But they do happen and I just had one happen recently. I never like to get that message, but it happens at least once a year. That’s why I wanted to post a reminder to couples to read your contracts carefully and make sure you understand what your signing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Most wedding vendors will have retainer amounts in their contracts. This is an amount that the vendor will retain if the contract is canceled by the couple. On my contract, the 1/3 paid at the time of the contract signing is a retainer that is nonrefundable. I also have all payments made within 30 days of the event are nonrefundable as well.
You might be wondering why. From the time we sign a contract together, I will turn everyone else away when they contact me about the date, potential income I’m turning down. I can only afford to do this if I know I’m absolutely going to get paid on the date I’m holding. Re-booking the date with a new couple is nearly impossible because the couples I turn down have booked with other photographers. So that’s why we have to have a retainer policy in the contract.
You’ll want to think about who is signing the contract, too. For instance, I had a situation where the soon to be mother in law paid for the photography, but the bride signed the contract, making the bride my client, not the mother in law to be. Any credits or refunds that might be due will go to the bride because she is the one I have a signed agreement with and only her.
Anyway, I always hope to not have cancellations in the first place. I’d rather be working and doing what I love. Read your contracts, keep copies of them, and make sure the appropriate person signs the contract.
Journal’s Bridal Show Held at The Clarion in Shepherdstown
On October 21st at the Clarion in Shepherdstown WV The Journal will be holding a Bridal Show.
Brides- and grooms-to-be will pack the luxurious Clarion Hotel & Conference Center in historic Shepherdstown Sunday October 21st for The Journal’s 15th annual Bridal Fair. This is a FREE event and vendors will be giving away great prizes.
Crouse Photography will give away a FREE Engagement Session voted for by brides on a recent poll on my facebook page.
Here’s a link to some great advice for booking wedding vendors. What to ask and what to look for before you sign a contract.
Think you can’t afford a professional Wedding Photographer? Read this blog post before you decide.
In other news! Some of you may know that I am also an indie author. If you have a kindle and you love to read, then you should get my story, Fortune, while it’s available FREE. October 4th and 5th
If you received a fortune cookie that said you were going to die, what would you do? Unlucky Sarah goes on a hunt to find out who gave her the fortune and why. What she discovers will change her forever.
Fortune is an 11,000 word story that will keep you at the edge of your seat. YA and adult fiction fans alike will enjoy the ride this story will take you on. You won’t be able to put it down.
Great News! The new web hosting site is up and ready! All events from the old hosting have migrated over so you can still find your site.
To celebrate the launch of the new site (and give me practice at managing it) I’m offering all reprints at a low, low reduced price for the whole month of March.
You’ll find reprints as low as $3 and digital files as low as $3 that you can now download directly from the site. Hundreds of new products have been added at a reduced price all month long including wrap around canvas prints, metal murals, greeting cards and more!
If you are an old client and would like your event re-hosted so you can take advantage of the low, low prices, let me know by sending an email, this month the hosting is FREE and the prices are low so don’t miss out!!
Reduced prices only available when ordering online
With all the rainy weddings this year I wish I would have thought of this idea. What a great image! I found it at Wedding Photography Project. You bet the next time I have a rainy wedding I’m going to attempt an image similar to this one.
I shot the lively wedding back on October 16, 2010 and it sure was lively. I was only there for 2 hours but I still shot tons of pictures. The wedding party was humongous. It must’ve been crazy getting all those people ready on time. I think the lively wedding party must’ve been my largest wedding party to date. I love the men’s suits, they were a lot of fun. I could tell they enjoyed wearing them too. Without further ado I present to you the lively wedding pictures. I hope you enjoy looking at them.
The first question you should ask is to see the photographer’s business license. I’m surprised that in 11 years of photographing weddings not one couple has asked to see my business license. This is the easiest way to eliminate nonprofessionals. I always keep my business license close at hand in case somebody asks to see it. Another reason you want to ask about the business license is to make sure your photographer is honest. If they are charging you sales tax and don’t have a business license, then they are dishonest and are only trying to get more money.
The next question you should ask is if the photographer has liability and equipment insurance. You want to know that you are protected if someone in your family gets hurt by accidentally tripping over one of the photographer’s cables or equipment. Your photographer should also be protected against theft or equipment damage. A nonprofessional photographer without Equipment Insurance may try to sue you for damages if their equipment is broken by one of your family.
Ask if the photographer you’re considering accepts credit cards even if you’re not going to pay with a credit card. A photographer who takes their business seriously will have gone through the trouble to learn and set up credit card processing.
Ask to see a wedding from start to finish, every picture that was taken at one wedding. This will give you an idea of what type of pictures the photographer will take during your entire wedding day. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, then don’t hire that photographer. It will also show you how competent the photographer is. If there are only a few good shots, then that photographer is not a professional. If they can’t show you an entire wedding, then you don’t want to hire them. It’s a clear sign they are an amateur.
Ask for references. A photographer who is good will have no problem giving you references. They’re clients will be happy clients and will volunteer to give their reference. Almost all of my clients volunteer to give a reference for me. If a photographer you’re meeting with is reluctant to give references, then keep looking.
Ask for a list of photographers that will step in and take over in case your photographer is ill. I am lucky to say that for 11 years I have never had to use my list of backup photographers, but I will always have a list just in case. Ask for a printout of that list so you can check and make sure those photographers are also professional.
Ask the photographer if they have a money back guarantee. A true professional will have confidence in their work and will have no problem offering a limited time money back guarantee because they know they will never have to give that money back. They will work hard for you to create what you want to make sure you are happy.
Ask your photographer if they use a contract. If they say no, then don’t book them. Without a contract neither you nor the photographer have any protection. Your photographer could accept your payment and then never show up to the wedding and you would have no legal proof of your agreement. A contract also helps spell out what each of you expect so there are no misunderstandings. If it is not on the contract, then your photographer may not honor what you agreed on verbally. Always have your expectations in writing on the contract. Ask if you can have a copy of the contract before booking so you can take your time and read through the terms and ask questions.
Tell your potential photographer who your other vendors are and see if they have worked with them before. The more experienced a photographer is the more vendors they will have worked with in the past. You’ll also learn the relationship your potential photographer has with these vendors. Your wedding day is more likely to run smoothly if your vendors are familiar with each other. You may also want to ask how many years they have been working as a photographer and if they work as a photographer full time. There are a lot of weekend warriors out there who only shoot weddings on the weekends for extra money. They may not be as serious about their craft has a photographer who completely depends on their wedding income.
Ask the photographer specific questions about past weddings they have shot to get an idea of how experienced they really are. A competent photographer will have excellent ideas on how to solve problems you have planning your wedding. They will have been to many weddings and seen many different ways of handling different situations. For example, ask the photographer how they would solve a problem with exiting the church after the ceremony. A photographer who has shot a lot of weddings will have many suggestions for you. Perhaps your minister has told you that flash is not allowed during the ceremony. An experienced photographer will know how to handle that situation and will have no problem shooting without flash.