Post # 1
I cannot find any reviews on these people! I don’t want to just drop them, but I hate not finding vendor reviews. Maybe they are new? Maybe brides in Pittsburgh just don’t write reviews? What do you think? Did you use any vendors you couldn’t find reviews on?
Post # 3
Can you ask them for references?
Post # 4
@hilsy85: That was my next thought. I just don’t want to get scammed. I hear so many nightmare stories about photographers never handing over photos or the photos not looking like anything on their website. That’s why I don’t understand why photographers are paid upfront. They should be paid after the service and products are done. Ugh. My Fiance said he’s not comfortable with the photographers only having three weddings on their site….but I go back to maybe they are just starting out and don’t have a large portfolio yet. Everyone has to start somewhere right?
Post # 5
I used a couple of them and had mixed results. One was fantastic! The other didn’t show up (she got the date wrong *grrr*).
Post # 6
@Miss Tattoo: Photographers get paid before delivery of proofs because photography is too subjective. Any bride could simply pretend then to not like her photos and use that as grounds to refuse to pay the balance. This wont change the fact that the photographer will already have done all the work at that point, so short of a costly legal battler there would be no way for us to recoup the losses. Usually full payment is required at least 2 weeks in advance of the wedding because the photographer has to hold that date for you. If you then decide to cancel your wedding with less than two weeks to go, there is no way to rebook the date and the photographer will have lost a lot of money if they haven’t yet received full payment.
Anyway, just saying why we do things the way we do. I think you are doing the right thing looking for reviews online. I don’t like to bother my past brides by using them as references, but in the absence of reviews I would definitely ask for references also. Good luck, and let us know how it all turns out!
Post # 7
That stinks! MissTattoo, be careful. I’m with you though, I am so picky when it comes to photography that I’m having a REALLY hard time finding one that I like. I completely agree that they should get paid afterwards, and some do take the remaining balance a week or so after the wedding. I do caution you however to find one that has been in the business for a while. Make sure to go and do a consult with them. Things they have on the website can be one thing, but what am finding is books give a good impression on their work rather than just online pictures. And yes while one whom is just getting the business going can be good, you don’t want to risk this ONE day in your life. I’m struggleing with going with a guy that’s done it for 2-3 years now if that’s enough experience. THIS is the hardest part I am finding is picking the photographer.
Post # 8
@PassionatePhotoLady: It’s not that I’m against paying them before the services…
I think I would be 100% comfortable doing it with somone who has reviews and a presence online, but the Pittsburgh photographers that I’m running into are just too arogant for my taste or just don’t get back to me with a quote if it’s not listed on the website. I mean, I don’t expect anything within 24 hours, but if it’s been more than two weeks since I sent an inquiry then I’m done.
Then there are ones I LOVE that aren’t from the area and paying travel expenses ontop of their packages just isn’t realistic for us.
I’m not going to be a bridezilla though. I mean, you would pretty much have to suck as a photographer to not get paid. I like the photos on the website but like I said, you hear about scams all the time about “photographers” using other real photographers images on their website as part as their portfolio.
I think there was a story here or around here with a couple who found a photographer from a bride show and he basically had just printed other photographers work and used it in a physical and online portfolio. His webpage looked legit and he even gave the person past “brides” to contact (which ended up being friends in on the scam) They paid him $4000 and he never showed up to the wedding. THAT is what I’m afraid of. Giving money upfront and having the photographer not show up. In fact just thinking about getting scammed is enough to give me a mini panic attack.
Do you think it would be rude to ask for them to take payment after the product is finished since they don’t have any reviews anywhere that I can find? I mean, if the photos end up looking like they do on their website, then it shouldn’t be a problem right? The only way I would be pissed is if the photos look like they came from my 4 year olds Barbie digi cam.
Post # 9
Do they have a Facebook page? You could look around on that and find brides in his albums and send them messages to find out if they liked him or not.
It can’t hurt to ask to make a payment plan so that you pay right before he is gonna deliver the goods. It doesn’t make sense for him to send you your products before getting paid though.. but if you are getting a CD with images you could pay once you are happy with the gallery images and then get your CD. I wouldn’t ask to pay after getting an album though because that’s a lot of work for you to possibly decide you don’t want it anymore.
Post # 10
@Miss Tattoo: While I agree with LB on the payment issue, you could always ASK the new photog if they are flexible with a payment plan. You could see if they would allow you to pay a certain percentage up front to hold the date, and the remaining cost upon delivery of photos.
Additionally, you could pay with a credit card, which will give you additional charge-back protection.
Or, you can simply find a photographer who is more established and has a long history of good reviews. Seems like the easier option to me.
Post # 11
@Miss Tattoo: My photographer is based in Central FL but is originally from Pittsburgh. She does a lot of Pittsburgh shoots still and I bet she’d be pretty reasonable in price. I’ve also seen her give recommendations for other Pittsburgh photographers if she isn’t available or if she wouldn’t be a good fit for you. Let me know if you’d like her info.
Post # 13
@Miss Tattoo: I pmed you back- hope that helps!
Post # 14
Here are my observations:
Based on their intro, they are Up and coming photographers, husband and wife team, so I’m assuming they’re new(er)? They don’t even list their names??! Why not?
Also, it somewhat bothers me when i read “We specialize in weddings, events and Architecture. Ok, weddings/events and architecture are two totally different things, you should be “specializing” in one of them or have 2 separate websites for each business. No??
“Our portfolio currently covers three continents and we hope to expand on that in the near future.” What portfolio are they talking about? There are 3 wedding gallery with very few images. 1 picture of the building on the front slideshow does not counts as “Architecture portfolio”. C’mon now!
Search through business registration database in PA didn’t bring any result for that company, so i don’t know if they’re even registered business, or if they have insurance, back-ups, or anything of that nature. Their website didn’t say much about them at all.
Their photos are not bad, sometimes no reviews are better then bad reviews. I’d say call, meet, ask tons of questions and see couple of full weddings. If in doubts, ask for references and go with your heart. Good luck!
Post # 15
I think it’s also ok to ask to three payments ( deposit, amount on day, rest when you see pictures and they burn your disk ). I’ve been shooting weddings for 10 years and generally have the balances due on the wedding day ( for the reasons other posters have mentioned ) but I would be willing to work with someone who was ready to book but who also wanted to space payments differently.
Post # 16
I wouldn’t stress too much. I’d take everyones advice, but also make sure you sign a contract (and retain a copy for yourself) before you hand over any money. There should be a clause stating if something happens to your photos you get your money back/some sort of agreement. Plus, an online presence doesn’t mean you won’t get scammed- it’s pretty easy to leave reviews for yourself (I recently realized this on yelp after taking my cat to a new vet- great reviews online.. TERRIBLE in person).
Most of the time I hear people having problems when they don’t read and understand the contract they signed- there are a few scam artists out there though. Another good way to make sure they are legit is to do an engagement session before the wedding.
Also, you may want to remove the photographers web address. I know if someone posted my site for this reason I wouldn’t be real thrilled having it critiqued by other professionals.