1. What is a Portrait Photography Contract?
2. Why Have Photography Contracts?
3. Things to Include in a Portrait Photography Contract 

Portrait photography contracts are an agreement between a client and photographer. Each party will agree to the terms outlined in the contract and then, once signed, this becomes a legal document. This step helps protect both parties, ensuring that both the client and photographer are happy. Due diligence at this stage is critical, so be sure to include all relevant information, such as the scope of work, client information, and associated fees.

What is a Portrait Photography Contract?

Although a contract can seem rather intimidating, it is actually a great thing to have. Not only does a legal contract protect both you and the client, but it can help clarify what it is you are expected to produce. Whether you are shooting a wedding, taking family portraits, or are doing a commercial shoot, a photography contract ensures that everything runs smoothly.

If you plan to hire a photographer, a contract will act as a legal document to outline all applicable terms. For example, how will the photographs be taken? How long can you expect between the shoot and delivery? Cover everything from payment terms to related contingencies. If you are looking for more information, this document may also go by a photographer contract agreement or a photo contract. You can access a sample template here.

Why Have Photography Contracts?

When hiring a photographer for any special occasion, it is imperative that you create a photography contract. If you are the photographer and plan to offer freelance work for a client, the same step will be required on your end. When you create a contract, this also helps to secure payment. By setting clear guidelines, this will help both parties resolve any possible conflicts. When your terms are in writing, this eliminates any future confusion or miscommunication.

Things to Include in a Portrait Photography Contract 

Here is a shortlist of what should be included in your photography contact:

  • Client information — This will be the first area for you to fill out and should include the client's name, phone number, mailing address, and email address.
  • Scope of work — Although this may seem self-explanatory, do not overlook the smallest of details. Include the date(s), time(s), location(s), and even the editing process. When completing portrait photography, this will be fairly simple. However, when you get into shooting weddings and more extensive jobs, this section will differ from one job to the next.
  • Fees — How much will these services cost? Do you have a deposit and refund policy? Anything to do with payment should be addressed here.
  • Refunds — Typically, this will be included in your fees section. However, when creating a wedding contract, a separate cancellation section should be written.
  • Model release — This simply means that the photographer is able to utilize the photographs after the session has ended.
  • Special requests — This section includes topics that are specific to the client.
  • Duty of the client — Here, you will state that the client is responsible for obtaining all associated permits and permissions.
  • Cooperation — If for whatever reason the subjects to be photographed do not cooperate, are late, or do not show, this section outlines what will happen next.
  • House rules — This is typically exclusive to wedding contracts and states variables dependent on the location. For example, "no flash" rules.
  • Exclusive Photography clause — In this section, you will explain to the client that during your session, no one will interfere or take photographs of the professional setup.
  • Copyright law — You need to clearly define this section, stating that all photographs taken during the session are owned by the photographer in terms of copyright laws.
  • Client usage — This will state how the client can use the photographs they receive.
  • Signature blocks — How you design this section is up to you. The client can sign once or sign several sections of the contract itself.

Whether you are the photographer or you plan to hire a professional, do not proceed without a contract. Take the time to create this important document so that you are both left with nothing but good memories from the experience. Once you agree to the terms, you can move forward with confidence.

If you need help with portrait photography contracts, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.