What To Include In Your Photography Contract. Part I

Clement Eastwood | The Art Shire
4 min readNov 27, 2022
Photo by Romain Dancre on Unsplash

Hey. I hope calling you “hey” doesn’t sound rude? Well, I’m African and calling someone “hey” is RUDE. But hey, I’m not trying to be rude. Comprenez vous? I did say I was going to mix French in my articles from now on, and I do not understand this beautiful language. I just use the Google Translate. Thank God for the internet. I might as well add Spanish as well.

So, contracts!

You just started your photo-business, and you have a client, you work, you do the work, now you have to be paid. You’ve done a great work but your client is making it difficult for you to receive payment, and you wish it was easy. I’ve been there. Talking about money is not so easy for any creative person, especially if you’re a one person business. If you’re struggling to make things work financially, I mean if you’re having a tough time with a client or anyone who is making it difficult for you to receive money after you have done work for them, then a contract is what you need before saying yes to the job.

What is a contract?

“a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.”

If this is the definition of a contract, then do you need to have a lawyer present to draft a contract? Now, I want you to know that I have absolutely no education when it comes to law. I mean, I have no certificate or degree in this field. So, take what I say with a grain of salt. If you can afford a lawyer, go ahead. It’s smart. It’s your business. Do what you need to do. I’ve never had a lawyer involved in my contract making process. It’s not so smart, but I’ve never had issues.

What should you include?

Before that, I want you to know contracts make it easy for you and your clients to work together. Without a contract, you may be leaving money on the table, which is not something you would want to be doing. Alright, so, what should you include in your photo contract? This can and should vary from photographer to photographer.

A contract should include the location of the project. This means the contract should include the where the photo-session will take place.

A contract should include contact of the client. This is obvious. Get your client’s or prospect’s E-mail and phone number on the contract.

A contract should include project start and end time. You want to work within a certain period. Many times, and I’m not exaggerating because I’ve done this myself. We as photographers shoot without a contract and well, you know the client tells you’ll be working together for an hour only for your to work for 3 to 4 hours. It has happened to us all. The contract shows how seriously you take your time and violation of the start and end time of the project shall demand a fee.

A contract should contain a description of services

This is where you’re going to expound on what you shall do for them. In the part two of this article, I’m going to be sharing a PDF of my contract so you see how it looks like. Okay, I’m just going to share an old draft I had some time ago. Made it myself.

This is where you describe what you’re going to do, and this can be done in many ways. When you look at the PDF I’ll share in the end, it might not even look like a contract. All I want from the client is to agree with what I’ve shared. Also, you want to have creative control in your session. Make this known. They hired you because you’re the specialist. Make sure you remain the specialist. Don’t get to a photo session looking like you’re not the creative director (if you’re a one-person business).

This should also include how many photos they’re going to have from you after the photo session. How many retouched, edited, colour grading, etc. Make sure your client has agreed to not only your terms and conditions but has also agreed on the way you make photos and edit. You don’t, trust me, you do not want a client who keeps telling you to change things in Photoshop. “Make my butt a little bigger, make my eyes brighter, how about my hips, can you make them bigger in 17 photos?” Fou!

You don’t want that kind of pressure. So in part 2 of this article, I’m going to be sharing with you the terms and conditions you need to add to your photo-contracts. Here’s the link to the PDF… And, I’m Clement Eastwood, a photographer and an author who has made it his mission to educate photographers. Tap on this link to have access to my books on photography. And here’s a link to my podcast.

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Clement Eastwood | The Art Shire

Assisting photographers in transforming their passion into a source of income. | Author