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10 Things Brides Hated About Their Wedding Photographer

Bad Wedding Photographer

By Jeffrey House Photography



50 brides participated in a survey with and in this article, we are going to learn what brides hated about their wedding photographer.

A bad wedding photographer can ruin your entire wedding.  As Professional Wedding Photographers, this peaked our interest, so we had to check it out. We found a lot of great information and we also learned that many of the complaints were identical.   

So we boiled it down.

In this article, we hope to accomplish several things.  We will outline the most common issues that arise, why they arise, and steps we can take to avoid these issues.  

10 Things Brides Hated About Their Wedding Photographers!

We are not wasting a single moment, we are jumping right in to see what these brides have to say!

1.  Poor Communication

This was a common complaint among the brides surveyed and one I really don't understand.  A large part of what's required as a wedding photographer involves client communications.  It's not acceptable to avoid or ignore client phone calls, e-mails, etc.  It's generally considered acceptable to return messages within 48 hours, unless there's extreme circumstances such as a death in the family.  Even if your photographer is researching the answer to your question, they should at least confirm receipt of your message, and provide a reason for the delay with a reasonable time frame in which they will respond.  

2.  Poor Photo Editing

It's believed by many that wedding photographers make obscene amounts of money.  We charge $3,000, $4,000 or more for 8 hours of work.  But what most people fail to realize is a professional photographer spends a ton more time working "behind the scenes."  On an 8 hour wedding, a photographer will spend on average, 40 hours just editing the pictures.  

I frequently find poor editing stems from one of two reasons.  The first being, your photographer just isn't skilled at the art of photo editing.  This is why it's important to view samples of your photographer's work.  And don't hesitate to ask them to see additional pictures, not in their portfolio, from a wedding they've photographed.  This will give you a much better feel for their over all work product.  

The second reason I often see.......too often actually, is "cheap photographers."  Whenever I hear a "photographer" tell someone they can photograph their 8 hour wedding for $1,500 - I cringe!!  Because I know this photographer is going to cut corners, and a lot of them, in order to extend this price.  Look at it this way.  If the average photographer is spending 40 hours to edit the photos from an 8 hour wedding, and the average photo editor charges $50 per hour, that's $2,000!!!  

It should also be noted that the average photographer will actually invest about 70 hours worth of time into an 8 hour wedding.  This 70 hours includes time for communication exchanges with the client, the engagement session including the editing of the engagement pictures, photographing the wedding including the editing of the wedding pictures, equipment preparation prior to the engagement and wedding day photography, all required travel time, etc.  We have not even touched upon the overhead costs a photographer must pay to maintain their business - heat, phone, car, insurances, advertising/marketing, website fees, office supplies, etc.  

I really hate to see situations like this because I know ultimately, the only people who are going to suffer are the couple getting married.    

3.  I Didn't Get Enough Of Certain Shots I Wanted

Several brides reported their photographer did not take enough of a certain type of shot.  For example, some brides wished they had gotten more pictures of party shots, while others wished they had gotten more pictures of their guests.  The couple very well may have requested these shots and their photographer failed to hear them or didn't make the appropriate notes.  On the flip side, the couple may not have clearly communicated the types of shots that were important to them.  Whatever the reason for the circumstances, this is exactly why we need to ensure good communication between the photographer and the couple.  Even if it means being repetitive, it's more important that everyone is on the same page.


4.  Poor Low Light Photos

Poor quality low light photos can result from a few different issues.  The first being inexperience.  Your photographer simply may not have the knowledge and/or skills necessary to produce low light pictures.  They may not understand how to make the required adjustments to maximize their camera's performance.  The second reason for poor low light photos is equipment.  There's a common phrase in photography - "cameras don't take pictures, people do!"  While this is very true, don't let anyone trick you into believing that equipment doesn't matter, because it does - a lot!

We personally use professional grade Nikon camera bodies and lenses.  Our cameras are extremely efficient and highly effective in low light conditions.  They are what is referred to as "professional grade full framed cameras."  What else is there?  Well, cameras either have a "full framed image sensor" or they have what is called a "crop sensor."  Without getting crazy with geek speak, a full framed camera has a larger sensor compared to the crop sensor.  That all sounds fancy enough, but why should you care?

1.  Low Light Performance - a full framed image sensor will provide superior performance in low light conditions.  The larger sensor allows the camera to gather more light; therefore, to really simplify the explanation it's not working as hard to produce the same image.

2.  Picture Sharpness - another benefit of full framed image sensors is the overall sharpness of the image.  

There's one last detail I'd like to touch on with regards to poor low light performance.  Does your photographer have "good glass?"  That's an awful personal question, don't you think?  That's more geek speak for having quality lenses.  Lenses play a huge role in low light performance and overall picture sharpness.  Every lens has an aperture and the aperture works like a window in a house.  You can cover the majority of the window with curtains and let a minimal amount of light in or you can open the curtains, and let a lot of light in.  Good camera lenses typically have "fast glass," meaning they have aperture's starting between 1.4 - 2.8.  Lenses with fast apertures tend to be quality lenses.

