Photos and Video

What is standard in a photography contract?

edited May 2015 in Photos and Video
Hi ladies - I'm hunting for a photographer with just under 5 months till my wedding. I live in an area with a lot of great photogs, but VERY high priced. I found one whose photos I really like that was a great value and so far haven't found anything for anywhere close to the price. Problem is, the contract is making me really nervous (haven't signed it yet) cause it seems really one-sided. Both my fiance and I work highly time-demanding jobs and simply do not have the time to sit down with every photographer we see and get to the point in the process of seeing contracts, so I haven't seen what's "normal" out there and don't think I will ever get a big enough sample size given the time constraints. This particular photog works for an agency so one of the things that worries me is that I'm signing a contract with the agency and not this person. Also, negotiating the contract involves talking to the agency's legal department. Here are some other things that worry me, and it would be so helpful to here from anyone who has seen this language in contracts - is this standard or should I RUN!??

-payment must be made in full BEFORE wedding date (in two separate deposits)
-signing the contract gives the agency rights to display our photographs and sell them to third parties (or are they just talking about to our parents/other guests/etc. who we give access to?)
-it is the responsibility of the client to arrange for the album to get made and sent to us (the album is part of the cost of the package) otherwise the album will never happen (without an EXTRA fee)
-agency makes no guarantee of delivery date
-no guarantee of number of photos given or edited but will "make every effort"
-agency will substitute another photographer if the chosen photog is unavailable (I feel like i'm signing the contract with specifically one in mind and in discussion and they could do a bait in switch and i'd be locked in!)
-they will not give me referrals due to "privacy" (maybe i am being cynical?)

Any experience or tips on photography contract language is appreciated!!

edited to add the last point that i had forgotten

Re: What is standard in a photography contract?

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod

    Hi ladies - I'm hunting for a photographer with just under 5 months till my wedding. I live in an area with a lot of great photogs, but VERY high priced. I found one whose photos I really like that was a great value and so far haven't found anything for anywhere close to the price. Problem is, the contract is making me really nervous (haven't signed it yet) cause it seems really one-sided. Both my fiance and I work highly time-demanding jobs and simply do not have the time to sit down with every photographer we see and get to the point in the process of seeing contracts, so I haven't seen what's "normal" out there and don't think I will ever get a big enough sample size given the time constraints. This particular photog works for an agency so one of the things that worries me is that I'm signing a contract with the agency and not this person. Also, negotiating the contract involves talking to the agency's legal department. Here are some other things that worry me, and it would be so helpful to here from anyone who has seen this language in contracts - is this standard or should I RUN!??


    -payment must be made in full BEFORE wedding date (in two separate deposits)
    -signing the contract gives the agency rights to display our photographs and sell them to third parties (or are they just talking about to our parents/other guests/etc. who we give access to?)
    -it is the responsibility of the client to arrange for the album to get made and sent to us (the album is part of the cost of the package) otherwise the album will never happen (without an EXTRA fee)
    -agency makes no guarantee of delivery date
    -no guarantee of number of photos given or edited but will "make every effort"
    -agency will substitute another photographer if the chosen photog is unavailable (I feel like i'm signing the contract with specifically one in mind and in discussion and they could do a bait in switch and i'd be locked in!)
    -they will not give me referrals due to "privacy" (maybe i am being cynical?)

    Any experience or tips on photography contract language is appreciated!!

    edited to add the last point that i had forgotten

    First and foremost, I would never sign with an agency that does  not guarantee a specific photog. They often bait and switch and you get subpar work.

    TL;DR - keep looking. this is not a contract I would recommend signing.

    -payment must be made in full BEFORE wedding date (in two separate deposits)
    This is not terrible uncommon. Most photog expect payment in full a week before the wedding.

    -signing the contract gives the agency rights to display our photographs and sell them to third parties (or are they just talking about to our parents/other guests/etc. who we give access to?)
    This is not uncommon. BUT I would never authorize the right to sell to stock or for advertising outside the agency itself. The "third party" they are referencing could be just that. 

    -it is the responsibility of the client to arrange for the album to get made and sent to us (the album is part of the cost of the package) otherwise the album will never happen (without an EXTRA fee)
    WHAT? As in you do the layout? This makes no sense.

    -agency makes no guarantee of delivery date
    NEVER ok, we always say you need a specific timeframe listed int he contract for delivery of proofs.

