Imagine an Auto Mechanic performing open heart Surgery? Or a Tax Account filling in for an Aerospace Technologist for a critical NASA mission?
Or even worse, a guy or girl who have just purchased their first Digital Point and Shoot camera from the local BestBuy store in anticipation of Shooting his first Wedding Gig the following Saturday morning. The thoughts would send any sane man or woman running for the hills overcome with grief and concern in respect to their own Wedding. And rightfully so. So would I!
The crux of this Article is to put your mind at rest and provide you, my dear Readers with an opportunity to weed out the bad or questionable Wedding Photographers that not only permed the Toronto Wedding Industry but perhaps your local Wedding Industry as well.
As a Toronto Wedding Photographer who has photographed countless Weddings and served a multitude of happy young Couples, I will hope to provide you with the best possible tools to ensure that come your Wedding Day that you have one less thing to worry about in respect to your long anticipated Wedding photos!
Red Flag # 1. Don't Budget Shop!
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times to my Customers. Shopping for your Toronto Wedding Photographer is NOT the time to budget shop. Wedding Photographers are a product of training, experience and Customer Service. We have spent years in most cases to perfect our abilities both technically and socially.
That same arsenal of experience and training does come with a cost. But it’s an investment in your Wedding that pays off in hefty dividends in respect to your Photographer’s performance and on the floor experience.
Sure, you can go cheap… just Google Cheap Wedding Photographer but is it a gamble you really want to take? After all it is your Wedding right. This is one thing you DON’T want to mess up!
Red Flag # 2. Poor Or Ineffective Communication.
Now here is a word that I want to spell it in all caps. COMMUNICATION or the lack of communication is most certainly gonna be a huge problem. Yes, I do understand body language and agreeing to implied or non verbal communication but the beauty of the English language which is so rich and diverse in it’s own respect should never, ever be overlooked.
Your Wedding is important. Important enough that you’re willing to spend upwards to three Month’s worth of rent or Mortgage to retain that precious Wedding Photographers near me commodity.
So please ensure that your Toronto Wedding Photographer or Photographers and that includes any Second Shooters or back up Wedding Photographers can properly communicate and express his/her’s intentions, abilities and what they can and cannot offer you for such a Big Day!
Your Wedding Shoot or Bridal Photos is not something to mess around with and the Good Lord Above knows that there is no second chances to photograph a Wedding so it better be done right the first time. All of the details of your Wedding Day or Big Day must be clearly understood and documented to ensure smooth sailing on your day of days!
Early Red Flag Indications.
1. Does your Wedding Photographer simply just sit by quietly during your initial Consultation? Seemingly distracted or gazing out the window as he/she absently nods their head from time to time to express a waning or insincere interest in what your saying?
2. Does your Wedding Photographer take any notes during your initial meeting or Consultation? Did he/she even bring a pen and paper or some other means of taking notes during your discussion. There is gonna be a lot to discuss here. Details that might very well come out during your initial Consultation that might now be brought out later on during the length of this undertaking.
3. Does your Wedding Photographer interject and ask for details or clarifications on what you are telling him/her. They should. Your paying them and a pretty penny at that. I don’t know about other Toronto Wedding Photographers but with any new Shoot that I’m considering taking on there is always a million questions that I’m asking. Now is the period of time which I refer to as the ‘Discovery’ stage of our initial conversations. Let’s make the best of it!
Red Flag # 3. Find Someone Who Match Your Style.
This should be an obvious one to consider. If everything else in this Article up to this point matches up to your satisfaction do ensure that whomever your retain for your Bridal Shoot matches your personal style?
Are you the Outdoorsy type of person? Then a Wedding Engagement Shoot at the corner of Bay and King Street, downtown Toronto may not be your thing. If you a Downtown type of girl and guy and you grew up in that Environment, then that same Bay and King Street corridor might just be your thing. Finding yourself out on the Humber River wet lands might just not be the right fit for you. Or the mosquitoes in the early Spring.
Each to their own so they say. But here is the but…. if your Wedding Photographer is not willing to consider your wants and needs and where you would like to portray your Engagement images then your probably not the perfect fit!
Red Flag # 4. Does Your Photographer Take A Personal Interest?
This is a big one for me as a Professional. Does your Wedding Photographer who is not only tasked with taking a number of beautiful Wedding photos either at your Pre Wedding Shoot and hopefully at your actual Wedding take a personal interest in your Wedding or is it just another job for them?
As a Professional, I personally love what each and every opportunity has to offer. Toronto is just such a diverse Culture with it’s multitude of ethnic Communities and people that no two Weddings are the same.
If you’ve requested or provide any sort of Guidelines, a wish list for your Engagement Shoot or your actual Wedding then your Wedding Photographer of choice should be a little more then mildly interested in what you want. In short, it’s your Wedding. Your calling the shoots. If your Photographer does not show or take an interest in your Marriage Photography then it might be time to consider looking else where for a Wedding Photographer near me that is more then just a list of Wedding Photography Packages on a Website.
Red Flag # 5. Do Your Research | Background Checks Are A Must!
Now a thorough background check may not necessarily include a Criminal Background Check but it should include a series of simple checks that you could do. Put on your Investigator’s cap and your half way there. If your Wedding Day Photographer claims to have been around for any length of time, then he or she has probably generated more then one Record or listing for their Service.
