I don't think I have photographed a wedding on a hotter day. The heat and humidity was through the roof and all of us felt like we were baking in an oven.
Kyla has worked with me to write up this blog post for brides as a warning to really research your photographer before booking. What could have been a disaster one week out from her wedding day and no photographer turned into one of the best days of her life.
Read on to learn just how important it is to book a professional photographer who will be of service to you and leave you stress free on your wedding day.
Ok Kyla, take it away.
My Wedding Story
Our wedding experience was wonderful. We had set our wedding date with 3 months time to get ready and immediately began looking for a photographer.
We had booked a photographer that does great work and gave them a deposit. But in the rush of the moment, we did not realize this photographer wanted full payment before the wedding.
We were ok with paying half up front but no one should pay in full prior to the wedding before even seeing pictures.
So when they wouldn't work with us to do payment afterwords we decided to go our separate ways and they refused to give us our deposit back. They would not work with us at all.
So with a week to go before our wedding day we had no photographer. We were using Martino and Benny's for our groom's vests and jackets. Martino was also able to provide me with a wedding dress. I found one I liked that he altered to make it something I loved.
After we told Martino our problems he pointed us in the direction of Curtis who I called on the Monday before the wedding, he just so happened to be free :)
After talking to him he was more than helpful and understanding. He came and photographed our wedding without even meeting us before the big day. He was fine with our full payment after the wedding when we meet again to see our pictures.
Curtis catered to us 100%.
What we wanted he did and did a fantastic job.
Our first photographer told us it could be up to 6 months to get to see our pics. Curtis was done in less than a week. He worked well with my husband who really didn't want a photographer and still managed to get wonderful shots of him. He worked with us and the crazy heat we had as well.
I would definitely recommend him to everyone. He worked with what he had and gave us gorgeous pictures.
As for everything else to do with our wedding it went smoothly.
I found a picture of the flowers I wanted and took them to Tammy at Stonewall Florists. Not only was she cheaper than most places in Winnipeg she matched the flowers exactly to what I wanted. She delivered them to our home on the wedding day and I had zero stress with that.
Our gorgeous wedding cake was made by my cousin Michelle Long who made it just like we wanted it.
Our food was catered by Danny's Whole Hog who served a delicious meal and great desserts.
We phoned Aime's Music Services on the thursday before we got married and they were more than happy to help us out. Again, they came to the house without any prior payment or deposits and stayed later than we asked because he was having a good time.
We used Chris at Alluring Designs for our make-up artist and she was very friendly and great at what she does. As you see she made us look beautiful.
We had a great day. One that will be remembered for many years to come.
Everyone we have mentioned here I would strongly recommend to every couple.
The more relaxed the bride and groom are, the easier it is for everyone to work together making the experience all the better.
Stress free and a great experience. What more could a bride want for her wedding photographer?
This is an interesting story because it highlights a common business practice in wedding photography that, like Kyla, I have always had a problem with.
Demanding full payment before the wedding day, or worse, on the day itself.
No one should ever pay in full for a product or service yet to be delivered.
If you are a professional photographer, you work with people, you don't screw them over.
This is a pretty simple misunderstanding and could have easily been worked out, but that is not what happened. This photographer had the chance to demonstrate understanding and flexibility as a business owner but decided instead to fall back on a legal contract and simply skip on the wedding entirely.
This photographer could still have shot this wedding and made money. But instead, she/he choose to stick to the LETTER of a contract instead of honouring the SPIRIT of common sense and decency.
Common sense says...
No one should pay in full up front for anything, especially a service like wedding photography.
It's only natural that with a quick wedding, the couple may not have been paying close attention to know the full terms of payment as stipulated in the contract. We are all human and fallible at times.
Customer service says...
Be flexible with your contract. As long as you get paid when the couple gets their wedding photographs, does it really matter when or how? That is what a deposit is for, to secure some form of payment if a couple breaches the contract.
Kyla and Adam even suggested, as would be fair and just, a 50% payment - fully half the amount remaining - with the last half paid upon delivery of the photographs (apparently 6 months later).
What professional photographer could turn up their nose at such common sense terms of compromise?
At the end of the day, wedding photography is a service industry.
We are here to serve our clients, not give them stress and grief on the day they need it the least.
I think far too many couples when looking for a wedding photographer only think in terms of price and photos, not service and relationship. A signed contract does not guarantee trust or a good working relationship.
Only character and integrity do.
What you want to research is not the wedding photographer's contract, but the character and integrity of the photographer and studio in question.
Do they insist that the contract is everything?
Do they refer to the contract constantly?
Are they clear about how the balance of payment is to be made before you sign a contract?
Are they hesitant in any way to conduct business by their given word or yours - i.e. primarily on trust and faith?
What you focus on in life becomes who you are. A photographer who focuses on contracts and legal terms will most likely deal with you in the same manner when a problem arises. So be prepared ahead of time to be wrangling over contract terms with a lawyer if there is ever a disagreement between you both.
Photographers would do well to remember that karma is a universal rule.
A photographer who falls back on a legal contract to screw over a client... just might be screwing over a client with deep pockets to hire as many lawyers, for as long as it takes, to get their money back PLUS interest!
Now lets look at some beautiful wedding photographs.