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Contract for Wedding Photographers

Contract for Wedding Photographers

Contract for Wedding Photographers

Mr. X has a great online wedding photography portfolio and spectacular equipment, and he is excited about an upcoming wedding shoot. He interacts with a Client, showcases his work and they are impressed. Consequently, the Client hires Mr. X. He arrives on the said wedding date, and shoots the wedding and then starts with post production work. He sends the Clients the deliverables.

But thereafter, issues arise with meeting the client’s expectations and leading to Mr. X’s balance payment not being cleared. Things like this often happen with Mr X, and he wonders even after fulfilling his obligations and sending out the deliverables, what goes wrong? The problem here is Mr X does not get a Contract/ Service Agreement signed from his Clients for his services of wedding photography. 

A few discussions with some fellow photographers in the industry, we have realized that photographers struggle in meeting the client’s expectations, in the absence of a well drafted contract/service agreement. This blog post is an effort to address why contracting is so important if you want to succeed in your wedding photography business and want to reduce unnecessary stress and thereafter build lasting relationships with your clients.

What is a Wedding Photography Contract?

A Wedding Photography Contract is the agreement between The Wedding Photographer & The Client. The clients are typically the Bride & the Groom, whose wedding is about to happen. In some cases, the parents of the Bride or Groom are the Clients too.

The Contract or the Service Agreement absolutely covers everything which both the parties are responsible for, for the day(or days) of the wedding event. A well drafted contract covers the scope of work, deliverable, pricing, payment terms and schedule and also things like copyright, cancellation etc. 

Learning to draft a wedding photography contract is not a part of the formal photography education leaving a lot of photographers having to struggle. A lot of them try to search templates online and wade through endless websites to draft a contract template, and still they are unable to safeguard themselves from all the contingencies that can arise in future. Here, we have made an attempt to simplify the essentials of a wedding photography contract.

Wedding at Taj Lands end Bandra

Why is a Wedding Photography Contract so important?

Contract is basically documented to solve problems in the present as well as foresee the problems what can arise in future. Contracting is basically problem-solving. Being a Lawyer before becoming a Wedding Photographer, I have always stressed on having a well drafted contract. Our Wedding Photography Contract is basically the summary of our learnings, and the check-list of things to be taken care of, with our experience of being in the industry for over six years.

A well drafted contract benefits both the wedding photographer & the client ensuring fair treatment to everyone involved. Sometimes, clients can be hesitant to sign a wedding photography contract, it’s important to emphasize how its necessary to sign a contract for their benefit too. During a meeting or over a call, you need to make them understand how the contract ensures that they get all the deliverables what has been promised to them. It’s just like a script that both the parties follow so that the entire relationship runs as smoothly as possible. At any point of time, if there’s any question/difference about the service/scope of work/deliverable, there is a ready guideline at hand that can be pulled out and used as a checklist.

Lets face it Wedding Photography is not an easy job. You have to invest in latest equipment. You have to impress a client and get them on-board. Thereafter, you have to be meticulously on your toes throughout the shoot, and finally work tirelessly on the post production deliverables. A well drafted wedding photography contract ensures fair treatment for the photography team, their copyright & usage of the photographs, provisions for safe working environment, protection against cancellation due to act of god/last minute occurrences etc.

For Clients, a wedding photography contract offers them very firm reassurance that they’re going to get a return on their investment. Wedding photography is a big investment afterall, and clients who might be nervous about the amount of money they are going to spend for photography & film will feel a lot more secure if they have everything mentioned in the contract.

What all should a Wedding Photography Contract cover?

A good and well-drafted contract need to address a lot of points. In our case, as mentioned before, we have added points in our contract based on our experience and the learnings. The language in the contract is kept absolutely simple. Scroll down for the link to KnotsbyAMP Sample Agreement!   

Lets take a look at some key clauses that your wedding photography contract must have :-

1. Scope of Work
Setting up the scope of work and putting out your deliverable for photography and film is of utmost importance while drafting a wedding photography contract. The scope should be exhaustive & descriptive of what all you are going to deliver to the Client. The scope of work should also mention the team size comprising of no. of photographers & cinematographers.

