As a photographer / videographer, you should have a written statement that outlines all terms and conditions of the interaction. Every photographer and videographer has had to deal with picky clients who want more and more.
If you don’t have a contract in place, this can become a never-ending process.
Everybody will benefit from the signing of a wedding photography and videography contract. Here are the main reasons why you need such a legally binding document as a professional.
A Wedding Photography and Videography Contract Outlines the Scope of Work
How many hours should you be present during the big day? How many pictures will the client get in the end? What will the length of the wedding video be and how much editing work will you do?
These are just a few of the questions that a contract can answer.
The aim of the contract is to give the client a clear idea about the outcome they can anticipate.
It’s very important to describe the amount of work and the final outcome specifically. Otherwise, you will be leaving room for bargaining and many clients will be willing to take advantage of the situation.
There are many photography and videography contract samples you can find online. Use these to get a better idea about the important stipulations to include and just how detailed the document should be.
The Contract Includes the Package and the Price
If you offer different kinds of packages, the contract should state what package the client has chosen and how much it’s going to cost.
Don’t assume that an oral agreement can protect you in the event of a conflict after the work is done.
The fact that you have presented your packages and that the client has chosen one of them holds no power in a court of law.
A good wedding photography and videography contract states exactly what package the client has selected, what services are included in the package and what sum the client will have to pay in the end.
To protect yourself even more comprehensively, you can feature information about the payment deadline and the preferred payment method.
For example, the contract could state that the client needs to pay 30 per cent of the sum in advance and 70 per cent of the sum within a week of receiving their final product (via a bank transfer, a PayPal payment, etc.).
This statement holds legal power when a client puts their signature on the bottom of the paper. Thus, if you do not receive the full payment or the sum within the specified amount of time, you can take a client to court.
Clarity on Types of Shots/ Moments to Capture
Some photographers and videographers include a list of the shots or the moments to be captured on camera. The client simply has to check the box for the ones they want.
There are many important moments that the photographer or videographer can capture. Some of those include:
- Preparations for the ceremony
- The ceremony itself (vows, exchange of rings, kiss)
- Bride and groom arriving at the reception
- First dance
- Bouquet toss
- Garter toss
- The arrival of the wedding cake
- Best man’s speech
- Father-daughter dance between the bride and her dad
- Mother-son dance between the groom and his mom
- Grand exit
Some clients will want all of these shots or moments captured.
As a professional, however, you should never assume that all clients want the most comprehensive outcome.
Listing the types of shots or specifics of the footage included in a wedding video gives all parties involved peace of mind.
Clarity on Number of Revisions and Additional Work
It’s possible to need to do some additional work after you’ve submitted your client the final product.
Miscommunication can occur. Alternatively, a client could simply feel unhappy with the photo or video they have received.
When signing the contract, list the number of free revisions and modifications that clients are entitled to.
A good contract will also list the cost of any additional work that the client could want after the free revisions have been completed.
Often, wedding photographers and videographers will be asked to do a ton of additional work for free. In the absence of a contract that protects them, these professionals will find it very difficult to deal with an impossible client and end the interaction on a positive note.
The Contract Lists the Client’s Rights and Obligations
The provision of wedding photography and videography services isn’t a one-way street.
Clients have certain rights and obligations.
These have to appear in the contract, so that the photographer or videographer will be freed from having to do additional work.
For example, a contract could stipulate that the client is responsible for securing a photoshoot venue, permits and clearances.
The contract will also outline liability limitations in the event of a cancellation or photographic/videographic failure.
Copyright is something else very, very important. It’s so crucial that it has to be addressed in the wedding photography and videography contract.
At least one section of the legal document should define the holder of the copyright for the images or videos.
Passing the copyright over to clients will mean that they’re free to make copies and distribute those in any way deemed appropriate. Whenever a photographer or a videographer maintains the copyright, clients will have to pay additionally for copies and derivatives of the work done.
Generally, photographers and videographers retain the copyright for the work that they do.
If you choose this legal option, you’ll be free to use the photos and videos on your website and as a part of your marketing campaigns. You will also make some additional money through the creation of derivatives or new copies.
Additional Services That the Client Is Entitled to
Very often, an interaction with a client isn’t going to be limited to photographing or shooting the wedding day itself.
You will discuss all aspects of the interaction during the first meeting you have with potential clients. Note down their preferences so that you can include the information in the contract. You will also need a full scope of services so that you can draft an accurate quote.
Some additional services that clients may want include a pre-wedding consultation, an engagement party photo/video shoot, the creation of a printed photo album, the creation of a teaser video for social media publishing, etc.
All of these additional solutions and interactions have to be outlined in the contract. Anything that’s not included in the package itself should be duly noted and its cost should be added to the grand total.
All good photography and videography contracts have to include a model release.
A model release is a written and signed agreement that frees the photographer/videographer from future liability. Such liability can arise in the event of invasion of privacy or defamation lawsuits.
A standard model release in the event of wedding photography or videography suggests that the client (bride or groom) grants the photographer/videographer the right to use pictures commercially.
The model release will also outline the potential commercial uses (print, editorial, for self-promotion, etc.).
It may also be a good idea to get the client representing their guests – other individuals who will otherwise need to sign model releases before the commercial use of photos or videos could occur.
Stipilations on Poor Weather and Other Emergencies
A wedding photographer or videographer should be prepared for all scenarios.
Sometimes, poor weather and emergencies could stand in the way of giving the client the desired outcome.
The right contract will outline all of these emergency situations and the fact that the professional cannot be held accountable for the production of a quality outcome under such circumstances.
Obviously, disasters strike rarely. Ignoring the prospect of something extraordinary happening, however, can lead to serious issues, client dissatisfaction and even lawsuits. Hence, a good contract should feature at least one paragraph on emergencies and everyone’s responsibilities in these instances.
A wedding photography and videography contract is a seriously important document for everyone involved.
Most clients will want to sign an agreement because it offers them protection, as well.
You may want to use legal assistance when drafting this kind of document. A personalised contract will protect you and it will also be balanced enough not to antagonise your clients.
It may also be a good idea to tweak the contract a bit to reflect on the situation you’re facing as a professional. If you rely on a generic contract every single time, you may miss some really important provisions.
Administrative and legal aspects of doing your job aren’t the most exciting ones but they can save you from a lot of trouble and expenses in the long run. Do not hesitate to get a high quality contract as soon as you launch your studio.
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