What Should a Photography Services Contract Include?

Person signing a contract services agreement

Contracts is a scary word, they can be intimidating and overwhelming.  Some photographers use photography services contracts for all their sessions, some use photography services contracts inconsistently and some do not use photography services contracts at all.   However, contracts should not be seen as scary but as a a necessary tool for your business.

But why should all photographers be using a photography services contract?  We all know, as photographers, it is only a matter of time before we have that one client that makes are happy little world a nightmare.  Having a photographer services contract will help elevate some of those heartburn inducing nightmare situations.  Photography service contracts will help set up expectations for your client as well as for yourself.  Contracts also help to protect your business. Furthermore, photography services contracts can be a reference point for your clients for frequently asked questions.

Now the question is, what should a photography services contract include? We have compiled a list of of some “must have” items to have in your photographer contracts of service.




Payment Terms and Schedule

I don’t know about you but discussing money isn’t my favorite thing to do.  Make that conversation easy by including pricing, fees, payment terms and schedules up front. If you require a retainer, make sure it is clearly outlined in your contract.  Do you have payment plans available? When is the final invoice due? Are there any potential fees or extra charges the client might encounter? Explain to your client what forms of payment you accept.  If you accept checks, have a clause in your contract incase a check bounces.  Photography services contracts are not the time to be vague.

Cancellation Policy

Life happens, events change and believe it or not there will be a time when a client has to cancel their session.   Let your client know what to expect. Here are some examples of what you should cover in your cancellation policy.  If you have a non-refundable retainer, be upfront about it.  What happens if they cancel because of a sick kid and want to reschedule? What your client wants to cancel completely?  Tell the client what to expect if you, the photographer, need to cancel. These are items that should be addressed here.

Session Expectations

In your photography sessions contract template, there should be a section where you set expectations for your clients. Many times, we make the assumption that our clients will know what are expectations are for them, however, that might not always be the case.  Here are some examples on what you may need to cover. What is your policy of photographs being taken by others during the session? If your clients are late to a session, what do you do? What is your policy on uncooperative subjects?  Lay it all out.


Copyright/ Images Rights

This is an important section and will let your client know what they can and can not do with the photos.   This section needs to be made clear that you will retain copyrights to the images.  If you allow clients to print digital files make sure that it is clearly stated in your contract.  Furthermore, if there are any restrictions on the use of the photographs list them in the copyright/image section of your photography services template.

Delivery Time Frame

We live in a world of instant gratification and it is important to give your client realistic expectations on when they should receive their final product(s).  Whether you turn around is 24 hours or a month,  this is the place to communicate delivery times to your client. It is also a good idea to include a clause for unforseen circumstance that might potentially cause you to miss your deadline.  This gives your client a realistic expectation on when to expect their final products and also protects your photography business.

Iris Works makes it easy to send and receive signed photography service contracts! Make life easier for your business, and your clients, by using an e-contract system like Iris Works.  In Iris Works, you can create as many photography service contract templates as needed and save them in your account.  The contracts for photography services templates can be easily sent to your clients for them to  electronically sign.

We now offer a free photography contract for all Iris users. Edit and redesign this general template to fit your business and specific needs.




1 Comment

  1. TarhibIT

    I was looking for this type of post online for a while. All the facts are perfectly covered here.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.