Post # 1
Hi Everyone, I need some etiquette advice about changing a photographer.
In June right after getting engaged, a person I went to high school with got married and I saw her photography on Facebook. I kind of liked it, so I contacted the photographer and she gave me a price. Now that I am around 50 days from the big day, I discovered that a spouse of one of my family members does wedding photography, and he would do the same work with more features for $125 less. I decided to compare the work, and I noticed that my current photographer has done one wedding in 2012, and family and senior portraits in 2010 and they all have this weird yellow tinge to them or are photoshopped weird. The prospective photographer has done 5 weddings within the last year, many family portraits, and landscape portraits, and he does the clear and crisp sort of photos that I like. He’s also been getting paid for his services for 4 or 5 years.
I guess the big question is, how do I nicely tell the current photographer that I want to switch? There is no contract and we’ve only been contacting via email. We emailed each other in November and just five days ago she emailed to confirm that she was still doing the wedding, which I said yes to (I didn’t know about the prospective photographer at the time).
Post # 3
We’re within $50-100 of being too close to the end of the budget, so an extra $125 would be nice. Our wedding is only going to be $2700, the current photographer is charging us $400 with a CD with all rights to the photography, and the prospective photographer is charging us $275 with several CDs with all rights and Picasa. The prospective photographer would give us all 500 shots and the 50 edited shots, and the current photographer would give us 25-40 edited shots and I’m not sure about the unedited shots.
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House
I would just e-mail her and say you’re sorry for the late notice, but you have found someone else, and thanks anyway for helping you out.
Post # 5
Well, you don’t have a contract so you have no legal obligation to use your high school friend’s services. Ethically, I would at least send a really nice gift after you break the bad news.
I would probably tell her the truth in as nice a way as possible: you have decided to use someone else because of lower cost and more features, plus the other photographer is someone in your family so you feel like you have an obligation (add this last part even if it’s not wholly true because it might soften the blow). I wouldn’t mention that you think the other photographer’s photos seem better quality, just stick to the issue of cost and that the other photographer is a family member.
Post # 6
You don’t have a contract so getting out is no biggie since you are not really dealing with pros. Just say:
I know this is very last minuet but a family member has offered to do our photography for our wedding and we both feel we should take advantage of the opportunity. I’ve mailed a gift for your troubles. Thank you so much for your time and effort. Good luck in all your endeavors.
I honestly think you should send her a $50. This is last min and she was probably looking forward to shooting it and counting on the money. Shame on her for not having a contract but it’s a common newbie mistake.
Post # 7
I think that all of this advice is pretty much right on the mark – if you don’t have a contract with her then you’re not obligated to have her photograph your wedding. Of course it kind of stinks for her but…she should have given you a contract, and you’re allowed to change your mind!
Definitely tell her the truth and thank her for her time. I don’t know if a gift is totally necessary, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.
Post # 8
Thanks you everyone. I realized that I actually wasn’t clear in a small part of my writing. My current photographer is not the person I went to HS with, it was the girl’s photographer. I’ve never met the photographer and I’ve only contacted her via email about 5 times or so. Thank you very much for your advice 🙂
Post # 9
Besides what everyone else said I would consider letting her be a second shooter to the main photographer so that the friend could get more experience, and because you should really have more than one shooter anyway (not sure if this new photog already will have an assistant). If you could negotiate it in the right way to be able to have both, that might be ideal.
Also, you really should be meeting any prospective photographers in person before you decide to have them so you can make sure you click (no pun intended) on the wedding day. That’s very important.
Post # 10
@mrscash this is actually a recipe for disaster. They would both be positioning themselves for the best shots and be in competition to each other. Most established pros have it in their contract that no other pros can work that day or it voids the contract. You would also be saying, I like you but you’re not good enough to be #1 so I want you to be #2 to this other guy, who is your competition.
Nothing pisses me off more than showing up to a wedding and having the bride say, “this is my cousin/etc. she is starting a photo biz and is going to take photos too. The she is following me around, getting in my way and constantly asking me questions which makes my job a million times more difficult and stresses me out. Lucky it doesn’t happen very often since I do a good job at educating my clients before hand.
Post # 11
@PizzutiStudios: what you’re saying definitely makes sense, although most photogs have a second shooter but i guess that’s a different situation.
and i understand the competition factor because my photographer and videographer did NOT get along on the day of!
Post # 12
I wouldn’t worry about it. No contract. So, no obligation to her & she certainly shouldn’t feel an obligation towards you (meaning without a contract, they can still sign whoever for your date).
Just email them and tell them you switched,, If that feels too weird for you, then wait for them to contact you to tell them. If they don’t contact you, then they probably moved on anyway.
I may would email them first.
Post # 13
-I’m not sure how this is where you are but… I’m a lawyer in Australia where is also common law so I assume the basic principles are the same in the US. There is a contract – it may not be a formal contract but there is one; she e-mailed you asking if she is doing the wedding – that’s an offer. You said yes – you accepted the offer so there is a binding contract. You can try to revoke it and if she agrees to it, fine. However, she is under no obligation to accept your revocation and can hold you to the contract.
Post # 15
@movingbee: The likelihood of an amateur wedding photographer who very likely doesn’t have a business license (or pay the taxes associated with running a legit business) actually taking the OP to court without a contract is so highly unlikely that it’s not worth thinking about. At most it would be a small claims matter and the photographer would lose.
@mrscash: Suggesting two amateur photographers who don’t know each other, and both want to be the primary photographer for the OP both work together on the wedding is a really really really bad idea.
Post # 16
I agree with @PizzutiStudios:
As far as her taking you to court, if she doesn’t have a business license she could actually get in trouble for accepting your money. I highly doubt that she’d persue anything legally. However I would let her know ASAP & don’t offer her to be your 2nd shooter, it will just make things awkward. Make sure you sign a contract with your new photographer!