Let’s be honest, contracts are not the most romantic or exciting element of wedding photography. But they are incredibly important. Wedding photos are emotionally-charged, there’s no way around it. Whenever you combine intense emotions with business, there is an increased risk of client issues. The best thing you can do as a wedding photographer is have an air-tight contract that explicitly spells out what you are (and aren’t) responsible for.
Editing clauses are one of the most overlooked details when it comes to photography contracts. And let me tell you from experience, you’re going to want to fix that ASAP! All it takes is one insecure mother-in-law demanding you remove her wrinkles in every photo for you to realize how necessary a specific editing clause is.
You can choose from two different routes when it comes to addressing your editing responsibilities in your contract. The first option is to spell out specifics. For example, you will edit 5-10 of your client’s favorite photos for cosmetic purposes. You can include a per-photo charge for additional edits if desired, or stick with a strict limit. The other option is to decline to do any type of cosmetic edits. If you choose this option, you should clearly state that you will not be responsible for any cosmetic or requested edits outside of the general editing that you do for the entire gallery.
Regardless of how you choose to include your editing clause, it’s always best to discuss how you edit and how you deal with cosmetic edits in person with your clients. Tell them what is included and what you won’t do. It also gives you a good opportunity to discuss any insecurities with the couple ahead of time. If the bride or groom is insecure about something specific, you can keep that in mind while posing and choosing your shooting angles. A good wedding photographer will help a couple feel relaxed and confident in front of the camera. We all know that true love is really what people notice in wedding photos anyway!
Bonus tip: When you’re revising your contract to include your editing clause, make sure that you also include the specific type of files you will deliver. I’ve had clients request RAW or TIFF files after I’ve delivered an entire gallery of JPEGs. Don’t leave yourself open to file requests and spell out the kind of files you will and will not deliver.