The deliverables section would also require a lot of back and forth communication with the Client. But this will set the expectations of the Client, and thereafter no one can put any pressure about certain thing not being delivered. In case if any issue arises in the post-production stage, the parties should stick to what is mentioned in the scope of work.

2. Payment
Payment is the next foremost important thing on your wedding photography contract. Put the total amount payable clearly, along with the bifurcation as to the “Advance Amount” & “Balance Payment”. Along with that mentioning about non-refundable amounts and payment schedule is crucial.
Most of the wedding photographers start the post-production work only once all the pending payments are cleared by the client. This should be strictly followed by all wedding photographers, as keeping a certain percentage of amount (say 10%) on hold for later, have their own shortcomings. Save yourself from the hassles of constantly following up and other unpleasant experiences, by sticking to your irrevocable payment terms.

3. IPR & Copyright
This governs for both the parties. Generally, the wedding photographer maintains the copyright of all the photos they’ve taken. The wedding photographer reserves his right to display the photos taken at the client’s wedding on their website, for their promotion and marketing. If there is any objection to use any particular photo, the client can mention that to the wedding photographer. The client gets the right for unlimited lifetime usage of the photographs for their personal usage.

4. Cancellation  
A contract comes to your rescue in situations of last minute cancellation or events getting cancelled due to Act of God. The scenario of weddings getting cancelled/postponed due to Covid 19, taught us a big lesson in terms of drafting a “force majeure” clause in the contract. The wedding photographers with the force majeure clause could retain the advance booking amount with credit for services later on when they happen in future. Its always advisable to anticipate worst possible scenarios that can ever arise and put them in the contract. For wedding photographers, this is their livelihood, and it needs to be ensured that you’re compensated fairly for your time and efforts. A sudden cancellation would mean a loss of income, so you need to make sure you’re protected.

If, however, there is a failure to perform the wedding photography contract on the wedding photographer’s part due to illness, injury, or other emergencies, then you can stipulate in that contract that you’ll either make an alternate arrangement or return the money to the client.

5. Working Hours for Photographers
Wedding Photography is a demanding job, where you have to be on your toes throughout. Its important that you define reasonable working hours, ensuring gaps between two successive events.

Also that’s why its important to have at least one assistant, along with you on the day, so they can take over photo duties while you’re on a bathroom/food break/ short break.

6. Travel, Accommodation & Food Expenses
Mentioning expenses would be the next important thing. For outstation shoots, travel and accommodation expenses needs to be discussed at the starting conversation itself.

From our experience, we have realised that it’s important to ask for accomodation, if the shoot location is in the outskirts of the same city. If there are not much gap between two wedding events, its important that you check with client and get an accomodation or any other arrangement. All of these will not only ensure seamless coverage of the wedding, but also at the end of the day your goal to make your clients happy will be met successfully.

Food expenses for the team, even though being a basic requirement, should be highlighted in your agreement.

7. Safe Work Environment
Lastly, do mention to your clients for providing a safe work environment. You will usually not find this clause in many contract templates for wedding photographers. But with our experience in the industry, we have incorporated this clause in our contract. Its important that the wedding photography team deserves a fair treatment, as they set out out to give so many happy memories to their clients. Also with Covid 19 scenario, its a risk on the lives of wedding photographers too. Hence, safe working environment is the need of the hour for the upcoming wedding shoots.

The signatures of the clients or an e-mail stating that they have gone through the agreement and are ok with everything, is the final part of all the hard work that you have put into drafting the contract. Once this is done, your job will get easier and the next step would be focusing on the shoot!

Download our sample contract template  – KnotsbyAMP Sample Agreement 2020 

What are your thoughts on contract for wedding photographers? Do comment and let us know! 

