Do you need a photography contract with your clients?

What should be in a photography contract

A photography contract tailored to your business needs, not a template. Very few templates provide adequate legal protection.

A robust photography contract will lessen the risk of a dispute with your client, an interruption to your business, the stress, the bad review, the damage to your reputation.

You don’t want to have to supply the services again or pay for the supply of services again, or worse still, pay compensation for consequential loss and damage and legal fees.

You need a robust contract tailored to your business and service needs, protecting your revenue stream, protecting you from legal disputes.

Whatever photography services you offer, whether it be weddings, family portraits, corporate branding, fashion/models, landscapes, wildlife, you need to protect your works.

A robust photography contract will pay attention to:

Photo shoot

  • Photo shoot - date, time, location.

Description of the services

  • Scope of services (and any services that are not included).

Fees, deposit and expenses

  • Payment method, manner of payment and timeframe.
  • Deposit, non-refundable deposit.
  • Additional fees, for example, manipulation of photographs.
  • Expenses, for example, travel to the photo shoot.

Weather conditions

  • Poor weather conditions may prevent the photo shoot from proceeding.

Cancellation, failure to attend, rescheduling

  • Cancellation and rescheduling fees.
  • Requirements for rescheduling the photoshoot.

Refund policy

  • Circumstances in which there will be a refund of fees. And you cannot just say, “no refunds”.

Scheduled shoot and co-operation

  • Cooperation of your client, models and/or guests at the scheduled photo shoot.
  • You may wish to cancel the photo shoot if persons behave badly, are under the influence of drugs and alcohol or engage in aggressive and dangerous behaviour.

Force Majeure

  • Force majeure is an event that happens beyond a party’s control, for example, fire, floods, pandemic, critical infrastructure failure, government-imposed restrictions. Generally, parties agree to suspend performance of the contract for a period of time.
  • If an affected party is unable to perform its obligations after a certain period of time, the contract will trigger a termination of the contract without prejudice to the terminating party.

Venue Rules

  • Management of the venue may impose restrictions preventing you from taking certain photographs. You may want the client to agree that you are not liable for any refund as a result of those venue rules and limitations.

Release and delivery of photographs

  • Photographer has discretion on what photographs are selected to be released to the client.
  • Method of delivery of photographs to the client.

Electronic transmission risk

  • If the parties are communicating electronically and using data storage devices and other sharing methods, there is a delivery risk. Each party may wish to release the other party from any liability for loss or damage arising from electronic delivery of communications.

Storage of photographs

  • No obligation to replace or reproduce photographs once they are released to the client.

Client warranty and indemnity

  • You may want the client to warrant that they have:
    • obtained all appropriate consents and release in relation to persons being photographed;
    • will only use the photographs as permitted under the contract.
  • You may want the client to indemnify you against any loss or damage arising out of any breach of warranties.
  • You may want the client to further indemnify you for the costs of any repairs or replacement of equipment caused by the negligence of the client.


  • As the creator of the works, you own the copyright held in them and they are automatically protected under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
  • You may want to grant the client a licence to use the photographs for a particular purpose.
  • Or you may be willing to grant full ownership rights to the client but you would want to make sure you are paid in full before assigning your copyright.

Moral Rights

  • As the creator of the works, you have moral rights in the photographs.
  • You may wish your clients to acknowledge you as the photographer, for example, when they post photos on their social media accounts.


  • The photography services come with guarantees and warranties that cannot be excluded under the Australian Consumer Law.
  • However, you may be able to limit your liability to providing the services again or the cost of providing the services again.

DISCLAIMER - this article is general information only. It is not legal advice. You should seek independent professional advice for your particular circumstances.