Possible red flags might include but are not limited to…
1. Frequent address changes. What would seven address changes in 9 years tell you?
2. Phone numbers. Why do you find 3 completely different phone numbers for the same guy?
3. Google Reviews. Why is your Photographer’s Google My Business Reviews so generic.
Multiple address changes may indicate that they are running from someone or somebody. An usual number of telephone number changes is just as bad. As any SMB (Small to Medium Sized Business) in Ontario it takes forever to establish yourself. Multiple address changes and Contact phone number changes should be a red flag to be taken seriously.
Looking for further verifications and/or confirmations that your suspicions might be correct?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter all offer Business Suite upgrades to their Applications and each one of them will offer your Bridal Photographer an opportunity to add their work address, emails and telephone number so they may be found quickly in this ever growing digital World. Do those same addresses, email and telephone match up? One should hope so if this guy or girl is legit! If not, you’ve got a problem!
In respect to skimpy, awkward to just downright questionable Google Reviews. It’s not hard to generate any number of Google Gmail address and just photo bomb per say your own Google Reviews.
In contrast, if you’ve done a great job for someone they are gonna take the 5 minutes it requires to leave their Wedding Photographer a nice couple of lines to help them out with their own growth and future development. It’s just Human Nature to want to pass along good news and say what a wonderful job you did.
Red Flag # 6. Poor Record Keeping | Studio Management Software.
While most Professional Wedding Photographer’s do keep excellent records there are some that simply don’t. This in itself is another perfect example of a bad Photographer and a huge, glaring red flag to be concerned about. And one you should stay far, far away from at the best of times.
Recording keeping for the most part is accomplished now by sophisticated Studio Management Software Platforms such as Studio Ninja or HoneyBook. Both software Platforms allow an effortless exchange of details, dates and timings that would occur at any Wedding. Additionally allowing for both your Photographer, Studio or their Customer’s to freely engage in the planning of a beautiful Wedding.
Additionally this software also allows your Toronto Wedding Photographer to keep detailed records of your Payments. How much have you paid? When is your next payment. It’s just always nice to be on the same page when it comes to money. On both sides of the fence as a Client or Service Provider. As we all know Weddings are always expensive so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes down to the all mighty Dollar.
While most of your upcoming Wedding’s details are automatically captured during your Wedding Questionnaire which is uploaded to these two above mentioned Studio Management Software Platforms do look at the accuracy and frequency that a poor or cheap Wedding Photographer might update your details. In my humble opinion if the Bride or Groom takes the time to mention something then it’s worth taking the time to properly record the same to ensure a sense of continuity and accuracy.
These same insights might also include details that often flow in after the initial Consultation has been completed. The same updates that you send to your Wedding Photographer Toronto to keep them up to date on any recent changes or developments in your Wedding.
Such as changes to the Wedding Day’s schedule or where the mid afternoon Park Shoot is now taking place. And these changes or pertinent updates are something that should have been updated ASAP. One could only imagine the disaster that a missed update can bring to to your Wedding after you moved your mid afternoon Park Shoot from the North end of the City down to the Lakeshore because you found a better vista or view of the City.
If you DON’T see an almost immediate update(s) in your Wedding Photographer’s Studio Management platform in regard to your Wedding, this is one big RED FLAG that’s gonna spell out disaster for your upcoming Wedding. One may even go as far as to start whispering that horrible, awful legal term LAW SUITE when and if things go horribly wrong!
Red Flag # 7. Punctuality. Time Waits For No Man, Woman Or Wedding!
Now this is the one that scares me the most for Toronto’s young Engaged Couples. If you ever had any concerns about the validity of your Toronto Wedding Photographer this might be the red flag that says it all. It might even be the last stop gap between saving your Wedding and watching it go down the tubes.
How is your Wedding Day Photographer in regard to punctuality? We’re they late for your Engagement Shoot? Red flags and warning bells all the way. If they we’re late for a relatively stress free one hour Shoot, do you trust them for your actual Wedding? It may not be too late to ditch that dog based on poor performance but you might end up losing your Deposit in the long run if it’s ever contested in a Court of Law. Mind you if they writing is on the wall then you’ll have to weigh all your options and do what’s best to save your Wedding.
There are Wedding Photographers out there who can do last minute pick up calls. Just be prepared for any additional cost(s) your back up Wedding Photographer may charge to save your Wedding Day.
In closing, this Article has been intended for any Couple in their Pre Wedding planning Stage. These 7 Red Flags can save your Wedding from disaster if your concerned about your Wedding Photographer. And after all, don’t you do deserve to have the best Wedding of your life? You’ve waited long enough to meet that Mr. or Ms. Right!
Blair is a Toronto based Wedding & Portrait Photographer who lives his life through the lens one frame at a time. Always chasing that perfect image whether it’s a beautiful afternoon Wedding or a long overdue Family Portrait Session.
He is a free spirited Creative who is truly invested in savings his Customer’s their hard earned cash in an already over priced Toronto Wedding Industry. His motto in life is really quite simple. Grab life by the horns and enjoy. Our time on this Big Blue Marble we call Planet Earth is short enough!
Hence his approach to Professional Photography. Do a great job for your Customer and you’ve accomplished something in Life. Life is just too short to be sitting on the sidelines and waiting for that perfect opportunity to dance!