50 Brides Reveal What Their Photographers Could Have Done Better

As a professional wedding photographer, you are trusted with the huge responsibility of documenting one of the most important days of two people’s lives. Not only are you expected to fully capture all the big moments, small moments and everything in between, you are expected to create images that are beautiful and authentic and will bring tears to each viewer’s eyes. All brides hire you believing that you will meet all of these expectations, but unfortunately that is not always the case. We asked real brides whose weddings took place in 2014 what they thought their wedding photographers could have done better. These are direct quotes from anonymous brides who took this opportunity to express their true feelings. The answers may surprise you.

wedding photographer tips

Photo Credit: Wedding Gallery Ideas

1. My photographer fled the area after giving us the raw photos digitally but before editing our photos and giving us our wedding photo book as required in the contract.  We did our own editing in Windows Live and printed them in BrideBox and they came out wonderfully!  What a relief!

2. Our photographer was very good but the one thing I regret is that he used a filter on almost every photo so many of the photos were not sharp and vibrant in color, which is what I prefer.

3. He could have gotten better low light photos during the reception. More fun shots with bridal party. Most of ours were posed and serious.

4. Could have communicated with me more prior to and after the wedding. We’ve been married for almost 2 months now and he has failed to respond to any of our correspondences regarding when we will get our pictures, or anything else at all. I almost feel like we will never hear from him and that he has stolen our money. Not even sure what to do.

5. Snapped more candid photos.

6. Listen to me better. I asked for specific shots that I wanted and he didn’t want to do the the day of the wedding. I got married at the Palace of Fine Arts, and I wanted pictures inside the dome and he did not want to shoot there. He could have at least said, “Okay let’s do a couple and them move here.” I also had to push for shots by some doors that he did not want to shoot and those ended up being the best pictures. Also he didn’t have many ideas, I had to tell him what to do next.

7. My photographer should have spent more time with me before the wedding to go over the details for the day.  They should have used a checklist for the specific pictures I wanted them to take.

8. I could name 20, but I wish he would have insisted on taking table shots so I at least had a good record of everyone at my wedding.

9. I wish they had gone to each table and taken pictures during dinner. They took a lot of pictures of the dance floor action, but not everyone was dancing so there are some guests I don’t have any photos of from the reception! :(


professional wedding photographer tips

Photo Credit: Baby Wallpaper

11. My photographer should have cleaned up my pictures a little better than how they were presented. I had some pictures that were actually blurry and partially blacked out… No Bueno!!! :(

12. If there is a set plan/list of photos to be taken, be organized and able to stick to that plan. Stick to original requests as much as possible.

13. Be honest about how long it would actually take to get us our pictures and albums after the wedding.  Stop saying “I’m almost done” and just say “My volume is so high it will take me over a year to complete your order.”

14. Communicate better. Took more pics of details especially the DIY projects I worked my ass off for. Took more candids of guests.

15. More direction.

16. Our photographer convinced us to get the more expensive package which included a few extra hours of his time and a wedding album so we thought the album would be super nice. When we got it we were sooo disappointed… cheap materials and the picture quality wasn’t great.

17. There were plenty of things my photographer could have done better.  For one, the selection of pictures.  I had a ton of pictures of me and my bridesmaids, which I of course love.  However, I only had a handful of pictures of me and my husband.  I was so disappointed in the lack of pictures of the two of us.  I wrote out a list of specific shots I wanted taken, and he clearly did not even look at the list.  There was one family picture of my mother’s side (and only because my mom rallied up everyone) but no family or table shots of any other family.  I could go on… thank God for my videographer.

18. Made the timing of her exit more clear.

19. Had a 2nd photographer with him to catch more moments.

20. Communicated better regarding the pics we wanted… & giving it more of a “party” feel with more of the fun shots & better attention to detail.

professional wedding photography tips

Photo Credit: Digital Camera World

21. He could have offered more ideas for the group photos. It seemed like he just wanted to get the job done and wasn’t thinking that creatively.

22. Given our photos back within the contract deadline. I understand that sometimes things get really busy, but be proactive in letting us know when we may expect it so that we’re not having to chase them down.

23. I wish we would have identified a place during the ceremony for the bridal party to make a brief pause for a photo on the way down the aisle.

24. Provided multiple family shots (and not just what he thought was the “best of”). I wish we could have gotten a shot of my brother and I just regularly posing, but he only gave us one of us smiling/laughing, which was great…just I wanted more than the one. Also, one other thing…wish he had gotten more couples shots that were artistic, but we were on a time constraint.

25. I wish our photographer would have taken more initiative and be creative.  Rather than us telling him which pictures to take and how I wish he would have as well.  Yes he did ask for a list of pictures that we wanted him to take, but with everything going on, the list was misplaced.  Afte looking at my digitals there were many picture opportunities that did not get taken advantage of.  Our pictures were also only edited when we asked for them to be edited.

26. Spend more time taking photos of the couple prior to the ceremony. (Different poses outside of the normal area)

27. Been more creative with location of the first look and bridal.

28. More party shots.

29. She didn’t take my opinion into consideration when designing my wedding album. I trusted her to be an expert since she does wedding albums all the time, but the final product was very underwhelming. Very cookie cutter and seems like she uses the same boring template for every book.

30. I LOVED my photographer. But I wish she had had more romantic and intimate pose ideas when she was photographing us alone as a couple. I found the ones we took a little stiff and in the rush of the moment couldn’t think of anything better myself.

wedding photography tips

Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes

31. Taken more photos with me with my guests at the reception.

32. Not rush us and have given us better direction for poses.

33. I wish my photographer had captured more photos of my friends and family, as well as photos of us interacting with them. At the end of the day, I only had one photo with my mother and her face is 3/4 hidden.

34. Ensure that I received a CD of my photos sooner as well as leaving them online for more than a month.

35. Lighting.

36. She should have been more open and nice. She was very closed off and not open to any suggestions.

37. Adjusted the lighting/brightness/contrast (I have no idea of the correct technical term!) of the photos from the reception which was in a hotel ballroom. Something about the lighting in those photos is very unexciting, which is in stark contrast  to all the others!

38. Not cancel on me the day before the wedding!!!

39. I have pictures but it would have great to have a real photographer. A lot of things got missed :(

40. Taken more pictures of us at the reception before the dance.  He got pictures of us walking into the reception hall and then the next pictures are of us having our first dance… we ate and went around to see people for about 1.5 hours before we danced!  So there are not any pictures of us, our head table, us talking to guests, etc.  I wish he could have got more of us interacting with our guests, but instead he sat down and ate his dinner with the rest of everyone and didn’t pick up his camera again until we had our first dance.

how to be a good wedding photographer

Photo Credit: Grey Likes Weddings

41. Take all my important family pictures.

42. Listened to what I wanted. While I have nice photos to look back on, they did not look at or consider the shot list that they asked me to send them. There were certain photos I had really wanted and missed out on.

