Firing back....why your wedding photographer SHOULD go the extra mile
I need to rant. Hope you will let me?
So, I wish I could post the original thread on here, but sadly, the basis behind this blog post was a thread on a closed wedding group on Facebook which ultimately was about wedding photographers going the extra mile for their clients…..or not. The original poster was a lady who was asking whether what the photographer was saying and doing was correct or whether she was being over sensitive etc. Should the bride just pander to the photographers demands and the photographer not go the extra mile?
Well, the short answer is…..no.
Let me explain…..
So, the lady had met with the photographer. They said they were “on a budget” (remember that, we will come back to it), but didn’t state what that budget was. Said they liked the photographer when they met, agreed on a few things, liked their work and so on.
They agreed on a second shooter. All above board so far.
Then the photographer contacted them for a timeline a few weeks later nearer the wedding and as is the usual way, the timeline had changed in the day and a few things had to be changed in the schedule. This is totally normal and the prerogative of the client, of course! It’s their day.
The photographer bounced back saying they hadn’t agreed to the time line and as things had been moved back, they won’t be shooting any time after their agreed finish time of 8pm and as cake cutting was 8.05, they would charge extra.
Bride says this couldn’t be helped due to circumstances beyond their control. It also wasn’t stipulated specifically on times within the contract and was always going to be subject to change, but couldn’t have been foreseen before their meet up.
Photographer then states that second shooter won’t be able to do most of what they agreed as the location of the groom party had changed (again, due to circumstances that couldn’t be helped) and the second shooter didn’t drive and wouldn’t be able to travel between locations.
Bride is now really panicking and worried and sad and of course, deeply distressed.
Cue lots of people being indignant on both sides of the coin….some saying that an agreement had been made and that the she should suck it up and go with it as its not the wedding photographers fault. Why should they go the extra mile when they aren’t getting paid for it? Others saying that any wedding photographer worth their salt wouldn’t bat an eyelid at going the extra mile and realise that its a wedding and just go with the flow. These things happen.
Anyway, you get the idea. This got wholly blown up into a full on thread that not even the bride probably expected to see.
My stand point? That wedding photographer should hang their head in shame. But….not all the blame is laid at their feet…..this works both ways…..but the photographer isn’t coming out of this well….
I realise the bride said they were on a budget and this was the start of the issue sadly. I am not advocating that wedding photography is the most important part of the day….far from it. But people very often don’t realise it’s importance until AFTER the event, especially when things haven’t gone as well as they had expected. “Budget” always rings alarm bells for me when talking about wedding photographers. There is usually a reason why. Is it the quality of their work? Is it they are only just starting out and haven’t really had experience of all the things that can happen at a wedding? Is it because actually they are just charlatans with a camera and not really caring about what they are delivering to you?
There are a hundred different reasons where a budget photographer won’t do the job you want and few exceptions….there are some, but rare.
I see countless people asking for wedding photographers with a budget of about £500, give or take a couple of hundred pounds. Believe me, if they were doing 80 weddings a year at that price, they wouldn’t be making a living. It’s less than minimal wage when all is broken down per wedding costs to the photographer. So why are they in it? Are they “professionals”, or what we call “weekend warriors”….a person with a nice camera who knocks out run of the mill photography without much care to take the pocket money? Is this what a client wants?
I realise again this might sound very dismissive of people on a budget and of course I get that not everyone can afford an expensive, established, high quality wedding photographer with a good reputation and great work. But, I would say if you ARE on a budget, then all the more reason to do even MORE research into hiring your wedding photographer! Try and find those exceptions I talked about. There aren’t many, but you might find someone who is exceptionally talented, is just starting out and needs the work for their portfolio. They are there….we all started like that at some point. But…..and this is the crux…..no guarantee they will do the job you want still. Experience is everything. Do they have the right insurance? Are they equipped with backups in case of issues? Do they know where or when to be to get the right shots through the day? There is so much in a wedding that that experience is hugely important.
So what really am I saying? Your photographer should be this:
Good at what they do
Verified that they are good at what they do by the quality of their work and the reviews they get
Service they are offering you
Are they willing to go the extra mile.
Let me give you some examples…….
The last one is for me, shot at Bassmead Manor Barns is the most important reason. It’s why I don’t do an “by hours” package. I offer just one, unlimited hours as then I can be prepared for any eventuality, I can be there as long as I need to make sure I get all the shots you and I would want. It gives me leeway to be able to rest and to take time out with the couple and not rush the job. I get extra shots they don’t expect. And just like this shot above, you might even get images you didn’t expect and the couple love you forever for it later!
Not all wedding photographers do this of course, but the good ones will do something similar, even if its limited by hours etc. Every good photographer knows that all circumstances will change on a wedding day, all timelines are really very loose and subject to change. There is always something that will happen. The photographer has to be prepared for this and go with it and just get on with their job, even help if they can. Why wouldn’t they? It’s the couples day, not the photographers. The photographers beer is still in the fridge when they get home, so no rush really!
I would imagine there are a lot of “budget” wedding photographers who don’t even consider this. I suspect the wedding photographer in the Facebook thread is one of them.
Don’t scrimp on your photographer. Get the very best you can afford. Don’t regret it later on when you haven’t got what you wanted, or things go wrong, or they aren’t the person they seemed or the work isn’t very good…..
I had one couple who booked for 2020 who originally met me at a wedding fair with a low budget, but we got on really really well. But for the budget they were asking, I had to politely say I couldn’t really help them and I wished them good luck with their search. It was sad and I realised they were not going to get what they wanted for the budget they had. But that’s life. The photography was clearly very important to them.
10mins later, they returned and said they had had a chat and they really really wanted me. How were they going to afford me?
They said their cake wasn’t that important to them. They weren’t going to bother and just go to the supermarket and get a small cake to cut and the money they saved could then be spent to afford me!
I nearly welled up! What an honour and what a lovely thing to say! I didn’t ask them, I didn’t expect them to do this….it was entirely their decision and one that moved me to think it was me they wanted they would do this.
So, there are ways and means of getting the important things for your wedding, not just the wedding photographer. If you really want it, you will find a way.
Sadly, I have no idea what happened to the original bride in the Facebook thread and I have no idea if they have still got their original photographer. But if they have, I suspect things are going to be just that little bit more awkward now……but that photographer….wow, shameful behaviour.
The wedding is yours, not the photographers. Make sure you choose wisely…..please?
Taking bookings for 2020 and 2021, so if you want a reliable, friendly, fun photographer that DOES got the extra mile, then get in touch and lets have a good natter!