Have you ever been stood up? Ignored? Forced to pay extra? Have you been provided with poor services? I definitely sound like a commercial, but if you said yes to any of these you were probably experiencing a bit of anger. So avoiding these problems will probably be your top priority in the future.
If you’ve not had the misfortune of experiencing a bad photographer, yay for you! I’ll talk about how you can keep it that way!
In the photo market, and the business world in general, we want to be treated like a decent person and customer. So, if you’ve hired a photographer and they have delivered poor service and communication, it can cause some unexpected migraines, and confusion.
When there is so much to deal with in wedding planning, it can be easy to trust that all the vendors have your best interests in mind. But unfortunately the world isn’t all peaches and cream. I wish people could treat each other with respect and loyalty, but that’s a personal blog I could write for another time. Right now, I want to focus on the unfortunate occasion of experiencing a bad photographer…
... and how to avoid one.
I am a part of a local Facebook group where people can sell items, advertise, and have discussions on everything related to weddings and getting married. One day, as I was browsing through, I found a story of a woman who hired a photographer for her wedding, and was having some major issues with her after the event.
This had nothing to do with the quality of the photos or the photographer’s talent. She was experiencing other problems, and asked the group for any advice on how to handle her annoying situation.
Her story basically went like this:
- She hired a photographer for her wedding (family friend of a family friend)
- She DID NOT sign a contract with this photographer
- She received very little communication prior to the wedding, but took this as the photographer being very busy. Every time she had a question, concern, or needed information the photographer took days and sometimes weeks to respond.
- 3 MONTHS after the wedding she received the photo book she requested, but it contained only a few big shots of the day. She was expecting all of the images from her wedding, but never received the files to the rest of those photos.
- She asked her photographer when she could receive the rest of her photos (as some of them were of precious older family members) and the photographer wanted to charge her more money to release them, even though the service was already paid for.
- The bride said she felt like her wedding photos were “being held hostage”
She was desperate for advice, but it seemed that she didn’t have much of a choice. She could either pay or lose the photos. And without a contract, it would be hard to take legal action.
This is NOT what we want when we hire and trust someone to take our photographs on such an important and non repeatable day in our lives.
The unfortunate thing is, a lot of brides get gypped more often than we know. So here are three main points of advice for hiring a wedding photographer (or any service provider):
It doesn’t matter whether you are on a high or low budget. If you decide to hire ANYONE, make sure you ask them questions.. lots of them. If you are unsure of what to ask, you can read "What To Ask Your Potential Photographer".
You will need all the - Who, What When Where and Whys - you can get to make sure you know what you are getting for your money. You and your vendor have to be on the same page.
Make sure you sign some sort of contract that entails all the things you want to safeguard. This provides documented proof of what the photographer has offered you and for how much.
An extra positive is a deposit requirement. This makes sure that the photographer holds your date, and is held accountable to actually show up. People are incredibly flaky. You don’t want to be left high and dry the day of your wedding because the photographer has a “prior engagement”... or some other reason.
Make sure to take note of how they respond to you. Are they answering your questions in a timely manner? Are they taking time to specifically answer all your questions. Do they seem to care that you are a concerned and frazzled bride/groom? Are they acting like the professional they claim to be?
You want someone who will take extra care, and be courteous to your needs. You won’t want to spend lots of money on a half-asser.
I felt so bad for this woman. I wish she never had to deal with this sort of situation. I hope that if you are planning a wedding, or know someone who is, you/they hold all vendors (not just photographers) accountable. Take precautions so that all you have to worry about on and after your big day is creating a life with your new spouse.