43. Could have taken more candids. I didn’t really get the shots like you see on Pinterest like in a field. I loved her but it would have been nice to have more direction from her.

44. Taken more whimsical pictures of us as a couple.

45. The photos came out fine, but during the whole consultation she was flirting with my husband!

46. Not only did it take forever to get my photos and wedding album, but the album itself is very cheap quality and looks like it was carelessly put together. The photos don’t really tell the story of my wedding day.

47. He seemed like he was really unprepared for the day. Fumbling around with camera settings and whatnot during important times like when we were walking down the aisle after saying “I do” and when my maid of honor was giving her toast.

48. Completely ignored my phone calls, emails, texts – everything! It’s been 3 months and I still haven’t heard from her even though in her contract she said 4-6 weeks is typical turnaround.

49. I thought my photographer would be a little more prepared. She didn’t really know where to be at the right time and she didn’t get any good shots of important things like the first kiss and my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle.

50. To be fair, he took a pretty healthy mix of photos and got pictures of all of my guests, but I really thought he would know better and take more photos of my bridal party and my family members. I only have one picture of me and my sister (who was also my maid of honor!) outside of the posed photos.

how to shoot a wedding

Photo Credit: Regi Photo

As we read through these brides’ responses, we realized a few common themes that kept recurring. First, lack of communication seems to be a huge problem between brides and their photographers. In any business relationship, clear communication is the most important aspect in order to ensure all parties are on the same page. There is nothing worse than going into a business relationship thinking you will receive one thing and then receiving a totally different product. Maintaining a clear path of communication is essential in order to meet expectations for both the wedding photographer and the bride. This means you need to take the initiative to make sure your bride understands what you are going to provide for her, before, during and especially after the wedding. Spend the time to communicate with her what it is exactly you will do on the day of and during the days following the wedding so that she feels comfortable trusting you with the important role of documenting her wedding day. Above all, do not ignore any correspondence you receive from her after the wedding, even if you are worried that she’ll be upset that your schedule is running a bit later than expected. She will only be more upset if you ignore her. Be open and honest with your clients so that you can manage and align expectations smoothly.

A second recurring issue with wedding photographers is that brides want their photographers to direct them to pose for photos and to have a shot list prepared so that nothing is missed. Although some brides felt that their photographers weren’t creative enough with the poses, it is evident that many brides prefer for their photographers to not only be open to pose suggestions, but to have a prepared list of poses that include portrait shots as well as whimsical, fun poses.

how to shoot weddings

Photo Credit: Beautiful Wedding Memories

Another problem brides have with their photographers is that they were promised a beautiful wedding album, but the product they received was disappointing and of poor quality. When brides receive a wedding album with their expensive photography packages, they expect a superior, professional product. If you are going to include a wedding album as part of your packages, please make sure that you are only offering a product that will thrill your customers.

Finally, when documenting an event as important as someone’s wedding, be sure to take the time to find out who are the VIPs on the guest list. Your bride and groom will be extremely busy on the actual day and won’t be able to come over and tell you to take more photos of their family or best friends, so they’ll expect you to be one step ahead of them and already be snapping shots of those important people. Although it’s important to get a good mix of shots that include everyone and everything, more photos of those who are most important to your clients will only make them happier in the end.

Article Name
50 Brides Reveal What Their Photographers Could Have Done Better
We surveyed 50 real brides who got married in 2014 and asked them what their photographers could have done better. The answers may surprise you.

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126 Responses

  1. Carl Ballou says:

    It would be interesting to know the price range each participant paid for the photographer they hired. Price determines everything! Also the skill level/experience their photographer had, and where they found them. I have talked to too many brides/parents after the wedding who say they should have paid a little more for a better, more experienced photographer like myself and received a complete album of beautiful finished images, rather than go cheap and dirty

    • Justin Hulse says:

      I 100% agree. Good photographers wouldn’t make any of the mistakes listed in the article. I’m a full time photographer and have made some of these mistakes listed early in my career but LEARNED to not repeat those same mistakes again.

      All of us like to save money but there is definitely a tradeoff. Lesson learned… hire experienced photographers and judge them by their portfolio.

      My first bit of advice to the bride would be to use the vendor list provided by your venue. My second bit of advice would be to understand that good photography requires time and to plan enough time for the creative portraits… your photographer should arrive 2-3 hours before the ceremony. ‘First look’ (or ‘reveal’) is also an excellent way to get more creative portraits of the couple.

  2. Read the article and had to chuckle on some of the responses, as a photographer with over 30 years of experience I can write a list of 50 things a bride and groom can do for the photographer to make his job easier during the process so he can deliver what you expect. The biggest problem I see with today’s couples is they don’t allow or give enough time for the photographers to do their best work. Nothing like a bride being late, not leaving on time for the photo session and then asking the photographer to work faster. It really has to be a team effort that is planned but most importantly that they stick to the plan

    • Allyson Gray says:

      Jean, I could not agree more. A lot of brides don’t realize you couldn’t deliver what they wanted because of them. I don’t mean to be mean because I know they have a big and stressful day, but you can’t do things like you mentioned above and then expect the results you want.

    • Gema Duran says:

      AMEN!!! Not doing the first look and only giving us 10 mins to shoot their photos and make them look like the ones they saw on SMP even though it is quickly getting dark

    • KitaKitazu says:

      Ah yes, a “30 year experience photographer”. It’s amazing that all of these so-called professionals always blame the couple for their terrible photography.

      Asking that you adhere to shots that you were asked to and agreed to take isn’t a “problem with the couple”. Stating that they want their photographs edited and given in a book PER CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT isn’t a “problem with the couple”.

      It’s this disgusting and UN-professional attitude that is causing the great deal of people to choose up-and-coming great photographers who actually know they are providing a contracted service and that, despite arrogant and pathetic attitudes like yours Jean, that this wedding is about the COUPLE and their FAMILY and FRIENDS.

      NOT about the photographer, which you desperately somehow thing it is.

      You have entered the technological age, Jean. Kids now own cameras that take incredible pictures. The software to re-touch and edit photos to professional quality is now available free online. Digital photography is removing the years of experience and niche market that you once held, so that even guests can now take the best shots of the wedding, along with amateur photographers who do this for a hobby.

      Thankfully most new photographers are coming into the industry NOT full of themselves and thinking that others need to cater to them. And thankfully a great deal of photographers do not share your disgusting “it’s everyone elses fault but mine” attitude and are becoming well know.

      • L.Anthoney says:

        KitaKitazu, relax. Then re-read the comment you replied to.

        Jean did NOT blame the things mentioned in the article on the bride or the wedding party for that matter. Jean DID say that photographers could probably create a list of 50 things that the bride could do better, and that is reasonable.
        We shouldn’t expect an argument to ever be one-sided, right?

