"I cheaped out on photos for my wedding initially, and although I got a handful of nice ones, most were not good. So I found Esther and did a shoot after my wedding. I could not have been happier with the photos now!! They are beautiful and she goes above and beyond to make sure you feel comfortable and that the photos don't turn out looking forced. They are all so gorgeous and so natural. She is worth every penny! Thank you Esther <3"
HELP! We just got our wedding photos and we don't like them!
Add this to the MANY worries a couple may experience as they plan one of the biggest events of their lives. For David and Alexa, this worry became an unexpected and disappointing reality. Let's begin this blog post with their story:
David and Alexa reached out to me to shoot their big day in September of this year, but unfortunately I was already booked to do M and C's Maple Ridge wedding. A month after David and Alexa's big day, I received a message from David asking to book a portrait session in their wedding clothes because they were so dissatisfied and disappointed with the photos they had received from their wedding photographer. This message broke my heart because I know that wedding photos are such an important and meaningful reminder of one of the best days of your life. I would be devastated if I didn't like my wedding photos!!
Before we continue, PLEASE NOTE that this blog post was not written to bash any other creatives, which is why no specific information about the photographer will be mentioned. When I heard David and Alexa's story, it not only served as a warning for couples looking for a photographer, but also as a warning for new photographers who are deciding when they are ready to begin booking weddings.
SO this blog post will include tips for both couples AND new photographers in the hopes that these kinds of horrible situations can be avoided!!
Advice for Couples
Tip #1 - Do your research!
Head over to the photographer's Google reviews, website, Instagram, and Facebook pages. Check out how many followers and reviews they have as an indication of how long they've been in the professional photography industry. Look over their photos of other weddings and make sure you are EXCITED about their work. When looking at their photos, consider composition style, editing style, and the photographer's personality (evident in their social media captions or blog writing style).
Tip #2 - Try the photographer BEFORE your big day.
This should be done in two ways: having intentional initial chats with your photographer AND booking an engagement session to give them a test run. The initial chats with the photographer will help you determine their leadership abilities, whether they are introverted/extroverted, and basically let you know if you are the PERFECT MATCH (check out this blog post to see if WE are a perfect match). Sometimes I have spent months chatting with clients over the phone, Zoom, Instagram DMs, iMessages, E-mails, and in-person before their wedding day to make sure we are on the same page.
Once you are certain that you vibe with your photographer, the engagement session will give you a preview of all the other photography-specific things we talked about in Tip #1. If you have concerns during the engagement session or afterwards when you see the engagement photos, you can discuss this with the photographer and decide if it's something that can easily be resolved.
Tip #3 - Fix what you can!
If you are reading these tips AFTER your wedding day and you've already received your disappointing wedding photos, there is still hope for stunning photos! It's so upsetting that you can't re-do your entire wedding day and the photos that go with it BUT you can still get some BOMB portaits with your spouse by booking a portrait session with a photographer that you love! Looking at David and Alexa's portraits in the post, you may never know that it was a re-do because couples usually head to a totally different location for their portraits on their wedding day anyway. Plus, the memories captured in the new photos are just as sweet because it was an opportunity for you and your spouse to revisit one of your favorite life moments, capture your love the way you wanted to, and get another wear out of those beautiful wedding clothes!
Tip #4 - Don't be too nice!
This is a quick tip, but one worth mentioning. Don't feel like you need to be polite with the photographer who didn't meet your expectations. If you have concerns about your wedding photos, be honest with the photographer and ask the questions that are on your mind. If you feel the photographer didn't honour the contract, discuss that and see if a discount or partial refund is in order. Make sure you are totally satisfied with the photos that will be passed through your family for years to come.
Advice for New Photographers
Tip #1 - Practice your skills with editorials, NOT weddings.
I get it, you are LOVING photography and you are eager to dive into it. You know that weddings are a great way to build your portfolio and kickstart your business. BUT someone's big day is not the time to practice your skills or build your portfolio!!! Instead, ask your married friends to dig up their wedding clothes and practice with a styled shoot. You can practice the most challenging aspects of photographing a wedding with no pressure and no risk, then learn from it by analyzing the photos afterwards.
Tip #2 - Find opportunities to second shoot a wedding.
If you want to be apart of a REAL wedding then find an experienced photographer who will take you under their wing and let you second shoot for them! I am so thankful to the photographers who were willing to spend time with me and teach me what they know. By the time I was shooting weddings on my own I was confident that I wouldn't be jeopardizing some of the most important photos in my couples' lives.
David and Alexa were soooooo much fun to hang out with at Campbell Valley Park!!! We created some beautiful photos that they could be excited about framing, posting, and looking back on for years to come. Even though I was so upset that David and Alexa weren't satisfied with their original wedding photos, I was so thankful that I could play a part in helping them create some beautiful bride and groom portraits.
So ladies, if you receive your photos and are not satisfied, please know that there is still a way to get the portraits you dreamed of when you imagined your wedding day!! And if you haven't booked your photographer yet, I hope the tips above will help ease some of your worries and equip you to find a photographer you VIBE with.
Before you go, here's a few more shots from my time with David and Alexa to reassure you that a stunning wedding portrait do-over is completely possible!!!