Say ‘No’ to Client Meetings

Say ‘No’ to Client Meetings

Say ‘No’ to Client Meetings

Business drives the world and no business happens without meetings. For business meetings, one would often spend a whole day to meet their prospective clients, in another part of town wading traffic and sometimes different cities and even jet-setting across countries. Whether a small business or big giant corporations, most deals and business closures still happen over physical meetings, where people have to travel long distances. To fulfill this endeavor, most of the traffic we see on roads is either because of people going to their workplaces or traveling for business meetings. But its time, we change that for better, and quite frankly we don’t need physical meetings anymore for business and we will see why!

For the past two decades since Skype came out in 2003, we didn’t need to meet people to close business. Everyone has internet today and has access to video and voice calls over the phone and most serious businessmen have laptops or desktops, yet meeting in person has been the preferred choice of the business community around the world. Let us analyze why?

Advantages:

  • You can access and read the body language.
  • It feels more personal to form associations.
  • To see and experience the whole persona of a person in 3D.
  • We are used to it and its a habit and socially acceptable practice.

Disadvantages:

  • Loss of productivity: People traveling for meetings often have to put aside other tasks and spend their whole day’s productivity on just one task.
  • Traffic on the road
  • Pollution affects not just humans but all life-forms on the planet.
  • Accidents on road
  • Damage to road infrastructure
  • Cost of transportation.

There has been a smart minority of people who are environment conscious, who have successfully utilized the technology of video-conferencing, digital signatures, etc. to successfully close businesses. It not uncommon to conduct interviews for candidates for their firm over Skype/ zoom/Hangout. This helps them to save time, money, and resources too. 

Since most of our clients were NRI’s getting married in India, we almost never had to do the whole circus of meeting them personally. Yet with a clear online presence, communication over emails, phone, and Skype we could close deals. However the most resistance that we faced was from the people locally in Mumbai. Couples and their families would always request meetings at their homes, often spending our entire day’s time to meet them at the comfort of their homes/offices. Despite having an office, most clients preferred meeting at their homes. These were also the clients who weren’t ready to discuss things on call. Their philosophy was to meet and access people personally and also to pressure businesses in striking a good deal. For someone who spent an entire day to meet a client, he would be desperate to make it count and close business. We strongly believe that everything that can be done in a physical meeting could be done online. Also, the times that we did go to meet clients at their home, they have been hardly fruitful. The futile experiences have been with people who don’t understand art and just skim through your work superficially and finally come to striking a deal for the price. It never worked for us and we don’t think it will for anyone who thinks they deserve the price they ask for.

Fast-forward to COVID-19 situation, where everyone is locked down, lots of businesses are now conducting business meetings online through Zoom/Skype to close business. From real state companies to startups many have taken advantage of the situation and successfully closed business without any physical meetings saving time and energy. Mr. Nimish Desai, Director of Satellite group, a prominent builder closed the sale of 9 flats during the lockdown.  Smita Vyas Kumar, founder of MyTree App closed business with 3 big societies in Mumbai. Her app helps people connect with home chefs in small communities like Housing societies. Further validation came when we interacted with few professionals from various spheres, who are now able to close sales from the comfort of their homes and reach people and form new connections that were previously either difficult to reach or just unreachable. Due to COVID-19, more and more businesses are coming online with e-stores, YouTube videos, and webinars. They have also utilized the time to spread their reach through webinars and increasing their social presence. 

Education Sector:
The education sector across the world has recently started using technology to their advantage by conducting classes through web conferencing. Colleges like BITS Pilani and IITs have used this to their advantage and provided classes from teachers on campus to another. Similarly these web-conferences have been helpful to let students reach out to alumni for further education and opportunities.

Govts and Politicians don’t need to meet either

Extending the same paradigm shift our politicians and Govts across the world can save a lot of public money and their own time by saying no to physical meetings and using e-solutions to meetings like web-conferencing etc. Whole parliament sessions can be conducted online with minutes getting documented on the cloud. Countries can create their own cloud infrastructure for privacy and conduct and deliberate on all matters electronically. New custom solutions can be built in far lesser money than the current operating costs of parliaments. Indian govt is currently planning to spend to upgrade Central secretariat which will include the parliament building at an initial project estimate of Rs 20,000 crore which is staggering and such utter wastage of taxpayer money and when purpose and the end results of such a massive endeavor can be achieved with digital solutions for far less.

