During my meetings with several couples, I always try to explain that the wedding contract serves as a guideline for them to make sure I deliver what they want and for me to make sure that they fully acknowledge what services they are paying for. Wedding cinematography nowadays is a substantial investment for a couple and they may be nervous about the amount of money they spend on a package will feel much safer if they have everything in writing.
A good, basic wedding photography or cinematography contract will benefit both the client and the professional and ensure fair treatment for everyone involved. This is basically an opportunity to clarify exactly what kind of video they would like, along with any other specific directions they may have for me. It’s like a scenario that everyone can follow so that the day runs smoothly.
What Should a Wedding Contract Cover?
One aspect of privacy in a wedding contract revolves around where the cinematographers are allowed at various points of the celebration. For example, certain cultural and religious groups have very strict rules about who can and can’t be seen by people of different genders while they’re getting prepared for the ceremony.
This one is fairly self-explanatory: it covers the client’s expectations about what the professional will deliver to them during and after the wedding. Laying out everything that’s expected on both sides works wonders for avoiding any potential miscommunications the day of.
Detailed breakdowns and explanations for each expense.
How much of a deposit the professional will need in order to book, whether the remainder is paid in full the day of, or in installments, etc.
Specific dates, who is responsible for payment, and potential late fees.
* Destination wedding cinematography contracts are separate from the general wedding cinematography contract. They include travel expenses and a disclaimer for additional expenses that may be incurred.
A wedding cinematography contract cancellation provision covers potential cancellation on both sides, not just the wedding party. Sure, someone might get cold feet or a hurricane might obliterate the wedding venue, requiring cancellation or rescheduling, but it’s also possible that I might fall ill or have a personal emergency to attend to.
This is why even the most simple contract needs to incorporate a cancellation policy. For example, a 30% payment retainer needs to be paid in advance to book the event’s date. This can also serve as a cancellation fee. On the slim chance that the client needs to cancel, then the professional keeps that retainer payment as a cancellation fee.
Interference and Exclusivity
This can be merged with the “privacy and permissions” section of your wedding cinematography contract, or have a clause all its own.
At pretty much every wedding, there will inevitably be an uncle, aunt, or friend of the family who’s a keen amateur photographer. For some professionals, that’s all well and good as long as Uncle Jack stays out of their way. Interference can also refer to people like wedding coordinators, parents, or bossy members of the wedding party attempting to instruct or influence my job. It basically gives me permission to ask them (politely) to give me some space in order to do my best to capture your special moments! 🙂
Legal Rights (Copyright Protection, etc.)
Once again, this governs protection for both parties. Generally, there are three aspects of copyright when it comes to generic wedding photography or cinematography contract:
Forbidding image reproduction without the artist’s permission giving the client license to publish images for personal use ensuring that the artist provides the client with full access to their photos
This clarifies what the client is and is not allowed to do with the photos you’ve provided, and also ensures that the artist will provide them with all the images they’ve asked for.
Generally, the artist maintains sole rights to copy, sell, publish, and reproduce all the photos they’ve taken. If he feels like doing so, the artist can grant the client a license to reproduce and publish their photos, or even a copyright release so they can do whatever they like with their images.