3 Mistakes Photographers Make with Client Contracts

3 Mistakes Photographers Make with Client Contracts | Contracts for Creatives | Ashlee Hightower

Today’s post is for all of my favorite photographers out there! I’m sharing a few tips and considerations to take into account when crafting your next client contract.  Let’s jump right into a few mistakes photographers make with client contracts.  After reading today’s post, hopefully you’ll be able to tweak your client contracts to ensure you and your business are fully protected!

3 Mistakes Photographers Make with Client Contracts

Not Requiring a Deposit Upon Booking

I recommend photographers always require a deposit upon booking.  You should include language in your contract that states the amount due upon signing the contract.  You should also include language stating that the deposit acts as a retainer. It books the client’s date and time on your (the photographer’s) calendar.

I recommend sending an invoice for the deposit amount at the same time as sending the contract to your client.  It’s also important to include language stating that the deposit is not refundable.  To help educate your clients, you can include language explaining that once the deposit is made and the client’s date and time are blocked off on your calendar, you will turn down other paid opportunities in favor of the client.  Explain that as the reason for the deposit being non-refundable.

Not Reiterating Ownership Rights

You should always make sure that it is very clear in your contract who owns the copyrights to your photos.  If you are retaining the copyrights, your contract should make it very clear that you (as the photographer) own the copyrights to the photos and you are granting the client a license to use the photos in a certain way.  For example, you grant a newly engaged couple the rights to download and print your photographs, but you do not grant them the right to take your photos and sell them to a brand to use on a wedding website.

All ownership rights and licensing rights should be outlined in your client contract.

Not Specifying Editing Limitations

Depending on your client, you should include what they should expect in terms of editing of the photographs and how many rounds of edits they are entitled to once they have viewed the photos or a sneak peek of the photos.  It’s important to make sure the client understands your photography style – if you prefer not to photoshop personal features, let the client know ahead of time.  Inform your client of the amount of editing that you typically perform for similar type photography sessions.

Along with specifying how much editing the client should expect, you should set a limit to the number of times the client may request edits be made to the photographs.  Include language stating that after a certain amount of edit requests, additional fees will apply.


Feeling like you need a quick review of your current client contract to make sure everything is buttoned up?  Shoot me an email at [email protected] or check out my contract review services here!

Don’t have a current client contract?  Check out my attorney-drafted and peer-reviewed photography contracts, available for immediate download, here!

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