Perhaps the legal aspect of a creative arts business is the least fun aspect of it. However, it’s just part of being an adult and a professional operating a business. Wedding photography contracts are a necessary part of solidifying the agreement between the photographer and the engaged hiring couple. Without the contract, you have a verbal agreement which limits the legal recourse a consumer has, In a perfect world, everyone keeps their word. But things happen. There are also a lot of newer providers who bite off more than they can chew. Unforeseen emergencies can happen with anyone, but the contract is designed to protect the interest of both parties, and be fair to both parties.
Key points about wedding photography contracts being fair-
-It shows commitment for both parties and there is skin in the game.
-Timeframes of image delivery, and exactly what is included need to be concise, and not approximate. If this isn’t listed at all, you’re dealing with a joker.
-What happens in the event of a photographer’s absence / emergency? It’s unlikely, but the consumer interest and the liability of the photographer must be stated.
-Are photos delivered with post-processing? (I’d sure hope so, but if it’s not stated, it could be anyone’s guess.)
-I list liability insurance information and think that’s a good idea, but that’s a personal decision. But a pro has insurance, whether it’s listed in the contract or not.
-What are policies with an overzealous shutterbug relative or intrusion from other vendors, causing possible sabotage to the photographers’ efforts?
-When are retainers due, and final payments?
Just to name a few. Not everything belongs in a contract, but learning systems and processes is also key. For example, if an album or other print products are included in the package, what is the process and timeline? Getting it in writing over email is good for reference if needed. Efficient processes and systems drastically improve a customer experience, Questions from the couple should be encouraged and answered before agreeing to the terms of their wedding photography contracts. Naturally, in the interest of fairness, the contract should protect the business but also the interest of the customer. If it’s one-sided in favor of the business, that’s not a good sign. Once this initial anguish is over, it can be happy creating and less worrying.