We’ve all heard of the term “photographic evidence,” but what happens when you run into a dispute with the person taking the pictures?

If you’re a photography business owner or run any sort of business that utilizes images, then one of the most valuable activities you can invest time into is to build a library of the document templates that you’ll use to run your business, like proposals, quotes, and photographer contracts.

It’s amazing how many photographers skip the proposal or quote, and worse, they fail to require their clients to sign a contract.

The problem with cutting corners with informal agreements like this is that you have no record of the terms that you and the client are mutually agreeing to.

Because of this, it’s unlikely that you’ll have legal recourse if you have a dispute over what was agreed to at what price or if the client turns into a deadbeat and decides not to pay the invoice.

Furthermore, there are many legal risks you may expose your business to should you not have a strong contract.

So by spending a little bit of time now to download, customize, and set up quotes, proposals, and contracts, you’ll minimize the hassle and frustration of trying to do it all after you land a new client and need to get the client set up quickly while also fulfilling the actual work.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together a roundup of twelve sample proposals, free contracts, and even a print order form that you can use to build out a library of documents.

But first, let’s look at photography contracts in general and what you should include in them.

What is a photography contract?

As with any type of contract, a photography contract is a legally binding document that outlines all the terms and conditions agreed between two parties.

It will outline the scope of work expected from the photographer as well as other pertinent details, such as payment details and any timelines relevant to the job in question.

Similar to other types of contracts, a photographer contract can help clarify exactly what is expected from both parties and can help to avoid — or settle — any future conflict.

The contract should be signed, either in person or using an eSignature, to ensure that it is legally binding for both parties.

What to include in a photography contract?

Like any other contract, a photography contract outlines what is expected from both parties.

On the part of the photographer, it will specify what they are required to do; when they are to take photographs (the date or dates), when they will deliver the photographs, and how much they want to be paid for their services.

On the part of the person(s) hiring the photographer, the contract will stipulate when they must pay the photographer by, whether any deposit is required, and the total fees included.

Always include the following when creating any photography contract:

Names and contact details

This should list the details of both parties involved, the photographer and the hirer.

Exact details of services required/expected

This can include the number of photographs the hirer wants to be taken, the type of photographs, the type of files the photographer should deliver, and whether they should print any of the photos.

Dates and times

It is essential to state clearly the dates and times you expect the photographer to be present at your event.

This should also take into account enough time to allow the photographer to set up their equipment and to check vital factors such as the amount of light.


Your photographer contract should identify the fees agreed between the two parties and what those fees cover.

It should state whether any deposit is required and how much that is.

It should also clearly state when full payment or balance is expected by and whether there are any conditions attached to that payment.

The contract should lay out all details when it comes to copyright and when any transfer of rights takes place.

For example, the copyright may remain with the photographer until full payment is made.

Photographers may also want to use some of their shots in their portfolio or for marketing purposes, so the contract should detail how and when they can do this.

Cancellation policy

Each party needs some protection in case of cancellation by the other.

This can include time-related penalty clauses.

For example, if the hirer cancels less than 24 hours before the planned event, they may be liable for full payment to the photographer.

Model release clauses

In the case of marketing shots for a business or similar events, there may be a need for model — or property-release clauses.

These can give either party the right to show these photos to the public.

For example, if the photographer is taking publicity shots of a car, they may use models in that shoot and would need each one to sign a release clause.


Of course, things sometimes go wrong due to circumstances beyond either party’s control.

This can include everything from injury or illness to theft or damage.

This section should identify what happens in such cases and what degree of liability will be apportioned to the relevant party.


This can apply to both parties.

It can cover whether the client expects any shots to be edited or manipulated, but it can also cover whether the client has the right to edit or manipulate any shots.

This could be covered in the copyright clause.

12 free photography proposal and contract templates (for agencies and freelancers)

So, now that we better understand photography contracts and why they’re used, let’s get into our list of photographer contract templates.

Photography quote template

Need a short and sweet quote to send to the client instead of a full-blown proposal?

This sample quote template will do the trick!

It’s not specific to any use case or type of photography, so you can customize it to the terms and policies that are specific to your business and offerings.

Photography proposal templates

General use

This general photography proposal template is a very general template that covers the specifics of the session that you’re booking, what you’ll charge for the session, the billing and payment terms, and an authorization section for the client to sign off, indicating their approval.

You can use this proposal template as a starting point to create your own proposal and then customize the finer points and details to match the needs of your business.

Or, you can use it right out of the box!

Wedding photography proposal template

Every wedding photographer needs a stellar proposal to convince choosy brides and grooms that their business is the best choice for capturing the special moments of their big day.

Customize this free wedding photography proposal template to the strengths and needs of your business and its unique selling points, and you’ll be hearing wedding bells and seeing dollar signs as you book more weddings.