        It didn’t appear that you grasped what Jean was saying, and then you attacked Jean for what wasn’t said, but what you thought Jean was implying.

        If Jean has invested 30 years into this craft, I’d like to think Jean has good input to add to the conversation, and it should be heard.
        Maybe you didn’t mean to say it, but your comment read as if Jean’s experience is obsolete, and that he/she is full of himself/herself.

        It isn’t always the photographer’s fault; it isn’t always the bride’s fault.
        Is that something that can be agreed upon?

      • Kevin says:

        WOW! you have a disdain for photographers. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read “Kids now own cameras that take incredible pictures”, well this just tells me that you know NOTHING about photography. Cameras never have and never will take incredible pictures. People take incredible pictures, and to take great photos it takes years of developing that skill….. Really good wedding photographers deserve the high price that they are paid because so much skill & experience go into shooting a wedding that I cannot even begin to explain this to you. I am not a wedding photographer but have great respect for them. New photographers coming into the industry should be second shooters and not be in charge of the whole shoot. I would bet my paycheck that most of the brides here hired based an what they could get cheap and then paid a ridiculous amount of money for everything else. It is the photos that you will have years down the road……..

    • That is my biggest problem also. Time time and time. So many things happening with the bride and people around her.
      Sometimes we do more directing the people and things out of the way than do actual shooting.
      Another more frequent distraction lately is everyone trying to get a picture with their mobile phone – just terrible. And one doesn’t want to spoil the brides mood by chasing everyone and say no all the time.
      I feel that the bridesmaid/s & best man should be their all the time helping the bride with the dress, makeup touch up, keeping people away from the shoot – so the photographer can concentrate on what they are there for and do best.
      Brides look through bridal magazines and see all these glamour shot off models. They do not realize those shoots had time, time and time, sometimes 3 days per shoot. Tons of props and makeup artist, clothing and hair stylist keeping everything going all the time.
      Pay your good professional wedding photographer the same as it cost the company for the shoot and you are guaranteed of a stunning wedding portfolio.
      But that doesn’t happen in real life!

    • Gert.j says:

      Amen ! If this is such an important occasion then please afford me the time and courtesy needed to do a quality shoot !

  3. This is the “start” of an informative article…but that is it. Next question – how much did you PAY for you wedding photography? For the comments I’ve read I’m gonna say the majority paid very little – compared to what actual good photography costs by a talented photographer. Did they look at hiring only members of actual professional photographic associations (real ones, not WPPI). Why was getting the digital files important to you and do you realize you need to pay a large premium from anybody talented to get them? Like I said it was a good idea to do ask questions….but without full detail these comments are useless. Someone complains about what they got…but what did they PAY for and did they cheap out, pay less and expect the stars? That’s my guess on most of them.

    • BelindaM says:

      We paid 8K for ours and he took 9 months to get back to us with the unedited prints. We had one of our friends edited them themselves and are seeking legal action.

      His photography company was recommended highly by two wedding expos. The idea that it’s price that is the issue is redundant, a good photographer does their work regardless of pay and then through contacts is recommended highly enough to raise their prices. It’s a myth that an expensive photographer is a better option, as most are starting to find is the case.

  4. Shawn Fields says:

    This is awesome!!! Thank you Bridebox!

  5. A lot of these complaints can be avoided by doing more research, and obviously better communication with your photographer.

    Complaints such as ‘wishing there was a 2nd photographer’ isn’t so much a complaint rather than a regret. It is not the photographer’s fault if a 2nd photographer wasn’t requested beforehand.

    While some points such as missing photos or avoiding contact is inexcusable, this is almost non-existent among fully qualified professionals and my best guess is they either went with an amateur friend or a wannabe pro. Simply put, don’t cheap out on your once in a life time memories.

  6. Chris Giles says:

    All 50 points are very valid and there is a theme that runs throughout directly related to expectations.

    It’s very important to choose wisely who shoots your wedding. Image editing styles, delivery times, hours covered and so on are something to be covered at the time of booking and to be detailed in a contract.

    It’s really important to have this to fall back on.

    Any photographer worth booking, who has decent enough experience will be able to show you lots of examples of work and albums. You should know what to expect before booking them.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

    Always check their online presence, feedback from past couples and so on. Always have an address for them should the worst come to the worst. Bad people don’t stay in business very long and good ones will have a check-able history.

    This extends beyond wedding photographers but any supplier for your day.

    • Eric says:

      All 50 points are valid? Sure, but reading these, why do I feel that all these brides went with the cheaper photographer, the one charging $500-1000 for the whole thing? It’s not bad people don’t stay in business long, it’s the ones that don’t charge enough for what they’re doing and get burned out that quit after 2 years or so.

      You truly do get what you pay for, and if you go for budget wedding photography, don’t expect a Saks Fifth Avenue experience or product. I won’t do weddings except for certain circumstances, and I tell whomever wants to book my that they’re not getting a wedding photographer, they’re getting a portrait photographer out of their element. That’s part of the reason I’ve only shot two weddings and both were favors for good friends.

  7. Bruce says:

    I would have like to have seen a follow up question… “How much did you pay your photographer?” I suspect there is a direct correlation between “blurry and partially blacked out” and the budget for photography services…

  8. Ricky Owens says:

    I got married on August 9th, 2014. My issues with my photographers were as follows:

    (1) One photographer (who was eventually fired) arrived more than an hour late for our initial meeting.

    (2) His replacement was also fired for lateness the day of the wedding. (The term “fashionably late” is not in my vocabulary.)

    (3) The focus was soft in many of the shots. Likewise, there’s considerable motion blur in most of them.

    (4) Some of the most important shots are simply too dark. The photographers brought lights yet never used them. As my wedding was outdoors, utilizing the camera’s flash and/or a speedlight was not prohibited.

    (5) Of the “serviceable” shots, not enough of them featured my extended family.

  9. Adam Rozanas says:

    Thank you for this! This is invaluable. I stay away from weddings…not my niche. But a couple approached me a couple months back, begging me to photograph their wedding. They love my style of music and entertainment and people photography. So I agreed. Their wedding is at the end of this month. I’m excited, but a bit nervous. This list of bride-reviews – though undeniably daunting and overwhelming – gives me a really good idea of how I can better prepare, make the wedding a success (photographically speaking) and become a better photographer for it.

  10. Rebecca Poirier says:

    and I will add..take another photographer with you for the candid shots and reception pictures..then you can concentrate on the other stuff. from what I read many were disappointed by the lack of guest shots. many photogs looking for more experience would love the opportunity to do this for you.

    • Eric says:

      Most of the time a second shooter is not a problem. We had a list of 2nd’s that we could bring…. assuming the client is willing to PAY for it.

