(Closed) Serious question: Do not hire anyone starting out? Ummm…

posted 5 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
2007 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I hired a wedding photographer that was just starting our. We paid about $1700 (most photographers in our area start around $2300) for her package including engagements, and ended up with just over 1000 pictures of our wedding, all of which I love.  We interviewed her and talked about her past career, and found out she had worked under more experienced photographers for several years.  Once we felt comfortable that she had the same vision as us and she had a very compatible personality with us, we went for it.  We still think of her as the best vendor find we had!

Post # 4
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I agree with you. At some point someone has to hire these people so they gain experience. All my vendors are super talented but not so much experienced. They have done weddings, but their not seasoned vets, this is how I was able to get such a great rate. Kijiji was such a valuable resource. I found some fabulous vendors and their rates were great too!! I’m very happy with the people we are working with.

Post # 5
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I think it depends on how much you need from them, what your budget is, and what your alternatives are.

I was NOT skimping on a DJ. They run the reception and can be a make-it or break it position. I wanted someone with a reputation on the line and lots of reviews. The other alternatives (iPod playlist, cheesy/unreliable vendors) weren’t good.

However, I DID get a day-of coordinator who is just starting out, and I worked out a trade + cash with her. She is doing a PHENOMENAL job. But, all I needed out of her was to arrive and setup my centerpieces the day of. However, she is going way above and beyond, and now that I see she’s trustworthy, I added other things for her to do. My alternative was to have NO day-of coordinator. So I had low expectations and the alternative was unappealing – I wasn’t going to pay thousands.

I think some people starting out can be good as long as you are very involved, have clear expectations, and it is not a make-it or break-it job. I wouldn’t pick ALL people starting out, and if you do pick lots of people just starting out, you better be prepared to be very hands on.

Post # 6
603 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@alotlikelove:  I am hiring a fairly new person trying to build a portfolio…her work so far looks good and if I didnt hire her I was going to rely on guest shots….well when I went on here saying how happy I was that I found this great girl etc boy did I ever get a rude awakening!! Mostly I might add from actual proff photographers!…of course you are right, everyone needs to start somewhere and with a budget etc you would be silly to go over it for a more expensive photographer etc…I am in my 40s and not at all delusional with the big fairy tale wedding crap that a lot of people get caught up in…fine if you are very well off etc but stupid if you still havent bought a house or are going into debt because of the wedding…anyhow I will probably be in the firing line for saying this but do I really give a shit? Nope;)

Post # 7
407 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I agree with you.  I’ve started ignoring much of what I view as negative and unhelpful chatter.  I also don’t think many people on here have a similar vision to what I have, so I guess I ignore a great deal of what I see on these pages.


Post # 8
851 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I paid 700 for a student photog and ghee photos were amazing.

so much passion for her work too, and a thirst to prove herself. no regrets,

Post # 9
1177 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I think if you generally have good judgement about people, and you meet a vendor whom you have a great feeling about despite their relative lack of experience, then it’s kind of silly not to hire them. It also could depend on your tolerance for hiccups and minor issues. If you’re completely Type A and can’t stand  even the slightest mistake or surprise, then don’t hire the inexperienced person, because the chances are much higher there will be some road bumps.

Post # 10
12247 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

Our photog has only shot like 10 weddings, so he was half the price of some other vendors because he’s building his name!

I wouldn’t have picked a “casual photographer” or someone who had only done ONE wedding, but we feel pretty comfortable about him!

Post # 11
154 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

We’re doing this with our photographer!  I found her on Craigslist. She does photography part time and is a Stay-At-Home Mom.  She’s done lots of couple and family portrait sessions, only one other wedding. But, we hit it off, love her style, she’s been phenomenal to work with and because she’s wanting to build her wedding portfolio she gave us a smoking good deal.   There are a couple caveats though:

Before we found her, we were discussing asking a few friends to take pictures, there will only be 30 guests at the wedding, we’re very laid back, having a few great photos is important, but personally I don’t need or want 1000 gorgeous pictures. 


Post # 12
85 posts
Worker bee

I don’t care if someone has a lot of experience or not (although experience helps). I just care about their work, and really their vision for my wedding photos. It’s most important to me that I pick someone with a similar style to what I’m expecting because I do not want to be disappointed.

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


Oh man.  There is literally so much I can say about this.

