Commercial Photography Contract Template

We have created Commercial Photography Contract template with simplicity in mind. It is an easy to use and ready made Commercial Photography Contract template that enables you to know exactly what the client’s responsibilities are and saves your time and money.

Contract Template​

Free Commercial Photography Contract Template Samples

To help you grow your Business we have made a quite simple yet reliable Commercial Photography Contract template in Word and PDF versions so you can use it repeatedly.
What’s in this template?
  • Client confidentiality 
  • Indemnity
  • Payment terms
Click here to get your free Commercial Photography Contract template

What is a Commercial Photography Contract?

A commercial photography contract is a very specific type of contract geared towards images being used for selling or promoting a business, or entity. Basically, photography will help make the entity more commercially successful.

Since these images are going to be used for commercials it is important to have clauses that state how the images can be used, potentially for how long, and if they can be edited. In a sense a commercial photography contract can have a licensing agreement blended into it. Further, depending on the client’s needs, the contract may include a copyright transfer instead of a licensing agreement.

When to use a Commercial Photography Contract?

You need a commercial photography contract:

  • To provide a summary of the services provided.
  • To avoid any misconception or misunderstanding.
  • To comprehend intricate details about the services.
  • To protect the rights and interests of both parties, and minimize the chances of any potential exploitation.

Download Commercial Photography Contract Template

Important Terms

How to write a Commercial photography contract?

Step 1: Details of the Work

The first thing for you to do would be to make sure that all the details of the work are mentioned in the contract. Cover the 5W’s and 1H (what, when, where, why, who and how) clearly in the document, so that it gets easier to understand who is who and what is the work that is being done. Mention all the details about the photoshoot, time, date, location, etc. that have to be put in the contract. Add the details of the client you are going to wor for so that it is clear for you as to what you have to do.

Step 2: Services Provided

Give a list of all the services and products you would be providing to the clients. Also, mention the price for each of the services you are providing them with. Mention the kind of pictures you would be taking and how much it would cost for each picture, depending on the kind of picture and the platform where they want to share it. This way, it would be pretty clear on what has been agreed upon by both the parties that are involved in the Word contract.

Step 3: Add Payment Details

This is one of the most important steps in the process of making a contract. This is where you add all the needed details of the payment. This is where you also mention the fees for cancelation if any. Make it pretty clear what you are charging for the service you provide and also if you levy any taxes, add that as well. You must give the client the option to choose the payment method he/she is comfortable to make the payment in. Mention that in the contract as well.

Step 4: Mention Legal Protection

You must mention all the necessary legal information in the contract. This includes the state laws that are to be followed, loss of damage, client confidentiality, reshoot details if any, clauses such as indemnity, etc., termination clause, etc. Adding all of this in the contract will not only help the client, but it will also make sure that you do not miss anything and get into trouble later on.

Step 5: Delivery and Signatures

Once you have all the pints together, make sure that you review the contract before you get it signed. This way, you can be sure that the client has read all the details and has accepted them as well. Now would be the time to ask your client how would they want the photos delivered to them. Once you have all of them in place, make sure that you get the contract signed and give a copy to the client as well.

What should be included in a Commercial photography contract?

AGREEMENT: This term simply defines the participating parties, explains that there are no other agreements, creates a fixed expectation about the expenses (e.g. rates are time-limited), and how any changes to the project are managed.

PAYMENT: In this term you detail your payment expectations, deadlines, late fees, sales tax, and any additional taxes or fees, as well as how payment affects the license. Most commercial photographers don’t grant the licensing rights unless and until the payment is received in full, and if you are one of those photographers, you will want to detail that here.

ADDITIONAL EXPENSES: In case your commercial photography assignment incurs any additional expenses during the course of the work, the client should be aware of how additional expenses are going to be handled. This term details how those expenses are managed, and when payment is due. (Your Change Order Form should be mentioned in this term.)

RETOUCHING/POST-PROCESSING (optional): This is a term that many commercial photographers don’t include in their contracts, but I think it’s an important one, because there is so much variance in client expectations when it comes to what they expect a photographer to do or not do with the images following a shoot. 

It’s a good idea to define any post-processing that you intend to do following a shoot, and also detail, to the best of your abilities, what is not included. It’s also a good idea to include your hourly retouching rate for additional work so they know what that is.

WORKDAY: You define your standard workday here, as well as what overtime charges are for both you and your team. Here you can also impose limits on the maximum hours of work you will work in a day, or keep it open. (Although it occurs very rarely, photographers have been known to shoot for 14/16/18 hours or more.)