  11. Guillermo says:

    I am about 99% sure that these brides got the ball rolling to have all these problems when they shopped for price over experience and were unwilling to hire a true photographer with artistic talent, formal photographic training, a congenial personality and a proven record of honesty and business knowledge and went with someone that was cheap and “seemed to know what they were doing not realizing that six months down the road no one (including her) will care what the cake tasted like or if the DJ screwed up or even what food was served … But your photos will always be there staring you in the face and reminding you about the good or bad decision you made by investing in your photos or saving a few hundred dollars.
    EXPERIENCE – How long has this photographer been doing this? How many weddings does he/she shoot ALONE each year. Did he show you MANY different examples?
    EDUCATION: does he have formal photography training and knows not only the art but also the science of photography.
    BUSINESS KNOW HOW – how long has he/she ran the business and what training did they receive?
    THE ACTUAL WORK – Did it strike you right away? Is (every shot) exposed and composed beautifully?
    SOFT SELL – photographers also support their families BUT did yours try to force you to book?
    I could go in all day…
    Email me any time for FREE ADVICE: information@naturaltouchphotos.com

  12. KG says:

    It’s a load of nonsense to be frank. All of those brides were most likely asked what specific shots they desired, to meet up before the day for a chat about what style they were after etc … and I guarantee they all said they didn’t have time.

  13. andyw says:

    did you also ask “how much did you pay”?
    A lot of those answers are down to simple inexperience and lack of communication from brides on their actual requirements.

  14. Stefanie says:

    This is a terrible article. I’m always open for suggestions to improve but the majority of these are just fault of an inexperienced photographer which, unfortunately, is the choice of the bride, or choosing a photographer that does not fit your vision. Even things such as shots they wish they got, an experienced photographer will either explain their style or work with you to figure out what is important to you. Communication also works both ways, people aren’t mind readers, what is important to one bride is often not cared about by another. It’s very common to have one bride who LOVES detail shots while another can’t care less, or one who wants a photo with every guest and one who just wants one group shot and that’s it. If you want a photo album, ask to see a sample before committing to buy. If you think a 2nd photographer is needed, ask them to hire one (and pay for it).

    Also – “I wish he could have got more of us interacting with our guests, but instead he sat down and ate his dinner with the rest of everyone and didn’t pick up his camera again until we had our first dance.” Do you expect your photographer to work a 12 hour day without a rest or eating? Why do you want photos of people stuffing their face anyway? All my clients insist I take a break and sit down and relax… if they didn’t, I wouldn’t want to work with them anyway.

  15. Jenn says:

    This is a two way street. Some of the concerns about lack of communicating are crucial but everything else should be things you discuss prior to signing the contract on both ends. I’m a hardcore photojournalist and I am NOT going to give a ton of emphasis to your posed family photos and I make that very clear. I don’t get into stiff and formal. The clients that hire me are fully aware of this and they hire me because we are on the same page. Both photographer need to have a good understanding of what they want to ensure it is a perfect fit. Also make sure they are a legit photog – everyone has a camera these days.

    • Eric says:

      The low budget ones usually aren’t pros, they’re typically hobbyists that got a camera and are trying to make a few extra bucks. The good photographers, that cost money, are the experienced ones that have shot many weddings, or have 2nd shot many weddings.

    • Heather says:

      ABSOLUTELY. It is our job to BE the professional and set the tone and expectations… before they book us, during the lead up to the wedding and then after the wedding. Too many photogs are trying to just book as many weddings as possible and aren’t focusing their attention on getting qualified clients that are a perfect fit.
      Though most of these points in the article clearly indicate rampant use of newer photographers who haven’t sorted this out yet.

  16. Ian says:

    I have to ask the question with all these brides, did they hire a professional wedding photographer or were they amateur or friends with a bran new camera brought at the retail store. What was the budget too. Communication is always a must from the moment you sit down to the consultation to after the wedding and your handing over their album. However with even the best communication in the world, on the day lots of things can go wrong. The bride and groom run late, they are in hair and makeup over the scheduled time. family and friends slow them down for having pictures taken or don’t show up at the time arrange when setting down the time line of the wedding. There is so much to think about and do and the true professional wedding photographer,(which I am not) has to be able to take control of the situation to the best of his or her ability, and even then some of the important images might not get covered. Wedding photography is not for the new photographer that’s for sure. Like any apprenticeship you have to learn the trade.

  17. Esther says:

    What this article needs is a note as to what each bride paid for their photos. With wedding photography people can pay nothing and have a student take their photos or they can pay thousands. I wish brides realized that they get what they pay for! I’ve heard friends complain about their photos and then I find out that the photos were either free or there was no contract. Brides and grooms have to take some responsibility for crummy photos if they do not cooperate or follow the contract either. It is a good list to help you communicate better woh either party regarding what is expected.

  18. 123 says:

    This is just a list pf complains…

  19. jess says:

    Most of these sounds like problems resulting from a cheap investment, no communication and direction from the bride & groom, and lack of portfolio review. You get what you pay for, do your homework before booking.

  20. Conan says:

    Being a professional wedding photographer it is great to hear the perspectives of brides after the event. I agree with pretty much all the points that these brides have mentioned, because at the end of the day, they are putting their trust and investment with our services to record everything. Most will be covered journalistic, but as artist we should always strive to create lasting images for our clients that they shall treasure for life. That being said, it is easy for brides to have unrealistic expectations from their photographers, especially since the advent of sites like Pinterest that culminate massive amounts of great work from many different sources. The reality is that open communication and the more time you give your photographers on the actual day is going to make all the difference. We do not know who the important family members and guests are, so instead of spending an hour taking cell phone selfies, make sure that your photographer is there by your side to take pictures during the reception of you with everyone that is most important to you. Every wedding is different, so make it your own and have fun : )

  21. Lea says:

    It’s not the photographer’s fault you didn’t look at their website and/or request to see a full gallery to get a better understanding of their skill level and style.
    That usually goes hand-in-hand with choosing a photographer based on how cheap they are instead of their skill level or style.
    Also, not having a second photographer?! If you don’t pay for a second photographer, you don’t get one. They don’t work for free, nor does the main photographer.

  22. Bob Lloyd says:

    These are very interesting comments. As a toastmaster, most of the photographer’s I have worked with are grateful for my assistance in gathering guests for group shots, working from the list agreed with the couple. A good toastmaster will also allow time in the schedule for the photographer to take the couple off on there own for the all important romantic shots.

  23. Jenn says:

    I’d be curious to know what they spent on their photographer. Obviously the more you spend the better communication, the more experience and established in both shooting and products your photographer should be. Unfortunately not all studios are created equal and it’s difficult for couples to distinguish between a high end studio, a wedding mill and a new photographer sometimes.

  24. These comments amaze me, I have never had any bride make these comments to me. Choosing a photographer you need to choose a professional. Try going to the PPA site http://www.ppa.com/about/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2335&navItemNumber=2337, find a photographer, for referrals, you have a better chance of getting someone that knows what they are doing. You also need to pay the photographer what they need to make a living. Expect to pay $2500 to $3600 for an entry level photography package. Otherwise you just get someone with a part time weekend job, they just don’t care.
    I have read every problem and they all sound like newbies. Pay me now or regret it later, sad very sad.