All this information is great, but how can you use this information?  When interviewing potential photographers don't be afraid to ask them questions about their equipment:

  • Do you use a "crop sensor" camera or a "full frame sensor?"
  • What's the fastest aperture on your lenses?

Two very quick and easy questions that will provide you with some good information.  While having a full frame sensor and fast lenses doesn't guarantee you quality low light pictures, chances are, you will be much happier with the quality of the images.  

5.  We Wish Our Photographer Would Have Given Us More Direction

One of the most valuable questions you can ask when interviewing wedding photographers, is what's your "work style?"  How do you approach the wedding day?  And ask them to share their thoughts when it comes to direction on posing?  Do they insist on making sure every body part is in perfect order, do they not give any direction and just let you interact naturally or are they somewhere in between?  

If you don't have much experience with posing and the thought of it makes you uncomfortable, be sure to communicate this to your photographer.  Make sure they clearly understand you would like a lot of direction.  And if you are comfortable with posing and don't want a lot of direction, communicate this too.  Again, it's more about having good communication and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

6.  I Wish My Photographer Had A 2nd Shooter

Can only one photographer photograph a wedding?  The answer is yes, but having a 2nd shooter definitely provides couples with multiple and unique perspectives, and a more comprehensive experience.  And even with two photographers, they can still remain unobtrusive.  I highly recommend that couples hire a 2nd shooter whenever possible.  

7.  My Photographer Should Have Been More Friendly

 Wedding photography is about earning trust and forming personal connections.  I don't understand why or how a photographer can be so unfriendly.  Your personality should be your best asset, not something your clients can't stand or even tolerate.   

Again, the number one thing to look for in your photographer is personality!  The last think you want or need on your wedding day is dealing with an unfriendly photographer.  Not to mention, you're spending your hard earned money on their services - they can at least be a little upbeat, personable, and professional!

8.  I Wished I Hired A Professional Photographer - So Much Was Missed

It's sad how many times we hear brides mutter these sentiments.  And it's another one that makes me cringe!  It's amazing to me how many people know someone with this experience.  They either hired an amateur (a.k.a "self-proclaimed professional photographer") or let a family member or friend photograph their wedding because this person loves photography, and recently got a pretty nice camera.  I understand couples entertain these options because it's a way to save some money.  But in the long run it can cost them more money and definitely causes them heartache.  

Wedding photography is far more demanding and complex than it may appear.  Hundreds of split second decisions must be made through the course of a wedding, and if you're wrong or aren't quick enough in making that decision, the moment has passed you by.  Unfortunately, an amateur or hobbyist photographer will rarely possess the skills and/or the equipment necessary to properly photograph a wedding.  When it comes to your wedding day, there are no re-takes, no second chances, no "do-overs."  Once it's done, it's done.  Unfortunately, we see too many couples that don't realize the gravity of memorializing their wedding day, until it's too late.  

We certainly understand spending between $3,000 - $4,000, if not more, on your wedding photography is a big expense.  Wedding photography is an investment, but I think it's helpful to look at this way - how many products and/or services do you invest a few thousand dollars, but have it for a lifetime?  Your wedding is one of the most significant events in your life - the pictures are your keepsakes.  They will be shared with your children and eventually your grandchildren.  It's the story of you.

9.  My Photographer Was Unprepared

This is another issue that baffles me.  As a wedding photographer, it's essential you arrive at every job ready to work.  Brides reported their photographers were very unprepared and gave the appearance they didn't know what they were doing.  They were fumbling around with their equipment or they weren't in the right place at the right time.  These are typically some of the differences you find between amateur and professional photographers.  Professional photographers arrive early and are ready to go.  They know their equipment inside and out and know what they should be doing, and when they should be doing it.  Bottom line - being unprepared as a professional wedding photographer is unacceptable.  

10.  Better Quality Wedding Albums

Multiple brides said they were disappointed with the quality of their wedding albums.  The albums had a look and feel of being "cheap."  If you're purchasing a wedding album as part of your package, please be sure to ask your photographer to see a sample of the album.  This will allow you to physically see and feel the product, so you know exactly what to expect.  

We hope you have found this information helpful.  Some of the things these photographers did were just plain unacceptable.  But we also noticed, and we're sure you noticed too, a lot of the issues could have been avoided with some communication or better communication.  When you interview potential photographers ask questions to get the answers you need.  If their answer isn't clear or needs further clarification, keep asking questions until your satisfied.  When it comes to your wedding you get a lot of opportunities to ask questions, but one opportunity to get it right.  


Do you know someone who had a bad wedding photographer?  We'd love to hear your story!