Back in January, my fiance and I set out on our search to find our wedding photographer. We knew we wanted a test run before the big day; so we decided that we would start our search immediate, and use them for our Engagement photos, which would in turn be utilized as our Save-the-Dates! By this time I had downloaded the Knot App and was using it to help me through the storm of planning my own wedding. It seemed to be brimming with local vendors at just the click of a button! “Perfect!”, I thought. Surely if they’re listed on here, they’re legit sources. I just have to find the one whose pictures (and prices) I like the most! Right???……. I couldn’t have been MORE WRONG! A month later we had been “cancelled” on twice, charged in full once, hit for an additional $999 and attempted to have been hit with yet ANOTHER charge of $2400!!!!!! Fortunately, I had saved and documented all email and text exchanges with this woman; and was able to get every cent she took from us back. Unfortunately, for many victims of this type of fraud, it isn’t usually the case. In the end, we found a new photographer, referred to us by a good friend; and now have AMAZING photos and a new found confidence that our wedding day will captured beautifully. This experience, however, encouraged me to share a few “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for those seeking someone to capture their big day!
- Blindly trust any 3rd party planning site or app. Do your own homework.
- Pay anyone directly through their own website with your credit or debit card. If they don’t have a brick and mortar location with an actual credit card machine or Square device for their phone (secure device for running credit cards), a true professional (even if they’re freelance) with have a PayPal account, or will accept a check.
- Hire someone that can’t show you current projects they’ve completed. If the most recent album listed on their website or Facebook page is several months old, move on!
- Meet with a candidate, for the first time, in your home. This is to protect your physical address from any potential predators.
- Go with someone based on “great offers” they may be advertising. Usually if a deal sounds too good to be true, in the world of wedding photography, unfortunately it is.
- Pay anyone “in-full” up-front. All legitimate wedding photographers will only ask for a deposit up-front; not wanting the remainder until closer to 1 month – week before the date of the wedding.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau and research ALL online reviews you can find.
- Ask friends and family for personal references.
- Pay by check or through a secure device or site like PayPal.
- Thoroughly check out their previous work. Legitimate photographers should have AT LEAST 10 sample albums they can show from the last 6 months. This also will give you an opportunity to determine whether said photographer’s style will match your own. If all their shoots are high fashion, and you’re having an outdoor rustic themed wedding, they probably won’t be the best fit; no matter how trustworthy they are.
- Cover yourself by purchasing wedding insurance! You can get coverage from big companies like Progressive, State Farm, or GEICO for as little as $75.
- Check for a business website and explore their “About” tab. Most photographers WANT to be as transparent as possible and are eager to tell you about themselves! If their page is missing an “About” section, or that section doesn’t have a photo of the photographer themself, be weary.
The perfect photographer is out there for everyone! It will take time and research to find them; but they are worth the work (and maybe a little extra money) to discover.
This blog contains no sponsors. Photography was done by Kelsey Splawn Photography. Dress is by C. Luce from Bliss on Main Boutique.