    • Sterling Steves says:

      I’ve been a full time photographer for two years and have seen no real need to join the PPA. I have been tempted but haven’t seen the value. I do agree that if someone is full time, that would be a fairly good indicator of professionalism rather than a PPA membership that is an indication of spending money to be a member of something. Someone who is full time at least has to be good enough to provide a living for themselves after all but beware of the ones who are spousal units that don’t really bring in the money but claim being a full timer. Of course the portfolio is critical too. I know part timers who price themselves high just so that people think they are better than they really are.

      • Not joining/supporting the professional photography groups are going be the death of this industry! If the photographers do not support it why would anyone take the profession serious! It will take the Pro out of Photography and it will not take long with this type of attitude

  25. Mike Sweeney says:

    What is not clear is how much was paid for these photographers? Were they the cheapest the bride could find or the higher end or a mix. The commonality I saw is what I hear about the cheaper or newbie photographers trying to shoot a wedding. Often times in wedding photography, you get what you paid for.

  26. donna says:

    well if that’s what a supposed pro get wrong imagine how much worse it would be asking a family member who has a fancy camera but doesn’t know what to do with it, or gets to busy enjoying your day to remember to take photos. Research research research !!! choose a style you like with a personality you like and you wont go far wrong. Allocate more time than you think to photographs as getting 100 people in to place and looking the same way takes time. And budget well as your photographs are your reminder of your day. no point spening 5-10k on your venue and only 500 on your photographer.

  27. Sebastian says:

    It would have been great if you would have written down to each statement how much the photographers were paid. Why? Because you have to match customers expectations with their budgets. This would put their statements into perspective ;)

    As an example I’d like to quote “Another problem brides have with their photographers is that they were promised a beautiful wedding album, but the product they received was disappointing and of poor quality.” Of course “beautiful” is open to interpretation. I can offer an album that costs me $400 and I can offer one that costs me $40. So I have samples for all the products I offer so people can see what they will get.

  28. KylieH says:

    One of the BIGGEST problems I have with photographing a wedding is the interference of family members and other guests when I’m trying to get the “perfect shot”. It’s so frustrating when you work your backside off to make sure you give the best service to your clients only to be pushed out of the way because their ‘iphone’ or “happy snap camera” is more important and they must get their photo. I’ve even resorted to being “polite” with people by saying “unless you are willing to pay the married couple’s wedding photography bill, please move out of the way and let me do my job the way I need to”. I always ask my bride and groom for a list of essential photos, preferred photos, and other photos they want done on the day and we work out a plan for obtaining these together. Yes, it does come down to communication – but it also comes to a responsibility issue, from BOTH parties. If a bride and groom have an expectation of their photographer, make it clear PRIOR to engaging their services. As with me, I have expectations of my clients, to ensure that everything is photographed not only as they want it done, but how I want it done – smoothly, efficiently and as hassle free as possible for all concerned. I’ve spent over 14hrs with the couple from start to finish on their wedding day and they’ve received 80% of the images taken (the other 20% have heads, phones, arms, and flash flares in them from the guests and have essentially ruined those shots) and in 12 years not one complaint. Respect is a must!

    As the saying goes – “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!”

    • Gert.j says:

      Jep family and friends interference with the need for their own “perfect shot” does present a real challenge , we were recently asked, after having set up the shot, whether we would mind moving out of the way so that some of the friends could get the shot and subsequently even proceeded to re-arrange the shot ! Must say that the urge to be impolite certainly crosses my mind from time to time ………..

  29. Karen says:

    So I read thru the comments. One or two of the brides sounded extremely spoiled and whiny. Many of them had valid issues. My sister who just got married actually did not have enough pictures of her as the bride. I mean really? He spent a huge amount of time on the grooms men group. He got one quick shot of my sisters family only after my sister pushed him into it. A photographer does need a back up person. If they do not have one more likely one of the guest is a photobug and will be happy to take the candid shots while the photographer is taking the dreamy shots and the posed shots. I happen to be that person ha ha. Anyway I shot at my cousins, moms and sisters wedding. So they were all covered if not covered by the photographer. I think I annoyed my cousins photographer because she thought it was funny when she took a photo of me and yelled got ya. Very funny (not) She was being paid. BTW she did not get a good picture of my cousin dancing with her husband on the first dance. If she paid attention she would have know that every time they moved to a certain spot he would dip her. I got it she didn’t and it was gooood LOL. My cousin was kind enough to say she actually liked my book better which I did on shutterfly. I did not use the templates but pretty much filled each page with one photo. They also forgot my aunt in the book. Ha the brides mother… oooops. My aunt wasn’t all that pleased.

  30. Jason J says:

    sounds like a shitty photographers…

  31. Gema Duran says:

    43. Could have taken more candids. I didn’t really get the shots like you see on Pinterest like in a field. I loved her but it would have been nice to have more direction from her.
    DId you tell your photographer you wanted that and reserved time to travel to a field to do the photos?

    45. The photos came out fine, but during the whole consultation she was flirting with my husband!
    If she was mean, you would be complaining and here she was nice and STILL complaining!!!

    21. He could have offered more ideas for the group photos. It seemed like he just wanted to get the job done and wasn’t thinking that creatively.
    Again what was the time schedule!! was the wedding coordinator yelling stating photos are over?

    39. I have pictures but it would have great to have a real photographer. A lot of things got missed.
    A-HA!!! this comment is able a NON photographer!!! why is it here!

    8. I could name 20, but I wish he would have insisted on taking table shots so I at least had a good record of everyone at my wedding.
    A lot of guest don’t like for their photo to be taken and a good photographer will not take photos of people eating. If the action is on the dance floor, that is the place we are at.

    1. My photographer fled the area after giving us the raw photos digitally but before editing our photos and giving us our wedding photo book as required in the contract. We did our own editing in Windows Live and printed them in BrideBox and they came out wonderfully! What a relief!
    WOW…who did you hire?!!! why is this on here again?

    To sum it up, it sounds like these brides didn’t hire a pro and even if you hire the BEST of the BEST if you don’t give us time to shoot, you won’t get the best of us. Its like trying to rush the process of making a pizza and not letting the dough rise! TIME is essential!!