    -no guarantee of number of photos given or edited but will "make every effort"
    Not terribly uncommon, but most photogs don't include this language in the contract.

    -agency will substitute another photographer if the chosen photog is unavailable (I feel like i'm signing the contract with specifically one in mind and in discussion and they could do a bait in switch and i'd be locked in!)
    As I said - YOU ARE. There should be a "in case of emergency" clause  in all contracts, but with an agency they don't need to deem it an emergency to swap.

    -they will not give me referrals due to "privacy" (maybe i am being cynical?)
    That is bullshit. They should have a few couples who have agreed to be referrals and have waived the privacy right.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • Hi ladies - I'm hunting for a photographer with just under 5 months till my wedding. I live in an area with a lot of great photogs, but VERY high priced. I found one whose photos I really like that was a great value and so far haven't found anything for anywhere close to the price. Problem is, the contract is making me really nervous (haven't signed it yet) cause it seems really one-sided. Both my fiance and I work highly time-demanding jobs and simply do not have the time to sit down with every photographer we see and get to the point in the process of seeing contracts, so I haven't seen what's "normal" out there and don't think I will ever get a big enough sample size given the time constraints. This particular photog works for an agency so one of the things that worries me is that I'm signing a contract with the agency and not this person. Also, negotiating the contract involves talking to the agency's legal department. Here are some other things that worry me, and it would be so helpful to here from anyone who has seen this language in contracts - is this standard or should I RUN!??


    -payment must be made in full BEFORE wedding date (in two separate deposits) I think this is normal, this is the case for our photographer, videographer, and DJ.
    -signing the contract gives the agency rights to display our photographs and sell them to third parties (or are they just talking about to our parents/other guests/etc. who we give access to?)I think this is normal too, ours has this. Basically it means they can display the photos on their website and if future clients want to see example pictures they can. I'm not sure about the selling them to third parties though... that's kind of strange. 

    Also make sure you get the rights to print your own photos. I've heard of agencies where they don't and then you are stuck buying any prints through them for way higher prices.
    -it is the responsibility of the client to arrange for the album to get made and sent to us (the album is part of the cost of the package) otherwise the album will never happen (without an EXTRA fee) This sounds bad to me...
    -agency makes no guarantee of delivery date There should be some sort of time-frame given at the very least.
    -no guarantee of number of photos given or edited but will "make every effort" Is this your wording or theirs? If they wrote no guarantee of # I'd be concerned. I don't think ours had a guarantee, they gave us what they usually take like 400/hr or something I forget the exact number
    -agency will substitute another photographer if the chosen photog is unavailable (I feel like i'm signing the contract with specifically one in mind and in discussion and they could do a bait in switch and i'd be locked in!)
    We have an emergency clause which says that in case of an emergency they will find a replacement or refund us in full. This sounds like a bait and switch to me
    -they will not give me referrals due to "privacy" (maybe i am being cynical?)
    This doesn't sound right at all. 

    Any experience or tips on photography contract language is appreciated!!

    edited to add the last point that i had forgotten

    See my comments in green above. While some of it is normal I see some red flags and wouldn't sign it personally. Not for wedding photographers (at least I hope since I haven't had my wedding yet) but in other cases I failed to read a contract thoroughly and got screwed out of a lot of money due to their wording and fine print. I think in a lot of cases the wedding industry costs are super inflated and photography is one of those however I also think it's a "you get what you pay for" situation. If most of the photographers in your area are expensive and you find one much cheaper there has to be a reason, you are giving up something.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Thank you both for the helpful responses! I think it's pretty clear I need to keep looking.
  • Try looking  for a boutique photographer - one that owns his/her own business and has been doing so successfully for several years. They tend to be that much more on top of their work and customer satisfaction, plus you get more individualized treatment versus a studio (for instance, my photog sets up the albums the way she thinks looks best and then I will have the opportunity to swap out photos or change the layout - but at least she did the lengthy part of sifting through my hundreds of photos and giving me a a starting point and has a MUCH better idea of how the album would look best). I also found that the "best" ones (and also most expensive - but you get what you pay for) only take a certain amount of weddings per year - usually less than 30 - and do not outsource their editing. The contract should be crystal clear, in wording you understand, and no crazy clauses. Also ensure the timeline of delivery for your e-pics, album(s) and photos (with printing rights) are not vague. Good luck!
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards