Wedding photography contracts are pretty similar, because the technology and issues faced are the same everywhere --- whether your photographer is in California or Hong Kong.
American contracts are hard to understand --- because they're too brief! (They're too brief so they won't scare off customers by sounding too complicated.)

As a moral issue we write our contract in PLAIN ENGLISH so you'll know what you're signing. Its meanings are industry standard. It does not contain any sneaky or rare clauses. We earn fees by performing work, not by suing people with sneaky clauses.

 Wedding Photography Contract

...written in Plain English

(916) 782-7536

Web page updated slightly June 2013



Here is our Standard Contract. Agreement to this is required as a condition of doing business with Doug. Giving payment to Doug implies you agree to the terms of this standard contract.

This contract is written in PLAIN ENGLISH & includes explanations of what key clauses are really about. PURPOSE: Through proper planning and scheduling on the wedding day, most problems won’t ever happen. We’re committed to your wedding day experience being a great one!

· Deposit: Retainer is required to reserve a wedding date.

· Refunds of deposit: Deposits/retainers are fully refundable if services are canceled for any reason. Example: If bride & groom elopes or changes their wedding date we will refund the deposit if Doug cannot accommodate the new plans. We earn our fees by performing work, not by withholding deposits.

· When payments are due: We prefer to have accounts paid in full on or before the wedding day. But we are fine with paying 50% on or before the wedding day, and balance paid when high resolution digital photos are ready for delivery. This averages about 4 to 6 weeks after the wedding but can vary with workload.

· Fees for any optional services are due in full when they are ordered (for example, albums & photo lab orders.) Some items may be paid through a photo lab subcontractor instead; sales tax is often paid through a photo lab's bank & tax authority instead of Doug's.

· Payment type: We accept checks or cash but are NOT set up to accept credit cards on the spot. With advance notice we can easily arrange for credit card processing thru Pay Pal, a division of E-bay.

-Wedding day schedule: Be sure to work out a realistic wedding day schedule with the photographer or with an experienced wedding planner. This is the single most important thing!

The following scheduling items are quite important: #1: Enough time must be available for posed group & portrait photos to be done properly. If this time is not available, or if family members don't cooperate, key poses may be missed or done poorly. #2: If wedding starts later than planned, that has ripple effects throughout the wedding day which will affect photography, limousine, ceremony location, reception venue, caterer, DJ, musicians, wedding guests. Our recommendation based upon years of experience: Plan what time you want your ceremony to start, and absolutely stick to that plan.

· Photo request lists: We like to have a list of immediate family members (by name) who should be included in poses. The list helps us work in a faster, more organized way. Photographer prefers to have this list before the wedding date. Photographer may photograph fewer than 100% of the names on the list --- due to time pressure, professional judgment, people scattering, people partying or hiding from the camera, or guests leaving early. Please note that some bride magazines publish sample photo lists that are too lengthy to be practical. We must limit the number of poses to avoid keeping the bride and groom away from their guests for too long.

· Sample photos: Doug is allowed to use copies of your images for artist’s samples, promotion, publications, books, internet websites. This is equivalent to an industry-standard MODEL RELEASE. (But if you have a privacy concern tell us and we won't publish your photos.)

-Copyright ownership and release: Doug as copyright owner permits clients to make reprints of their wedding photos. Client can legally copy, scan and e-mail photos, post them on personal web pages, duplicate them on CD disks, and make reprints at whatever photo lab you choose. This gives our "OK" to photo labs to make reprints and holds them harmless.

Doug retains copyright ownership and control for any COMMERCIAL usage of images we have taken. Doug retains the right to use copies photos he's taken as artist's samples, for instructional use or publications, and marketing purposes.

If customer wishes to use pictures we've taken for any COMMERCIAL uses please notify us. We will always say YES if the following conditions are met: 

1. Photo credit is clearly given to us;

2. Photo usage must be for an ethical reason, not in support of any deceptive cause, and not used in any way that implies Doug's pictures may have been taken by another photographer.

3. Our photos should not be commercially resold without our permission (for example, as a stock photo.) 

· Sales tax must be added according to legal requirements. Some sales taxes may be collected through a different tax authority, for example, directly through photo labs which produce reprints, enlargements, and albums on behalf of our customers.

· Acts of God, terrorism, emergencies, accidents, fire, theft, illness, etc.: Photographer to be held harmless for non-performance. If Doug is unable to perform photography services he will attempt to provide a well qualified substitute photographer, or issue a refund of any deposits or fees, but shall have no other liability. In hundreds of weddings photographed over two decades we have never yet needed to exercise this clause, or the limitation of liability clause which follows.

· Limitation of Liability: By doing business with Doug client agrees to LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. Photographer's liability is limited to the dollar amount which the client has paid him (we will refund it) unless a higher liability limit has been specifically agreed to in advance for an additional fee. Statement of care: Doug takes the Utmost Care in how he performs his work, but this is an imperfect world, so this Limitation of Liability shall apply regardless of fault or cause. We are a tiny family operation providing a limited personal service -- not a corporation with deep pockets.

-Solving problems if any: The majority of Doug's business comes from referrals --- Doug cares about his reputation. Doug supports the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is available as a resource for customers at (916) 443-6668. Client is expected to cooperate with photographer and/or BBB to achieve a solution.

-Contact information: Please keep photographer updated on changes in your phone number, cell phone number, and mailing address so Doug can contact you in case of questions immediately before the wedding. And after the wedding I'll need your new mailing address, there is often follow-through with re-edits of digital images, sending archival CD digital photo disks to the client, or albums or reprints.

-Privacy policy: We do not divulge personal information for marketing purposes.

Client's signature and date:_________________________


Wedding date: _______ Ceremony time: ________


Wedding ceremony location: _________________________


Wedding reception location: __________________________


Photographer's signature & date: _________________


Bride's current contact information: (phone, cell phone #, e-mail, mailing address): __________________________________


Bride & groom's contact data after the wedding if known: _______________________________________________


Photography package or products desired & price: _________________________________



No travel charge within 100 miles of the Sacramento area.





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