Bridechilla Club loves wedding photographers.
We appreciate the depth of their experience and love the raw emotion they capture in their photos, the art and their legacy. So it's made us sad to see quite a few wedding photographer horror stories hitting social media lately. We feel that they cast a shadow over the amazing service and experience that the majority of professional wedding photographers provide to their couples.
But there is no escaping the sense of loss a newlywed couple feels when the wedding professional, they trusted their photographic memories and hard earned money with, fucks it up. And not just in a 'people make mistakes' way. It's the 'I'm above society's norms/I don't subscribe to basic courtesy/what are you going to do about it anyway' kind of attitude that really gets us fired up.
But what can be done about it and how can you avoid hiring a dodgy photographer? What an excellent (and sexy) question.
We've pulled together a roundup of some urban myths and second-hand stories we have heard recently and what you can learn from them. We hope it will help you to open a dialogue with your photographer about your expectations and give you the confidence to work with them towards an awesome wedding experience and photos that evoke wonderful memories for many years to come.
Sin #1 - When they've gone MIA
A wedding couple contacted a Bridechilla Club photographer friend on the Friday before their Saturday wedding because they had had no contact with the photographer they hired and were not even sure that they were going to rock up.
Takeaway: When you are looking into booking your photographer, be sure to ask questions about their business practices, their workflow (i.e. will you be having meetings/calls/an engagement shoot prior to the wedding and how many weeks/months can you expect to wait before you see a preview of your photos) and how and when they will be contacting you. Open and honest communication is a must.
Sin #2 - When they act more like a guest, than a supplier..
There is a popular photographer who is renowned for drinking a little too much red wine during wedding receptions and in some cases, has had to be rolled out of the venue.
Takeaway: There is a fine line between a supplier enjoying the high-energy atmosphere of a wedding and giving the impression that they would rather be partying than doing the job that they have been paid for. When arranging meals for your suppliers, it is generally accepted that alcohol will not be included, but it is worth double checking that expectation, just to make sure that everyone knows where you stand.
Sin #3 - When you're not in the same book, let alone on the same page..
A conservative christian couple asked a Bridechilla Club photographer friend what the usual process for wedding photography is. After going over a standard timeline it seemed that the couple were still a little uneasy, so she asked them to be more specific.
They said that they had met with another photographer who, after showing them a standard wedding album, said 'now here is the after-party shoot' where they were shown an album of the bride and groom 'enjoying' their first night as husband and wife.
Takeaway: Ask lots of questions to find out if your photographer has a similar outlook to you and your fiancé and ensure that you are comfortable with exactly what type of images they will be taking on the day.
Sin #4 - Holier than thou..
During a church wedding, the photographer thought that he would be able to get a better shot if he climbed onto the altar.
Takeaway: There is a degree of humility and discretion that is essential in a good photographer. Check your potential photographer's reviews and ask for recommendations from other wedding industry professionals.
Sin #5 - When they're just mean spirited..
A photographer attended a wedding as a guest and was bemused when the official wedding photographer, while snapping some 'getting ready' shots, felt it necessary to shut the door in his face.
Takeaway: Dear photographer, you haven't discovered a cure for the common cold, so don't be a bastard. For couples: don't hire a bastard.
Sin # 6 - When the photography is more important than the experience of getting married..
During the ring exchange, the photographer decided that she would stand between the couple and their guests. And, at the moment the groom was putting the bride's ring on her finger, leaned in and asked him to swap the hands he was using so she could get a better photo.
Takeaway: Umm, the discretion thing again.
Sin #7 - When a deal is not a deal..
A couple hired their photographer who was advertising an 'amazing wedding photography deal' for upwards of $4000. The couple liked her work and booked her. She was 1.5 hours late to the wedding with no explanation. Five weeks after the wedding, the photographer contacted them saying that she had deleted all of their wedding and engagement photos without explanation and refused to give a refund or reshoot the wedding without further payment.
Takeaway: Again, checking a photographer's reviews and social media feed will tell you a lot about their attitude and commitment to (or lack of) client satisfaction. But also remember that taking a wedding photo, does not a professional wedding photographer make. If your photographer doesn't have the experience and agreements or business practices in place to troubleshoot these types of problems, they are also unable to provide the degree of service a couple deserve.
Have you got any tips to share on how to select the best photographer for your needs? Let us know in the comments.