Hey there Awesome Bride - or Groom - or Planner!
Can we have a Come to Jesus Moment? There is a super scary trend in Wedding Photography happening everyday, and awesome people like YOU are getting burned. Bad.
So, here's what is going down -
You are searching for a photographer for your wedding. Your budget is so tight it's squeaking, and then the clouds part and the angels sing! You just landed on a photographer's page with amazing images and they are SUPER CHEAP! No, I mean you just can't believe your luck!
So, in your haste to snag this photography guru, you book no questions asked and then months down the road you get your images back. Only, something is wrong.
None of what you've been given looks like the images on the photographers website. As a matter of fact, you're finding it hard to believe that these images and the ones you saw were even taken by the same person!
*cue the DUN - DUN - DUNNNN! (Also if you love The Croods like I do, imagine Belt.)
You've just been had by a Fraud. And it is happening - every day.
There are some awesome sites out there like stopstealingphotos.com That are trying their best to keep up with this mess. They are calling would be photographers out left and right, for stealing! Yes, you heard me. STEALING.
These "photographers" are wanting so badly to break into wedding photography that they are willing to con you and jeopardize their standing in the community at the same time. What happens with this scary trend in wedding photography, is these photographers slap up "the kind of work I would like to do" on their websites, only they aren't telling the client YOU; that these are images they have not taken. They aren't telling you that this is a wedding shot by a seasoned pro - by someone who understood what to do when the light got tricky, or had the equipment in place to handle the No Flash rule at your church - the one that also wouldn't let them within 5 feet of the altar.
There is nothing wrong with being a new photographer looking to break into weddings. We all do it. We all have had to do it. But there is a right and a wrong way.
Stealing and then coning you into believing they can produce a product they have no way of making is not the way.
So - What can you do to protect yourself from this scary trend in wedding photography?
I'm glad you asked.
1. Look for Consistency
All photographers develop their own style of shooting and editing. Take a look around. If you see differences in the images you are looking at, there is a good possibility that the images are from different photographers.
2. Ask to see a Complete Wedding
I don't care how it happens, if a photographer shoots a wedding they get it from beginning to end. I have shot elopements (Just 2 people and the officiate) and guess what - there is a beginning, middle, and end to the photo story. Ask for a complete wedding. There is absolutely no reason that a photographer should not be able to show it to you.
3. Check their Reviews or ask for References
Guess what? Vendors network at events. It happens. Know what else - happy clients tell one another. Look for their online reviews. Ask for references if there are not many. I personally only have 12 recorded online reviews on wedding wire - I've sent double the emails for requests - but not everyone will answer them. However, there are reviews by others on Facebook as well - so look around, somewhere, someone is talking about your photographer. If you can't find anything at all, be worried.
4. That brings us to - Stalk them , Check their social media
I don't know a single business owner that doesn't have their name out everywhere possible. Check their social media. You should find consistency in the work you are seeing on all platforms. Look at Facebook, Google+, Twitter,Instagram - make it a priority to check up on them. As a matter of fact - hang around for a bit, you can learn a lot about them by how they conduct themselves. Maybe - even if their images are legit, they aren't a good match for you! Just a thought.
5. Google Them
Yep, I am dead serious. Google their name. If they are online, you will see where. And guess what - if they've ever been caught stealing photos you can bet there is a good chance you will find out about it.
6. Pay attention to geographical clues
Unless your photographer advertises as a destination photog - seeing a fabulous Parisienne wedding in Utah might not be kosher! Look around, dig, you're about to hand over thousands of dollars to this person, make them accountable to be who they say they are!
7. When all else fails - Trust Your Gut
I know you want to stick to your budget - I know that weddings are crazy expensive and hectic ( they don't have to be, I promise.) But - if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So, trust your gut. If you get the skeevies from your photographer, it might be time to find a new one!