It was so good to hear Jeremy Vine of Radio 2 doing a piece on the hazards associated with booking a cheap wedding photographer or videographer. This followed on from the emergence of yet another horror story from a disappointed bride. He interviewed Sarah Haywood, a wedding designer and wedding planner, who gave some great advice. It is sad to hear about wedding moments that have been lost forever, because a non-professional was hired and I do feel for the couples who have been through this, but there is a lot you can do to avoid landing in the same terrible situation.
From a photographer’s point of view it is really good that there have been so many articles in the media over the last few months about this sort of thing. Many people have gone out and bought a fairly decent camera and are advertising themselves as wedding photographers, often as a second job to earn extra pennies. The recession has made it worse – everyone is looking to make extra money and others have lost their jobs and are looking for different ways to earn a living. As a result they are advertising ridiculously low prices that, if you work it out, would be impossible to sustain a business once you’ve paid, tax, insurance (professional indemnity, public liability and of course equipment), accountant, web design and hosting fees, marketing materials, advertising, etc. Not to mention equipment, including a full set of back up equipment, printing costs, album costs and so on. In addition there is so much more to it than just turning up on the day and taking the photographs. A wedding involves 40 – 60 hours of work.
The topic is discussed ad nauseum on professional photography forums, because it has had such a bad impact on the industry. No professional photographer would consider photographing a wedding for a paying client without the necessary skills and experience. For example a brilliant professional landscape photographer cannot suddenly become a wedding photographer without training – composing the image, using the correct settings and clicking the shutter is the easy bit. The pressure on the photographer to get it right instantly regardless of circumstances is immense. All this, while working to a tight deadline, managing crowds politely and assertively in whatever weather and the inevitable possibility that something will interfere with the planned timing of the day, to produce photographs that will amaze the bride and groom takes experience.
So, while my sympathy lies with those who have been caught out, I am very glad to see these stories being reported so that brides and grooms are better prepared when selecting a photographer.
Your photographs and your memories are the only part of your wedding day that you will keep forever…and your memories of the little things will fade without the photographs to keep it all alive.
To hear the discussion click on the link below, select from the list of items, then fast forward to minute 30:52. Jeremy Vine – wedding photography & videography
I wrote a blog with advice on choosing a photographer – you might find it useful: Choosing the right wedding photographer for you.