Can my wedding photographer legally make me sign a contract stating I will not give a negative review about him before he will release my photos to me?

UPDATED: May 31, 2012

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Can my wedding photographer legally make me sign a contract stating I will not give a negative review about him before he will release my photos to me?

My wedding photographer required me to sign an agreement stating that I would not give a written or oral negative review, nor would I direct anyone else to do so, before he would release the pictures that I had already paid for. There was nothing in the initial contract stating that my reviews would be censored.

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Business Law, Michigan


Bradley Miller / Miller Law LLC

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you did everything else required under the contract, including making the required payments, then the photographer wouldn't be able to require you to agree to not make negative comments about him.

I assume that under the original contract, the photographer was required to give you the photos. The new requirement is either a modification to that contract or a new agreement. If a modification, it wouldn't take effect unless you agreed to it - in the meantime the original contract would control.

If a new agreement, the photographer is already required under the original contract to provide the photos to you, so he isn't giving you anything in exchange for your promise to not give a negative review. For a contract to be enforceable, both parties have to do something they aren't already required to do.

If you refuse to sign the agreement not to provide a negative review and the photographer won't give you the photos despite you paying for them, you should contact a lawyer to help.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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