One of the most common pieces of advice I give a bride is to hire professionals. In fact, I have dedicated several blogs to the very topic (i.e. Bridal Remorse, Leave it the Pros). However, I recognize that sometimes it can be difficult to discern the difference between the “Pro” and “Faux” photographers, especially in today’s market where a good portion of communication occurs through digital and social media. Frequently, brides are scammed into thinking that they have hired a “professional” when in reality they have hired a novice with a limited porfolio and expertise. Save yourself the disappointment and read on…..
FAUX: Too-good-to-be true prices and promises
Listen to what your grandma taught you: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many novice photographers offer extremely low prices or discounts to attract brides who are looking for a “budget-friendly” option. They promise fast delivery and a host of digital images – all you have to do is hand over a small deposit. No need for a complicated contract.
PRO: Moderately priced packages with occasional specials or minis
The reality is that quality photos take time – and time is money. If you want the canvas-quality images that every bride dreams of, you need a photographer with the appropriate equipment and editing experience to make it happen. The average wedding takes several days of editing to achieve a high-quality gallery. You aren’t just paying the photographer for the hours that they are physically at your wedding; you are paying them for the time it is going to take to create art out of your photos. And frankly, that’s more than $200 for an eight hour wedding.
FAUX: Social media contains a lot of the same photos or sessions
So the photographer has a Facebook business page and an Instagram profile, but a lot of the photos appear to be featuring the same couple or wedding….
PRO: Social media displays a diversified portfolio, evident of multiple sessions
Repeated clients are not necessarily a sign of a novice photographer. In fact, photos featuring the same couple can be a sign of “returning” or satisified clients. However, there should be evidence of multiple sessions, couples, and families. If a photographer appears to be displaying the same people over and over, it could be a sign that they lack experience or that they are utilizing family members and friends to be models. If your concerned, ask the photographer for more examples of their porfolio. An experienced photographer should be able to provide you several recent sessions featuring various couples and families.
FAUX: Hiring the “friend of the friend”
While eating lunch at work, you casually mention to a co-worker that you are still looking for a wedding photographer. Your co-worker, who has great taste in music and art, quickly perks up and exclaims that her cousin’s friend photographs weddings. She hands you a phone number and tells you to give them a call….
PRO: Multiple reviews and testmonials
Just because someone “photographs” weddings, doesn’t mean that they are experienced or know how to provide equality images. If you do choose to explore the “friend of the friend” option, make sure to do your prior research and look for reviews online (Google is a good start). If they are an experienced photographer, they should have a digital footprint and multiple reviews to give you an idea of their work.