(Closed) Great artical on how to spot a Fraud-tographer

posted 5 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

 Great article!

“If you spot a gorgeous image in their gallery, ask if they can link you to a full blog post for that wedding.” —- absolutely this!  I know it’s been said on this board a bunch, but let me reiterate it.  You shouldn’t even look at someone without a blog!  Or if you really want to consider someone without one…. make sure you see the full wedding from the a few of the pictures in that beautiful slideshow!!!  If they refuse to show it to you, don’t book them!  If you do, you’re seriously at risk of being a victim of fraud.

It’s extremely easy and cheap these days to have a professional looking website up and running with no effort at all.  A gorgeous website doesn’t mean anything.  FULL weddings, gorgeous website or not, are the only way to judge a photographer’s skill.  Not bride and groom portraits.  Not detail shots.  Not a slideshow of a dozen photos all from different weddings.

Never book a photog without seeing and loving several of their full weddings!!  This is the best way to prevent yourself from having photo regret.

Post # 4
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

It’s so easy to avoid really. Three steps

1. Point to three images and ask to see the whole wedding. Client privacy is a cop out. If its on the site or blog they can show it minus anything like getting ready Boudoir etc

2. Meet in person or on Skype and ask to see their certificate of liability insurance. 

3. Point to three brides and ask to have one contact you on Facebook to chat as a referral. Facebook lets you see their images and know its really them without having to friend them etc. 

Here’s some bonuses

-make sure their blog doesn’t start last month

-look harder at people who are under studio names but you can’t find their full name

-dont fall for discounts for signing up ” on the spot” at wedding shows. That’s a great way to kiss that money goodbye. 

-ask them weird questions. Like tell me about a time a piece of equipment failed on you and how you dealt with it. Gear has failed on everyone. Unless they really haven’t shot weddings. 

-join their Facebook or their business fan page and see what interactions they have with couples. My Facebook page is full of brides talking back and forth to me and each other. 

I could go on all night. Basically, if it seems too good to be true…it is. 

Post # 5
Member
1583 posts
Bumble bee

@PizzutiStudios:  we were just talking about this tonight. I want a photog student or something so i can trade use of pics for taking pics. We can photoshop and print them ourselves!

Post # 6
Member
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Cant always use facebook, I dont use it for my business! Im very legit. ๐Ÿ˜€ Ask for a reference or two, not everyone blogs. They should but some just dont. I didnt blog the first two years I was in business, it wasn’t a thing to do like it is now… I also do not have every wedding blogged Ive done even though I have a picture or two in my gallery still. My style has changed and grown so I got rid of old blog posts as they did not represent what I became.

A nice website with good presentation is Usually an indication of a quality pro. There are always exceptions to the rules…

Number one thing you can do is ask for a full wedding (if they dont blog them) and ask for a couple of references if they dont have reviews. (like me, I have only one!) I have a pile of nice cards and great emails.. ๐Ÿ™ Most of my client base does not use wedding sites like this so they have no account to leave reviews… They send me a nice card/gift/email so I dont blame them for not signing up and getting on with there life. Google is a pain to leave a review and Id rather not have any than a review on Yelp! lol That site is awful!

 

 

Post # 7
Member
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Good article, although I don’t fully agree on it, being a wedding photographer myself.

While I do agree that you should never rely solely on the photos on a website portfolio as these will probably only be top notch, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend asking for ALL non-portfolio photos, only specific photos of personal moments and an overview of the course of the day.

These photos are in the portfolio with a reason, for sure. They are probably the best photos, that’s why the photographer wants to show them off. You could ask for more photos, and he/she might show you them, but remember: Photographing a wedding is a long hard day’s work, and there WILL be moments when photos aren’t as good which won’t go into the portfolio. Circumstances won’t always be good, there will always be reasons for a photo not turning out perfectly. For instance, something I encounter often: Many brides want a good picture of their dress before they put it on. Sure, no problem. But then they leave the dress in their room, which is full of dvd cases, a full desk, etcetera etcetera. Often, I’ll ask beforehand to find a spot which is neat and clean, or I’ll ask if I can take the dress to another place which looks nicer. But sometimes, this simply isn’t an option. As a wedding photographer you always have to act FAST, but you cannot always CHOOSE your surroundings. You can prepare all you will, but there will be unexpected moments, always. You will always need to be on your tiptoes and work with what you’ve got, regardless if the surroundings are good or not. 

Having said that: Of course looking at more than the portfolio photos is a wise thing to do, always ask for plenty of photos to see before you make your decision. But don’t be disappointed if not EVERY photo is picture perfect. This is hardly possible. A good wedding photographer will do everything to capture the atmosphere and scenery as perfect as possible, but just a warning, there will be photos which won’t turn out as perfect, but are still good memories (i.e. that wedding dress in the brides old room as a child, might have all that junk in the background, but for the bride they might be great memorabilia from the past). Try to look beyond the ‘less than perfect’ pictures.