  32. Allyson Gray says:

    I do more portraiture photography than weddings. This is what I know. I could not be a full time wedding photographer. These photographers that exclusively do weddings deserve a medal. The whole day is stressful. Your worried that this will be the time every piece of equipment you bring will fail, worried you will not meet their expectations, worried your photos will not come out like you plan, worried there will be some freak lighting disaster, and so on. I know that were just expected to do and know our job. And we do, that doesn’t mean that we are perfect. I think people who don’t know a photographer, don’t realize how hard our job is, how we work our tail off to get all those shots. And then countless hours editing them. Communication is key. I agree with one of the comments above that we’re not mind readers. Brides definitely need to speak up about the images that are most important to them. If they give an “I trust you” comment, then don’t get what they were hoping for, then I’m sorry but that’s on them. And brides definitely need to look at the website because that’s how their photos will be turning out. I saw a lot of comment’s from the brides saying they expected the photographer to have more idea’s. This I agree with and don’t. I always come with a few idea’s, and then I ask them if they have any idea’s that they wanted to try. I think Bride’s should bring some idea’s, after all this is their day, they’re telling their wedding story. I can only get to know a client so much. They know each other better than anyone, they should bring their creative idea’s for the story they want to tell.
    There were some comments from the brides I couldn’t believe of a professional photographer. Like trying to hand over unedited images. That is outlandish to me. Taking a ridiculous amount of time getting images back to the brides. I don’t offer wedding albums in my wedding packages, but if I got a cheap looking album, I would be furious too! And being late, that is the most unprofessional thing ever!
    All in all I think there are things photographer’s and brides/grooms could improve on. And that communication is gold.

  33. Bring on the brides that understand beautiful photos don’t come from a piece of paper with a checklist on it.

  34. Nicolas says:

    I’m now totally enlightened. Thank you Bridebox.

  35. Gar Bridge says:

    Yep, sounds about right. That why I say it’s inpotant to be come like a family member, get to know every one possible. Make the package. Show the kaka get fully, not just the od good shot, shoot what they want and eat you would like if they want it, do not miss the moment, be creative and tratment them like they are special. Take work shops on posing like I did, make them your friens. Enjoy your work, it’s so rewarding. Cover your self, as there are those who love to complain.

  36. Melody says:

    Oh come on photographers quit being so defensive. It doesn’t matter what they paid for them. We’ve all had to deal with photographers that may be really creative taking pics of sunsets or even individual portraits but have the personality of a log. Wedding photography isn’t suited for everyone.
    And if you think that if they paid your higher prices they would have gotten everything they wanted then clearly arrogance will keep you from hearing ways to improve.
    If the list doesn’t apply to you then fine, get your knickers out of a twist.

    I’ll add one – if you know the brides family try to remember she wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t a second person and family involved. They are the other people extra dressed up. It’s not just the bride’s day despite what the reality shows would tell you.

    Finally it goes to your reputation and increase in business. If you’re too much the artist to care then you are probably the only one that thinks you make art.

    • L.Anthoney says:

      Try that same argument concerning another profession, or any product.

      Would you knowing hire a lawyer on his/her first case vs. one with 10 years experience?
      If you were having eye surgery, would you see a doctor with only 5 operations under his/her belt versus a doctor who has completed 1500?
      If you had extensive and complicated electrical issues in your home, would you call a ‘handyman’, or a certified electrician?

      The prices someone charges for a service usually coincides with how much experience and demand they have, as well as the quality of the finished product or service.

      The question being posed has merit.
      The saying ‘You get what you pay for’ rings true more often than not.

      It is largely the bride’s day; but the better wedding photographers will know what to capture, and will ask for a schedule of when things are happening, and if they can’t be in two places at once, a 2nd or 3rd photographer is there to capture the moments.
      And that does depend on the bride’s budget.

      The article doesn’t share: the experience level of the hired photographers, whether they were hired on at the last minute, stipulations at the venues that arose, etc.

      Photographers should be defensive; this article is completely one-sided.

      • Regg says:

        Oh, that’s not fair either. That doctor with 1,500 operations worth of experience wasn’t BORN with experience. Even he/she had to start somewhere.

        One of the benefits of being new at something nowadays is that you can read articles like this and at least prepare better before venturing into a particular field. As a photographer myself, this was quite an entertaining read. So was the bride’s version. I actually feel MORE prepared to jump into the business (this is not my first read on wedding photography horror stories).

  37. chuck says:

    Obviously this is completely from the brides perspective – but – in my experience many of these complaints are in fact the good old – I didn’t ask or want it before the wedding but now that its over I want it type of response. I see things like — wish we weren’t rushed and would love to know the specifics – was there only 45 minutes for posed shots? Was there a receiving line that took a half an hour longer than expected? did that important family member leave prior to the formal shots because of the late receiving line? Lots of things happen on a wedding day and some of that could be due to poor planning – IE when your photographer says to you at the first meeting – it would be better to back the ceremony up so we have at least this amount of time before the reception – that’s advice that should be taken —and more times than not is forgotten on the day of.

    So many other things to comment on here but will keep it to a few – “37. Adjusted the lighting/brightness/contrast (I have no idea of the correct technical term!) of the photos from the reception which was in a hotel ballroom. Something about the lighting in those photos is very unexciting, which is in stark contrast to all the others!”

    Love this one and makes me really wonder —-where was the reception hall – was it a ballroom with low cielings, no uplighting, no other pretty lights like christmas lights or chinese lanterns…a boring windowless room is just that…very boring and windowless. If your other shots are full of fun and excitement —then your venue and decorator is probably more to blame than the photog.

    There is more to say, but, gotta get ready to go shoot a wedding.

  38. Stuart Meyer says:

    The summary at the end of the article is well-done. But the title of this article should have been, 50 Comments from Brides Who Hired Cheap Photographers. Don’t get me wrong; I can learn from the mistakes of an amateur or semi-pro, but please do better research and list the price paid next to each of these comments.

  39. Gian Carlo says:

    Totally bias article. One sided man. Its like a guys complaining about this wife and making it sound like he is perfect little angel, we all know that is not the case.
    Write better articles that promote the industry and really helps couples from a sincere angle not tear it down on all ends to get some traffic. (thumbs down dude)

  40. Andrew Davis says:

    Interestingly, the complaint of #1 is exactly the product brideboxpro is promoting, as a company that does digital downloads for shoot and burn photographers. And I can guarantee the quality of album I provide, and the design are going to be considerably better than the design your own option of brideboxpro. I’d say most of this list is an example of why you should hire a true pro, and communicate with them before your wedding. I make it a point to understand my couple’s expectations, talk their timeline over with them, get their list of must have and formal photos well ahead of time, and also happen to be a very good photographer. Unfortunately, if you go cheap on your photographer, you will often get what you pay for.

