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What to Include In Your Portrait Photography Contract: + The 4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know

So you’ve just started your photography business! Good for you! You get bonus points too, because you’ve realized that you need to have a portrait photography contract in place in order to start taking clients. BUT, you’re a little unsure where to start or what should be in your contract. Keep on reading to learn what to include in your portrait photography contract- and this just isn’t the basics-but some things you probably haven’t thought of yet!

Now I want to start out first by saying that I am a photographer, not a lawyer, so you will always want to see a lawyer in your state for the best legal coverage and to ensure that your contract is solid and law binding.

Now that you’re clear on that, here are the things you’ll definitely want to make sure are included:

  1. Payment schedule: When, where and how payment is collected
  2. EXACTLY what is included in their package
  3. Model Release: If you will be using these to promote your business, your client must give you permission. Be clear on EXACTLY where you plan to use the images.
  4. Copyright Information: Who owns the rights and what rights do your clients have to the images
  5. Clear cancellation policy: Will the retainer be returned? Is there a specific time frame they have to cancel?

Now here are some other things I’ve learned along the way (that you may not always think of) to add in your contract:

  1. What will happen in case of bad weather & what is considered “bad” weather. Will you still shoot a session if it is cloudy, rainy, too hot or cold? Be clear on your policy.
  2. What happens if you are sick or cannot be at the session?
  3. iPhone or “extra photographer” clause: Will you allow other family members to take photos during the session? ?If not, you’ll want to include this.
  4. Late Policy: At some point, we’ve all been a little tardy and things happen, BUT be clear what your policy is. This may be a specific start and end time. ?Or a rescheduling fee if they are too late. ?You’re time is important too, so think about if you want this in your contract.

It is best to visit a lawyer in your state, however, there are online options out there too (and I’ll link to a few of them I have seen at the end of the article), but regardless of what option you go with, here is the best piece of advice I can give you regrading portrait photography contracts (are you ready? Pay close attention):

Be totally transparent with your clients. Be upfront and clear with them from the beginning. And then restate parts of your contract to them again in person. Allow them the ask questions. Give them the opportunity to ask questions. Avoid wording in your contract that is difficult to translate. Be as straight forward as you can right away. This will eliminate any confusion, anger, or questions later on. Trust me on this.


Once again, good luck with your photography business and make sure to get that contract in place now! Here are a few links I’ve found ( a few even have freebies in them) that may help you get everything in place. (Portrait Contracts or Photography Contracts)

Good Luck! And if there is anything you have come across while working in a photo business of that would be good for others to know, leave a comment below and let us know what you think should be added to a photo contract.



Now if you skimmed through quick, or just scrolled right to the bottom, you can watch and listen to me talk about contracts right here!

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  • sharonJuly 20, 2017 - 1:51 pm

    Thank you Emily! very useful!ReplyCancel

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