Event photography proposal template

Event photography is a lucrative niche as it bridges the gap between B2B and B2C and can apply to a whole host of event types — corporate events, birthday parties, galas, and charity events, brand activations… the list goes on.

That said, events are a competitive market, so a sharp proposal can mean the difference between the prospective client choosing you over another photographer.

Grab our free event photography proposal template and customize information like selling points and experience to make sure you stand out.

Photography contract templates

Wedding photography contract template

If you specialize in wedding photography, or simply offer it along with other types of photography, then this is a specialized wedding photography contract template that you’ll want to add to your library of contracts.

It covers the legal and financial aspects of a wedding photography agreement such as payment, cancellation, and liability.

So if the bride gets cold feet, you’ll still get paid.

And it covers some of the things you might not think about, like a model release, which allows you to use any photos for marketing purposes — this is an essential clause that you want to include in the contract by default since the caliber of your work is what will help you book more work.

If you don’t have legal permission to show a prior wedding’s photos online or on social media, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice as a wedding photographer.

Photography session contract template

This session contract is a standard contract template for a typical session: think headshots, senior portraits, family photo sessions, etc.

It’s very simple and covers the basics like session length, pricing, and payment.

It also includes language that ensures you own the intellectual property of the photos taken.

So, the work cannot be used commercially by clients who are (likely) paying you a non-commercial rate.

Commercial photography contract

If you’ve never shot commercially before and you’re not sure where to start with creating a commercial contract, look no further.

This example of a contract template for commercial photography will get you up and running in two shakes.

As you’ll notice in the terms, this contract releases unlimited, non-exclusive, non-transferable rights to the client for commercial use of the purchased photography.

This is very important and something commercial clients will expect to see but will also protect you from clients reselling the rights to the photos to another party, like a stock website.

Event photography contract

This free event photography contract template is another useful addition to your document library as it differs from the wedding contract and the session contract.

Specifically, it covers exclusivity for the event so that you are the only photographer contracted for this particular event.

It also releases you, as the photographer, from any liability for compromised photography as a result of the event’s public attendees or the weather, both of which are out of your control.

This contract also covers the intellectual property of the photos, which you’ll retain ownership of, if and until you decide to transfer it.

Newborn photography contract

What professional photographer doesn’t love newborn sessions at the hospital?

This sample newborn photography contract template will help you to cover the specific scenario of in-hospital sessions, even covering the uncertainties of what the session’s photos will yield given the conditions, hospital staff, and environmental requirements… babies don’t always make the most obliging models.

Portrait contract

This portrait contract template is more detailed and covers the ins and outs of portraiture sessions, such as lighting, backdrops, and the risk of interfering traffic in public spaces.

Because this template is specific for portrait shoots, it also covers retouching and recoloring.

This template also covers usage by the photographer of the images for marketing purposes, as, similar to wedding photography, portrait photographers will need to be able to show their work as proof that they know how to shoot for this specific type of photography.

Photography services contract

Last but not least, for photographer contract templates, this photography services contract template is a very general agreement that can be used for just about any type of photography-related services.

It lacks the specificity of the other templates we mention above, but it is a tremendously useful starting point for filling in the particulars regarding your specific use case and business needs.

Also note, it includes a breakdown of different fee types you might include in the pricing section, such as an hourly services fee vs. equipment rental, which can have tax implications, so check with a CPA on how to best break down the fees.

Photography order form template

Once you’ve completed a session, you’ll need to manage the orders for prints.

That’s where this order form template comes in — it’s a free template that you can add to your ever-growing repertoire of documents for running your business.

This sample order form allows you to create custom packages of different sizes of photo prints as well as individual prints.

Better yet, when you use it with PandaDoc, clients can configure their order to exactly the packages/individual prints they want and send it to you electronically.

By creating a customized selection of the templates that’ll fit best the needs of your company, you’ll invest in the future of the business.

You’ll have smoother day-to-day operations as you can quickly and efficiently get new customers set up instead of needing to create each document from scratch.

You’ll also be taking a step toward mitigating the risks from potential legal or financial issues that can arise.

Why are contracts for photography services important?

Like any other sort of contract for services, a photography contract not only offers legal protection to both parties but also clearly outlines what is expected from each party.

By having these expectations set out in a legally binding document, it means that neither party has any excuse to deviate from the terms outlined.

By having different photography contract templates in your documents library, you have a foundation for any type of photography services needed.

Comprehensive contracts for photographers can help to avoid any misunderstanding and can be integral to the successful completion of any project.

In addition to offering numerous templates to help your business out, PandaDoc also provides comprehensive contract management software to help you throughout the entire contract lifecycle.

Why not start a 14-day free trial?


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Originally published November 29, 2017, updated November 30, 2023