First of all… I don’t HAVE to judge on price alone.  Looking at many, many photographers’ websites for bees when I have been trying to help them find someone has taught me that there is a VERY DISTINCT AND REAL quality difference between a higher priced professional and someone starting out that is charging much less.  The work of the amateur photographer is visibly much worse every single time.

You may just have to take my word for that, at least to a certain extent, because you may not be able to recognize the difference in quality in quite the same way as I can, since, being a photographer, I know exactly what to look for.  Of course, the differences are often evident to someone who doesn’t know anything about photography too.  They may not quite be able to put their finger on what it is that’s different, but they can tell too.  There is something lacking from an inexperienced photog’s work, and often, many things.  If they were delivering results like a top notch pro, they’d be charging prices like one, guaranteed.  So that’s another big reason why price is a huge tip off.  Because it’s impossible to make a living charging less than starting market value for professional photographers.

Second, and this is really the most important part.  I HAVE BEEN THERE.  I know what the quality of work was like that I did as a photographer that was starting out, and it was frankly embarassing compared to what I can do now. I was that Craigslist photog, I was that starting out photog, I was that inexperienced photog. 

And…. I did not know what the heck I was doing. 

That bears repeating.  I probably had no business shooting weddings.  I messed up.  I got things wrong.  And this was after having been a talented, successful portrait photographer first.  There is SO MUCH learning that has to go on before someone can be a good wedding photographer.  Technical skills, different equipment, posing, how to capture candid moments well, how to handle unexpected situations, terrible lighting, etc, etc, etc.

SO NO.  Someone who is inexperienced CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT go out and produce professional quality results.  Most of the time an inexperienced amateur photographer is going to suck.  The best you can hope for is getting “ok” or “passable” results, and even that is not guaranteed.  Please understand…. I say this not because I’m an evil pro who is scared that the amazing amateur photographers are going to take all my business!  That is laughable, because, as I said, they all really do suck… and brides who want professional quality results are always going to hire a pro.  Someone that is going to hire me is not going to be considering just having an amateur do it instead and run the risk of terrible results. 

So why do I say it?  Why do I tell brides to hire an experienced pro?  There are so many reasons it would take me ages to list them… but the bottom line is, BECAUSE I have been there so recently and I know all the ways that I screwed up in the beginning.  If a bride really cares about her photos, she NEEDS to hire someone that has the experience and expertise to capture them WELL.  And that is not and WILL NEVER BE an inexperienced amateur.  Regardless of what anyone says. 

I’m about protecting the BRIDES who want quality photos.  I’m not on this board dispensing advice because it benefits ME in some way… it doesn’t.  And, I’m also not about the “poor aspiring photographers that just need someone to take a chance on them.”  I was that photographer and believe me I have not forgotten what it was like.  I have not forgotten what it feels like to feel absolutely horrible when I was starting out and I screwed something up and delivered subpar results.  Believe me… I don’t wish those results on anyone, and hiring the inexperienced photog is just about guaranteeing that that is what you will get.

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

Its the ones that just low ball and undercut, they dont even charge a fair price. There is a big difference with being a newbie charging a fair price for your experience and a total low baller. Being new does not mean you have to have a rock bottom price that under minds the industry as a whole. Being new does not mean you have no talent either, just be fair not a low baller. Even when I was new I never charged less than $1000. I was still worth that even with little experience. I worked hard, cared, and charged a fair price for my experience. 

Personally I really dont have issues with anyone as I mind my own business but, I certainly get it. I also find some spend too much time worrying about what others charge, etc. Get over it and handle your own business.

Post # 15
2777 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

We have a contract with a new photographer.  He had some decent photos and worked with us.  We are also getting two for the price of one which is less than 1000 dollars. I think the normal price for photography in my area starts at 2K. We had a very limited budget, the guy seems great though and we’re excited.  I’m hoping the work he does for us will help him break into the main market as well. 🙂

Post # 16
1319 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

It always depends on how important something is to you. I wouldn’t compromise on a caterer or coordinator, because i need things to be smooth and stress free, and i need the food to be good. I didn’t care so much about photography (weird, but I didn’t). I just wanted better than average pictures at a low price. I got a girl who’d never shot a wedding before, but had been seriously working on a portfolio and had shadowed a few. I got lucky, I think I paid her $500, got her all day, included E-pics, and the pictures were great. She’s since gone pro, and I don’t regret it at all.

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