Last week I received the latest edition of 'Let's Plan A Wedding', if you haven't heard me mention this before then you're in for a treat. This funky magazine has everything couples need to know about me, how I approach a wedding day and a handy list of useful tips and contacts for the Bride & Groom to be. The welcome package every bride & groom receives also includes the terms & conditions, a fairly straight forward document that every wedding photographer needs, but what should your T&C's include?
1. Copyright I would never advise giving your copyright away, instead create licenses that allow your clients to do everything from print, post on social media, share with family & friends and even make their own albums. Make sure it's clear they're not allowed to sell any of the photographs or manipulate in anyway. (Ok, so you may let them crop them for Instagram/ Facebook Profiles)
2. Display After you've shot a wedding you want to share those awesome images with your market. Ensure your terms and conditions clearly state that you are legally allowed to promote the images in advertising, brochures, magazines, online blogs etc etc.
3. Prices Make sure your terms and conditions state everything listed on the clients invoice/booking sheet. Consider mentioning there will be extra charges for journeys in excess of X amount of miles.
4. Payment State the deposit is non-refundable and bookings will only be confirmed with the full deposit payment and full acceptance of the terms and conditions. Give an X amount of months you require the full payment by and clearly state that any photographic work will not be under taken until all payments are complete. I personally require the full amount before the wedding, some photographers choose to be paid in full after they have shot the wedding. Whichever route you choose, make sure the clients are aware and you won't run into any problems.
5. Force Majeure Terms and conditions are there to cover all parties legally. In the very unlikely event (Serious illness, victim of crime, flooding of goods) that you are unable to attend the wedding date you need a plan in your contract. Whether you endeavour to provide another photographer or confirm your assistant(s) will photograph the wedding you need a plan in place to reassure your clients.
7. Ownership Don't confuse copyright and ownership as the same thing. Ownership is exactly what it says on the tin; who owns the images. I would advise never to give up ownership for your images and make that clear in your terms.
8. The Photographer Here's the bit where you can add your personal terms. What is the latest you will work until? Do you require a meal during the day? Add these to your terms and conditions so there is no last minute awkwardness on the day.
9. Personal Accident The photographer is usually the person giving the orders during a wedding, directing couples and guests where to stand. Make sure you clearly state that any directions issued, to the clients, guests or employees during their wedding are deemed to be at their own risk. You the photographer cannot be held responsible for any personal accidents. It's also very important you have the correct insurance before taking on any photographic work.
10. Delivery of Images It's important to clearly state how you plan to deliver the images and in what format. Prints, USB or online gallery? Will there be any delivery charges for posting/shipping? Also it's good to say how long the images will be available before they are archived, you may consider adding charges for USB reproductions/re uploads etc.
11. Cancellation Policy Clearly state how long the clients have before the wedding to cancel. As I mentioned earlier, I would make the deposit non-refundable. If the client cancels very close to the wedding itself you may want to implement charges due to loss of work. As I like to be honest and straight forward, my terms state that if I receive another booking on their cancelled date I will refund them the full amount including their deposit.
12. Coverage & Reproduction Under this section endeavour to fulfil the client's requirements but you can't be held responsible for any non-availability of subjects, adverse conditions, presentations of coverage or obstructed views.
Hopefully these points will come in useful for building your own terms and conditions for your business. There is plenty more the T&C's should include and each document will be different for each business model. Remember to always have your Terms & Conditions checked by a professional.
Do you have any further points that you include in your terms and conditions? How do you tackle the administration jobs in the business?