September 4, 2023

The Wedding Photography Contract Guide for Couples

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At Ever After Photographers, we believe that capturing your special day is more than just clicking pictures; it’s about freezing moments in time, capturing emotions, and weaving a story that you’ll cherish forever. However, ensuring that your wedding photography experience is seamless involves more than just beautiful snapshots—it involves a clear, comprehensive wedding photography contract that protects both you, as a couple, and your chosen photographer.

We understand that navigating through contracts can be daunting, especially amid the whirlwind of wedding planning. That’s why we’ve crafted this definitive guide to help couples understand the crucial elements of a wedding photography contract.

A detailed yet clear contract act as a roadmap, ensuring a clear understanding between you and your photographer. The contract should include all of the products and services you pay for along with clear timelines, costs, deliverables and any provisions for special circumstances.

 In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Wedding Photography Contracts, empowering you to make informed decisions and safeguard your interests.

All those little details.

The initial step is to ensure that all your names, phone numbers, dates, addresses, and venue details are clearly stated in the contract. This simple step prevents chaos and ensures the validity of the contract.

How long will you be with us?

Ensure your contract specifies the number of photographers and their scheduled hours. Typically, weddings demand 8 to 12 hours of continuous coverage. For instance, if the photographer starts during the bride’s makeup session at 11 am and stays until an hour after dancing starts at, let’s say, 10 pm, it totals around 11 hours of coverage.

A good contract also includes a reference to what happens if you would like to have the photographers stay longer. In our contract we’re open to providing extended coverage at an additional cost.

Wedding Photography Contract

Are all of those images for me?

Although a photographer will shoot thousands of images at your wedding you really do not want to receive all of them. Imagine how long it would take to even look through all of them! Many will also look like duplicates. Fortunately, part of the photographer’s role is to chose and edit the best images in their unique style, ensuring all of significant moments like your family portraits and the ceremony are there.

However, your contract should include the minimum number of images which you will receive after the wedding. Often this minimum commitment to the number of images is based on the number of photographers and the length of the total coverage.

As a rough guideline our minimum number of images as noted in our contract is about 50 per each hour of coverage. This means that for 11 hours of coverage you would receive a minimum of 550 images. In practice we typically provide about 50-100 additional images beyond our contract minimum. Our goal is to tell your unique wedding story comprehensively without strictly limiting the number of images.

When do I get my images?

On average, you can expect to receive your photos within 3 months after your wedding day. This timeframe allows us to meticulously edit and curate each image to ensure they meet our high standards of quality and artistry. Your patience will be met with stunning, timeless photographs that capture the essence of your special day.

What is watermarking anyway?

Watermarks serve as a visual copyright directly placed on the photo. When viewed or printed such images clearly showcase the photographers logo or copyright information. Obviously this is not ideal for your final prints or digital slide shows. Some photographers remove the watermark only after you pay an additional fee for the digital images.

We believe that you should have the right to print and view your photos without the watermark. In our contract, we specify that the images we provide are not watermarked. We strongly suggest that you make sure the same is true for any other contract which you may be reviewing.

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Image rights.

Unless stated otherwise in you contract the photographer retains the right to the photos, however the people in the photograph, like you, have the right to your self image. Therefore a photographer can only use a photo with your image for any marketing or commercial purpose, with your signed model release consent often included in the contract. It is always wise to ask the photographer to better explain their contract picture rights and the model release portion if you are concerned about the use of your image.

Remember of course that you do not have to sign anything you don’t want to. If you do not want your photos to be included on the photographer’s marketing website, make sure this condition is noted in your contract before signing.

A matter of backup.

Most photographers will keep the photos from your big day backed-up on their server for a limited time. This is of course great in case you loose your photos.
Some photographers charge an additional fee for keeping your photos safe beyond the initial time period. Make sure that your contract specifies how long your photos are kept on the photographer’s server.

