Things Your Photography Contract Must Include

Any photographer will one day have to deal with such a phenomenon as a contract. It should happen sooner. This way you will know how to draw up this document and later you will not have any difficulties. This is not a fashionable trend at all, but simply a necessity to prevent risks in your professional activities. If you are a beginner photographer, we also recommend you check out the interesting articles and tutorials on Skylum’s blog. There you will find a lot of interesting things, such as the best couple photoshoot ideas and other tips.

Today we are going to talk to you about the things that a photography contract should include.

Why do Photographers Need a Contract?

Surely you’ve wondered why you need this contract in the first place? There are three main points to be highlighted here:

  • Of course, the most important goal becomes the protection of one’s rights and interests. So you will have a clear indication of the timing of the task, what the photographer and the customer will be responsible for, and what the consequences of failure to perform a certain task are. A pre-drafted contract helps to immediately set boundaries, to set accurate expectations for the client.
  • Another important point: thanks to the drafting of the contract, your credibility increases, and you position yourself in front of the client as a true professional. This helps to establish a trusting business relationship and settles problematic moments in the cooperation between the photographer and the client.
  • You also minimize confusion and possible frustration for the customer when they receive the final bill. The contract will provide a detailed breakdown of all financial expenditures, so your customer will have no questions about the money.

As you can see, the contract is not just a fashion trend. It’s very hard to negotiate with a client and meet all the expectations of the customer when you don’t have an official document on cooperation. This is the main principle of serious business cooperation. It is not for nothing that all professional photographers with a lot of experience draw up a contract every time, it should never be neglected.

Essential Points for a Photography Contract

Now let’s get to the main part. Of course, in order for a photographer to protect not only his or her business but also the intellectual property, a true professional needs to get the contract right. It is important to make sure that it contains all the points listed below, so you can protect yourself as much as possible. Here are a few essential details that should be in place at the beginning:

  • The names of the photographer and customer. Be sure to check that the document lists all parties involved with names and all necessary contacts. That way it will be much easier to keep in touch. Also, this is a prerequisite for a properly drafted official document.
  • Amount of service provided by the photographer. Here you should describe in detail what service you are going to provide and in what time frame. For this part, it is important to describe in as much detail as possible what the photographer is going to do and to what extent.
  • Obligations of the two parties. If the photographer wants the customer to cover any additional costs associated with the photo shoot, this should be specified here. A clear division of duties will be the main guarantee of fruitful cooperation and will show you as the best specialist in the field of photography.
  • Requisites for payment and cost of services. In this part, you need to detail the cost of the photographer’s services and what is included in the total price. In this paragraph, you also set the deadline for payment and indicate what will happen if the customer fails to pay for the photo session on time.

When we’re done with the main part, which should be in every photographer’s contract, it’s time to move on to other important points.

Photographer’s Ownership of Photos

Depending on the specifics of the services provided, the photographer may retain all copyrights and simply give the client a proxy to use, or transfer all rights with payment. Make it clear how the client can use the images in the future, this is very important. It is important to protect yourself here so that unauthorized people cannot use the photographer’s work for commercial purposes.


Be sure to specify what you will do if uncontrollable circumstances prevent you from doing a photo shoot for a client. It is important to indicate whether this will be a refund or a replacement photographer. Don’t forget to also add a damages clause, this will further protect you if a third party is injured during the photo shoot.

Sometimes a customer may need to cancel their contract. In this section, you can specify what the deadline is for the customer to deliver the notice in order to get a partial or full refund.

Post-processing and Editing

This is a very important point that beginner photographers often forget. It will help you avoid quite difficult situations when clients request several times to redo the retouching and post-processing style of the final shots. You need to specify right away what the client should expect from your work and in what style the photo editing will be done.

Speaking of editing, if you’ve only used photoshop or Lightroom before, it’s time to change the old approach to frame processing. Today many modern AI-based photo editors help you do the most complex tasks much faster and more efficiently. One of them is Luminar Neo, with which you can discover new facets of your creative potential.


What do you think?

Written by Virily Editor

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