Post # 1
So FI and I decided on a photographer and have already been quoted a price and told her we want to book with her. I’m a little worried though because she doesn’t require a contract until our first meeting (engagments) which we don’t plan on doing until next spring. She says she’s already blocked out wedding date and the deposit is due at the 1st meeting (the same meeting we sign the contract.) Since we agreed on this via email does this qualify as an informal contract? I’m just worried that if the prices are raised or packages changed (etc) that although we’ve been quoted a price and ‘booked’ we might end up getting the short end of the deal. Although I know we don’t really have any ‘rights’ until we sign and place a deposit I’m also a little worried that she might back out before our engagements for someone else who has already taken engagments and placed down a deposit. :/
Anyone else ever had a photographer do this? I haven’t had my pictures professionally taken since high school so this is all brand new to me.
Post # 3
I think your instincts about the contract are good in general, but it doesn’t sound like the photographer is out to pull one over on you. My guess is that she does that just to make sure she doesn’t lock herself into a contract with… I don’t know, people who turn out to be super demanding, or just a straight-up personality clash or whatever (I’m making these examples up, please don’t take them seriously!). Or maybe someone in the past was very flaky about setting up a meeting with her and it cost her other business. If that is her business model, she would really be working against herself to change the terms of the contract on you, you know? I bet everything will be fine.
Post # 4
My photographer did something similar, although we had to put down a deposit before she’d schedule our e-session. She came to meet us, give us paperwork, answer questions, show us her hardcopy portfolio, etc., and we talked about wedding dates. She blocked out our date immediately, even though it was about a month before we put down a deposit/signed the contract. We also had a 60 day window where her prices/packages were good (although, truth be told, she extended that by a few days for us).
Post # 5
Could you request you have a meeting prior to your engagement shots to sign contract and give the deposit?
Post # 6
We met with our photog today to decide on our package, give him the dates, and sign the contracts. We’re mailing him the check to him for the deposit and the signed contracts this week. Until we send the signed contract with the deposit he will not block out our date. It’s so strange that she won’t meet with you before.
Post # 7
I have never heard of this before, and I would probably be concerned. With so much time between now and your engagement session, not only do you have to be concerned of a price or policy change, but he/she can walk away for a higher booking wedding at any given time. You could go a separate way yourself, which really doesn’t protect either party.
Post # 8
as a photographer – this is definitely not the norm or wise at all for either party. Like Continuum said – they can walk away from it or change the terms. It would be a real red flag to me.
Post # 9
Thank you guys for all responding, so I bucked up and sent an email. She said that I was locked in for the prices I was quoted and that she saves all her emails from people she’s booked with. I’m definately a worrier but it’s good to know that I’m not the only person who might jump to this conclusion.
Post # 10
@chouette: Without a contract you are not legally locked in to her prices. You are relying on her good character. I definitely think you should find a photographer you trust, but this is a dumb business practice on her part. I am surprised she hasn’t had more people have issues with it.