Post # 1
As some of you who’ve read my blog know, my FH and I are tying the knot in remote Himalayan India. I had the hardest time finding a quality photographer who would shoot our wedding there for a reasonable price, until I turned to Craigslist India.
Not long after posting the request, a few photographers contacted me. A photo/jouralist was especially interested, though he hasn’t ever shot a wedding. He seemed really eager to work with us, and he sent me half a dozen or so good shots he’d done. Because of our unique situation and my fear of never finding a photographer at all, I kind of entered a verbal agreement with him that he would shoot our wedding. Nothing has been signed or payed for, but in his mind, the job is official.
Fast forward to today: I forgot to take the Craigslist postings down, and another photographer contacted us this morning! He’s done some weddings, and sent me TONS of beautiful examples of his work. You can see them @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanjayausta.
I have NO idea what to do. Can I back out on the other photographer to go with this one? His work is sooo much better, and I can’t get the great shots out of my mind. I want him to photograph our wedding, but I feel TERRIBLE backing out on the photojournalist. What should I tell him? I don’t want to lie and say the wedding is off or something. Should I offer him some sort of monetary compesation for the previous commitment, since I don’t want to come across as a flake? Or should I suck it up and stick with him, regardless of the fact that I know somone better is out there and interested?
Photography is my no. 1 priority for the wedding, and it’s what we’re spending the most money on. I really need some outside input on this sticky situation. Thank you!
Post # 3
If photography is your number one priority, definitely don’t settle. I think the best approach is to be honest with the photojournalist and explain the situation to him plainly and in a friendly but businesslike way.
It might be nice if you offered to reimburse him for any time and expense he has already done in preparation for your wedding, but since he’s not a wedding photographer, he probably hasn’t had to turn down any other jobs by agreeing to work yours. I’d also offer to explain to him in great detail why you prefer this other photographer, if it would help him, as he may be interested in constructive feedback.
A possible option, if he really wants to work with you and you want to give him some business (or if he’s really interested in breaking into event photography) is to ask him to shoot your rehearsal dinner or to be a second shooter for the real event at a significantly discounted rate or possibly for free, depending on the situation. You’d want to run the second-shooter scenario past your new photog, to be sure it’s okay. Could be really nice to get a second artist’s take on the day.
Best of luck.
Post # 4
Thanks for the advice! Part of the problem is that either way, we have to pay to fly our photographer to our location from Delhi or Kolkata, and provide logding and food for 3 days/2 nights. So, having 2 photographers isn’t really an option for us.
We are on a pretty tight budget and want to get the most "bang for out buck," so to speak!
I guess what I’m so nervous about is cancelling and really upsetting the photojournalist. He seemed so nice and dedicated to shooting our wedding photography as best as he knew how, that I’m just beside myself thinking of backing out on him…
Post # 5
No contract and no deposit means neither of you has any obligation to the other. Tell him you’re sorry, but your plans have changed and you no longer need his services. Then, when you hire the second photographer, make sure you get a contract so you’re protected.
Post # 6
Well, it sounds like he may be disappointed, but you have to do what’s best for you, and hopefully he can be professional and understanding.
I also had to "break up" with a promising young photographer, though we hadn’t entered into a verbal agreement. He specifically wanted to know why I was choosing the other photographer and whether I would direct him to her website. He wanted to learn from the experience. I was very impressed with his professionality and would recommend that other friends check him out, even though we didn’t ultimately pick him.
Hopefully your experience will work out as well.
Post # 7
I second snmcdowell’s advice, but amend it to add make sure your contract is signed with the second photographer before bailing on the first.
Post # 8
I agree with CarolineG — your first move should be to get a signed contract with photographer #2 before you call anything off with the first photographer. Then just be honest and explain that you’ve decided to go with someone else — no contract means no obligation on either of your parts, so although it’s very kind of you to worry about his reaction, remember that he’s a professional and you don’t owe him anything. Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you personally — you don’t want to end up with any regrets once your wedding is over and the photos come in!
