Finding A Perfect Wedding Photographer – Part 4: Contract? Definitely And Why

Congratulations on your wedding photographer commitment!

You reached a balance, within your budget to hire a great photographer, to capture your once-in-a-lifetime memories.  Photographers typically will not commit to your wedding date without receipt of a signed contract and a deposit.  The longer it takes to supply both items increases the chance of another couple getting that photographer for that date.

Benefit of a contract?

Do you have a photographic memory to retain everything you have seen or read?  ?  Statistics indicate that only 2%-10% of the population has this phenomenon.  The rest of us rely upon visual, written or audio resources.

A contract provides protection to yourself (the bride and groom) and the photographer.  That being said, please PLEASE PLEASE read through the contract before you sign it!  Yes there are important legal matters to address.  A contract addresses specifics to eliminate miscommunication and assumption of expectations.  Just as each person is different, no photographer conducts business exactly the same!  If you have questions or concerns, address it prior to signing a contract. 

For numerous requests for the same wedding date, I personally contact the first couple to determine if a decision has been made.  I offer a specific day or two extension deadline prior to proceeding to the next couple.  Once I receive a signed contract and deposit, that specific date is blocked off!  Other photographers may not conduct business in the same manner (ie first signature/deposit vs first consultation).  

Ownership of your photos?

Realize that your wedding photos aren’t technically yours.  Stop!  Breathe!  My explanation is coming.

You hire a photographer to provide a final service.  When you go to a restaurant, it is to enjoy an expertly prepared meal.  You are not supplied with the recipe and raw ingredients.  The same applies to all professionals including doctors, dentists, lawyers, carpenters, or mechanics.  As a client you receive a final service but you don’t own the result, to present the results as made by you.

Photographers share their photos with you.  They may provide you with a “print release” but not with a “photo release”.  Each photographer still maintains the copyright to them.  Edits made to images, without the original photographer’s permission, are illegal misrepresentation of that photographer’s brand. 

In addition …

A professional photographer will respect a client’s wishes on sharing (or not) of social media or promotional purposes.  Address any concerns with your photographer prior to signing your contract.  A contract should address all aspects of expectations for both parties. 


Previous: Part 3: Working Expense Into Your Budget And Why
Check back for Part 5: What Your Expectation Should Be.

P.S.  This will be my continuous mantra during this series.  A good photographer should be present but not the center of attention or obtrusive! The most important thing to remember at the end of your wedding day is that “You married your soul mate!”



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