A GENTLE BUT WELL MEANT WARNING!
02/07/12I had a worrying series of conversations recently with a number of photographic insurance companies. Whilst scouting around for the best deal for my equipment, I'd duly complete the forms that would ask who I was, my experience, type of work, websites, etc. Then after submission, they'd phone me back. Standard proceedure. Fortunately, they all offered me great rates and after looking at my sites actually wanted to chat about my work. They loved the high quality, (I know, they are after business!!) but then in general conversation, all, unprompted, told me about the horror stories that now pervade the industry. Reasons being? The huge quantity of so called 'pro' photographers who have 'landed' in the past five years, claiming to be at a level they arent, resulting in substantial claims against them. They said that as soon as they looked at the 'work' it was evident they possessed little or no actual photographic skills. Critical images out of focus, heads missing and trying to cover gaff's up with poor editing, as well as adding gimmicks. One offered portraits at the function. Nothing wrong there but guests were simply 'keyed' onto outlandish back grounds that had no relevence to the wedding. Who wants a nice picture dropped into a clam shell????? Complaints flooded in! One common grievance concerns those who claim to be 'reportage' or fly on the wall snappers. It seems easy. After all, all you do is point and shoot what you see isnt it? When there is no pressure on you as a guest there is a great chance you'll take a good shot amongst all those taken. Stands to reason. However, when you are commissioned and have a brief from a couple or a client, well the stakes have become so much higher. One was even getting people to pose as if 'caught' in an unguarded moment???? Not once but constantly throughout the day.
In fact what is being done is actually fraudulent.
Its the same old story. We know its a difficult time for everyone but with photography you really do get what you pay for.
I write this because I know of many super photographers who like myself are asked to 'clean up' the work after the couple have been given their pictures. What a pity they didnt actually meet, discuss and evaluate the photographer before hand to see if they were genuine and just as importantly, someone they would trust to be a vital part of their day. Its a great idea to set aside a day to meet a few and be pertinent with your questions. Take time. After all, would you simply run into the dress shop without checking and take the cheapest dress? Or the Groom and his entourage do the same with their suits? Book a venue cos its simply the cheapest? It needs a proper evaluation, so look at a number of weddings each pro has undertaken rather than simply looking at the price and making a selection that way.
I post this not in an 'I told you so' tone but as good and solid advice.
Dont become one of the statistics!