Wedding Photography Contracts – a Bride’s Guide

The small print… we agree to the terms and conditions?…….yah, yah, blah,blah! How many times do we just tick in the box or sign at the bottom without reading it at all?!


Bride and groomIt’s so easy to do but wedding photography contracts are there to protect both parties and to make sure that there is agreement. It should be clearly written to avoid miscommunication and should set out the rules of engagement for both sides.

Yet, often this isn’t the case. There is confusion, there isn’t a contract at all or it doesn’t really cover the things that it really ought to. There are many variations and clauses and as many different contracts as there are photographer’s lens caps but here are a few of the most vital points that can cause confusion.


A model release clause

What? I’m a model? Oh daarling I didn’t realise!

Well not quite! – With the explosion of online media and wedding blogging many photographers now ask you to sign a clause in the contract that gives them permission to use your photographs for publicity purposes. This might mean showing images as part of their portfolio, submitting images to wedding blogs or using them on social media. To a certain extent a lot of photographers feel that it’s their right to use them as they took them but it’s important to realise that the images are a record of a very private and personal day and that brides might not want that plastered all over the internet.


If you have strong feelings about this discuss it with your photographer – they should be very happy to accomodate your wishes and it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for your images to be kept private.


Release of Copyright

This can be a bit of a sticky one.

Bride getting into a wedding carHistorically photographers have copyrighted their wedding images to prevent people from printing them themselves and photographers missing out on the extra revenue that this might generate. Recently we have all shot ourselves in the foot over this and started giving couples all of the digital files to print from – now sometimes this comes with a cavaet……maybe they are for personal use only, printing can’t be done within a certain time after the wedding etc etc etc.


The thing is to check with your photographer and check exactly what is written in the contract regarding this. Again most should be understanding and flexible and, to be honest, copyright is extremely difficult to enforce anyway but it can be a matter of principle for some and should be checked out and completely understood.


Cancellation or illness

This could potentially happen on both sides. Couples do cancel weddings, people do get ill and the unforseen does happen.

So what does actually happen in such a situation? It should be clearly stated on the contract what happens if there is a cancellation – check up on the financial position in this eventuality. What would happen if the photographer is unwell and can’t make it ti the wedding? There should be a clear contractual agreement in case of the worst case scenario. You also need to check that the contract is to your satisfaction in this respect. Are you happy with what could be the potential outcome in this eventuality? Are you reassured?


Wedding flowers


Feed me now!

It’s a bit cheeky but a number of photographers demand that they get a hot meal on a wedding day!

Yes, it’s fairly commonly written into contracts that not only do you pay them to be there but you need to feed them as well! Now you may have your own views on this but be prepared for it, it’s relatively common practice so don’t be surprised if it crops up. Personally I think is a bit cheeky and don’t have it in my contract – luckily I’m often offered food and it’s gratefully received but I certainly don’t expect to be fed!


I hope that has cleared up a few questions on some of the most common contractual points. If you have any questions or you are considering entering into a contract with a photographer to photograph your weding then GET IN TOUCH with me – I would love to hear from you!


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