Head of states conducting foreign travel and creating huge security risk and wasting thousands of crores of rupees annually around the world can avoid these visits and discuss country affairs quickly through web conferencing. Most problems between different countries can be quickly resolved, if our politicians really mean to by engaging in dialogue and seminars online. Kashmir issue is said to have been resolved if only Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru had lived a few more days till the meeting between India and Pakistan in June 1964. He however died on 27 May, 1964. If only they could conduct web conferences and resolve world issues then.

We however can surely do that in today’s time and our govt needs to move away from these personal physical meetings and put the money to better public use. It also saves the environment and creates less pollution. We wouldn’t be wrong in saying world pollution can be significantly reduced if only we moved towards online meetings for all businesses. 

Citing our own example, our 6 years of commitment to close sales digitally has helped us to be prepared for COVID-19. With all our work available online through our own websites hosted on cloud using services like Smugmug, AWS, and Youtube and Instagram we don’t need to rely on physical meetings. Long story short, there is no need, absolutely no need to spend time and energy on physical business meetings, COVID-19 has just shown us that.

What do you think?

 

Jobs at KnotsbyAMP

Jobs at KnotsbyAMP

We are constantly looking for new and dynamic talent to join our team. If you wish to work for us below are some of the positions that we generally look to fill for. To apply for any position, kindly mail us [mail@knotsbyamp.com] your resume along with a cover letter describing your motivation and why you are a good fit for the role. Before you apply its important that you understand our work and carefully go through the KnotsbyAMP website and social media pages to have a good idea about us. 

Job Title: Sales & Marketing Executive

Full Time, Navi Mumbai
Salary: Rs
25K-40K/month based on the candidate.
Age no bar: Fresh College Graduates can also apply. 
Marital Status: Not a concern. 

Job Description: The person shall be responsible for working on sales and marketing initiative and strategies through digital media and traditional ways of marketing. 

Skill Set Required:
– 
Good communication & written skills in English.

– Must be a graduate. 
– Good interpersonal skills 
– An interest in photography and visual arts will be a plus. 
Honest, Diligent and hard-working.

Who can apply:
– Anyone who thinks they fit the above requirement can apply.

– People with a background in Mass Media, Hotel Management, Assistant Directors in Films and Television will find the job role as per their skill set, however, don’t hold-back yourself, if you think you are smart, good at communication and you can run activities and manage multiple things.

Job Title: Photography Intern

Full Time, Navi Mumbai
Stipend: Rs 10K/ month

Age no bar: Fresh College Graduates can also apply. 
Marital Status: Not a concern. 
Duration: 6-8 months
Work Hours: Monday to Saturday
Timings: 10.30 am to 7.30 PM 

Job Description: The person shall be trained in all aspects of photography and post/pre-production work. At the end of successful completion of the internship program, the candidate will be considered for full-time position at KnotsbyAMP. 

Skill Set Required:
– 
Good communication skills. 

– Must have completed a Bachelor’s degree.
– Good interpersonal skills 
Honest, Diligent and hard-working.

Who can apply:
– Anyone who thinks they fit the above requirement can apply. 

– People with a keen interest in photography can apply. Ideal candidates are those who are looking to work with a great photography firm and make a career in photography. 
– People still pursuing education shouldn’t apply. 

 

Job Title: Cinematography Intern

Full Time, Navi Mumbai
Stipend: Rs 15K/ month

Age no bar: Fresh College Graduates can also apply. 
Marital Status: Not a concern. 
Duration: 1 year
Work Hours: Monday to Saturday
Timings: 10.30 am to 7.30 PM 

Job Description: The person shall be trained in all aspects of cinematography and post/pre-production work. At the end of successful completion of the internship program, the candidate will be considered for full-time position at KnotsbyAMP. 

