Post # 1
My fiance and I are searching for a photographer for our wedding. We have a mental budget in mind, and found someone that we really like and is within our price range, but my fiance is hung up on one thing that he can’t seem to feel secure about to the point of actually booking someone.
When his sister and brother in law got married a few years ago, they hired a photographer that showed up, took pictures of the day, and then went “bankrupt” and they had problems tracking them down and actually getting their wedding photos. They eventually did, but the situation was just sort of a nightmare and my fiance wants to make sure we are not put in that situation. I have also heard stories of photographers not showing up on the wedding day. I understand this happens, but not that often.
We looked into hiring one of our coworkers who has a photography business on the side, but they are too expensive. I have checked references of people from the photographer we liked. The other issue is that it seems as though payment is always due BEFORE the actual wedding, of any photographer I have researched.
My question is – is there a way of knowing that this actually WON’T happen? Or, is this just a mental thing that he needs to get past, and if so, how do I help him feel comfortable to the point of (finally) booking someone?
Post # 2
I suppose anything
‘s possible. Are you able to find someone that you know to be reputable? And by that I mean I used to work for a photographer in the SF Bay Area. He was one of the top photographers in the area, everyone knew that. He’d been around many years, 100s of very satisfied clients, etc etc. I would definitely not go with a co-worker, an aunt, a friend.
Post # 3
There isn’t any way to KNOW that it won’t happen. Just make sure you go with someone who has good external reviews or who was used by someone you know personally. You could also get wedding insurance to take care of yourselves financially.
Post # 4
I would definetly ask to see Terms and Conditions and view a contract before booking. In a good contract it should state what happenes in the case of emergencies such as the photographer being unable to attend etc. Wedding insurance is also a great idea to cover any extreme circumstances such as bankrupcy. My wedding insurance covers this! Good luck!
Post # 5
There’s really no way to anticipate this would happen. Here are some tips to get a little reassurance:
1. Find out how long they’ve been operating (going concern). Good indication that a company is turning profit is if they are staying afloat for that long.
2. Maybe ask if they have handy a Certificate of Good Standing (external confirmation). This certificate is a certification issued by the government that reassures customers that the company is up to date in their filings (taxes, fees, etc.). I’ve gotten this from our catering, and some banks require this, so they might have them handy lying around if they have been operating for a while.
3. Ask for customer and business references (external confirmation). Some catering business will have worked with various photographers and vice versa. Maybe just ask them which catering they’ve work with and then externally confirm with those vendors how they liked working with this photographer.
4. Talk with the other photographers within that team (usually there are 1 or 2 that covers the event) and ask how they like the job, etc. Usually a small chit chat will give you a “feel” for the company’s chemistry and an idea how things are going to go for your wedding. If the working environment is toxic for them, imagine how they’ll function at YOUR event.
5. As always, keep on the lookout for their reviews. This is tried and true, but always effective. Keep on the look out for reviews, about unfulfilled obligations and such. I’m sure you know this drill by now.
Good luck OP!
Post # 6
Sure, anything can happen. But you can protect yourself by hiring a professional (read: not a friend, family member, friend of friend, etc). Someone who has a contract that protects you and them. Someone who has hundreds, if not thousands, of happy clients. Photography is not the area to cheap out on. If you need examples, check out the hundreds of boards dedicated to photography nightmares. They all have one thing in common – cheap photographers. The only way to protect yourself is to hire a professional and professionals cost $$ because they are worth it.
Post # 7
I’m a photographer and when people ask me how to deal with vendors who end up screwing them over I ask if they were a registered business. The answer most often is “No.” In my state I have to register my business with the Secretary of State. An LLC has articles of incorporation you can read on the website and a DBA filing (doing business as). Quick google search of half of the “photographers” in my area shows no registration. Which usually means they don’t pay taxes. If they don’t do that then they’re not a legitimate business. Trust someone who runs an actual business- who registers with their state, pays income tax, has county or city business licenses (I have all of mine framed at my studio so people can see how many years I’ve been in business for this reason.) Also ask if they carry general liability insurance. These factors mean they take their business seriously. Then read the contract carefully. Photographers who do all of the above, take their businesses seriously, and are professional cost more because it costs us a lot to be legit. Cheap photographers should always be questioned….