MODEL/PROPERTY RELEASE (optional): Some commercial photography clients expect you to furnish model and/or property releases, some never ask, and some have their own. Some expect them from the talent agency, and some want a signed release from everyone involved (yours, the agency’s, their own.) Some could care less and never bring it up to anyone. 

You can decide if you want to guarantee signed releases for your clients in this term, or absolve yourself of any responsibility. It’s always better to be over-protected than under-protected, and you can always state that they are ‘available upon request’.

DELIVERABLES (optional): This is another term that you won’t often find in commercial photographer’s contracts, but I think it’s a good idea to have because it communicates to the client what they can expect to receive in terms of files. This prevents issues with them thinking they are receiving different types of files or a different resolution of file than the one you end up delivering. 

Use this term to define exactly what kind of deliverables they will be receiving (x resolution 300dpi TIFF files) and how they will be delivered. In retail photography this detail doesn’t matter, but if you are creating commercial images that will be printed on packaging that gets distributed nationwide for a multi-million dollar product, you can bet that the file type and size you are delivering to your client matters.

ARCHIVING: This is another term you won’t always find in commercial photography contracts, but it prevents an awkward situation where the client purchases perpetuity rights and then returns three years later after losing some of the files, expecting you to still have them. 

Detail how long you will archive your client’s files, and if you provide an option to extend the archival time for an additional fee. You never want to held legally liable for files if you never promised you’d archive them in the first place.

LOSS OR DAMAGE: If the client does end up losing or damaging files once they are in their possession, this term will help you get paid for the time and money it takes to replace those files. The last thing you want to do is pay for a hard drive and overnight shipping without getting reimbursed. 

Define any product replacement fees you have in this term.  This term also makes it clear that you are not legally liable for any files the client loses and/or damages.

PRODUCT REJECTION: Many a new commercial photographer has been burned by clients who decide, after the shoot, that they don’t like the photos, and then refuse to pay any balance due on fees and expenses. This term protects you from that happening, and makes it clear that unless a product rejection fee has been agreed upon in advance, the client doesn’t have the right to reject the images. 

It also sets the expectation that a client representative will be present at the shoot in order to approve the content being created in real time.

CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY: This is another term you won’t often find in a commercial photography contract (although it is generally expected and understood in the commercial photography industry), but using this term can instill confidence in new clients that have never worked with you before. In this term you agree not to share confidential information with anyone if it’s not absolutely necessary for the completion of the project. 

Many clients (especially large clients and agencies) will have you sign an NDA, but this is nice to have in addition to an NDA, because some companies that are new to commercial photography don’t realize they need an NDA, and seeing this term on your contract can help assuage any fears they may have about their trade secrets getting out there into the public.

CANCELLATION FEES: This term explains how your cancellation process works, as well as any fees associated with cancellation and/or rescheduling. You can also include how you address weather-related changes, which are nobody’s fault but still put you at risk of incurring additional shoot fees if the client doesn’t understand that they will be responsible for additional fees for anything that is outside of your control.

RE-SHOOT: If the client isn’t happy, or talent isn’t cooperating, or the images don’t meet their expectations, and they request a re-shoot, you will be covered if you define in this term what your expectations are regarding re-shoots. Include what your fees are for any re-shoot days, and when those fees are due.

COPYRIGHT/LICENSING: Just as you would with your private clients, with any commercial client you need to communicate your legal ownership (copyright) of your images, and make it clear that you will retain copyright on the images unless and until a transfer of copyright is drawn. It’s also a good idea to explain in this term how license renewals work, and what your expectations are of your clients when their license expires. 

INDEMNITY: This term is the legal meat of the commercial photography contract, and indemnifies you and holds you harmless against any liabilities, claims and expenses of any kind and origin, and makes it clear that your liability will not exceed the project total cost (fees and expenses).

VARIATION: This term simply explains that there are no other versions or variations of this agreement unless they have been agreed upon by both parties in writing.

ACCEPTANCE OF ESTIMATE: In this term the client agrees to the terms included and understands that they are locked in once they sign the estimate, and that any additional changes to the project that impact any fees (licenses and accompanying fees, photography fees, expenses) will require a signed change order.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about our Commercial Photography Contract Templates

 We recognize that your contract layout conditions may need to be changed to be in line together with your client’s needs. That’s why we have made Contrat in Word format as well so  that you’ll be able make adjustments as you like. If you want to make important changes to the template, we propose you to get help of  a lawyer or conveyancer to make sure you still have protection.