“I want your job. All you have to do is hang out and snap pictures all day.” – Anonymous Groomsmen at every reception.
“How about I punch you in the throat.” – Response of every wedding photographer ever.
“I’m just going to download a contract template I found on the internet. I really don’t need to pay a lawyer. I mean, it’s all just a bunch of legalese mumbo-jumbo anyway, right?” – Anonymous wedding photographer
“How about I punch you in the throat.” – Rob Schenk
I absolutely do not endorse borrowing, downloading, stealing, finding under a rock, bit-torrenting, receiving from a twitter link, or otherwise procuring your wedding photo contract from a source other than (1) an attorney that has reviewed and explained the document to you or (2) a company that offers legitimate contract templates that originated from the mind of an actual attorney.
However, if you find yourself operating outside one of those two exceptions, please keep the following in mind:
1. DEPOSIT: Your wedding photography contract MUST account for what happens to the deposit in the event doo-doo happens. It is not enough to say “Deposit is 50% of Price and Due upon signing.” Is it refundable? If not, when is it not? What happens if the Bride postpones? Cancels? Doesn’t pay the other half? BE AS EXPLICIT AS POSSIBLE. Need help? Read this.
2. PHOTOGRAPH OWNERSHIP: There is a massive misconception with the public that the Bride and Groom will OWN THE RIGHTS to the photographs. In other words, the Bride and Groom will receive unfettered rights to do what they want with the pics. This is not the case unless the photographer assigns such rights to the client. Be clear on what is being provided to the couple, whether it’s a license for personal use, full assignment, etc.
3. SCOPE OF EDITING. Another misconception with the public is that wedding photographers have the editing capabilities of Industrial Light and Magic (George Lucas’ Company) (He invented Star Wars). Did you ever see that commercial for the Samsung Galaxy S4, where the mom deletes an unwanted person from a photograph with the simple touch of a button (my mom can still barely operate a rotary dial phone). Yeah, everyone thinks that wedding photographers can do that while baking cookies at the same time. The wedding contract should put the Bride on notice of the extent of the touch-ups, editing, corrections to color and sizing, etc, that the photographer shall be responsible for under the agreement. Everything else: MO’ MONEY.