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Wedding Photography: Contract Essentials

Ready to sign? Not so fast -- review your contract using our cheat sheet as a guide.

Photo: George Carranza

So you've found a photographer. Your next assignment? To guarantee picture-perfect wedding photos and avoid miscommunication, request a written contract. Here are the critical points to review -- and get in writing:

  • Name and contact information for you and your photographer

  • Correct date(s), exact number of hours, starting time(s), and locations (rehearsal dinner, home, ceremony, reception) where the photographer will be expected to shoot, with exact addresses

  • Name of the photographer who will shoot your wedding and the number of assistants

  • Number and kind(s) of cameras to be used

  • Number of rolls of film to be shot (color and black and white), type of film, and cost per additional roll (if needed)

  • Number of proofs you'll receive, and complete package details

  • Date your proofs will be ready and how long you can keep them

  • When and how you'll receive your order (albums, prints) once you place it, and any other delivery details

  • Length of time the photographer will keep your negatives

  • Total cost (itemized if possible)

  • Overtime fee, if applicable

  • Reorder price, if you decide to order additional prints later

  • Deposit amount due

  • Balance and date due

  • Cancellation and refund policy

  • Name of an acceptable substitute in case of emergency

  • In the event of equipment failure, a guarantee that a backup camera will be on hand

  • Photographer's signature

Additional Items to Clarify

  • Style of photography, such as formal portraits, documentary-style, candid, combination, straight shooting, unconventional composition, and formats.

  • Subjects to be covered, such as pre-wedding preparations, ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.

Signing the Dotted Line

  • Once you've made sure that all bases are covered and all information is correct, sign the contract.

  • Make a copy of the document for your files so that you can consult the contract as your wedding day approaches.

-- The Knot

See More: Wedding Photo + Wedding Video