Post # 1
So the most important vendor to me in the entire wedding planning process was the photographer. I analyzed hundreds of websites and gallaries trying to find just the right one. I soon realized that the “perfect” photographer was about $700 over my price range, which had already been increased multiple times.
I picked out 3 other photographers who’s work was perfectly okay and set appointments to meet with them. Then we ran into a problem. About a week before my meetings were to be held there was a local bridal show. I got a call from a few vendors just clarifying my date to make sure I was penciled onto the calendar so they didn’t book out under me, very much appreciated. Then I got a call from one of my photographers saying that if I couldn’t commit to the day then they would have to keep the date open. Fine, I figured I didn’t want to work with someone that worked that way anyways. Then another one called and said the same thing. Before the third one had a chance I called her and said YES, we want you, I’ll send you a deposit….
I think I made a mistake. I did meet with her and she is a wonderful person. The books she brought with were fine, nothing special, but okay. I’ve heard some good reviews about her, however I’m looking at the galleries that she has up from past weddings (where people can go in and buy images) and they’re all horrible! She has dress pictures from 10 feet away hanging on a boring brown doors. Detail pictures (shoes, jewelry, etc.) have no artistic “flow” to them, just like everything was thrown on the floor together. The brides all look increadibly washed out and blurry, again the pictures having been taken from a distance. There’s no “focus” to the pictures and they look like pictures I’ve taken of groups of my friends! Why were none of these included in her books she brought to the meeting??? What did I get myself into???
Also, I’m pretty sure she uses film and not digital. I prefer the look of digital, clear crisp images, to the “softer” (fuzzier in my opinion) look of film.
We didn’t schedule an engagement shoot because FI refuses to, he hates having his picture taken. He’s no help because he couldn’t care less about photography and thinks it’s a waste of money but is going along with it because he knows it’s important to me. I doubt he would approve of me cancelling and losing my $500 deposit, however I’m paying for photography myself. Should I see if I can convince him to do an engagement shoot and see how it turns out? Should I ask for more image examples? In an original email she promised 2 photographers but there’s no mention of it in our contract, could that be a way out of it? (I did email her about that, waiting for a response).
I’m so worried, these pictures will be around forever and I want them to be something I like! Does anyone have any suggestions?
Post # 3
Well first of all, getting those calls from the photographers about needing a commitment before the expo is totally normal. I live in a destination area, and we have a big wedding expo here every year that pretty much everyone planning to have a DW here travels to attend. It’s a big booking weekend for us vendors. Every bride that contacted me within the couple of weeks leading up to the expo go the same response, “I’m open for your date, but with a signed contract and retainer I can’t hold it”. I made it very clear that I was in NO way trying to pressure them into booking, just wanting to be upfront and let them know that while I was open when they inquired I could not promise that I’d be open after the expo.
That being said, if you really hate this photographers work you need to just lose the $500 deposit and find someone else. If they have poor work on their website, you pretty much have a snowballs chance in hell of getting good results from an engagement session as a practice.
Post # 4
+1 to the first reply. As business people, they’d have to be stupid to hold a date for you when they have someone else willing to put down a deposit and sign a contract for the same day. If you truly hate the photographer’s work, you’re going to have to give up on the deposit you paid and find someone else.
Post # 5
@phishy179: lose the deposit and find someone new and do it very soon. You have an incredibly popular wedding date – my Octobers book up more than a year in advance every year.
Post # 6
“Then I got a call from one of my photographers saying that if I couldn’t commit to the day then they would have to keep the date open. Fine, I figured I didn’t want to work with someone that worked that way anyways.”
I’m pretty sure it’s normal practice that dates are not held without a signed contract and deposit…
Post # 7
Can we see the photographer’s work? It might actually be a good thing that she didn’t include those photos in the books you saw during your meeting – that means she knows it’s not her best work. Do you think you saw more updated photos?
Post # 8
I’m sorry to agree with everyone else, but if the work you saw is not the quality/style you want to receive for your wedding, she’s not going to do any better for you. I can definitely relate to you as far as worrying about picking the right photographer…. I am having doubts about mine, and I don’t want to lose any money but I would say your photos are worth more than worrying about a few hundred dollars (I know it seems like a lot now… but will it in a few years when you don’t have great pro photos to look back on? That’s what I’m asking myself).
What I would do is look around for a few other photographers and see if you can find one you like a lot better in your price range that is available for your date. If you can, I’d say to switch. I would make sure you meet with/talk to them first and ask to see a full wedding, just to make sure you don’t get into the same situation again where the work in the portfolio is unfortunately just not representative of the full album you will get.
