Wedding Photography Tips

The wedding photography tips featured on this page are mainly from a legal perspective to help you limit your liability as photographer and to create a clear understanding with your clients.

To that end we provide a selection of free legal forms which you can edit to suit your requirements.

bridal couple on beach

Before you jump in though, do read through the guidelines below which explain the rationale for some clauses and even offer alternatives for you to consider.

Who Owns the Copyright of Wedding Photographs?

The issue of copyright often arises with wedding photography, which incidentally belongs to the creator of the work, i.e. the photographer. Your clients may argue that since they are paying you for the work (under the "work made for hire" doctrine) that they own the copyright.

In the USA, for example, there are nine specific categories that allows for the "work for hire" principle and they broadly form part of collaborative work, which excludes wedding photography in the sense that we discuss here.

The question then is how to address it (copyright) in your wedding photography contract.

It is fine and well to contractually put limitations on the client, but very hard to monitor and enforce where almost everyone has the equipment to replicate and distribute images.

With this in mind, in paragraph 7. of our agreement, the client has no restriction on copying, except that of financial gain from the photographs. Even that will be hard to monitor and enforce.

Free Wedding Photography Contracts and Forms:

The alternative may be to negotiate a higher fee with the client and thereby assign (sell) your copyright in the work. Thereafter the client is free to do with it as they wish to the extent that you specify on the Assignment of Copyright form.

Visit our main page: Photography Contracts for more free legal forms for your photography business.

Model Releases


In paragraph 8 of the sample wedding photography contract the client issues a model release which will only extend to images in which they appear (or images without people).

The bridal couple does not have the authority to act on behalf of all the wedding guests and you need to be careful when publicly using people's images.

And in the case of children, be sure to get a model release for minors signed by the parents/legal guardians.

We have a variety of free model release forms available on our Photography Contracts page. The proper way to do it though is to first get the bridal couple's permission before approaching any guest with a model release form.

Wedding Photography Tips for Refunds

We presume that you are reading our pages because you're building / expanding your photography business. Word of mouth is a very valuable marketing tool for any business, which brings us to the issue of refunds. Some photographers do not refund any portion of the reservation deposit or retainer at all upon cancellation by the client.

Paragraph 11.3 in our sample agreement makes provision for some refund of the reservation deposit. How you wish to handle this is of course your prerogative, but if you can secure another booking for that date, even a partial refund will buy you a lot of goodwill with your original client.

Wedding Photography Contract Formats

If your wedding photography agreement is being sent electronically, it is a good idea to send it as a PDF document so wording cannot be altered so easily. However, a wedding photographer is typically booked weeks in advance, allowing enough time to send and receive a printed and signed copy of the document by snail mail.

Wedding Photography Coordinator

In our documents we make mention of this designated person. It can be the best man or family friend. He/she should know the people to be photographed and must be reliable and firm... and if he is, your task will be so much easier.

If you have any wedding photography tips to share, please contact us and help us improve the quality of our content.

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