Things You Need to Consider Including in Wedding Photography Contracts

What is a Wedding Photography Contract?

If you are going to have a wedding ceremony, and you will need a photographer to take photos of your wedding. The contract that you sign with a photographer before a wedding is called a Wedding photography contract. It lays out what the photographer will provide you with and when, how much he will charge you, and whether he will allow you to review his work.

A few things about your wedding photography contract

As photographers we have many duties, including setting up the wedding and taking the wedding photos, but we’re often forgotten to add in ‘Wedding photographer contract’. Here are a few things that we suggest adding to your wedding photographer contract.

a) Your wedding photography contract needs to include an agreement on who owns the copyright of the images taken at your wedding.

b) We also need to be paid a reasonable fee in advance of your wedding and agree a deposit of a certain amount of money, for example £500 or any amount that you and your clients argee with. This money is paid before so that we can cover the cost of our professional equipment and software or we know that the clients are certainly doing business with us.

c) We have a duty to ensure that the images taken at your wedding are the highest quality possible. We need to check each image before sending it to you and only send images which have been edited to the best of our ability. This is essential to ensure you get the best quality images you can afford.

d) We also need to discuss where the images will be used. The vast majority of couples use images for the purposes of advertising on social media sites and on their own websites. We need to know this to ensure we have the best quality images. We may also be able to provide images for print adverts if you need them.

e) We should be paid a reasonable sum for taking your wedding photos (we suggest starting at around £1000). We have the right to use the images as we see fit (i.e. if we want to use them for print ads, to post them on Facebook, Twitter, etc) for our service promotion. If you do not want us to use the images for print ads or our business promotion, then inform us and we will not use your wedding photos. You will also need to pay us for any extra editing we may carry out to your images before you use them.

f) We should also be paid a reasonable sum for having your wedding album prepared.

g) Include your contact information. For example, “If you need to change any part of your wedding photography contract, please contact us at: …”

Your wedding photography contract should be reviewed and updated from time to time. It can also be reviewed at any time by you, the bride, and the groom.

You also need to specify a lot of things in the contract. Here are some examples:

1. What services are included in the price?

You should include in the price

The following things:

• All digital images taken during the day.

• The negatives if they are not electronic.

• The name of the photographer if you want to use a printed copy for the wedding album.

• The name of the venue if you want to use a copy for your website or blog.

• The name of the bride and groom if you want to use the photographs for publication.

• Any prints or copies made from the negatives.

• A written acknowledgement that the pictures have been taken by you.

• Any additional services or equipment required.

It would be wise to also include in the contract the following things:

• Your contact details.

• The date of the wedding.

• The name of the venue if you are shooting outdoors.

• Any travel expenses.

• Any specific needs or requests the couple might have.

We usually ask couples to pay us 10% deposit (at the time of booking) and 50% of the balance in full before the wedding. This gives us time to do our due diligence and make sure you are happy with us.

The other 50% will be paid a week or two before the wedding. The majority of clients pay by bank transfer. We prefer this method because it is quick and convenient.

If you are shooting outside on a hired day, we will provide you with a printed invoice and we will be happy to take a deposit or part payment on delivery. The balance is then payable the week before the wedding.

Please note that some couples will require payment in advance to cover any unforeseen costs.

2. Who will pay for what?

In general, it is not usual for couples to pay for all of the photos unless the price includes unlimited prints. Some couples choose to pay us a small sum for the number of shots they wish to buy.

However, we always explain the costs to the couple and offer to show them samples.

Many couples prefer to split the cost between themselves and their guests. In this case, they will arrange to pay half of the balance at the time of booking and the other half a week before the wedding.

Other couples like to pay all of the balance upfront, in a lump sum.

There are some couples who do not want us to shoot their wedding. They prefer to hire someone else to take the photos instead.

If this is the case, we will only provide the services we agreed upon in the contract.

3. How many photographs will be taken?

We usually take around 200-250 digital images during the day.

A good number of these are ‘candid’ images, taken on location, but some are posed.

Generally speaking, the more posed shots we have, the less candid they will be.

These pose shots are usually taken with our ‘action’ camera.

Depending on the number of people in the wedding party, this could mean around 30 poses shots.

4. What rights will be given to the couple?

This can be a tricky subject as it is not clear cut.

We always discuss this with the couple and it is important to ensure that we are both happy with the contract.

There are a number of options available:

• You will own the copyright of the photographs.

• You will retain copyright. You can sell the copyright to other parties.

5. What are the terms of payment

For example, you can specify the payment method you accept. For examples, “We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.”

Also, you need to clarify the time and dates that the payments must be made.

6. Who owns the copyright of the photographs

This is important. You should discuss with your clients.

7. Any additional services or equipment required

This is also an important thing too. You should talk with your clients and specify everything in the contract.

 An Example on Things to Include in a Contract

A Word on Engagement Session Payment

There are a number of ways that I can bill you for the engagement session. If I am providing the service as a retainer, I will charge an hourly fee for the engagement session. If you are paying for the session using a time & materials contract, then I will invoice you for the entire session. I typically ask for an initial deposit, which is refundable if you decide that you do not want to book me for your wedding, and I will provide you with an itemized invoice once the engagement session is complete.

If you want to choose a different method, please let me know and I can work with you to come to a mutually agreeable solution.

Engagement Session Payment

If you decide to book an engagement session, I strongly recommend having a paid engagement session. This will ensure that we have a clear understanding of the wedding and will help us get to know each other.

If you decide to have an engagement session, you should contact me at least one month before your wedding date. We can set up the time to meet, and we can either meet at a location of your choosing, or we can conduct the session at my studio. I will provide you with details of how to make an appointment.

Wedding Photography Contract

I will take detailed photos of your wedding and a selection of images will be provided to you. This package will include a selection of images that were taken on the day, and may include additional images that I took.

You will be sent digital files of the selected images, which can be viewed and shared on the web or printed off.

There are many areas that are covered in the contract, and each of these will be explained to you as they arise.


The timeline for your wedding will be discussed at the outset of the engagement. I will then provide you with a rough timeline of the events. This timeline will be revised as the wedding date approaches. If you want to change the dates of some of the events, please let me know.


When I take your photos, you will be invoiced for the services. When the photos are returned, we will discuss the cost of printing the images. This will be agreed at the time that you receive the photos.

If you decide to choose a different method of payment, please let me know.


If you cancel your wedding within 24 hours of your booking, I will retain 50% of the fee. If you cancel at any point after that, you will forfeit the entire fee.

In the event that your wedding is cancelled for reasons beyond your control, you may be able to recover some of the money that you have paid, but this will depend on the circumstances.


As my reputation has grown, I have received more requests to provide a fixed fee for a wedding. In my experience, couples prefer to pay a fixed fee rather than to pay a flat rate per hour. However, if you prefer to pay a flat rate, this is also acceptable.

In the past I have charged $X for a single wedding, $Y for two weddings, and $Z for three or more weddings.

At the time that you sign the contract, we will agree on a fixed fee for your wedding. This is not a hard and fast rule and it is possible to negotiate on the fee. However, as I don’t like to leave things up to chance, I tend to charge a set amount.

The following are the fees that I charge for weddings:

Single wedding: $X

Engagement session: $Y