What happens when you lose your photographer

Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Recently I received an email from a soon-to-be-bride with a dilemma. Here’s her story:

Dear Rachelle,

I'm very upset right now. I got engaged a while before my cousin. I have had my wedding planned for over a year now for June 23, 2018. She just recently got engaged last summer and set her date for sometime late October. Well, she is good at photography and agreed to do my wedding. The only fee was to pay to have the pictures printed. That's so cheap and took a really big burden off of me!! Well, because they are "so in love" they bumped their wedding up to the week before mine so now she can't do my pictures!! She knew about this since I set the date and knew I couldn't afford a photographer... I now have to hope I find someone in my friends list that had a hidden talent for photography or go with crappy photos... or should I move my date back a whole month?

Sincerely, Upset. 

This is definitely a difficult situation and while it may not necessarily be a cousin, it can happen where a photographer or another vendor may not be available at the last minute.  That's why it's important to have a contract and to read the fine lines of a contract, especially in relation to cancellations.  But for a friend or family member agreeing to be your photographer and then backing out the last minute, it can be incredibly frustrating.  And of course, this situation is even more difficult because she has moved up her wedding date a week before yours.  

The first thing I want you to know, it's okay to be angry.  This is incredibly frustrating and if screaming or having a good cry session will help you feel better, I say go for it.  Don't hold it in.  But once you've let all your anger out, it's time to get busy. I also want you to know that everything will work out for the best.  Your cousin may have been the most affordable option but that doesn't mean she is the only option for you.  Here are a couple of suggestions to start:

  • Look at local photographers. Sometimes photographers have assistants that may be starting out and may be willing to do your wedding at a discount
  • Look at local colleges. Same thing as above where a local college student may be willing to do your wedding for free as part of a class assignment or for a testimonial
  • Ask other friends or family members. There may be a friend of a friend who’s an aspiring photographer who may be willing to photograph your wedding for free
  • Look at city classes. There are classes your city offers where residents can take photography lessons. Photographers in those classes may be willing to do your photos for free or at a discounted rate
  • If you have a wedding planner ask them for a recommendation.  If you don't have a wedding planner ask your venue if they have a preferred vendor list or if any of your other vendors like your florist or DJ to see if they know of any photographers. 
  • Rearrange your budget and pay for someone to do your wedding. There are lot of photographers out there that do different packages for different rates.  This will take time as you'll have to find your local photographers, interview them, and find one that you feel understands you and your wedding vision. 
  • Forgo a photographer and do something untraditional. Before smart phones and DSLR cameras, back when professional photographers were the only ones that would have the multi lens and high-def capabilities, people would use disposal cameras. They would place a couple disposable cameras at guest tables and have guests take photos all night long and then collect the cameras at the end of the night. It’s completely untraditional and a throwback idea but it would be a fun spin to your wedding and your guests will enjoy it 

These are just a few ideas for you to think about that can help start you off in searching for a photographer.  I wouldn't really recommend moving your wedding day, especially if you have your other vendors already set for June 23rd and if your guests know that June 23rd is your wedding day.  It's easier to find one vendor rather than asking everyone to change the date.  Not to mention, vendors and the venue may already be booked. 

The important thing to keep in mind as you start the search for your photographer is that the photos help commemorate the day and allow you to look back on your wedding; however, they are not the reason for your wedding. The day is about you and your partner. Make it everything you can. And if you think out of the box for ways to make your photographs happen, you may be surprised what the results may turn out.  I wish you the best of luck and I hope you let us know how it goes. 

Help! My photographer isn't listening to me

Photo by  Tong Nguyen van  on  Unsplash

Recently I had a client ask me for some advice regarding her photographer.  She booked a package deal for both her engagement and wedding photos.  During the engagement shoot she noticed that her photographer wasn't really listening to the types of photos they had talked about during their consultation call.  And when she received the engagement photos she was incredibly disappointed with the results.  Because she already paid a portion of the balance she didn't want to change photographers, but had no idea how to make her photographer listen to her.

Here are some of the recommendations I gave her that can hopefully help you if you find yourself in the same situation:

Make a list. Write down what's bothering you and where you feel you and your photographer aren't seeing eye-to-eye.  Then leave the list alone for a day or two and then come back to the list and either edit things out or add more things in.  Giving yourself a day away from your list (which may have been written when your emotions were high) will allow you to take a step back and look at the situation more constructively.

Start with what you like. Start with the photos you do like.  What do you like about them?  What part of working with the photographer are you enjoying? 

Then discuss what isn't working for you. What didn't you like about the photos?  What aspects of the session were not to your liking? Was it the poses?  How long it was taking to get a shot?  What was it about the photographer that wasn't working for you?

Move to a constructive conversation. How can you work together? Where can the compromise come in? What can you do so that you not only get the photographs you want, but also enjoy yourself in the process.  

Take a stand.  You don't need to be mean or rude but you can definitely get your point across.  Remember this is your wedding day.  You can always double check your contract and see what it says about a refund or if there's another photographer at the studio, maybe you can switch photographers.  And if you have a wedding coordinator, they can definitely run interference for you with your photographer on your wedding day to help move things along and be an additional voice to support you in getting your vision and the photos you want. 

And above all, make sure you talk to your photographer.  Holding this in or venting to anyone who will listen isn't constructive and won't help you get the perfect photos for your wedding day.  Make sure you talk to your photographer and explain how you are feeling.  It could be a simple misunderstanding that can easily be resolved with a conversation.

Do you have any other tips?  Comment below!