Standard wedding photographer contract terms...
September 27, 2019 8:41 PM   Subscribe

I am hopefully about to sign a contract for our wedding photographer but wanted to check on a few terms to make sure they are normal or pretty standard.

I am hopefully about to sign a contract for our wedding photographer but wanted to check on a few terms to make sure they are normal or pretty standard.

-Is it fairly standard for the images to be provided to us as a download in .jpeg format? It looks like they won't release the raw files to us.

-The resolution they will provide is 2533 x 3800 pixels at 300 DPI. Does this seem reasonable? Are the resolution and DPI high enough for larger prints?

-Is it standard not to include any retouching and have a surcharge per image for retouching?

-I assume it is standard for the photographer to retain copyright of the images but we retain the right to print?

-Is it pretty normal for photographers to just provide a download forum and not a printed album?

-Is there anywhere else you would recommend posting with regards to these questions?
posted by cycleback to Shopping (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Depends on the price.
Totally varies with the business and location.

Ask for references and call them. Ask if there will be a second shooter, ask how long they stay at the reception, get everything in writing. Consider if they can use your photos in their advertising (standard clause many places). Consider doing an engagement shoot as a trial run.
posted by fshgrl at 8:47 PM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

All of that is very standard. Everyone has thier own business model, but what you've described seems quite average.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:19 PM on September 27, 2019

That all seems in the normal range to me; I’m a photographer and don’t specialize in weddings but shoot them occasionally and have worked at a wedding studio and am in some wedding photographer Facebook groups.

If you want an album you can certainly find a photographer who provides those; I don’t but years ago I used to design them (for that wedding studio). Even wholesale prices for wedding album production from the book manufacturers are very high, in the several hundreds. So that will increase your price by quite a lot. My wedding clientele isn’t really in that bracket so I don’t bother but plenty of others do.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 12:07 AM on September 28, 2019

- Yes
- Yes
- Yes, because they have no idea how many photos you'll choose and what your retouching requests will be. (I'm a member of a wedding vendor group on FB and have heard some hilarious requests.)
- Yes
- Yes, but many photographers will have suggestions or preferred printers they can point you to.
- If you're in a large enough location, try a FB 'just engaged' group.
posted by cocoagirl at 5:51 AM on September 28, 2019

On this issue:
It looks like they won't release the raw files to us.

This is common (and I'd never release the raw files) because raw files are not a finished product. By definition, the raw file has to be converted into a viewable/printable image, and it can look different based on whatever program it's opened with. (And the client very likely doesn't even have the required software.) For example, in my experience, most raw images from my Nikon cameras look flat and lifeless when first imported into my editing program. Once edited/adjusted they look great.

So, giving the raw files would be useless to most clients. And in the rare case of a client who can edit them, or hand them off to someone else for editing, I'm risking that some badly edited photos would be shown around as mine. Not good advertising!
posted by The Deej at 8:37 AM on September 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

Sounds like the contract I used when I was in the business 5-10 years ago.

You have a license to print, but they retain copyright so you can’t sell the photos to, say, the designer who made the gown or the florist or whomever for their own marketing. They have to go back to the photographer for that.
posted by thenormshow at 9:02 AM on September 28, 2019

As a lawyer that's drafted template agreements for professional event photographers, those are all fairly standard, but they are negotiable. My photographer agreed to change the contract to work-for-hire so I owned the copyright to the photos, but I granted back a license for them to use the photos in promotional material on their own website and portfolio.
posted by Arbac at 4:22 PM on September 28, 2019

Be sure to specify in detail what poses, groups, scenes, angles ... you want the photographer to shoot. Tell them about the photos you imagine having after the wedding. If you don't, you may not get them.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:48 PM on September 30, 2019

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