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No matter what the occasion or type of shoot, if you are hiring a photographer you should sign a photography contract. The contract will help you and your photographer better establish what is expected and can keep both parties out of any legal disputes. While the contract can seem intimidating there are some key items you will want to pay particular attention to.

Photographer Contracts Must Haves.

The basics.

You want to make sure the general information is included in the photography contract. Name, address, and contact number should be in the contract for both you and the photographer. If you are shooting at a location this should also be stated in the contract along with the date the shoot is taking place. If you are expecting there to be a second photographer their name should be listed as well.

The total price should also be included, as well as any tax you might be expected to pay. There should be a clear breakdown of what is included in the price such as hours of the shoot, prints, additional hour fees, and extras. It should state any deposits you have made, method of payment and the date you need to pay in full.

The rights.

Who will own the copyright of you images is something many people overlook. You want to read carefully how you and the photographer can use the images after the shoot. Will you be restricted from posting them to your social media accounts? Do you have the right to make prints? Will your photographer be using them for promotional items or on their website? You want to carefully discuss this with your photographer to avoid and legal issue in the future.

The clauses.

The photography contract will have a section that protects the photographer against any unforeseen circumstances that make it impossible for them to be present or complete the shoot. Equipment failure, medical emergencies, and other unavoidable situations can prevent the photographer from completing the job they were hired to do. It will typically state whether there is a backup photographer on call, refunds that will be given and other liability issues you will want to be aware of.


You want to know what the cancellation policies are for both you and the photographer. How long before the shoot do you have to inform the photographer you are canceling to be able to get your money back. While most photographers rarely give a full refund you can expect to get something back if you cancel within an appropriate time frame. This also goes for if your photographer has to cancel. Be sure to know what their refund policy is.

Timeline/Shot list.

You want to make sure that you and the photographer are on the same page so having an outline of what you both expect from each other is a good idea to include in the contract. You want to make sure the time you photographer is expected to show up on the day of the shoot is clear and what time they are expected to stay to. If you are having a shoot that consists of different locations, like for a wedding, this should also be included. This allows you to avoid any miscommunication on the day of the shoot.

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