Wedding Photographers: What's in your contract


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canturn

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Sep 29, 2002
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#1
Thought we should use this sub-forum to share some of the important items/clauses that are mandatory in any of the wedding assignment, especialy wedding day.

There are photographers who take on a wedding jobs w/o having formal documents like these or feel shy about collecting deposit. The scary part is, most of them don't realised what they're in for if such practices are not in place.

I hope those in the biz would contribute to this thread and photographers who wants to venture into the wedding photography biz are aware of their responsibilities, as well as liabilities.

To get the ball rolling, here are some of the clauses that I feel should be in in the wedding agreement, please feel free to give constructive comments or add on, we are all here to learn.

1. Indemity. What happens when unseen things happen to your camera? CF card stolen; camera refused to fire during the important moment and by the time you flash out your back up cam too late; lab decides to get apprentice who processed your film with wrong chemical; some drunk relatives knocked your camera into swimming pool or worst, wide open sea (happened before). whole list goes on. What's your liability to the client?

2. In event of emergency, can't shoot the wedding, how?? Bad things happen to good people, touch wood, on the way to the brides house, you fractured your arm, you get a call from maid that your kid fell off the . Earthquakes or flood (I'm doing overseas wedding now, these things are often taken for granted here) because the stars of the couple don't match, somehow. When such things happen, liability to the client should be limited to "Y". "Y" can be the full-deposit or payment made, or "Y" = payment made - your expenditure or cost incurred.

3. Copyright/ use of the photos. Often taken for granted. Who owns the copyright and what should the use be limited to? You walk past a florist or cake shop or bridal shop and find that your photo that you shot 2 months ago are used for brochures, flyer, so happened that the shop owner is a good friend/relative of the couple. If they need photos, they should hire you commercially not get you as a wedding photographer to bao ka liao everything.

4. Cancellation. One of the hottest dates in the year, you have 89038290483902424 over couples whom you've turned down because someone has booked your services for that date 2 years ago. Now, one week before the wedding this couple decided not to get married for some reasons and decided to ask for refund. There should be a clause to spell out clearly that how you should entertain cancellation.

Other minor clauses:

5. Exclusive photographer. Your clients shouldn't be hiring another professional photographer(s). It can be a conflict of interests, photographers getting into each other's ways; neither would your client want their wedding to turn into a media event with photographers jostling with each other to get the best angle. There have been incidents of some photographers showing up at some weddings because bride or groom happened to be a big shot's nephew's cousin-in-law's brother. Not only will they get in your way, sometimes they take orders for photos from confused relatives and friends.

6. Additional expenses/cost incurred. Particularly for those of us who orders albums from overseas, we can't predict how prices will flaccuate. One day USD decides to soar or SGD drops; manufactors decides to up their most popular coffeetable albums by 20% in price (20% of some of my albums means a few hundred bucks); fuel prices go up affecting frieght charges, GST suddenly jacked up to 12% (ouch). Your contract should state a certain % (say a cap of 15% of the album cost) and clients agrees to pay for it. Imagine, 10 couples ordering the same book that you have to fork out a hunder bucks, no joke.
 

shinken

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Jun 9, 2005
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#2
I'll probably include something about 'MCs'. In the event the contracted photographer cannot turn up for the shoot due to critical health/medical reasons, a contracted photographer with similar skills and technical expertise will be sent as a replacement, upon agreement of the clients.

Maybe also something about change of wedding days is only subjected to availability, and deposit is non-refundable in the event that the new date happens to be one that the photog is unavailable on. Of course, can vary this clause somewhat, like partially refundable if change in wedding date is made half a year in advance or something. But I usually say it's non-refundable and subjected to availability.
 

snowspeeder

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Feb 16, 2004
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#3
That's a GOOD read! Thanks for sharing!!
Recently I did a full day wedding while having mild stomach flu. So I concentrated even more on photography just to ignore the pain all day. :sweat:
 

di0nysus

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Jul 15, 2003
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#5
what about deposits being transferrable or not etc? many bridals/hotels allow transfers of deposits.

and will adding too many T&Cs scare the client away? make them think twice before paying the deposit?
 

