YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY CONTRACT, EXPLAINED.
Contract jargon is the worst, am I right? I'm not a lawyer but I'm a business woman, so I did what any good business woman would do and I hired an expert lawyer to write all of our contracts. I then sat down with my lawyer and we wrote down, in layman's terms, what everything means. We're all about transparency over here and we never want confusing wording or legal mumbo jumbo to cause any anxiety or confusion for our couples. We know that wedding photography is an investment and we want to make this part of the wedding planning as painless as possible. Here are some of the confusing parts of your wedding contract, explained:
The beginning of the contract is simply explaining that you can't hire another photographer from another photography company after you hire us. If you'd like a second photographer, we can easily add that to your collection, if it's not in there already. This also means that your Uncle Bob with his fancy-ass camera can't photograph your wedding day, either. Why Not? Because not all photographers shoot the same way. We'll photograph most of your wedding using natural light. If Uncle Bob shoots using a flash, he's going to over-expose (ruin) my images. We also don't want Uncle Bob getting in the way of a shot we can't redo (ahem, your first kiss.) It's also hard enough for me to get my couples to be intimate in front of me- the last thing we need is an audience or another camera. Also, if Uncle Bob is a true professional, he'll know that it's tacky to bring your camera to a wedding as a guest. We also encourage our couples to ask their guests to put their phones and cameras away during the ceremony. This isn't in your contract but there's really nothing worse than you walking down the aisle with all of your aunts standing there with their flat screen TVs, I mean iPads, in my way. ;)
All communicating needs to happen either over the phone or via email with the couple and the couple only. We take pride in how closely we work with each of our couples but we can't provide that kind of top-notch service if we're having to chat with your mom, your aunt and your twice removed cousin. The couple is our client, not a family member, friend, or wedding planner.
OTHER PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS
A lot of people read this section and think this means that we're not going to photograph their parents at their wedding. Not at all! We're going to make sure we get all of the important family portraits. It just means that if your pregnant cousin asks us to photograph her maternity session at your wedding, we can politely decline.
HOUSE RULES + CREATIVE CONTROL
The first part is referring to those of you who are getting married at a church or any ceremony venue with strict rules. For example, most Catholic churches don't allow flash photography or the ability for the photographer to move around during the ceremony. If this is the case, we're not responsible for missed photos due to these restrictions.
The second part is referring to all your Pinterest-Crazed people. (Haha Kidding...kind of.) Look, Pinterest is great for determining the style of your wedding, but we don't re-create images that have already been taken. If we're focused on checking off a shot list then we're completely missing photographs of what's actually happening at your own wedding. That being said, if you want to re-create an image taken at your parents or grandparents wedding or whatever, we're totally down for that. Just talk to us ahead of time so we make time for it.
We own the copyright to your wedding photos. That weirds people out when they hear that for the first time but it's 100% industry standard and how the world works. Copyright is, like, insanely expensive- we're talking $1000.00 PER image, expensive. So instead of breaking your bank, we give you personal printing rights, instead. This means that you can take your USB and print your wedding photos wherever, whenever, however many times you like, for the rest of your life. It also means you can post them to Facebook and Instagram. (It's not necessary but we REALLY appreciate photo credit.) You just can't sell them or make a profit from them. You also can't give them to a 3rd party publisher without our consent. (We're usually more than happy to have them published- we just want to make sure they're being published with outlets that represent our brand appropriately and will credit us, as well.)
Also, please don't edit our photos. We have a brand that we've worked tirelessly to perfect and that includes our editing and aesthetic. Putting an Instagram filter on a professional photo would be like adding some extra brush strokes to a painting you purchased. Every artist has a different style and look and it's super important to us that our art remains as it was intended. If you post our work, you must post the original.
This is basically a warning that if your groomsmen get black out drunk before the bridal party portraits, we can either continue with the portraits with their eyes half closed or we can all do a shot of tequila and call it a day. Also, please make sure that all of your vendors (cough makeup and hair artist cough) receive the photography timeline WELL in advance and that they follow it. (Hate to call 'em out like that but they are always the ones that make everyone late. #truthbomb)
We need to eat. By the time dinner comes, we've been on our feet for six plus hours with barely enough time to shove a granola bar in our mouths while peeing. (TMI? Another #truthbomb.) That being said, it's not your job to make sure we're fed on the day of your wedding (duh,) which is why we suggest the following: Include us in your wedding guest count. If you do this, we won't have to beg your caterer like lost puppy dogs for a cold turkey sandwich and we'll have a seat to eat that's not a toilet bowl. If you don't want to count us as guests, which is totally fine, make sure your caterer is aware that we absolutely must eat when your bridal party eats. Your caterer will probably fight you on this because they always want all of the guests to be fed before the vendors but because we are "on" the entire day, including all of the reception, we can't take a break after dinner is served or we may miss important reception moments. Nobody wants their photo taken while they're eating, anyway, so dinner time is the best time for us to eat and re-charge.
Since you're the client, you also need to be the one to make payments. If your parents or friends want to pay for your wedding photography, have them write you a check. From there, you'll send us the payment via Venmo or Check. Story Time: A couple of months ago we had a mother make all payments on behalf of the couple, even though the couple were the ones to hire us. The couple loved our work. Guess who didn't love our work? The Mother. Guess who threw a fit when she saw that the photos weren't her style but thought she deserved a refund because she paid for them? The Mother. Moral of the story? Everyone has different taste but I'm only concerned with yours.
RIGHT OF WITHDRAWAL
If you tell us that you're getting married at The Plaza but then you change your venue to your parent's basement, we have the right to end the contract. As the owner and lead photographer I, personally, only take on 20 weddings per year and because of this, we want the couples and their aesthetic to align with our brand. Venue changes happen. We get that. As long as it has a similar vibe of your original venue, it shouldn't be a problem. Just keep us in the loop!
LIMIT OF LIABILITY
Knock on wood, but we have never missed a wedding. That being said, what kind of business woman would I be if I didn't have a plan in place? In the event of a medical or personal emergency, we will find you a replacement photographer. Not to toot my own horn, but I am crazy connected in the wedding photography industry and know all of the best, including some crazy talented folks on my team. We'll get you someone freaking great. If, on the off chance, Obama is offering free hugs on the National Mall that day and no one is available, you'll get a full refund. The same goes for if something were to happen to your wedding images. Again, this has never happened. We shoot to two memory cards simultaneously so even if a card were to fail, both would have to fail at the same time for us to lose anything. We also back up to two different hard drives- one that we keep at my home and one that we keep at our studio, in case of a fire or robbery, etc. We've been doing this a long time, and we're prepared for the worst.
LEGAL ACTION + PERFORMANCE
If you decide you'd like to sue, you can only sue us for what your wedding package is worth and you'll need to pay our legal fees. Also, if dinosaurs make a reappearance and the world goes to shit, we are not responsible.
We get the majority of our future clients by showing off our current clients on our website and social media accounts. Sometimes magazines even deem us worthy of publication. You're agreeing that we can show off your beautiful face.
*This is not your contract. This is simply a cute and funny little way of explaining what is in your contract. Please refer to your original agreement.*