I could totally be a photographer. Seriously. Are you having a wedding, I can TOTALLY take the pictures. I have one of those new cameras with the fancy no-experience-required button thingies…and am CONFIDENT that I can totally deliver the pictures of your dreams. I also have a back up iPhone just in case.
Wanna hire me?
Let me let you in on a little secret about something that’s happening in the world of wedding photography – well all photography really.
There are photographers out there who are misrepresenting themselves. Photographers who are overconfident but completely under experienced who are willing to lie to land a job and that could be trouble for unsuspecting couples who fall in love with photos on a website and fail to do their homework.
These camera-wielding phonies are being dubbed, fauxtographers. Clever name, no?
So while you, the bride, are probably not the least bit interested in policing the world of professional photography, you are in the market for someone to take pictures of your wedding.
Read this article.
You need to be aware.
Trust no one.
Go with caution.
Be strong like bull.
Stay above 50!
Sorry, I had to throw in a Speed quote. Because, well, just because.
Okay, back to avoiding a disaster of the wedding photography kind.
How are these photographers misrepresenting? Here are some ways.
They are stealing. And let’s be clear, stealing sucks. In order to “pad” their own websites, some newbie photographers have stolen work from other professional photographers, replacing the watermark with one of their own. It’s wrong. In fact, it’s a big fat lie. It hurts the real photographer and is completely false advertising. It would be like a wedding band, playing you the original version of the Macarena and passing it off as their own, original song. I know…you can’t get that song out of your head. I’m not sorry. I’m making a point.
They have only ‘staged’ shoots. While staging some shoots for the sake of gaining experience is okay, you need to make sure your photographer has actually photographed living, breathing, moving weddings. While a styled shoot is great for seeing a photographers’ artistic vision, it says nothing about their ability to keep up with the pace of a real wedding and getting all the key shots in action.
They are exaggerating their experience. Lying to spruce up a resume never hurt anybody, right? Wrong. Hiring a photographer who has embellished their experience can put you at risk. Maybe that photographer doesn’t really have the know how to roll with the typical punches of an unpredictable wedding day. Their rookie mistakes could be devastating to you.
So how do you avoid hiring one of these fauxtographers? Well, this list is in no way complete, but it does give you a few good places to start.
Hire a referral. Friends, wedding planners and even wedding venues can usually provide names of competent and professional photographers that have a proven track record for achieving quality photos.
Study their photos. Compare all the photos they claim as their own. Do they look like they were taken by the same photographer? Do the photos on their blog, website and FB page match? Anything stand out as odd? Do the photos all look styled or are their some true candid shots in their body of work.
Ask to see an entire wedding shoot or two. From start to finish, look at their photos from a few weddings…the entire wedding. See if their work is consistent and if they got key moments. It’s also very unlikely that they stole an entire wedding shoot to use in their portfolio. That would be a lot of work for them…like an Ocean’s Eleven type heist. And that would take, “a Boeski, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks, not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever.” Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Use common sense. If the exclusive-to-Georgia wedding photographer has several weddings with non-Georgia settings, this should sound your bridezilla warning bell. Georgia doesn’t have tropical beaches, canyons or a lot of Elvis impersonator officiants. I’m just saying.
There are a lot of great resources out there for people looking to hire legitimate and professional photographers that can help you answer questions about insurance, professional affiliations and so forth. Do your research. Don’t get stuck with an empty album because you took your photographer at their word.
Atlanta Wedding News is committed to encouraging the hiring and advertising of professional, seasoned photographers.