Wedding Videography Contracts: The 6 Worst Mistakes

Lawyers will tell you that a contract is the most important item to have to protect yourself if a relationship with a client starts to go south.  It’s also the best way to make sure everyone is in agreement before any work or money is exchanged.  However, forgetting to include certain items can come back to haunt you later.  Everyone knows you need to have the when, where, who, and the money in your contract, but don’t make the mistake of not including these 6 items from your wedding videography contract:

#1: Cancellation Policy

We always offer the option to cancel our services, but the time between cancelation and wedding date will determine how much the client will be refunded or required to pay.  If we can reasonably re-book the date (three months in advance), we only keep half the retainer/deposit.  We do not offer full refunds of retainers to make sure the client is serious about booking us and not just keeping their options open.   Within three months we don’t refund any of the retainer fee, and within a month we require half the overall contract amount be paid since it would be nearly impossible to book anything of value in that short notice.

#2 Editorial Control

There’s nothing worse than editing your heart out only to have a client come back and say they want 50 changes. Adding an editorial control clause to your contract can help spell out that you have complete control of the editing process and what makes the cut, and any changes they request will incur an extra charge.  We have an hourly rate and minimum number of hours.

#3 Alternate Coverage

In the unlikely event you are unable to film the wedding, what happens? We indicate that any money paid will be returned to the client and we will do our best to find another qualified videographer, but this is the extent of our liability.

#4 Liability/Guarantee

We include this clause to indicate that any money paid to us is the extent of our liability to the client. e. you can’t sue the videographer for $50,000 because you’re upset that we got hit by a bus that morning and weren’t able to shoot your wedding – you’ll just get your money back.  We also use this section to say we’ll refund if files are damaged, lost, or stolen, and that we’re not responsible if there are video or quality issues that arise from venue location, weather, or other restrictions.  We say “other restrictions” because we don’t want a bride and groom to be upset that the coverage isn’t good because the church has extreme limitations or pretends they don’t have an audio board (this happens…a lot).

#5 Damages

If uncle Bob knocks over your tripod and smashes your $3,000 camera and $2,000 lens, who’s responsible? The client should be.  You may have trouble enforcing this, even in court, but it’s worth having.

#6 Food

If you’re shooting nearly non-stop on location for 12 hours, you’re going to need to eat. Weddings have lots of food, much of which goes to waste.  It’s only reasonable that you’re given a plate just like any other guest and a few minutes to eat it.  DON’T show up to a wedding and expect this if it’s not in your contract.  It’s a reasonable request, but it’s one that needs to be agreed on in advance.

If you’re wedding videography contract doesn’t include these, make sure you’re ready for the new year by adding the language in today.  Also, I’m not a lawyer, so it should go without saying that this isn’t legal advice.