Skill Set Required:
– 
Good communication skills. 

– Must have completed +2 examination.  
– Good interpersonal skills 
Honest, Diligent and hard-working.

Who can apply:
– Anyone who thinks they fit the above requirement can apply. 

– People with a keen interest in film-making can apply. Ideal candidates are those who are looking to work with a great photography firm and make a career in photography. 
– People still pursuing education shouldn’t apply. 

Job Title: Editing & Post-Production Artist

Full Time, Navi Mumbai
Stipend: Rs 15K-25K /month

Age no bar: Fresh College Graduates can also apply. 
Marital Status: Not a concern. 
Duration: 1 year
Work Hours: Monday to Saturday
Timings: 10.30 am to 7.30 PM 

Job Description: The person shall be responsible for pre-post production work in Photo & Video-editing. 

Skill Set Required:
– 
Good communication skills. 

– Good interpersonal skills 
Honest, Diligent and hard-working.
– Adobe Lightroom, Premier-Pro and Adobe PhotoShop. 

Who can apply:
– Anyone who thinks they fit the above requirement can apply. 

– People with a keen interest in photography can apply. Ideal candidates are those who are looking to work with a great photography firm and make a career in photography. 
– People still pursuing education shouldn’t apply. 

 

 

 

Wedding Photographer: Checklist

Wedding Photographer: Checklist

It has been more than 2 years since I started wedding photography professionally. I had been doing photography for past 8 years before I finally decided to make it as a career. The reason I chose weddings is because I enjoy meeting new people and photograph their peculiarities and nuances, something which I have enjoyed ever since I had got involved in photography. So whether it was clicking rural village folks near the college in the wee hours of the morning or capturing performances on stage to shooting girls in college, who were often more than happy to have a great profile picture for their Facebook. My stint at Better Photography magazine and later working on my own calendar for the college gave me more confidence in my photography. 

So, in this span of 2 years I have learned a lot and I wish I would have known a lot of these things before I started. This is going to be a comprehensive post.

1: Never rush to be a professional: Before you get into photography and risk taking photos something as important as people’s wedding. It is a good idea that you practice your skill enough – 2 years is minimum and then also learn under a professional if you get the opportunity. A lot of photographers keep looking for assistants in their shoots to lift their bags, editing and even second or third shooters at times. It is a good idea to get associated to a photographer. You can learn a lot about handling customers, managing expectations and learn a lot by editing a good photographers photographs.

2: Observe a lot of good work: Make a list of best wedding photographers and study their work. Try to imagine how they would have clicked it – lens, focal length, vantage point, angle, composition and lighting. At the same time try recreating them on your own and you would know it is not as easy as it seems 🙂

3: Get the right gear: Wedding photography is the most demanding form of photography if you really want to shine and be among the top photographers in the country. Carefully look up the ratings on DXO mark. Understand terms like Dynamic Range, color depth, ISO performance and Auto-Focus. It is very important that you get a good camera before you start to make money out of shooting people’s wedding. Other approach is try to shoot low budget weddings with crop sensor entry level DSLR where the expectation is minimum and then save for the right gear. You can also rent the equipment and at least charge your client for all your equipment rental, travel, editing efforts and don’t forget profit so that you can keep upgrading your gear.

4: Don’t be the only photographer in a friend’s wedding/ Discuss what you will provide clearly: It is important to discuss what you can deliver. Don’t overstretch yourself with timelines. Clearly communicate that it will take 20 days at least to process the images. You are new to lightroom and trust me you are not a master when it comes to batch editing unless you have edited 5-7 weddings assignments where the number of photographs to be delivered are huge – 1000 to 2000! People don’t understand your work and they are likely to compare with the other studio wallahs who will churn images more quickly than you. The reason I say to avoid friend’s weddings in the beginning is because you don’t know yourself how long you will take to edit so many images because you never have edited 1000 images in one go. Also it can get more tricky if you are only shooting in ‘natural and ambient light’. Friends can be very demanding and you may not be able to satisfy them. This may sour your friendship.