Post # 9
Agree with all the other posters. Also I highly highly doubt she uses film. It’s probably just an effect she uses when she edits the photos. Perhaps you could specify to her that you don’t like the fuzzy/soft look and see if she can offer you examples of her work that are more to your liking?
I would highly recommend doing an engagement shoot too. It really helps you to feel a little more comfortable in front of the camera, get to know the photographer, and see what angles/poses you like and what you don’t like.
Post # 10
Photography is so important. Everything else lasts for one day, at the end all you will have to remember is the photographs, and presumably you want to display them, show your children, etc etc? Don’t settle for second best because of money, you will regret it if you do.
I agree with everyone who says pull out of your contract with her. I know is hurts to lose the money……maybe you can get it (part of it?) back. When you find a new one, tell them your new restricted budget and see if they can work with you. I wouldn’t lay on a sob story but just by honestly telling them what happened, and that you would prefer their quality work, they may be able to give you a discount. Talk to other brides you know or people who are already married. Who did they use? Can they offer referal discounts?
Also try talking to your FI about how important the photos will be for you. He’ll need to accept having his picture taken before the wedding anyway so better to deal with it sooner rather than later.
Anyway, all the best and good luck! I’m certain things will work out in the end!!!
Post # 11
I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have contacted you to find out if you were firm on a date. You snooze, you lose is pretty much a universal policy amongst in demand photographers. In the grand scheme of life, $500.00 is not a lot of money. Cut your losses. Move on.
Post # 12
Can you use the deposit money to do an engagement shoot? And decide what to do next? you are risking losing all of your wedding memories, I think that’s not worth it! whatever you do, try your best to find someone whose work sits right in your heart, then show a compilation of wedding photographs you like and show it to the photographer so she gets the feel that you are after, then fully trust her to do the best job for you:)
Post # 13
I wouldn’t hold a date for someone who hadn’t booked and given me money.. no pro would. That’s terrible for business.
If your photographer is a pro they wont use film. In fact, the only ones who do these days are those who are specialty photographers whose whole selling point is the film thing. It’s almost unheard of especially in wedding photography. It’s incredibly expensive to shoot in film too, so unless you’re paying $10,000+ (judging by the low deposit, I expect not), they’re not using film.
Ok now down to the issue, if you don’t like her style, don’t use her. Sure you’ll lose your deposit, but do you really want to pay more money for photos you don’t like?
Post # 14
Okay, well maybe I was a bit naive in thinking that a vendor wouldn’t book the date before I’d had my meeting, however that wasn’t really what I was trying to focus on. I just included that information to show that I made a rash decision and yes, now I feel even more stupid about it.
@photogestelle: Are you by chance a professional photographer (I thought maybe you are due to your name)? If you are, could you let me know if it’s proper etiquette to compile some pictures that I like from other photographers that don’t seem to require any special lenses or tools (lights, etc.?) just to give her a sense of what style I’m going for? I think it’s possible that she can do them due to what I’ve seen in her online gallery and what she brought to our meeting, but I’m not sure if that would offend her or not.
Has anyone ever done this?
Post # 15
@phishy179: I’m going to toss in my opinion as a pro photographer… Yes, you can definitely compile a few photos to show her without it being offensive (it’s all in how you put it). Just say you’ve been browsing inspiration sites and like some of these… If there are any of HER photos that you really like, and I would hope there’s a least a few, I would show her those too.
However, I wouldn’t expect much of a helpful response 🙁 I doubt she is going to come right out and say “No, I won’t/can’t do this” regardless of whether or not that is true. If you are talking about purely artistic elements, she does things in a particular way and while she may try to honor your style requests, it most likely won’t come naturally to her. Being a photographer is being an artist… an artist doesn’t just change their style, it’s instinctive.
I would be very curious if you could post a few of her pics or share her website? I know you probably don’t want any of this to get back to her but it’s difficult to judge and be helpful without seeing what we’re talking about. I could possibly advise you as to skill/style from the perspective of someone who knows what to look for. You could share a picture of the dress/detail photos in a style you like, and then one of this photographer’s. However I understand if you don’t feel comfortable doing this.
Again I can only echo the thoughts already shared here… I can tell how much you are struggling with this decision and I totally feel for you! If you’re anything like me, you might lay awake at night stressing over the right decision (I certainly do this more than I should). I think you will be much happier/less stressed in the long run if you are able to say “It was only money I lost, and I got outstanding photos” versus “I stuck with a decision I knew in my gut was the wrong one and I will regret these photos forever.”
Post # 16
Ok, so I don’t want to get into any trouble with copyrighting or stealing images so I will say that these are not MY pictures…This first picture is a shoe shot from MY photographer and the second is a shoe shot from my “dream” photographer who is way out of my pricerange. There’s a difference, I’m not a professional and I can’t figure out what it is, but it’s there…: