How to Write a Contract for a Photographer You Hire

How to Write a Contract for a Photographer You Hire

You’re booking out wedding clients left and right, and are loving capturing such a special and momentous day for your couples. However, you’re also quickly realizing that while your work is great, you can’t be in two places at once.

You want to deliver a wide variety of images to your couples, but you can’t both be far back and up close. You can’t be with both sets of prep at the same time. And you can’t both capture what’s happening as guests mingle during cocktail hour,and get all of the shots with your wedding party.

So, you’re looking to hire a second shooter. Someone who can come alongside you as part of your brand and help you deliver an even better experience for your couples. But, how do you do that legally?

Do You Need a Contract for a Second Shooter?

The simple answer is, yes absolutely. When money exchanges hands, you want to ensure that a contract is in place. Having a contract protects both you and your second shooter. And it helps you set necessary boundaries. While your second shooter isn’t an employee, they will be representing your brand, and you’ll want to protect that. 

How to Write a Contract for a Photographer You Hire

However, the contract that you give your second shooter will be very different from the contract that you give your clients. So, let’s go over what you may want to include in the contract with your second shooter.

Basics of a Contract

When it comes to writing a contract for a photographer you hire, you’ll want to ensure that you have your basics covered. Things like:

  • Parties - Who the contract involves, and their contact information.
  • Date and Duration - When the work is to take place, and for how long.
  • Scope of Work - Exactly what is included in the service, and the deliverables.
  • Fees and Payment Terms - What the payment terms look like, if there is a payment plan, and any additional fees that may occur.
  • Usage Rights and Copyright - Who owns the rights to the work, and how it can be used.
  • Cancellation and Rescheduling - The terms for canceling or rescheduling the service.
  • Governing Law and Jurisdiction - How disputes will be handled, should any arise.
  • Signatures - Signatures of all involved parties.

Once you have your basics in place, it’s time to think about clauses that would be specific to the needs of your business as you hire a second shooter.

Code of Conduct

You probably immediately thought back to the code of conduct that existed at the front of your middle school planner, or that piece of paper that your homeroom teacher passed out on the first day of school that immediately got crumbled up and subjected to the bottom of your backpack for the remainder of the year. 

And you’re not wrong. For your second shooter contract, you’ll want to be sure that you provide specific details about what is considered appropriate behavior, and what isn’t. Just like your schools likely outlined for you, you’ll outline for them.


Do you have a dress code for weddings that you follow? Do you want your second shooter to dress similarly to you in order to put out a cohesive brand image? If so, you may want to include a clause about attire in your contract.

Delivery of Photos

If you want to be sure you can deliver your clients’ gallery on time, you’ll need the images from the second shooter in a timely manner. To ensure that there are no delays, spell out exactly when and how you want those images to be delivered to you. 

Copyright Information

When you hire a second shooter, who is going to own the copyright to the photos taken? You? Them? Your client? It might be worth your time to outline this clearly in your contract - as well as how the images can be used. That way there are no misunderstandings about the images in the future.

Cancellation Policy

If the second shooter needs to cancel, how do you expect them to do so? How much notice do you need, are they responsible for finding their replacement? All of these are things you should consider, and then clearly outline within your contract.


Another thing to consider when you write a contract for a photographer you hire is compensation. How will they be compensated for the job? What’s the timeline for payment? Will you pay one lump sum, or multiple? Is compensation dependent on delivery of images? You may want to include that as well.

You may feel like a new agreement for a second shooter is unnecessary, but in order to avoid problems in the future due to potential miscommunications, it’s better to have everything laid out in writing, with a signature from both of you! Curious about what other legal documents you might need as a photographer? Read that blog post next!

Amanda Warfield
Amanda Warfield

Amanda Warfield is a simplicity-focused content marketing and launch strategist, author of the book Chasing Simple Marketing, and host of Chasing Simple - a podcast to help creative entrepreneurs uncomplicate their marketing and business. She traded in her classroom lesson plans for speaking and educating creative entrepreneurs on sustainably fitting content marketing into their business, without it taking over their business - so that they have time to grow their business.

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