  41. jabbo Photography says:

    Great comments. All of these comments point to pre-ceremony planning. Meeting with bride and groom prior to wedding. Going over important shots and doing a walk through of the place where the wedding taking place along with reception making sure you have the light you need. Also finding out the number of the people in the wedding party and also the number of guest. Alot of questions need to be answered before the wedding takes place especially when it comes down to churches and different religious beliefs. Remember as a photographer you want to make this day memorable for your client. So go above and beyond your contract to make them happy. Jabbo Photography

  42. MIke Criss says:

    Wow, I would agree with most of the comments about hiring a professional. I can not imagine not being prepared, not editing photos, not communicating and offering sub par albums.
    This has to do a lot with the couples research. Our brides are usually well educated on their photography needs by the time them meet with us. My wife and I shoot as a team, they always have a second shooter.
    When we meet for the first time I bring along the album samples. There is no surprise when they get what they ordered. They are involved in editing the album as well and will not order until we get their final approval.
    For brides….hire a professional, ask to see an entire wedding, get your hands on an album being offered, sit down with them before hiring to see if their personalities with work with you and your family.
    For photographers….communication. I send out a list of what to expect when a couple hires us. It includes suggestions for wedding timelines to include back up times if the bride is late, considering a first look, assigning somebody for formal photos to gather groups up, and what to expect after the wedding. I give them timelines for when to expect photos, first draft of their album, videos, slideshows.

  43. Betsy says:

    I’m HOPING this article is a joke. Is this satire orrrr….

  44. Reading through the article, one thing has become apparent, a few of these people were taken for their money (probably), and that’s really shitty.

    The other thing that isn’t mentioned is what they paid for their wedding to be photographed. It sounds like a lot of these “wedding photographers” weren’t really a photographer at all; least of all, they weren’t professional photographers.

    One of the most importants takeaways from this article is that communication is key and the rest of this article/ the surveyed brides fails in almose every other way as it doesn’t mention what the paid for the photography. If they picked up some cheap craig’s list photographer (there are a few advertising photogs on Craigslist in my town and all of their posted photos are terrible), than I have no sympathy for them. They should have been more thorough. But if they payed the full price for a high-end pro and only recieved mediocre images, than shame on the photographer.

    But it sounds like most of these people weren’t pro at all. And even worse, it is clear that some of these brides had spent a lot of time looking at wedding photos on Pinterest or other media sites and had really lofty expectations.

  45. Matt says:

    How dare that photographer eat while the guests were eating! You mean after working from about 11AM to 7PM he had to eat? Did you hire a human being or something?

    Also, love the one about the photos in the hotel lighting not being as ‘exciting looking’ as the others. Probably had a hotel room with a tiny window and horrific dim overhead fluorescent lighting.

    People need realistic expectations.

  46. James Jola says:

    Its impossible for us to do all, and some clients just ask for what they didnt pay for.

  47. Gale says:

    Brides need to be more upfront with info. Don’t say, yes we will be ready to take photos at certain time and then herself not be dressed or half the bridal party not be present. Then talk to the groom and alot some real time for those cute couple shots. Brides seem to plan everything else except the time schedule.

  48. Sharon Brewer~Jacksonville, AL says:

    On the photographer side, I need to become best team friends (not a bestie) with the bride as she approaches her day. I charge more than most in our little town, but I refuge to give my bride anything less than the best of me. I will dream and live her day constantly leading up to that day. I tend to become totally encompassed by her day. With that said, I am not perfect. I do make mistakes, and I cannot do it all. That is also another reason why I require a second shooter. I and my second shooter are also required to come to rehearsal. To me, rehearsal is as much for the team of photographers as it is for the wedding party. I was also wondering what each bride paid for the mistakes of her photographer since several of the mistakes were totally avoidable. On a cute note, I was asked to do a wedding for $300 to match the photographer they were going to hire. I responded, “My second shooter gets more than that. Good Luck.”

  49. I was annoyed with the response- He sat down and had dinner with the rest of us-until the 1st dance. YES of course he did, he needed to be fed and have a rest after the probably 8 hours of work he already did….jeez

    • Julie Hedges says:

      I agree Maggie. By the time we get to dinner, we have already been on our feet 6+ hours. We usually photograph the couple sitting at their dinner table and then we go sit and have dinner. I have been a Full-Time Professional Photographer for 14 years. I have learned that no one wants their pictures made while they are eating. However with that said… we eat quickly so we are ready. As soon as the couple is finished and up… we are finished and up. We always encourage the couple to walk table to table greeting their guests. We follow and get a shot of our couple at each table with their guests.

  50. Looks like everyone agrees with my original comment, I am not alone! Yea

  51. It’s more and more the Wild, Wild West out there… communicate on all levels of what is expected from all involved. Cameras and cameraphones are everywhere, making it a turf war at events.

  52. NC says:

    I am only an occasional wedding photographer, but I’m actually pretty disturbed by this list. “My pictures didn’t look like the ones on Pinterest”. Um… really?

    I do feel that there are some VERY unrealistic brides, as well as (obviously) some photographers who have clearly done a less-than-stellar job (no matter what they charged). who don’t bother to keep communication clear, explain that even if they have been given a specific shot list circumstances may mean they can’t get them, meet deadlines, or provide quality products.

    But brides, get real – if you don’t say what you want CLEARLY… you won’t get it. (Although, conversely, don’t direct every shot. The bride above who says “she had to direct everything” sounds like the client from hell, frankly). PLEASE. If you want lots of candid shots with your relatives, SAY SO. If you want lots of fabulous couples portraits, build time into the day to ensure your photographer has a chance to GET those. If you don’t want lost of posed formals but prefer candids, hire somebody who does a more PJ style. If you have lots of family/friends you want in pictures, ask a friend to be the “liaison” so the photographer knows WHO to shoot (they don’t know your extended family/college roommate/bff from kindergarten) and TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT. Communication is indeed key…. from both parties.

  53. I am a photographer, and I do what I do well, but Ide make a lousy wedding photographer. Trouble is that many cannot resist the financial temptation. My advice is don’t try and bend your photographer to be the one you want. You want then to be creative, well creativity goes along with individuality. Check out their portfolios and go with the one who matches your feeling, who’s images you like. And very importantly, make sure you get on well when you meet for the first time. Its not just a business arrangement. Your photographer will have to be able to get close to you in all sorts of ways, you must be 100% comfortable.

  54. Patrick says:

    It’s so funny. We hear the brides’ concerns, BUT what about the photographer and the individual agreements made. There are SO MANY factors involved in WHY things may not play out the way the bride envisioned. So before we throw photographers under the bus, let’s hear both sides of the story ;)

  55. some interesting points. But much better are the comments back. I think brides need to understand more the different types of wedding photographers that are around now. We are purely wedding photojournalists and we limit our group photos to 10 maximum. This is what we do. If the couple want dreamy photos on top of a mountain surrounded by rose petals with a setting sun behind them, then book a different photographer to us. Horses for courses, as the saying goes.

    • Gert.j says:

      And be prepared and plan for the extra time needed as well as possible extra cost of setting up such specialized shoots , have done most of the “exotic” type of shots and know exactly the kind of time pressure which they bring about as well as need for timing from a light\ atmosphere perspective ………..

