Today's post was inspired by a potential client who passed on me and decided to hire a "photography service" instead. These companies essentially sell wedding photography packages to couples and then hire a photographer or have one on staff that they send out to the location on the wedding day. I'm sure there are some terrific organizations that do this, but on a whole I'm very skeptical of them. I certainly hope my couple gets one of the good ones.
Typically, a wedding package will be sold with the promise of 1500+ images, a DVD with printing rights, etc. Very often you never meet the photographer until they show up at your wedding. There are also time limits on how long they will be there for you.
So, why am I skeptical of these services? Let's start with the 1500+ image claim. I have no doubt that you will receive this many images to choose from. However, I suspect that half of these will be unusable. A pro photographer is going to deliver quality and not quantity. We are going to edit the images so you don't have to. I have seen this type of work and was astounded by the way the shots had just been fired off seconds apart leaving many images, but nothing of substance. Imagine a bride turning her head toward the groom during the ceremony in 10 frame bursts, like a batter at the mound swinging at the pitch in slow motion. It's ridiculous and rude to put a couple through that kind of selection process. A pro will pick the best one or two for you to have and delete the rest. It's sloppy photography as well.
My second thing to tackle here is the selection of the actual photographer.
Sometimes these are low payed, hired guns for the weekend set to maximize the profits of the "service". Imagine, it's the most important day of your life and someone you've never met is now expected to interact with you and your family. I've always maintained that the more you get to know your photographer, the more relaxed you will be and this will ultimately show up on the images.
I suspect that no retouching or specialty collages will be part of the package either.
Finally, a DVD of copyright free images sounds great, but here some things to keep in mind. You will be paying a PREMIUM for this disc. It may not be spelled out to you, but it will be inherited in the costs somewhere. I believe it is just better to offer very reasonable prices for high quality prints and books that come from a professional lab. CD's and DVD's also end up damaged and the big box stores tend to offer flat looking prints that tend to fade after awhile. In the meantime, the "photography service" has not kept any backups of your memories. Here at Region Weddings we backup the images in two spots on site and one off site. Should we need to make room in the future, we will contact you and make arrangements with you to secure your images before we delete.
Many of the services also delete your online gallery after 30 days. That is not the case at Region Weddings and SBV Photography.
In closing, I want to emphasize that this is not a case of sour grapes. I merely feel the need to educate. I understand how stressful and hectic the planning can be and it's easy to be taken by great sounding offers. Keep these things in mind as you shop for your photographer and ask LOTS of questions. As a matter of fact, feel free to pick up the phone and grill me for awhile too. I'd love to answer your questions.
“My photography business is both sustained and honored by your referral of family and friends. Thank you for doing so.”