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 one 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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Full Legal Names
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Customizing Photography Contracts
You would probably need to customize these photography contracts to meet your business needs. Here are some free tools that could help
- PDF Merge – Helps to combine two or more PDF files together
- Compress PDF – Helps to reduce the file size of your contract file. Especially helpful if you want to host it online or email it.
- Resize PDF – Change PDF to A4 or Letter size
- Split PDF – Extract individual page(s) from a PDF.
- Edit PDF Text – Customize your PDF contracts to fit your business.
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!
Other Resources For Photography Businesses:
- How to make money with photography
- Photography Pricing Guide
- Photography business cards for inspiration
- Social media guide for photography businesses
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