That’s all I wanted to say ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Oh and another tip:

Instead of maybe asking for the perfect portfolio pics, I would suggest this:

Ask for an overview of an entire day. I obviously have my very best photos on my portfolio, but when I have an appointment with a bridal couple, I always bring my larger portfolio album with me too, which doens’t necessarily show all the picture-perfect photos, but rather shows a summary of the course of the day: These are all the moments that I will be present and capture all the memories that are being made. So ask your photographer for an overview of pictures to see HOW he catches the ENTIRE day, rather than focusing on just a few perfect shots from the actual bridal shoot. This will tell you much more about the quality of the photographer: Is he not only able to have a perfect shoot, but is he also able to capture those tiny little personal moments, when the bride gets ready and her sister helps her into her dress, when you two see each other for the first time, the little wink of the groom to the bride during the ceremony, the little flower girl secretly eating the cake, etcetera. THOSE photos will tell you much more about the quality of a photographer, so ask for those kind of photos!

 

I hope this has helped! 

Post # 9
Member
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

@PizzutiStudios:  Oh yes, I definitely agree with you that a good photographer will be able to shoot in any condition, any situation, but I was just mentioning it to remind brides that they shouldn’t feel taken aback when they see photos like that. It’s just a part of the day, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad photos.

If you’re a bride looking for a photographer and you only ever see those picture perfect bridal shoot photos, you might feel disappointed when you see your own photos of the entire day, because you haven’t seen that part of the photographer yet in the portfolio. So I always tell people to ask for photos of the entire day, not just the ceremony & shoot, because those photos will tell you a lot about the photographer too.

Post # 10
Member
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

@PizzutiStudios:  You take beautiful photos by the way! Love your style and your website (the contact form is great, inspires me to do more with that on my website).

Post # 11
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Styles:  I hate Facebook.  I have a page for my business but I don’t use it too much… occasionally I pop on there and post something linking to a new blog post… but otherwise, no.  They desparetly want to change to requiring business pages to pay more and more and more to get their stuff even seen.  Not to mention the fact that they have NO customer service (not just bad customer service but literally NONE, not even an email address).  Uh, no thanks.  Haha I could rant about FB forever but I know that’s not the point of the thread. 

I also agree with you about reviews.  Particularly, that good reviews don’t really prove anything. I can’t imagine it is that difficult to write fake reviews for yourself in various places on the internet if you want to.  I definitely have see some vendors with glowing reviews and no negatives where I know (from personal experience, or from other’s experiences) they are most likely fake. 

The best (and the only real) test is looking at their weddings… I know I keep saying that, but it’s the pictures you’re paying for… you have to like the way they tell a wedding story.  For @sfp: that doesn’t mean EVERY single picture even the ones you wouldn’t want to stick at the front in your portfolio. It does mean representing all the big moments. I understand not getting the ideal background every time, or brides running late and not giving you time to do pictures you normally would… For some detail shots, not every single wedding has to have every single thing exactly the same.  Sometimes brides don’t even want me there before they put on the dress because they want more time at the reception/for portraits/whatever.  I don’t have dress photos for those weddings and I don’t think their blog looks less good because of it.  Big moments though, important ceremony times, important reception moments, need to be adequately represented.  Just enough to show that all the time you WERE there at that particular wedding, everything was covered well.  If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be doing weddings (I’m not saying YOU specifically lol…. but bad photographers in general).

Post # 12
Member
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@PizzutiStudios:  Thats why I said exceptions to the rule. ๐Ÿ™‚ Most quality pros do have a nice website.

@seAprilbride:  I hate Facebook too! Greedbook! I so hate the ads in my feed now! I dumped my business page about 6-8 months ago. I dumped most of my social media, I find it wasteful. It serves big business not a small one. It rocked 2/3 years ago…. I digress… I still go through fb because I give them web copies and make cover photos for my clients. Now they have to go to my website instead of a fan page. Once it became a publicly traded company I said goodbye. Its not even social media anymore its an ad platform we can socialize on.

 

Post # 13
Member
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Styles:  Totally agree with everything you said!!  It annoys me so much to see ALL THE ADS on my news feed.  I think 3/4s of what I see is ads. 

I’m never giving them a dime.  Last year, they were doing a promotion where new pages (new to advertising anyway) could get $100 in free advertising.  I did it and it was completely useless.  Never saw any results.  No one looks at those annoying ads.  They’re so annoying.  The only thing they have in the way of customer service is a forum where business owners can complain to other business owners and no questions ever actually get answered.  I saw several people who were furious because Facebook kept charging their credit card after their ad was supposed to have stopped.  So glad I never gave them my money. 

I also really judge my Facebook friends that still post lame statuses all the time!!  Facebook came out when I was in college and it was awesome then…. now it’s like…. haven’t we grown up yet??  Haha.  Ohhh well.

 

Post # 14
Member
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@seAprilbride:  I only post so often on my page and its informational/cool or funny and dumb. Subltly mocking those that post too much and air all their dirty laundry! lol I had a running joke for almost two weeks in my feed about how cool my Depends were so I could post all day and never leave facebook! It was hilarious! I like to see people/fun photos of family and friends but, dang keep SOME business to yourself!

 

Ok sorry a bit OT. lol

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