When you’re planning the big day, you will find yourself juggling multiple different vendors at one time--- and each one will be in a different stage of planning. For example, once you’ve booked your wedding venue, you’re likely still reviewing multiple officiant or catering options.
Because of this, you’ll find yourself confused and wanting to make decisions quickly. Unfortunately, this can lead to booking with vendors who might not be a good fit. Even worse, it can lead to falling for a scam.
The good news is that with the right knowledge of what to look for, you’re going to be more likely to be paired up with the right vendors. Here are the 5 signs of a wedding photography scam so that you know what to avoid.
Key Signs of a Wedding Photography Scam to Look Out For
1. There is something fishy about their communication style. Keep an eye out for communication that is unclear, has a more-than-normal number of typos, errors in grammar, or strange usage of punctuation such as multiple exclamation marks and misplaced periods. Anything that feels too pushy or aggressive like a request for a fast turnaround request for personal information is not normal. And when it comes to business information like email addresses or phone numbers, take a closer look. Read what the email address is and do a quick Google search for the phone number to see what comes up.
2. The photographer relies too heavily on social media platforms. If the business that you’ve connected with is only serving up Instagram advertisements and doesn’t have a legitimate website, then this should raise a red flag.
Established companies typically have multiple social media accounts, in addition to their own website. Since website hosting can cost a fee, scammers tend to skip these. If they do have a website, look for a portfolio so that you can see past work, as well as details on offerings.
3. The price is so low that it’s surprising. We get it. Weddings are expensive! But if a vendor, especially a photographer, comes in with a very low price then you will want to do your due diligence. Most wedding photography companies cost between $2,000 and $4,000 for creative services. Sure, there are promotions and bundling options which can bring down the price, but it shouldn’t be so low that it’s shocking.
4. They ask for a large deposit. While a 25%-50% deposit to secure services for a specific date is standard, if the company requires more than half of the full amount then take a second look at them. There should be documentation of payment requirements and payment terms which are shared in advance so that you’re clear on your financial obligations. (This is where the detail in the fine print becomes very important.)
5. You don’t get a contract with all the agreed upon details. When partnering with a professional company, you will get a contract with each of the important logistics. This will include things such as pricing, payment terms, payment timing, the services being purchased, and when.
How do I know if I’m getting scammed by my wedding photographer?
With these 5 things in mind, it’s important to consider that the business you’ve connected with might not be legitimate.
If you choose Joy Photo and Video, we will partner with you every step of the way to help answer all your questions and make sure you have everything that you need. We don't take the responsibility of documenting your big day lightly and know that this is a big decision. We will do everything we can to help make you feel comfortable and confident in your decision to book with us. If you’re interested, you can take a look at FAQs and a compilation of our reviews here.
How to Protect Yourself from Wedding Photographer Scams
There are a few things that you can do to help protect yourself if you're seeing any signs of a wedding photography scam.
Get everything in writing. Ensure that there’s documentation of all discussions had in-person or over the phone and save any email correspondence. If conversations tend to only happen in a non-written manner, then follow up with any discussions with an email to the company stating what was discussed.
Take your time. One of the most important tips to help you keep an eye out for the signs of a wedding photography scan is not to rush into any decisions. Take some time to speak to your significant other about the big wedding decisions to be made.
Research reviews. Check out websites like The Knot, WeddingWire, Google, and Yelp to hear from other couples who have worked with your vendor. While it’s helpful to get reviews directly from the company, we recommend doing directly to the source of truth of where the review originally got created. Popular and reputable wedding websites have done due diligence to source local vendor recommendations, so these are going to be helpful in your research.
Reference multiple sites. Once you’ve found a social media channel or website for the photographer, look them up on other sites. This additional research will give you a better sense of the brand, their clients, and how established they appear to be.
Trust your gut! If you trusted your gut to choose your soon-to-be-spouse, then continue to trust it when booking your wedding pros. The team that surrounds you on the big day should make you feel comfortable and if your gut tells you otherwise, then keep looking.
We hope this helped you with the signs of a wedding photography scam so that you can be more prepared. If you believe that you've already been scammed, we recommend trusted sources for advice such as the Federal Trade Commission since each situation varies.
[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Kenya and Brian in Houston, Texas.]
The Joy Team