Couple Is Brokenhearted After Being Scammed, But Are They To Blame?
How To Hire A Wedding Photographer
By Jeffrey House Photography
I can't even stomach those "professional wedding photographers" out there scamming engaged couples.
It's beyond sickening.
However, in many cases, these unethical wedding photographers are not entirely to blame. The couples hiring these photographers have to accept responsibility too. It's scary how many couples will dismiss obvious "red flags" because they believe they're getting the deal of a lifetime.
How to hire a wedding photographer? That is the million dollar question. There are many variables, but if price is in your top 3 considerations, you're gambling big time with your money and your memories!
the san antonio nightmare!
A couple (The Gallegos) recently shared the story behind their 2016 wedding nightmare. They hired a wedding photographer from San Antonio, Texas - Liz Marie Hunter of Infinite Pixel Photography. It started off well. Liz photographed their engagement session as promised. Liz even showed up and photographed their wedding, but it wasn't long after their wedding that Liz was gone. The Gallegos noticed that Liz and Infinite Pixel Photography was disappearing from the internet. They removed their website and their social media accounts. Unfortunately, the Gallegos soon discovered they weren't the only victims of Infinite Pixel Photography. Liz Marie Hunter scammed other couples too when she apparently failed to appear at their weddings. Some of these other couples reported she didn't even refund them their money - she offered them a credit towards future services.
I'm at a loss for words. If a photographer can't find the motivation to appear for your wedding, why in the world would you want them to photograph any of your memories?
the warning signs were there!
A consumer protection attorney told the local news (KRQE) reporting the story that the photographer's contract had warning signs that should have jumped out to prospective clients. Most noticeably, her contract essentially indicated that she could cancel for any reason and she would still get paid.
That is a HUGE warning sign! Never, ever sign a contract with such absurd terms.
I see another warning sign that was not discussed, but it's really big and it's really important. If you read my blog articles regularly, you know how passionate I am about the importance of understanding the "average wedding costs in your area."
KRQE news reported the Gallegos paid $1,500 for Infinite Wedding Photography's services. We don't know everything that was included in their wedding package, but according to the article, the Gallegos got an engagement session, wedding photography, and some sort of release for their photos.
Is $1,500 for wedding photography reasonable?
Before you answer, let's understand the "average wedding costs in your area." From the article, we know the Gallegos are from Albuquerque, New Mexico and their photographer is from San Antonio, Texas. Based on this, I did a little research. I looked up the average cost of wedding photography in Albuquerque and San Antonio. The average prices include the engagement session, wedding photography, and a CD/USB with the photos. Here's what I found out.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: $2,600 - $2,700
San Antonio, Texas: $2,800 - $2,900
Now, does $1,500 seem reasonable? Just in case you're not sure - It's not!
Obviously, not every wedding photographer is going to charge the exact same price for the exact same services. When you hire a wedding photographer, you're not buying photos - you're buying the photographer's professionalism, creativeness, personality, experience, and expertise. While differences in cost are normal, a difference of $1,100 - $1,400 is excessive!
danger is lurking everywhere!
With the improvements in cell phone cameras and the affordability of DSLR cameras, photos have become a significant part of our daily lives. In many ways, it's great. However, it's also made it very easy for the scammers to posture themselves as "professional photographers."
They can purchase a decent camera without much investment, set up a free Facebook "business page," and sell their "professional services." I'm a consumer too and I don't have unlimited funds when it comes to making a purchase. Price is important and will always be important for the majority of us, but it's far from being the most important.
Take the Gallegos for example. If they paid $1,500 knowing the average price was $2,700, they probably thought they got an amazing deal. But what do you suppose they think now? I'm sure they believe it was the worst $1,500 they ever spent.
do you know someone who was scammed by a wedding photographer? share your story with me, i'd love to hear from you!