Setting up solid business processes and practices is just as important for your wedding photography business as taking good shots. This article will look at two key issues that need to be addressed before the day of the wedding. One relates to agreeing and signing off with your client a wedding photography contract. The other is discussing and agreeing a wedding photography checklist, so a list of must have photographs that are required on the day.
Wedding Photography Contract Issues
1. A signed contract holds far more legal weight than sending your clients a set of your terms and conditions, let alone agreeing something verbally but not in writing. It also backs up any discussion you’ve had with your client or potential client and reduces the chance of miscommunication or misunderstandings which might otherwise damage your relationship with them.
2. Details not only the price of the wedding service you are going to provide, but also the nature of the service e.g. which wedding package has been chosen, what it includes, start and finish times, locations, whether an engagement shoot is included and so on.
3. Detail what would happen if you cannot attend, the total liability of each party – normally no greater than the total price of the package – and importantly what will happen if the client cancels or postpones the wedding.
4. Specifics around transport costs may also be useful to put down in writing here, either for the wedding or the engagement shoot. If the latter only take place on certain days of the week, say so. Even if you mention if verbally on booking, often the couple will have forgotten 6 months or a year down the line when your ring to sort out a date and time. Again, having the contract in place takes away any doubt.
5. Finally, make sure you hold on to the copyright for your images, and state this in the contract. It is also important to include a clause that states that you have the right to use any of the images to promote or otherwise market your work. That way, you don’t have to get permission to use the renewing wedding vows dresses for advertising your services further down the line.
Wedding Photography Checklist Issues
1. Always get a list of the key group photographs your clients would like, and make sure you have this at least a few weeks before the wedding so you can discuss it with the bride and groom and understand exactly who is who. Suggest no more than 10-12 groups normally as this ensures this session will not last overlong. That way, family and guests enjoy it which is reflected in great photos.
2. Order the list yourself in a way that will make pulling the groups together as quick as possible. For example, if you shoot the bride and groom with the extended family, then with the immediate family, then with parents only, it is very easy to take people away and get all 3 shots done very quickly.
3. Ask beforehand for one or two people who can help you to get the groups together. It gives the wedding a nicer more personal feel if the groomsmen are calling the groups rather than the photographer, but if this doesn’t seem to be working well on the day, quickly step in and do it yourself.
4. It is also useful to request a list of ‘informal’ group shots which you can get throughout the day, so adding variety to the overall set of images you give your client, but also as a means of keeping the number of formal groups down. These shots may or may not include the bride and groom and some example would be the bride with her best friend, the mum or dad with their siblings, all the young children together, or a favourite aunt and uncle.