5 common things you may have missed in your photography contract.
Like most of us, you may not take the time to thoroughly read every contract you sign. You're human. We get it. That's why I am pointing out 5 common things you may have missed when you signed your photography contract. Let me preface: all contracts don't have all of these things, but they are SUPER common. Now, I'd imagine most photographers are like myself and won't legally come after you if you breech these things...we're reasonable humans. We know that these things are often overlooked and aren't coming from a place of malice! As a professional courtesy though, it's great to check your contract and be sure to honor your agreement as much as possible! Let's get started.
1) always photo cred / tag your photographer
....every time you post. Even on your 5-year wedding anniversary. Most contracts have a photo credit clause! This is the simplest thing to do, but often the most overlooked! And most of us are sadly too passive to message you and ask you to tag us, so we let it go even though you agreed to it in the contract! Why does this matter, you ask? Every time you tag us, our business gets introduced to more potential clients! Word of mouth is the best way for our small businesses to reach more people and continue to grow.
2) never alter/filter photos when sharing them
This is a big one in contracts! If you've altered the image, we might actually prefer that you *don't* tag us, because it doesn't actually reflect our work. Most photographers have a specific style - and we've assumed you've hired us because you like our style. If you have questions about the editing style of the photos you've received, it's much preferred that you bring it to the photographer's attention rather than altering/filtering the images yourself - even *just* brightening it a little or turning a colored image to black and white! Because the photos we sent you are edited and exported in a specific format, your further editing or cropping not only changes our work stylistically, but also changes the quality of the image.
3) provide a meal and seat at your wedding
Okay - you definitely want to check your contract for this one! And not just for your photographers, but all of your vendors. Many photographers will have different requests, so it's important to check this one out! While I've never been at a wedding where the vendors haven't been offered food (but colleagues of mine have!), I have been to several that didn't provide seating for vendors. Some contracts may request this, some may not, but you don't want to be the person who didn't see that part of the contract! Often times, the photographer requests a seat (doesn't have to be at a formal table...just somewhere!) and a warm meal OR time to go get a meal if one can't be provided. When compared to your average work day, a wedding day is at least 6 hours, and often 8-10+ hours of continuous work. It's only natural for your vendor to have a meal and take a seat.
4) your photographer has the right to leave your event if they're uncomfortable
Yep...most contracts actually say a version of this. If the photographer is made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe in any way, they often reserve the right to stop services at any time. This can mean inappropriate comments from a guest, harassment from a groomsman, and the list goes on. This isn't something that comes up super often, but if something happens at your wedding and your photographer chooses to stop photographing, you might be surprised to find that you contractually agreed to that! The more you know!
5) your photographer might not keep your photos *forever*
Last but not least, the dreaded "I never downloaded all my photos and now my online gallery is gone" moment. Your contract typically states how long your online gallery will be available, and some photographers also have a fee for recovering your gallery after a certain amount of time has passed. That's why it's a good idea to double check your contract. Either way, most of us suggest that you download your gallery to at least two different places upon receiving your images. For example, a flash drive and Google Drive. Your photographer also saves your gallery to several different places and most of us actually do keep your photos forever, just on an external hard drive that sometimes can take a while to recover! When in doubt, back up those photos!
*BONUS TIP* - social media sharing
Personally, I always like to double check this one with my clients, but most contracts state that the photographer has the right to share your images to social media, their website, etc. We understand that some clients may not feel comfortable having their photos shared online, so just be sure to discuss this with your photographer if you aren't comfortable with this. Like many other things, you may have contractually agreed to this without knowing!
That's all folks.
Those are the top 5 things I've collected from myself and some of my fellow photographers! Again, we know no one is intentionally overlooking these clauses, that's why this article is here to help you catch the things you may have missed to ensure you and your vendors are on the same page!!