Some hints on what to look for (and what to avoid) when searching for a wedding photographer.
The Amateur. When I first came to Austin, Texas about 10 years ago my family (my brother, my sister, my mother and I) were all together for a limited time and it was decided that we should hire a photographer to take photographs of us as a family. We all knew that we would be moving in different directions for years to come and who knows when the opportunity might present itself again. So my mother got in contact with a photographer who promised to meet us at Zilker Botanical Gardens and capture some family images. I distinctly remember what the photographer looked like. She was slim, small framed with short curly hair. She was quiet, reserved and she photographed us with what may have been a “Rolleiflex” medium format twin lens reflex camera. At the time I didn’t know much about medium format cameras, so I can’t say what kind of camera it was for sure.
After about 45 minutes of photographing in different locations of the gardens she let us know she was finished and that she’d be calling when the photos were developed and ready to view. Little did we know, that would be the last time we would see her or our photographs again. After some exchanges of voicemails, we accepted that we wouldn’t likely ever see our photos, probably because she really didn’t know the first thing about professional photography. We had simply been her experiment in portraiture – an experiment that went horribly wrong.
The Swindler (allegedly). And this summer I read an article about another photographer in San Antonio who is accused of not delivering what he promised to his clients. The surprising part in this story is that he charges so much and is apparently a talented wedding photographer. One couple even claim that they paid him as much as $7000! Wow! According to the article the photographer in question enthusiastically charmed his clients into paying exorbitant amounts of money for wedding photography. Then when wedding day came he photographed their weddings and they never heard from him again. I personally looked him up on Wedding Wire, and there are a lot of angry brides that are mad at him for not returning their money, and most importantly, not providing them with wedding photos as promised. I would be mad too!
So you’re probably asking, “Well, how do I tell the difference between a wedding swindler and a legitimate photography business?” That can be tough to do, but the most important thing you need to know about any business is their record of service. Do they have a history of providing a quality service? Are people talking raving about how great their experience with the business was? I recommend starting your investigation by reading my article on Finding The Right Wedding Photographer. Bottom line: do your homework! If he/she sounds too good to be true, perhaps you should look elsewhere. I wish you the best of luck in your search!
Martin Whitton is a professional wedding photojournalist who lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email: AustinAmericana@gmail.com