Following on from our last blog entry regarding a few of my colleagues acting more like double glazing salesmen rather than photographers, I've been horrified to witness the other underhanded tactics other photographers use to try and get business. Maybe I'm just too honest, however I would rather have a reputation for being honest and providing a quality professional service to our customers than anything else.
So what are these underhanded tactics I hear you ask, well one of the classics is having people write fake reviews, I'll be honest as our business grows, I've had people who are trying to support us offer to write reviews without using our services and we have flatly refused, We would rather have 10 real reviews than 20 fake ones. Another underhanded tactic is to use patsies (family members & friends) on the wedding facebook sites, who wait for genuine people to ask for recommendations, and then bombard them with certain photographers names. Yes, there are a some genuine customers recommending photographers they have used etc. however you often see the same people over and over again. Likewise they may state that they are award winning, when in fact they have been awarded dubious awards from websites they have paid to advertise on.
Our final area of concern are those photographers, along the same vein as the double glazing crew, offer to photograph your wedding at ridiculously cheap prices or claim to offer cheap deals because they are building up their portfolio or offer 1500 photographs of your wedding. My concern here is, if you are booking your wedding a year plus in advance are these flyby night photographers still going to be around to photograph your wedding at all, so please ensure you get a contract from them, and I would also advise getting your own wedding insurance, and as for the amazing 1500 photographs, I can promise you, you will only either get very poor photos or multiple copies of the same photo as it's impossible to provide that many unique quality photos during a day, no matter how good a photographer you are. These photographers can also take months to supply your photographs as they over commit.
Now before even looking at photographers you should decide what style of photos you would like (Traditional, candid, fine art) and set a realistic budget.
So what makes a trustworthy photographer, questions you may ask before booking, and our answers?
1, Do they supply you with a clear contract stating your rights to YOUR photographs?
Yes, please see our Prices & Contracts page.
2. Are they accredited with relevant photographic societies such as the society of Wedding and portrait photographers?
Yes both Susie and I are both members of the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers, and the International Society of Wedding Photographers.
3. Are they able to match reviews and photographs, and can you see at least one full weddings photos?
We are always happy to match photos and reviews, as well as have a previous customer give a testimonial.
4. Are their photos realistic, or do they look too good to be true. Certain photographers will process certain photos to hook you in, but realistically was their really a full moon behind the couple and shooting stars. However that said there are photographers that specialise in that style of photography, so as in the point above check full albums.
We use photoshop to enhance your photos, but never make them so unrealistic that they, won't remind you of your day. unless you want something different, then just please ask.
5. Are Photography packages clear with no hidden charges, also watch out for photographers that offer to meet your budget?
Yes, Please see our Prices & Contracts page.
6. How long does it take to get your photographs?
Normally they are available online on your dedicated section of our website within 7 to 10 days maximum often as short as 3 days. And then depending on your availability (Honeymoon etc.) your Presentation pack a couple days after.
7. Does the Photographer carry back up equipment?
Yes, we always carry additional memory cards, camera bodies, and lenses.
8. Do they have a back up photographer.
If I was taken ill etc, Susie would take over as lead photographer, and we have a number of colleagues we work with who would provide a second photographer service.
9. Personal fit & Ego! I'm sorry to say some of our colleagues think they are more important than their customers are. Even if they produce amazing photos, what is the cost, will they upset you or your guests on your special day, they will often say something like I'm only a documentary style photographer, or reportage style, which there is nothing wrong with, however are the flexible enough for you to ask for a posed photograph with your parents, or grandparents. They might also make lavish claims about being international photographers with bases all over the world, believe me I know of some of the best photographers in Europe and they don't even have to advertise.
We don't claim to have a style, we try to be flexible to your requirements, and provide a combination of styles to suit you, Remember for your special day you are our employer, and one of the greatest peaces of feedback we normally get is, we forgot you were there, meaning we captured your day without getting in the way.
10. Don't be fooled by the number of facebook likes certain photographers have, Some will be genuine, and some long established photographers will have earned them over a long career, however sometimes if you see a photographer with thousands of likes, they have run competitions offering free photo shoots for example 5000 likes, and the poor people, taking part often never get the prize as they never reach the ridiculous targets set.
11. Finally why did they become a wedding photographer, and are they totally committed or are they holding down a full time job as well.
I became a wedding photographer following my own wedding, where we were totally ripped off by the photographer, being charged extra for everything, such as rights to our photos, editing, and also ended up with piles of prints we didn't need. So as I was already working on a diploma in photography for my own personal development, I started to expand my skills into wedding photography, taking additional courses, taking photos as a second photographer as friends and families weddings, until i went solo and 10 years later here I am still loving every moment even if my own marriage didn't work out, however from that I met a wonderful talented lady who loves photography as much as myself who makes the team complete.
As for work, when I'm not behind the camera, I'm an unpaid carer for my elderly mother, which means I can dedicate much of my day to editing photos, as she is very undemanding, reducing the time you have to wait for your precious memories.
We hope you have a wonderful wedding