5: Get the contract signed: Always get the contract signed. The contract will be a written document on the deliverables promised and later on the client or you can’t budge from what has been promised. Newly weds can be quite demanding in their demands.

6: Know important people: Be careful to ask who are important people in the wedding. Some people are very reserved and they may not interact much on the wedding scene and while being important may get left out. Whereas a beautiful girl or a boisterous aunty ji may seem to be important but might just turn out to be a neighbour in the building 😛 To be safe just click atleast one photo of most people you come across. Don’t forget to click bride’s and groom parents. My advice click their solos, them together and with bride and groom. It always makes the client happy.

7: Variety : Don’t restrict yourself to just close up shots from a distance. Be bold and take wider shots too which tell stories. Wedding photography is not just about portraits after all. If you fail to capture the essence of the wedding, the bigger picture, the underlying story, the details, the cake, the jewellery, attire etc, then you have failed in your job. Wedding photography is not an easy job and hell not easy to satisfy your demanding clients.

8: Don’t get tired: The weddings are very hectic and intense environment to work. You may end up being on your feet for 15 -16 hours! So it is better you take good care of your health and drink a lot of water!

9: Carry the earplugs: Yes this is very important because during DJ playing or Baraat your eardrums will thank you if you don’t forget the ear plugs.

10: Always carry two cameras at least – While it is good practice to carry two and shoot with two at the same time if you work with prime lenses. There are times when one of your camera can go wrong for any damn reason and it can get quite scary if you came to the wedding scene carrying just one camera!

11: Use Bounce flash: First thing a wedding photographer needs to get is a flash. Lot of you still may not use a flash, but bounce flash saves you from getting noisy and dark images and most photos just need contrast and white balance correction if you have exposed your image properly.

12: Two lenses to rule them all:  I will let you a small secret which most photographers may not tell you. If you are beginning your career, then just get 35mm 1.4 and 85 1.8 lens. I shoot 90-95% times with these two lenses despite having 7 lenses in my bag.

13: Don’t get bored: While it is easier said than done, there are some functions which are downright boring.  Endless exchange of gifts, Tikas time and again on the forehead may bog you down and tempt you to find a corner with a sofa and doze off. But for a thorough professional this is the time to get a little experimental to find a different angle and if you are still learning experiment with your compositions.

14: Don’t be afraid: There are times when some guest or relative might get rude to you for no apparent real fault of yours for eg. blocking their view from their comfortable seats. Don’t get the scolding stop you from running around and working hard to get the perfect shot just be careful you don’t hurt anyone.

15: Not everything can be Candid: Candid photography doesn’t mean that you have to take natural expressions only. It is alright if you give a call to the bride or groom to look towards you. This is especially helpful when the pandit is chanting mantras to which no one is paying attention and groom and bride might just be sulking and lost in their thoughts of how their life will now change. Mostly they will be happy they their photographer is asking them to strike a smile. Ever seen a celebrity walking the red carpet posing happily for the shutterbugs? Your clients are the celebrity running down the gauntlets of a cherished dream!

16: Dealing with over-enthusiastic brides: These are the brides which will keep you on your toes and test your stamina but they are also the best clients to work with. The key is to be more enthusiastic than them. They are full of ideas, work along with it and also try different things which you may have been planning for your shots but may have not got the opportunity to implement earlier. Make them jump, twirl, sit on bed, lie on sofa, stand by window, run down the alley with their groom close-behind. If you are beginning to get tired, don’t worry…the groom will get tired before you do 😛

17: Communicate well: Good communication is the key to success to any profession and in a people’s profession it is paramount you have good communication skills. In fact if you don’t have that, don’t dream to be a wedding photographer at all. It is like being a soldier who doesn’t have limbs. There is a solution to this problem though. Have enough money to hire a girl to do the talking for you or even better marry a girl who would be ready be a photographer alongside you.

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