I’m not sure what’s going out there, maybe something in the media’s koolaid, but I’m seeing more and more news articles pop up that link wedding vendors to scam artists and “journalists” are literally preaching that “if you say the word “wedding”, prices automatically go up”. The most recent and probably the most popular one I’ve seen is 20/20’s Wedding Confidential. After watching only 7 minutes of this program I felt ill and wanted to get on my soap box.
So here we are.
I could go on about how I’m a human being with bills and a camera gear to pay for and yadda yadda yadda, but that won’t educate you. Those things are my issues, not yours. I chose this line of work and quite honestly I’m 99% sure you don’t care about my household bills or whether I carry a $2000 lens in my bag. So, I’m going to lay it all out on the line for you in another way:
1. Yes, I’ve heard horror stories of photographers taking 6 months to deliver wedding photos and worse yet, I’ve heard of wedding photographers skipping town and delivering no photos at all.
GET A CONTRACT SIGNED. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense 101. My contracts set out exactly what services are included, my turnaround times, what’s expected of me, and oh so much more in 3 pages. That’s it! Simple as pie! I’m not going anywhere because I am legally bound to fulfill my obligations. If your vendor doesn’t offer a contract, second guess your collaborative relationship.
2. Why are wedding prices so much higher than any other event prices? (not just photographers, but florists and DJ’s too)
WEDDINGS ARE HARD WORK! It’s 10x more work and energy and organization. It’s not just one day of service. Florists are expected to help you choose flowers that will last ALL DAY. As for the DJ’s, let me tell you there’s a huge difference between a DJ getting a wedding reception started vs. a DJ getting a retirement party started. We’re not scamming you, we’re giving you our very best from the time you book us all the way up until the time you come back from your honeymoon (1+ years!). A retirement party or birthday doesn’t take that kind of time.
If that doesn’t make sense, then try this – pick 2:
3. To the person who suggested brides-to-be show up to a vendor meeting taking the bus, over showing up in their car should be smacked. Are you kidding me?
My dear brides & grooms, let’s say you’re considering me to be your photographer. You went to my website, looked around, read my stories, even checked my prices and then decided to send me an email to talk more in detail. If you feel like you have to show up to our meeting by bus because you feel my prices are going to change between the time I quoted you and our meeting, you’ve been brainwashed by the media. That’s a terrible business practice and I’m sure word would spread quickly about my sporadic charging habits.
4. We are not a secret society. Contrary to how the media *cough2020cough* and Pintrest (countless vendor questionnaires are repined like recipes) paint us like sneaky wedding photographers, you should all know that there are COUNTLESS websites out there that you can check out to see where we get our information.
Example: check out Creative Live and wait for a day when they broadcast a seminar about wedding photography. It’s free and the general public can watch too. You’ll learn what other photographers are saying, how they’re billing and why. Or hey! Just ask me!
I could go on and on….
But the bottom line is: If you don’t trust your vendor, don’t hire them! Research your vendor, look for reviews, pick through their websites, email them and honestly you’ll be just fine and you’ll get what you want in the end. Don’t listen to a journalist who spent one week “researching” the entire industry.
Just as a side: even if your favourite vendor is out of your budget in the time frame you’re asking for, perhaps lower your time requirements. Don’t lower your expectations. If you want them to bend, you have to be willing to bend as well. Creative types like me will be more willing to work with someone who appreciates our hard work.
Oh wait…. Let’s end this on a fun note: