Should you be charging damage deposits when it comes to your Wedding Photography business as a way of protecting yourself and your business?

Your reasoning may be: “I need to charge a damage deposit in order to ensure I get some sort of compensation in case my client doesn’t pay or doesn’t follow through on our original agreement.”

When it comes to the photography contract there is a way to gather a “damage deposit” to ensure your fees are paid and still having your business look good!

Reword the term damage deposit, call it an “initial deposit” In order to book my services I require 50% upon the contract being finalized by signature and 50% exactly 4 weeks prior to the event.  It also states right in my contract that non-payment in full prior to the event means the photographer will not attend and photography funds will be returned (minus the initial deposit).  I can think of only 2 instances in the last 5 years where I had to remind a client regarding payment and EVERYONE paid prior to the event.

I never shoot a wedding without being paid first.  I want to chase after photographs, not the dollar.

You may think that this will limit the amount of clients you book, but the opposite effect takes place and an element of professional respect and trust between you and your clients purveys.  It shows confidence in your own work and your clients will certainly take you and your contract seriously.

So try rewording your contract and make the small change in terminology from “damage deposit” to “initial deposit”.  Get yourself a contract that will protect you as well.  My favorite resource when it comes to wedding photography contracts is over at the Law Tog.  You will even find a free photography contract via this link.

You will find yourself free to create art instead of wondering if and when the payment will come.  Keep inspired!!

In your own experience, what have you found that works well ensuring payment prior to your wedding shoot?