What Contracts Do Photographers Need?

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What is the best way to set yourself up for success as a photographer? Honestly, protecting yourself from the start with a legally binding photography contract is where you should start. Not only does it make you look legit and more professional than a hobbyist, but it also protects you should anything go awry.

Without a legal contract, there is little tangible evidence that an agreement actually exists, making it even harder to enforce. Depending on your business, you may even need more than one! So, which contracts for photographers are right for you? Let’s find out.


It doesn’t matter if you are a wedding photographer, a portrait photographer, a product photographer, or have invented your own photography niche—you need a photography service agreement. Are you likely to be sued without a contract? No, but it could happen. What is highly likely is that you’ll be used, abused, and taken advantage of by clients that see the lack of a contract as a free-for-all. Don’t set yourself up for disaster. Having a service contract: 

  • Makes you look more professional
  • Sets clear expectations about the services provided
  • Lets the client know their duties and responsibilities
  • Protects you should things get ugly
  • Sets up payment terms
  • More

Would you like to try your hand at creating your own photography service agreement? Check out The Contract Checkup!

If you’d instead like to save time, effort, and headache, check out our done-for-you service agreement template. Our service contract templates are easy-to-understand without being filled with all of the legal jargon but were drafted by a business attorney who had your best interest in mind. Get the legal protection you deserve without the price tag or the hassle! 

Optional legal contract: third-party payer agreement 

If you are a wedding photographer or work in an industry where someone may feel inclined to pay for the person having the photoshoot, consider having a third-party payer agreement on standby. 

It is not entirely uncommon to have a mom, dad, or someone close to the bride or groom to pay for wedding services, including wedding photography or videography. But, if they’re paying and the bride and groom are the subjects, who is the client? Having a client and a third party payer agreement clears up any confusion and can even save tension on the couple’s big day. 

So, what does this contract actually say? Basically, the happy couple is the clients, and that the payor is just that—the payor. They do not get a say in your services or the agreement unless the couple includes them, and they agree that they are just purchasing this as a gift.

Another contract for photographers to consider: a Second shooter contract 

Eventually, your business could grow to the point where you can’t do it all. Honestly, that call could come tomorrow where a bride’s best friend saw your work and fell in love and needs you to photograph her wedding. But, you are just one person, and the wedding party and the guest list is enormous. Either cloning has to happen fast, or you need to hire a second shooter STAT! 

While having a second set of hands and another camera on hand seems excellent, it’s also a recipe for disaster. That is, without a second shooter contract. These small business contracts will lay the ground rules and protect you, your business, and the client, throughout the partnership. Legal clauses to consider: 

  • Assignment of duties
  • Memory card usage
  • Who gets copyrights
  • Equipment usage
  • Business representation
  • Portfolio rights
  • Independent contractor
  • Client engagement and interaction
  • Confidentiality
  • Liability

If you don’t want to leave the contract to chance and would prefer to close up any loopholes, check out the done-for-you independent contractor template in the contract shop today!

Photography Contract templates to make it easy made simple

Having a photography contract can make or break the long-term success of your business. Don’t leave your fate up to chance—get a photography contract template you can rely on. At The CEO Legal Loft, we have contracts to empower you to be the confident CEO you are meant to be. Drafted by a business attorney for entrepreneurs like you, these templates are a great starting point to launch your business toward your goals. Scroll the contract shop today, or take a peek at our legal membership.

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Legal Disclaimer: The CEO Legal Loft is owned by Michelle W. Murphy, LLC and is not a law firm. Nothing on this website is legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by purchasing or viewing a resource or contract template on this site. If you have a specific problem and need legal advice, contact a licensed attorney in your state or the state bar.