Jun 27, 2002
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#8
i put a cause that states if i get obstracted,i have the right to remove him/her from the wedding. (HAPPENS!) happened last weekend after several warnings, the friend of the couple is an over zealous amateur videographer, kept shooting from 2m away from the couple when ever they are walking.:)
 

canturn

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Sep 29, 2002
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#9
i put a cause that states if i get obstracted,i have the right to remove him/her from the wedding. (HAPPENS!) happened last weekend after several warnings, the friend of the couple is an over zealous amateur videographer, kept shooting from 2m away from the couple when ever they are walking.:)
2m? the last wedding I shot, their Sony handycam was 30cm away from the subject 80% of the time, that's just one of 3 camera man.

I'm trying very hard not to put a clause about videographers... hmmm :think:
 

drumma

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Jan 5, 2005
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#10
thanks for sharing! this is something which i'm still quite new at. like if videographers block your way, CF card crash(i personally am very scare of this even i have loads of backup).., etc.
 

Xing

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Nov 4, 2004
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#11
2m? the last wedding I shot, their Sony handycam was 30cm away from the subject 80% of the time, that's just one of 3 camera man.

I'm trying very hard not to put a clause about videographers... hmmm :think:
:bsmilie: just talk nicely to the videographers ;p that's what i usually do if i encounter these over enthusiastic friends. it's good that we do share some of our experiences with these amateurs. No need to spell out every details, somethings are understood.

Generally I do enjoy working with those fulltime videographers, we help each other in getting what we want, win/win encounters.
 

Jun 27, 2002
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#12
generally professional photographers or videographers are a blast to work with, its the amateur friends who always, unknowingly get in the way, even with ample warnings!:)
 

canturn

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#14
The clause I love the most in my contract is that I don't do table to table shots. Works great.
Though I don't put this in the clause, most of the couples sensible enough to know it's kindda expensive to hire me to do table to table shots, when so many other things could have been captured during that time; if need be, I'll get an assistant to do that for me so that I can pack and leave before midnight surcharge for cabs kicks in.

Only thing I have a prob is how to tell their parents /relatives in the most polite and diplomatic way that I don't do group shots, at the same time not sounding to stuck up.
 

creampuff

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Jul 11, 2006
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#15
For any written contract to come into force there has to be a consideration. Whether you want to call it a retainer or deposit, if there is no consideration, both parties are not legally bound to whatever is stated on that piece of paper or with any agreed terms of service.

No use talking about indemnity, non-performance clauses, etc. when the photographer needs to spell out clearly what he/she is providing by way of service if contracted for the job.

Years ago I had a partner who was almost sued by a difficult client over a complex product shoot. Fortunately everything was itemised and spelt out clearly and they had no case against us. We took strict instructions for the shoot from their creative director but it wasn't what the client envisaged. In the end the creative director they used lost his job.
 

canturn

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#18
hehehe..... yank them away!!
lol... you have a "videographer using cams better than a Nokia N95 phone will be yanked away, tortured and have their camera smashed" clause somewhere in your contract? :devil:

Thankfully, most of the couples I've worked with don't really hire videographers, and those they hire are pretty pro. Only once in a while, I say again, once in a while I do meet some really overly zealous peez.
 

#19
lol... you have a "videographer using cams better than a Nokia N95 phone will be yanked away, tortured and have their camera smashed" clause somewhere in your contract? :devil:

Thankfully, most of the couples I've worked with don't really hire videographers, and those they hire are pretty pro. Only once in a while, I say again, once in a while I do meet some really overly zealous peez.
hahaha.. not really lah. I do have a clause stated in my contact that I have the right and privilege not to shoot if I feel that I am being mentally and physically harressed by the omni present videographers/ photographers who is not professional hired.

Ask Kuang on the yanking incident.. tickles me everytime I recall it.
 

canturn

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Sep 29, 2002
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#20
hahaha.. not really lah. I do have a clause stated in my contact that I have the right and privilege not to shoot if I feel that I am being mentally and physically harressed by the omni present videographers/ photographers who is not professional hired.

Ask Kuang on the yanking incident.. tickles me everytime I recall it.
The difficult thing is how to state it in the contract elegantly and without sounding like a diva photographer, if you know what I mean.

For me, exclusivity is important, family members can shoot and shouldn't get in the way of me. Which is one reason why I probably won't shoot celebrities weddings, after hearing all the stories about photographers literally elbowing each other throughout the event. Plus, the whole event turns into some media fanfare. I always tell my clients, it's their big day, they're supposed to be celebrating their wedding instead of being there for a photo shoot or filming for a movie.
 

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