article, we will provide 10 photography contract templates. Plus we will show you how to customize obe to meet your needs.

10 Free Downloadable Photography Contracts

1. Sample Wedding Photography Contract

Wedding Photography Contrac… by on Scribd

2. Sample General Photography Contract

Photography Contract by on Scribd

3. Sample Newborn Photography Contract

Newborn Contract by on Scribd

4. Sample Event Photography Contract

Event Photography Example C… by on Scribd

5. Sample Portrait Photography Contract

Portrait Photography Agreement by on Scribd

6. Sample Photography Model Release

Standard Model Release by on Scribd

7. Sample Maternity Photography Contract

Maternity Newborn Agreement by on Scribd

8. Sample Boudoir Photography Contract

3. Boudoir Contract by on Scribd

9. Sample Product Photography Contract Template

Download via Jotforms

10. Sample General Photography Contract

Download via Jotforms

11. More Photography Contract Templates

  • Template.net has a series of free photography contract templates for you to download and customize. Download them here.
  • Docracy has an array of contract templates as well, and each can be customized before downloading or you can download a blank version in various file formats. This link is for a wedding contract, but be sure to browse their site for other types of photography contracts
  • LegalZoom has templates that you can view before customizing. Here’s the link for a general photography contract.
Desk with laptop and blank paper.
Downloadable photography contract templates are a great place to start creating your own contracts. Photo by Martus Spiske

How to Create a Photography Contract?

Ideally, you would hire a lawyer to draft your contracts so they are formal and legal.

Lawyer fees can be out of many entrepreneur’s budgets, though, so the next best scenario is to search online for photography contract templates.

Coffee being poured into a mug that says "Ugh".
Money can be tight when you’re starting your business, making it tough to hire a lawyer for your contracts. (Photo by Nathan Dumlao)

However, make sure the photography contract covers the basics we are going to cover below. Most importantly, make sure they cover your needs.

For example, if you do commercial work in a studio, you may not need to mention a property release in your contract.

Likewise, if you do product photography then you have no need to mention model releases.

Natural light kitchen with skylight.
Not all types of photography have the same contract needs.
If you photograph real estate, you won’t need model releases.

What to Include in a Photography Contract?

There are certain sections or terms that you absolutely should include in a photography contract.

let’s take a look at 12 must-have items in your photography contract.

It may seem silly, but making sure that you include the full legal names of both you and your clients will ensure there’s no confusion as to who you’re referring to in the contract.

2. Summary of Cost and Deliverables

It’s a good idea to begin with a summary of your scope of work, including the total charge associated with this project.

3. The Start & End Date

A contract can’t be upheld if it’s not dated, so be sure to state the start date of this contract. If the contract applies for a specific time period, then mention an end date as well.

Clock with changing minutes.
Contracts are about preparing yourself for the ‘what if’s of the future.
Photo by Djim Loic

4. Payment Terms

How will your client pay and when? What happens if payments are late? This is where you put in the specific amounts needed by specific dates, as well as what consequences are involved with missing or bounced payments.

5. Editing Limitations

Do your portraits include removing acne or whitening the teeth? Will your real estate photos include a sky replacement? Get specific about any limitations on what you’ll include in your editing. Often, special requests that are more time-consuming are charged at an additional fee.

6. Cancellation/Delay Policy

What happens if your client cancels? If you cancel? This is where you mention any sort of cancellation fees or how many days notice they need to give you to be able to cancel. Perhaps canceling with more than 7 days notice has no financial consequence, but canceling with less than 7 days means they lose a retainer.

Rainy city sidewalk full of people with umbrellas.
Weather can alter plans for a photoshoot, so make sure your contract covers Acts of God. (Photo by Sora Sagano)

7. Liability Limitations

This section is important because it talks about what happens if there are accidents or unforeseen circumstances that cancel or delay a shoot. It can cover things such as injuries on location, gear damage, property damage, and who is responsible for any resulting legal fees. This is a great section to also mention what happens if there’s a delay or cancellation due to Acts of God, such as natural disasters.

8. Releases

You’ll need a model release to be able to share images anywhere public. It’s a great idea to include the release as part of your contract so that paperwork is minimized. Note that property releases are also needed if you’re using objects that are privately owned, such as cars or pets.

9. Travel Fees and Taxes

If you’re traveling a bit outside your usual area or if you need to charge sales tax, be sure to mention these additional charges. Travel fees are usually determined in conversations before the contract, but it’s a good idea to mention any fees that occur if the location is changed.

Flat lay view of map, camera, passport, and computer.
Travel fees need to be accounted for, especially for events such as destination weddings.
(Photo by Denise Jans)

10. Delivery

How will your files or prints be delivered? Are they going to be in JPEG format, or are you delivering RAW images? Are you only delivering prints and not offering any digital files? Be clear on what your client will receive, how they will receive it, and a timeline of when they can expect to receive it.

Wall with mix of framed prints hung up.
Let your clients know how their files or prints will be delivered, and when to expect them.
(Photo by Jonny Caspari)

Do I Need a Photography Contract?

Contracts can be intimidating and confusing. Can’t we just take photos and get paid and leave it at that?

Actually, no.

While you may be tempted to work without contracts for the sake of simplicity, it can backfire for you and your business down the line. Here’s a story of a couple who was ordered to pay the photographer a whopping one million dollars after a dispute.

Your future self will be thankful that you took this step with your clients.

Here are a few reasons why you should always have contracts in place with your clients:

1. Present Yourself as a Legit Business

Having a contract exudes professionalism, consistency, and branding. It lets your clients know that you are a fully-functioning business and have to cover your legal bases.

For Hire sign.
Once you’re charging for your services, it’s time to create contracts.
(Photo by Clem Onojeghu)

2. Set Expectations

Contracts allow for the conversation about terms and expectations, letting your clients know what happens in all sorts of different scenarios. Contracts cover what happens when either you or the client fails to meet expectations.

3. It Acts as a Reference

It may seem like that email or phone call was crystal clear, but misunderstandings happen all the time. A contract acts as a clear and detailed point of reference.

4. It Protects Your Business

We want to believe all clients want the best for us and our business, but some folks are not so well-intentioned. Contracts exist to legally protect you from those clients, just as they protect the clients from any photographers who are not so honest.

Conclusion

Creating a photography contract can feel very overwhelming, but don’t let it intimate you! Yes, it’s ideal to go straight to a lawyer so that you can be sure to have a formal legal document drafted.

However, many of us start our photography businesses with extremely limited budgets and legal fees are just not a possibility. When your finances allow, have a lawyer review your contracts or create new ones for you. While you’re growing your business, though, it’s okay to put together a contract that will cover your bases and serve your needs for the time being.

Templates can be a great help as long as you modify them to fit your specific needs. Soon you’ll be ready to sign on all sorts of new clients!

Related Article: 45 Free Photography Business Cards

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About the author

Natalia Robert

Architectural photographer and founder of The Grove, Natalia now calls Southern California home. A BArch, extensive travels since childhood, and a wide variety of work experience have shaped Natalia's love for design and exploration. In 2019, Natalia founded The Grove to provide tools and resources for budding interior photographers. Natalia's photos have been seen on Elle Decor, San Diego Magazine, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyle, and The Voyager.

When she's not shooting, speaking, or writing, Natalia can be found relaxing with her fur baby Daisy, taking day trips to anywhere within a few hours' drive, or spending time with friends and family.

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