After hearing about a bride being jilted on her wedding day for the second time in a week I've decided to write a blog post about it. I'm a firm believer in arming one self with knowledge so that you aren't in the same situation one day. The last article I read was this morning- it highlighted Kailey Olsen, a Texas woman who was left on her wedding day without a photographer. A photographer she paid for in advance, months in advance, and trusted to show up on one of the most important days of her life. Kailey paid $800 for two wedding photographers, 6 hrs of coverage, and a videographer.
“I wanted those memories,” she said. “And I’m stressing out the night before our wedding. I felt betrayed by her.”
What can YOU do to prevent this from happening to you or someone you know? These four tips should help you weed out any scammers and allow you to be worry free on one of the most important days of your life.
Research your potential photographer. If you find someone you like make sure they are legitimate and have reviews of happy clients to back them up. Don't rely on just Facebook reviews or Instagram reviews. Legitimate wedding photographers will have reviews on several reputable sites such as Yelp, Google, and bride planning sites such as The Knot.
Check the Better Business Bureau. How are they ranked on the BBB? Has anyone you know utilized their services and can give you an honest review?
Contract. Contract. Contract.
"Oh. You don't have a contract for me to sign?" Run. Run far away. Any legitimate wedding photographer will have a contract for you to review and sign. This contract not only protects them, but protects you. It should outline expectations for the photographer as well as the client. What you can expect from the photographer on the day of, what should happen if there is an illness, accident, etc, how long until you receive your products/images, what type of products/images you'll be receiving. It will outline your payment terms, retainer fees, etc. Having a contract in the event that something happens will get you much further with collecting monetary damages should a contract be in place.
You know the saying if it seems too good to be true then it probably is? Well, yeah. Take that into account when you're looking for your wedding photographer. If your portraits are something that are very important to you and you can't wait to fill your frames with them then treat that service like it's that important. Budget. Most couples will plan their wedding out minimum of one year in advance.
The average wedding photographer in America is $2814 based on SNAPKNOT.COM.
If you are quoted something more than 70% less than that you need to ask yourself why. Are they portfolio building, are they trying to just fill their calendars, do they have a poor reputation, etc...
Meet your intended photographer in person.
What will meeting your photographer in person do to help keep you from being scammed? You can learn a lot about a person from their interactions with you in person. You can also view their work in person, up close. A lot of times you can gauge whether or not a person is being genuine in what they are telling you by their eyes, facial expressions, and body language. You can also gauge whether or not their personality is something that will work for you and your wedding day. Will this weed out all potential scammers? Probably not all. However, most scammers are not going to put in the time and effort of meeting you vs doing everything online and in person.
Once you've done your research, looked over a contract, met in person, and have a reasonable budget you should be well prepared against being scammed on your wedding day by your photographer. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself.
Mellissa is a Salem, Oregon based wedding photographer who services all of Oregon. Portland, McMinnville, Corvallis, Albany, Newberg, Bend, Eugene, Lincoln City, Newport, Depot Bay, and beyond.
Contact her today to receive your complimentary consultation.