Post # 9
Uggh. I think I’m going to stick with the first, because since we’re doing this "the Indian way," a verbal agreement is essentially a contract. There is no such thing as a legal or binding document on these matters, and the amount of gut wrenching stress I’m feeling over this pretty much indicates I should stay on course with the photographer we’ve got. Feeling so wrong about cancelling on him is likely a sign that it’s the wrong thing for us to do. Besides, the first photographer is willing to bring an assistant AND do video for less than the second one. Video is really important to FH, so all in all, I guess it will work out just fine…
Post # 10
- Wedding: October 2020 - LDS Seattle Temple & Hotel 1000
To this photographer, you will simply be a bad memory 1 year from now. You will be looking at those wedding photos for the rest of your life. You’ll show them to your children, and then to your grandchildren, and then they will be the photos displayed after you are gone. Yes, it is not the best thing to do to him, but he won’t remember someday. You always will.
Post # 11
Tell the photojournalist that due to overwhelming response to your craigslist ad you had a very difficult decision but chose another photographer. Thank him for his time. It’s not flaky — it’s just business.
Then hire the photographer you love!
Post # 12
Yes back out on the other – it’s not like they are going to give you the thrid degree, simply send an e-mail explaining that other arrangements have been made and you won’t be needing their services. Simple.
However if you paid a deposit the chaces are that you won’t get it back. Most photogs don’t retrun them, and it’s in their contract.
Go with your gut.
Post # 13
I’m a wedding photographer so I just wanted to write for my perspective. You truly don’t owe him anything and I think you can back out on the first. Yes, he’ll be disappointed but as long as you truthfully explain it will be okay.You’re actually lucky you’re not out any cash.
You wouldn’t believe how many brides say they’re going to book you, the check’s in the mail – never to be heard from again. Others give you the run around, telling several photographers they will book them while still shopping for the best deal. IMO, those kind of deceiptful practices are far worse and a waste of everyone’s precious time.
Also, it’s important that you are comfortable with your photographer and completely trust him/her 100%. Otherwise, you can make the relationship harder, always comparing them to someone else, second guessing what they do and just not being able to relax in front of the camera. It Will show up in your pictures.
I just booked a couple last week for their Sept 08 wedding. I met them a year and a half ago at a bridal show. They didn’t think they could afford me so they went with a cheaper photographer. Well they were extremely dissappointed with their engagement photos so they cancelled him and hired me instead. I have no idea how much money they lost, but it most certainly would have been better for them to hire me initially, especially since my rates were cheaper last year. Bottom line- in the long run it could be much worse if you continue thinking about how you could have had a better photographer.
Post # 14
Seriously if your photography is your #1 priority (as it is mine!) DO NOT settle for something when you’ve found something else you like. It will be uncomfortable letting the other guy go, but it’s for the best and having no contract you don’t owe him anything. Your memories are more important than his feelings.
Post # 15
I’m not exactly sure what you mean by: "I kind of entered a verbal agreement with him" but honestly this kind of thing happens all the time. Seasoned experienced wedding photographers are used to this situation so there is really no need for you to feel too badly. They get lots of calls and emails from prospective clients who love their work and say they want to hire them. But every professional vendor who’s been around the block a few times knows that unless there is a signed contract, nothing is set in stone. This is good for BOTH the photographer and the client.
The important thing is that you’re are happy and comfortable with the vendors you choose. You want your wedding to be wonderful and memorable and full of happiness, so make sure you’re 100% happy with your vendors! Good luck!
International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers
Post # 16
I would agree with most everyone’s advice on this if you were planning a wedding inthe US. However, you are obviously more familiar with the law and customs in India than most of us are. I have no idea what the law is in India, but agree with everyone else that in the States, an oral agreement is not a contract for something of this size.
But be careful about assuming that everywhere else is the same -it’s not. And I caution you to be very careful in your wedding planning in general. It seems as if you are being careful to respect the differences while planning your wedding abroad, and I applaud you for that. Do you have family/friends there that you can ask? Or would you feel comfortable asking someone else who replied to your craigslist ad for their take on it (or even putting up a seperate craigslist ad just asking for advice)?