This can be a lifesaver if your favorite nephew accidentally deletes your wedding image folder before you have time to place it on a cloud server!

At Ever After Photographers we keep your images backed up for 180 days after we provide them you.

What do we get again?

Your wedding photography contract must clearly state what you’re getting for your payment. It should list everything included, such as engagement sessions, albums, prints, consultations, web galleries, site checks, USB delivered files, and any other services in detail. This ensures a clear understanding of what’s part of your package.

Planes, trains and automobiles.

Most photographers do not charge for local travel. However if your wedding is out town or even on a different continent make sure that your contract clearly states any photographer travel costs which you may be responsible for.

Personally, as we love to travel, we often charge much less for travel expenses than other photographers since we look to combine our out of province or out of country weddings with our adventure vacations.

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What, how and when do we pay?

Typically, the initial deposit is made upon signing the contract. An additional deposit or final payment is often required just before the wedding. Should you need to adjust the deposit structure for any reason, communicate with the photographer.

Ensure that the payment structure is clearly detailed in the contract and that all amounts are accurate before signing. Ever After Photographers contract also specifies available payment methods. If you prefer payment via credit card or PayPal, ensure these options are provided by the photographer.

Everyone wants to be a photographer.

Most contracts include a clause prohibiting other photographers from getting in the way of the main photographer during the wedding day. The purpose of the clause is not to prevent your family from taking pictures of the big day but to protect the ability of the photographer to capture the images you are expecting to receive. In most cases this clause applies to other professional photographers and not your grandparents using their Instagram during the ceremony. Of course, please speak to the photographer if you have any doubt before agreeing to any such clause.

Indemnification clause? Sounds Complicated!

Many wedding photography contracts include a special section meant to protect the photographer from liability. Such as acts of god, extreme sickness, subjective view of the photographers style or editing process, equipment failure, onsite property damage, personal injury etc.
The full extend of this clause varies from photographer to photographer. Although this clause is pretty standard across the industry, please read and understand it fully asking the photographer any questions which you may have before signing.

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Cancellation – It’s Rare, but It Happens!

Especially in these unprecedented times, such as those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, unforeseen circumstances may arise, leading to the need to cancel or reschedule your wedding date. It’s crucial to inquire about the photographer’s flexibility regarding unexpected changes due to situations like government restrictions, health concerns, or travel limitations. Understanding the photographer’s approach to handling these exceptional situations can provide clarity and reassurance during uncertain times. Be sure the cancellation policy in the contract addresses these potential scenarios, offering a flexible and accommodating solution to unexpected changes caused by the pandemic or other unforeseen events.

What do I need to do?

Many contracts, including ours, note that it is the responsibility of the client to obtain any needed permission or permit, including any of the related costs, to photograph at a certain venue.

In certain limited cases it may be easier for the photographer to obtain any such permissions directly in which case this clause could be changed. This bring us to our last contract tip, negotiation and amendments.

Talk to the photographer.

In many cases, you can negotiate, add, revise, or remove contract details after a conversation with the photographer. If you find any discomfort after thoroughly reviewing the contract, it’s advisable to discuss those specific concerns with the photographer before signing. Most photographers are open to hearing your individual needs and are willing to consider adjusting the contract accordingly. It’s essential to ensure that any modifications are documented in writing for clarity and agreement.


Understanding and reviewing the Wedding Photography Contract is as crucial as selecting the perfect photographer for your wedding day. It ensures that both parties are on the same page, setting the stage for a memorable and stress-free experience.

As you navigate the intricacies of wedding photography contracts, we invite you to explore our blog post “10 Very Important Questions for a Wedding Photographer“. This resource provides valuable insights into the essential queries to ask your photographer, aiding you in making informed decisions and establishing a strong foundation for collaboration.

We hope you found this post informative and just a little easier to navigate than an actual contract.


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Ever After Photographers – Voted as Best Candid Wedding Photographers in Toronto, Canada.

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