After just reading yet another discussion about unprofessional wedding photographers, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some education on booking a wedding photographer. This advice not only applies to booking wedding photographers but also other suppliers and vendors in the wedding industry!
Firstly, do your checks before booking a wedding photographer
I know you’ve heard it before because I’m constantly reading about this in bridal Facebook Groups and hearing about it on ACA. The fact that you need to do checks is appalling but it doesn’t change the fact… you need to. The very first thing you can do is see if the business you are considering is a registered business. Jump on the ABN lookup and type in the business name. You can see straight away if they have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and if it’s currently active. If they don’t have one or it’s expired, stay clear. Every legitimate business MUST have an ABN.
Next, look up reviews about the business
Check any reviews you can find. Check their Facebook page, Google+ and any other reviews that come up in Google when you search their name. If there are warning bells, you’ll probably find it in this search either because you found something that doesn’t look good OR they haven’t turned on their reviews. Make sure you look at reviews before booking a wedding photographer.
Something else I would like to mention here though is that some businesses have turned off reviews for legitimate reasons so just be careful with judgments. You can also generally tell about the quality of a business by how they respond to their negative reviews too.
Have a look at their business website
Before booking a wedding photographer make sure you take a look at their website. Don’t only go off their social media pages. Does their website give you enough information? Does it look legitimate? Does it have quality examples of past work? Does it show FULL galleries, and if not are you able to access full galleries after you contact them?
What’s the communication like?
When you contact the company – Are they slow to respond? Do they seem pushy? Are they only interested in your payment? If you get any bad vibes at all stay away! Go with your gut, and get it right the first time.
Meet the photographer
Before booking a wedding photographer make sure you meet the person who will be photographing your big day. It sounds silly, but some companies do outsource the work, so sometimes you may get a different photographer than whom you’ve met. You need to make sure that they’re right for the job and that you gel well. They could have the most amazing photos online, but if you don’t feel comfortable with them in person then you shouldn’t book them, it’s that simple. You need to clique… your photographer spends almost the entire day with you, so you should ensure that you enjoy your day by making sure you get along. Also when you meet, go through more of their work (they should have brought some albums with them) and ask them questions about the process before, during and after the wedding and what can be expected.
Before you hand over any deposit
Have they got a contract in place? Every professional business, particularly in the wedding industry will have a contract. If they don’t, find someone who does or ask them why they don’t. A contract can protect both parties involved if something (god forbid) does go wrong. I’ll say it again, before handing over any money or booking a wedding photographer make sure they have a contract in place and make sure you’re comfortable with what’s in the contract.
It honestly breaks my heart hearing stories about unprofessional photographers who end up ruining the memories of couples’ days, and I truly hope that as an industry we can band together and correct the horror stories that I so frequently hear, so couples aren’t stuck in these bad situations. Wedding should be fun, not full of stress and anxiety!