7 Items to Include in Your Photography Business Contract

A properly drafted contract protects both your business and clients, making it a powerful marketing tool. You can avoid client miscommunication by outlining deliverables, rights, and terms of service. Here are 7 items to include in your photography business contract to ensure your business gets paid on time.

7 Items to Include in Your Photography Business Contract

A photography contract is a legally binding document that specifies the parameters of the job. It explains the scope, timeline, fees, and other requirements to successfully deliver the product or service. As a photography business owner, you need these things in a contract to secure legal and financial protection. 

Scope and Obligations 

Can’t say no to clients who ask you to assist them in the program? Do clients extend their shoot hours without paying? Then, yes, your business needs a photography contract to summarize the obligations both parties need to do. 

  • Your tasks: Specify that your job as a photographer is only to take pictures, not become a part of the event coordinators or do anything outside of photography. 
  • Package inclusions: Limited or unlimited shots? Can the client ask for several revisions or only one? Explain what the customer will and will not receive from the package they’ve chosen. 
  • Team members: Some events have headcounts, so make sure to indicate if you’re bringing another photographer, stylist, or assistant. 
  • Client expectations: Depending on the kind of shoot or your agreement, the client may provide things like their own clothes, makeup, or props.

Contact Information of Both Parties 

We live in an age where people can commit identity theft, causing trust issues in business digitalization. Hence, it’s essential to clearly indicate the full name, address, and contact information of both parties. You must also clarify if the client is signing as an individual or business entity. 

Duration and Location

To avoid confusion, specify the ‘when’ and ‘where’ of a shoot. State the start and end dates for the contract terms. Include a timeline of the shoot, post-production, and deliverables. 

Fees and Payment Terms

An average company loses almost 10% of revenues each year due to neglected payment objections or incorrectly negotiated clauses. Whether you require a retainer or a full payment, provide instructions on when or how a client should pay. 

Likewise, include a section that explains the agreed quotation, project costs, possible extra charges, and applicable taxes. 


A photography business contract must explain what happens in case you can’t accomplish the job due to uncontrollable factors such as illness, injury, natural disasters, or loss of digital files. Be precise in what the client can expect to get, like a full refund, rescheduling, or supplier replacement. 


Copyright in photography means you own the pictures you created, and you can demand payment if the other party violates that agreement. 

  • Copyright: The contract must explicitly state that you still own the copyright to the pictures unless the clients pay for it. 
  • Use of rights: Another option is to indicate that you retain copyright and grant clients usage rights either for a fixed amount of time or lifetime. 
  • Model and property releases: Permission from the model or property owner gives you the legal right to use the images for commercial needs or portfolio.


Your photography business contract should also list out the items you will deliver to the client after the shoot. For instance, you may take an unlimited number of photos, although the client would only get a specified quantity of post-processed images. 

You also need to make it clear if you’re only doing basic editing, and major manipulations require an extra fee. Aside from that, state the specifics like the kind of prints and photo album sizes.


A comprehensive photography contract is crucial in protecting yourself, your business, and your customers. Take time to develop a photography contract to make sure you deal with business transactions legally and safely. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.