4 things that wedding photographer should have written in the contract

You found the “chosen one”, you got married and started planning your wedding and you did your “job” by meeting several photographers. Now you’ve found “your chosen one”, you agree that it’s the perfect choice to photograph your wedding. Congratulations! Before signing that dotted line, Cristi Sebastian wishes to give you advices about the essential things you should make sure that are included in the wedding contract.

What is the length of the Photo Session on the Wedding Day?
Most photographers offer packages that include a certain number of hours on the wedding day, which allows people to customize the amount of coverage for their specific needs. For example, a small brunch wedding in a single location may take 4 hours, but a more traditional wedding with a ceremony and reception in different places may take 8-10 hours (or more). When discussing with photographers, ask them what they suggest for the number of hours your day would cover. This should be detailed in your contract, so there are no misunderstandings. Also, there should be a clause specifying how many overtime (often called “extra hours”) will be invoiced and how they are expected to be payed (will they charge you later? Will you have to pay immediately on the wedding day?).

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How Many Albums And What Other Physical Things Will You Get?
Just ask what do you get for the money you pay to the photographer? Pay attention to this part of the contract and ask questions if you are not sure. Choosing “digital negatives” means you can print photos from them? Who owns the copyright and what does that mean? For every item you receive from the photographer, whether digital or physical, it should be specified at least on one line in the contract. If the photographer includes something for free as a thank you for booking him (for example, a parent album or printed photos), even those should be listed.

Which is the delivery time?
A time window until you can expect to see the photos and other albums purchased from the photographer must be included in the contract. Sometimes it will not be a firm date, once because photography is an artistic process, just like the editing process. However, there should be a realistic estimation of the time when you can expect to see the finished product. Chronology will vary significantly from photographer to photographer, but the industry standard seems to fall somewhere between 4-6 weeks after the wedding. The photographers that are solo operators may take a longer time in handing over the photos, than the photographers that have personal assistants or photo editors. Make sure you understand and respect these delivery terms.

What Are Your Rights If You Delay or Cancel the Wedding?
Although not a particularly nice part of a wedding day conversation, you need to understand what happens if you pay a deposit to a photographer (sometimes called {retainer}) and then cancel the services. You will probably lose your deposit and you may be liable for additional charges. Because the data is the “inventory” a photographer carries, when a date is booked the photographer loses the ability to sell it to others. On the other hand, there must be advantages for you if your wedding photographer cancels out of his fault. Most often this happens because of an unexpected disease, but there may be more serious situations. In any contract that you sign, both sides need to understand the risks and the commissions associated with these risks.

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