I have to admit, I love this Millennial Generation!
They are some of the most tech savvy of all and they use it constantly in most activities in their life.
But it can also be one of the most dangerous things when it comes to making solid and lasting decisions when planning a wedding, and expecting results they can love rather than just “like”. I see this in almost every single couple I meet with in discussing their photography needs and thankfully, a few have listened and didn’t regret their decisions. Others haven’t and I also hear about those too- long after the wedding is over.
Some of the things I do hear, and usually about the time for that first Family Portrait- “I wish we had better wedding photographs”. Often I get the “can you look at our wedding photos and see if you can fix them and make them any better?” Sadly, I have to be honest and tell them truthfully that I can’t. It’s really sad to see some of the things people are calling “Wedding pictures” because they aren’t much better than Iphone pictures.
The REALLY sad part is, they paid someone for what they do have.
I often ask, “how much was your photographer” and invariably, the answer is “well, he/she was cheap, so we tried to save money by hiring them”. I also have found several things they did that could have avoided these disastrous results too. Hopefully you will take these into account as you plan your wedding day and avoid that “nasty surprise” a few weeks after your wedding.
“We Hired our Photographer based on the Lowest Bid”
There is a general rule of thumb that more than applies to photographers. The more experienced and the more qualified your photographer, the more it will cost you. “Cheap” Photography comes with a price- they are more likely than not, learning to be a photographer and not really well versed in the demands of a wedding and capturing the moments in images you will love. Because they own the latest, hottest DSLR camera and a couple of lenses doesn’t make them a “professional photographer”! The camera doesn’t take the photograph, the person behind the lens does and if they aren’t well schooled in composition, lighting, and exposure then your results may vary- as in maybe you get lucky and maybe you don’t.
You will find way too many “photographers” out there advertising that $495 wedding package and you get wedding photographs that aren’t worth $95. This mistake CAN be avoided and the next section tells you exactly how!
“We never met the person who photographed our wedding until that day”
Oh how I wish I could tell this Millennial Generation to use your phones for more than text messages! I see far too many couples who want to “text it in” and hire their photographer that way. Their entire communication process from start to finish is “text me” your prices or “send me a sample” or some other use of technology you have in your possession at all times. I see them scouring the internet with their phones, looking at websites and making a choice of photographers that way.
Here is the BEST advise I can give you- CALL your prospective photographers, go MEET THEM FACE TO FACE and discuss your wedding plans. See what they offer in terms of packages, products, and qualifications. To be honest with you, I refuse to book a wedding for a couple I have NOT met face to face. If all they want is to “text it in”, then there is no possible way I can do their wedding photographs justice. One of the major factors in capturing the images you are going to want is for ME to get to know YOU in a personal way so that I CAN capture your love for one another in those moments you might find are missed otherwise.
Can you imagine “texting” in your wedding dress? So why do you think for one moment you should try that for anything else in planning your wedding? It is important that you have a good feeling about your photographer as any thing you do since they are going to be spending the entire day WITH YOU and not only taking photographs, but helping you as your day progresses. If you never met them, texted it in, and they show up on your wedding day, you’re going to be sorely disappointed in the results. Don’t get me wrong, a text message for a quick question is fine, but NOT to use to hire your photographer! Same goes for emails! Go see your prospective photographers. I promise, it will be worth the time.
“We Only Want Digital Images. We aren’t interested in anything else”
This is the middle of May, 2015. This year I have had 2 requests from past clients who “only wanted digital images” for their wedding photographs. One of them has “lost their disc” and the other one “had the disc get left in the car and it won’t work anymore”. Both are from weddings I photographed a few years back.
Over the many years, I have also made a LOT of wedding albums for couples too- more albums than “digital only” wedding photographs. In these years, I have only had to re-make one album and that was due to a fire while the couple was out of town. I also have had brides from years ago bring me their albums to show me how perfect they still are and to brag about how wonderful their images still are to this day.
Now I can tell you this that digital images are one of the greatest ways to capture and edit images. They are perhaps the worst way to “archive” them. So much so, I have totally stopped offering “digital images on a disc only” wedding packages. And it has NOTHING to do with the fact I “make more money” either, but has everything to do with the fact that I know that wedding albums are NOT going to be lost, damaged in the heat, and will last a lifetime and more. Unless I am providing you a product that is lasting and dear to your heart and providing images that you cry when you see them- no matter how often- then YOU wasted a lot of money.
So you hired that “cheap” photographer and you get your images “on a disc”. Now what will you do when in a few years when your disc is damaged, or the technology changes (as it has CONSTANTLY) and you can’t find your photographer to replace it? Or you perhaps DID save your files to your computer and it crashes and burns? Or you replace your computer and didn’t transfer your files? I rarely have EVER seen (or heard of) a couple misplace or lose their wedding album.
“We didn’t check to see if he/she was a legitimate business”
Did you know that a large percentage of “professional photographers”- or those who claim to be one- are NOT properly licensed to operate a business? They don’t have a business license, haven’t registered their business in the State, and do not collect or remit sales taxes as the law provides they must. Add to it, many only “photograph weddings” as a part-time thing.
So if you have an issue with your end results, and there is no legal business with which you have issue, how are you going to be affected if something goes wrong? Any photographer who is a genuine professional, has a legal business and operates 100% as such. There is no harm in finding out BEFORE you commit to hiring them and you should! Otherwise, you could be victim to many of those who will “take your money” and never provide a final product. And if they are “flying under the radar” so to speak, how will you find them?
Do they belong to any of the Professional Photographers Associations or their Local Photographers Guild? Membership in most of these require that you produce proper certification that you are a legitimate business, so you should ALWAYS ask if they belong to one of these and also VERIFY that they do. Even if they are part-time, membership in one of these tells you they are committed to excellence in their work.
If you do hire a “part time” photographer, make sure they are a legitimate business. Also find out if they offer products like albums and prints. “Digital only” photographers are generally only there for the “fast buck” and don’t want to spend the time needed to produce a quality final product. You are wanting excellence since there is really only ONE CHANCE to get these photographs “right” the first time. Being a legitimate business doesn’t totally guarantee it, but it sure does mean that the person you hire IS COMMITTED to their craft- even part time! And it also means you don’t have to chase down someone if things DO happen- they are going to stand behind what they do.
So there you have it- the 4 things I see the Millennial Generation doing that often leads to a far less “happy” outcome and how you can avoid making these mistakes. These are things I have discovered by talking to other Millennials and what you as one can learn from their mistakes. I do hope you take this to heart and consider your options as you plan your wedding day.
As a long time wedding photographer in Jacksonville, Fl, should you want to learn more about the various options I offer, feel free to drop me a note or call me! I would love to spend a few minutes over your favorite beverage and discuss the ways your wedding photographs can be not just good, but the spectacular images you dream about having!