Post # 1
A few months ago Fiance and I sat down and went through the many photographers in the area of our wedding. After narrowing it down to three I met with our top choice and was sold on her and her work. One of the reasons we loved her was the (relatively) reasonable price (2300 including travel) compared to other photogs in the area. I recently got great news-I am a grad school bee and getting my Masters degree and I was just accepted to my dream PhD program….on the other side of the country. It is looking more and more like either we find ways to cut pretty much everything or have a small simple ceremony (which Fiance does not want). I decided to check out the Craigslist ads in the city we are getting married and I feel like I found the black market of wedding photography! There were SO many posts and from looking at a few websites the work looked quite good (not as great as our original choice but good enough for being less than half the price). All seemed to be trying to break in to the wedding photo business in our wedding city and were not necessarily starting out, but didn’t have a huge following yet.
Bee’s- Who has used a photog off of Craiglist and how was your experience? Would you suggest it or should I run in the other direction? Thanks!
Post # 3
@JenniferMm: It can turn out good or bad, I have seen good stories and horror stories. You just have to be able to stomach the risks, and there are many that exceed the chance of getting quality photos…..like will this person still be in business come your wedding time.
Post # 4
We hired our photographer through Craigslist. Granted our wedding hasn’t happened yet, but I feel pretty comfortable with it. I definitely saw some popular wedding photographers for our area advertising on there too. I think all the same rules apply regardless of where you find your photographer. Ask for references, ask to see full wedding portfolios, you must have a contract, etc. I wouldn’t worry about it.
Post # 5
I’ll preface this by saying that our photographer is NOT a CL photographer but we did find him through there.
After seeing how outrageous some of my local photogs pricing was I decided to post an add on CL with everything that I was looking for and how much I was looking to spend. I got dozens of replies from “pros” whose work compared to that of a kindergartener. Then I got a reply from a nice man who said that his daughter and SIL just relocated to my area and his SIL is a talented photographer. He asked me to give his SIL a chance so I did. I checked out his site and loved his work then arranged a meeting with him. As it turns out, he was an experienced photographer from Western, NY who just moved to my area and was working on getting his name out there locally. Because he was new to the area, he agreed to shoot our wedding for only $900. That included 8 hours of coverage, all images edited and provided to us on a disk, an online hosted gallery for our guests viewing and full rights to the pictures (this was the selling point for me – most photographers either won’t give the rights or you’ll pay a fortune for them). A few months before our wedding I checked his site again and saw that his prices skyrocketed. His packages now start at $2k and go up from there.
We are absolutely in love with our wedding pictures and we think he did an amazing job. When I tell people what we spent they don’t believe us. Actually, our friends and family who were recently married and paid THOUSANDS of dollars more for their photogs are jealous of the deal that we scored and the pictures that we have.
Now, obviously I wasn’t in the same situation as someone who used an actual CL photographer but considering I did find him through there, I thought it was worth sharing my story. It’s probably a long shot but it doesn’t hurt to post an add and see who will come to you. It definitely worked out to my benefit!
Post # 6
Our local Craigslist has a variety of people on it – pros I’d seen on wedding sites, pros offering deals to fill out gaps in their portfolios, people just starting out, people who didn’t seem to have the slightest idea what they were doing. If you are a good photographer, why wouldn’t you advertise on Craigslist, when it’s one of the cheapest ways to get local advertising? As vermontia said – you have to do the same verifying as you would with any photographer.
We couldn’t find any pros willing to do what we wanted until we found one through Craigslist. We are not having full day coverage, since our wedding is small, and having two photographers (which seems to be standard now) wander for hours through two dozen guests is disruptive and overkill, from our point of view. Photographers we found through wedding sites insisted we had to take their $X000 package. We are getting a two hour engagement shoot and a two hour shoot the day of our wedding for about $400 – including printing rights – from photographers who could see that their $X000 package wasn’t going to work for us and were willing to be flexible.
Post # 7
We used a CL photographer who was just starting out for our engagement pics. It was FREE for printing rights + a DVD of the images, so I can’t complain too much. Some pics turned out really good, others not so good. I wouldn’t have been happy if I had paid for the session though. Just something about the angles of the shots could have been better I think.
I have seen some legitimate and some more experienced photographers place ads on CL, one of which we *almost* chose as our wedding photographer. I’m sure you’ll make a good choice!
Post # 8
We found our photographer via CL, but have also found ads from more “well-known” photographers on there too. I dont see it any different than booking any other photographer other than them using CL as a means of free advertising. Sometimes photographers are starting out, or it’s off-season and they’re trying to book some clients early in the year. Our “CL photographer” had shot ~20 weddings prior to us meeting with him.
Ask for samples first (if they don’t already have a website or link to their portfolio), then ask for their rates, and if you like what you see, set up an in-person meeting with them asking them to see an entire wedding set – from start to finish. This will give you an idea of the photographer’s style and what you will expect when you receive your photos. If you’re interested in a wedding album, ask to see a sample of that too. Ask lots of questions, and while doing so, make sure you also connect with the photographer (dont find them rude, controlling, annoying, etc.) because you want to make sure you trust them on your big day so that the photographer will be one less thing to worry about.
And before you hand over that deposit, make sure they have a written contract and that you understand everything. Ask questions if you don’t.
Post # 9
I posted an ad looking for a photog on CL and got all kinds of crazy responses. I either hated their work or they didn’t give me any samples of it!
I was emailed by this super awesome photog who saw my post and basically just wanted to look out for me–so sweet. She said “So, I think I’m booked on your date and probably over your budget, but please be careful.” And then she directed me to the only 3 photogs she recommends in Pittsburgh, one of which was slightly over our budget and we ended up booking with her.
I say as long as you like their work and they have testimonials/references, you should be set.
Post # 10
@JenniferMm: I got my photographer on Craiglist and I love her . She is not a craigslist person but just moved to NJ and wanted new Client. I actualy found another preson I liked but once I talked to the 2nd one I was in love. Also I would like to mention I found my job on craigslist 2.
Post # 11
You might luck out and have a fantastic experience. Most of what I hear from people who go this route is regret. I understand that sometimes circumstances make it impossible for some people to afford a full time professional. Part of what fuels our passion as photographers is the fact that we do not have great photos of our wedding ourselves. We made that mistake, and we hope that no one else does.
When hiring any photographer here are a few things to consider regardless of price tag:
* Do they have a strong portfolio? Can they show you more than one wedding they’ve shot from start to finish?
* Are they insured? Do they have a business license?
* Are they well networked within the local photography community to find a replacement for themselves in an emergency?
* Do they have professional equipment, and backups for that equipment.
* Are they experienced in shooting weddings? Weddings can be high stress gigs, and photographers who have shoot 100 weddings are going to be better equipped to deal with problems than someone who has shot less than 10.
I could list more, but you probably get the point. Photography isn’t as important to everyone, and that’s totally fine. If it’s truly important to you, find a photographer whose work and expertise you trust, and whose personality jives with you. If you can find that on Craigslist more power to you, but I personally would suggest more conventional sources such as Google searches for local photographers, review sites like Yelp and Wedding Wire, and personal recommendations of people you know.