What are Wedding Photography Contracts?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 February 2020
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Wedding photography contracts are legal documents that dictate the expectations, rights, and legal restrictions involved in the relationship between a client and a professional wedding photographer. There are typically a number of different sections to this type of contract, which often details the compensation expected by the photographer, the date and time the work will be done, and the names of all parties involved in the agreement. This type of contract also typically includes terms that indicate how the copyright of the photographs will be handled by the parties involved. Wedding photography contracts may also serve as a model release form for the clients, and indicate any additional requirements a photographer may have.

Much like other types of contracts, wedding photography contracts are legal agreements between two individuals. They are typically created as a contract between a client, usually the person paying for the wedding photographs, and the photographer. A great deal of information is often included in wedding photography contracts, which serve to protect the interests of both the client and the photographer.

These contracts often begin with the names of the client and photographer, as well as the fee being charged for the overall service. This should be done in clear and concise language that leaves nothing open for interpretation. Wedding photography contracts also typically indicate any deposits that must be paid to reserve the services of the photographer for a particular date and time, as well as whether such deposits are refundable or not.


Since photographs are protected under copyright, wedding photography contracts often indicate how the copyright will be handled. By default, the copyright on photographs are owned by the photographer, regardless of payment made by a client. The contract between a client and photographer often indicates if the copyright will be transferred to the client on payment for the photographs, and whether this transfer is full or only partial. Some contracts include transfer of digital copyrights to a client, while printing and publishing rights are maintained by the photographer.

Wedding photography contracts can also double as model release forms. This gives the photographer permission to print photographs taken during a wedding for a number of uses, including commercial publication and use in a personal portfolio of work. Additional terms may be set forth in such contracts, including whether guests can also take photographs, and terms for cancellation prior to the date agreed upon in the contract. Some contracts also include terms regarding digital manipulation and fees for future prints that may be requested by the client.


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