Throughout the investigation, it turned out that this photographer has 10 other couples that she did this to, all without their wedding memories, and all without a hope to get them back.
This is sickening, gut wrenching and all around brutal…. But the reality of it is that it happens and unfortunately more common than you would think. The industry has opened itself up to amateur competitors ever since the emergence of the DSLR and the ease of access overall. For just $2000 – $5,000 you can get yourself beautiful equipment that makes technically perfect shots. The issue lies after the wedding.
Ariane Anderson was a part time photographer who had “personal matters” affect the memories of over 22 people is a perfect case study to hire the right photography company. The fact is that you will NOT get your day back, and you will not know you’ve screwed up until it’s too late. Ariane was highly recommended and highly reviewed until her ‘personal matters’ took over and she disappeared with the funds.
This article is designed to help keep your memories safe, and to keep your photographer accountable so you can greatly reduce the risk of a magic show photographer.
Does Your Photographer Back Up at the Wedding?
About a half dozen cases I’ve heard about photographers vanishing is a result of them losing your photos based on back up errors.
Don’t Pay 100% of Your Deposits Before the Wedding
Defer the payments or split them on delivery. What’s to keep the photographer from not editing, and keeping your money? If your photography company is not going to agree to that, I would keep walking.
Don’t Hire a One-Off Shooter...
...or a part time photographer as these people have other priorities in life that can affect the final output. Do the math – If it takes 24-30 hours to edit a wedding, and they do 5 in a month + their full time jobs, + their family and kids… where will all the time come from? This is a wedding, not family photography mini sessions.
Make Sure You Meet Them at Their Studio
A Starbucks is not a place where you can go after the wedding to confront them if they disappear. If the photographer insists that they don’t have a studio to ‘keep the costs down’ look for one that can manage that small overhead, for the sake of your security and your images.
Arrange Check-In Meetings and Keep the Conversation Open
Know where they are professionally, and personally. You will feel better knowing that your shooter is still active as they approach the wedding. Following them on all social channels is a great way to stay connected.
Go with Your Gut
Getting a bad feeling? Trust it and move on. There are lots more out there that can achieve your dream wedding photos.
Check Reviews on WeddingWire or The Knot
Although this only provides historical information, you can get a feel for the company with the recommendations from past customers. Look for things like ‘timely’ and ‘communication’
Get Your Contract in Order
Make sure there is a physical address of the photographer is listed, their full name, or incorporated name, and the very clear details of the wedding. Also make sure there is a statement in the contract if they breach on timing of delivery. They charge you for late payments, what happens if they are late with your photos?
Make Sure They Have Staff...
...or other photographers that work with them. It’s easy to pick up and leave with your photos, but it’s harder to leave a business, staff, store and responsibilities. Added protection.