  56. Barb Pingel says:

    As the mother of the bride, I asked for ONE mother,daughter moment pic as I gave the traditional shots to her father, walking down the aisle and dance……I got nothing, she took the pic of her all dressed and looking in the mirror alone. I have been blue since 5/2013 and my daughter blames me for not having it done. It was her photographer, not my hire, so I asked her to have it done but she says that I am ruining her perfect day. Is it too much to expect the photographer to have a mother, daughter pic on his/her list?

  57. Prefect of all,love it!!!

  58. L.Anthoney says:

    Bridebox, this is a rather disappointing article. It is screaming for balance.

    If there was also 50 things photographers reveal that the bride/groom could have done better, then there would have been something that everyone could learn from.

    Now it will be written off largely as a whine piece because it is far too one-sided.
    A follow-up is desperately needed here.

  59. Jessica says:

    I find is so frustrating that so many comments are assuming these complaints are all because “cheap” photographers were hired. There is nothing wrong with being a professional photographer that caters to a bride with a lower budget and being the best photographer you can be in that price range. If you ask someone for what they wish was different, they will tell you what they wished was different, regardless of how much they paid! In all cases it doesn’t mean that she was unhappy with all of the photography. I paid 4k for my wedding photographer and LOVE my photographs, but if someone asked me what I wish he did different, I would have answers for them! And as a photographer, no matter how experienced you are, I would hope that with each shoot you are looking to grow and reflect on how you could have improved or done things differently, regardless of how much you have charged for your work. So I think it is important to not label a disengaged photographer as being “cheap” because “cheap” can still produce beautiful and polished work.

    • Cheryl says:

      Good point Jessica, I agree completely.

    • Andrea says:

      I think, when people say cheap, they are referring not just to cost but to their quality. Cheap is not a good adjective. If the photographer is still decent, then they can be considered more “inexpensive”. People are saying they’re probably cheap implying that they also lack the skill to charge more. I don’t believe anyone is putting someone down for charging less because of a bride’s budget.

  60. sheri j says:

    while these comments are interesting, I can’t say the entire story is being told regarding how the brides feel about the photographer. the part you are not hearing about is whether everyone was ready on time. if you are not ready on time, you will certainly get less photos. I only say this because it is the #1 reason that picture time gets depleted sometimes down to nothing. I agree that a lot of this comes down to communication and brides are just as much to blame many times, not always, but these days there are a lot of brides that won’t give their vendors the information they really want from them.

  61. JC Ruiz says:

    Seems like communication and creativity were the big themes in some of these responses. As I do agree communication is important, but sometimes I feel like in terms of creativity we’re limited in time etc. I’ve photographed weddings were I had only a couple of minutes with the newlyweds. It doesn’t provide me with a lot of time to create something epic etc. All in all interesting suggestions.

  62. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Cheap is never good and good is never cheap”.

  63. Rokas says:

    With regards for all of the brides, please get a good monitor or at least print your pictures and then try to say that the pictures are too blury or not too sharp. The computer screens which real professional photographers use are calibrated, professional and they have real collors and color depth. Please don’t tell that the pictures are not too sharp if you are viewing them through your laptop or tablet…

  64. Cheryl says:

    I am a photographer…however I am NOT a wedding photographer. I am very surprised at the number of photographers (pros included) that complain about the “iPhone shots” from friends and family. When we booked the photographer for our daughter’s wedding it was made IMPLICITLY clear that this was absolutely not allowed. It was written in our contract. There were no guests/family members allowed at the photo shoot other than those who were being photographed, and as we finished with various family groups they were systematically excused. By the end, it was the photographer and the bride and groom, who had by this time relaxed in front of the camera. The wedding party was excused to a garden next door to have a few snacks (also suggested by our photographer) and wait so they could all return together in the limo to the reception. This was planned deliberately at the request of the photographer, and the bride/groom shots were wonderful. I really respected this on the part of our photographer, as I feel it is an infringement on so many levels to have others at the shoot… it is an infringement on the photographer’s creative copyright, on the couples privacy, and it is basically rude to have a professional’s experience being used to set up shots, and creatively pose the scene only to be “reverse photo bombed” by uncle Joe or cousin Mildred, and then have those unedited shots plastered on social media before the photographer gets a chance to edit and present their work. It was one of the insightful points that led us to trust and choose our photographer.

    As an aside… It is also very wise to choose a photographer who includes an engagement photo session… It works as a dress rehearsal for all parties, and allows everyone to feel each other out. My daughters engagement photos were (almost) more beautiful than their wedding photos… less stress, more time and more fun!

    • Andrea says:

      A lot of photographers tend to ask for this not to happen, but the bride may not pass it on or she does to those attending and the guests still do it anyway. Worst is when people bring out their iPads.

  65. Auchhh….it is very dangerous for any photographer not to b aware of all these!

  66. Julie Hedges says:

    I have been a FULL TIME Professional Wedding Photographer for 14 years. I have read both articles from bride & photographer point of view and have concluded that most of the responses came from brides who hired non-professional and/or cheap photographers and the responses from the photographers article mostly came from inexperienced photographers. When we meet with our clients and PRIOR to a contract being signed, we have an in-depth conversation about what OUR expectations are on the wedding day. I show my samples and it’s simple. If you want your images to mirror the results you see in my samples WE MUST HAVE TIME. We REQUIRE… YES REQUIRE… our bride & grooms to have a First Look and we start photographs 3.5 hours PRIOR to the ceremony start time (this is for the average size wedding party… time is altered for couples with little or no wedding party or very very limited family). If you don’t agree, then don’t sign the contract. (We photograph the bride’s dress hanging, then bride getting dressed (she must have hair & makeup COMPLETED upon our arrival), groom getting dressed, first look, couple is given 15 min alone time, we then photograph 45 min of couple’s images, all family, and all wedding party PRIOR to the ceremony. After the ceremony, all images are completed & the couple enjoys their cocktail hour with their guests OR save money by not having a cocktail horu and go directly to dinner). During the meeting we show you the exact album you will be getting and everything you will be getting as part of your package is listed in detail in our contract. WE provide our couples with a schedule agenda of how photographs will be made and they are to share that agenda with their wedding planner. Often times my couples do not even hire a wedding planner because as a professional who has photographed over 500 weddings, I insure you get to where you need to be and where you need to be when you need to be. Brides need to make sure they research and interview photographers. Just like lawyers specialize… so do wedding photographers. If you want posed family formals with studio lighting, traditionally posed couple’s photos with some candids thrown in… hire us. If you want hands off photojournalistic style photography with tons of candids then you need to hire a our competitor down the street who does that style. I don’t change my style for you. My style is my style. You hire a photographer based on their style. I encourage brides to confirm they receive a contract that outlines how long it will take to get their images, what is included in their contract and confirm your photographer has a business license and liability insurance. The license and liability insurance will almost always cut out the inexperienced photographers or those who are not serious about their business. For the photographers saying it takes clients 2 to 3 years to return orders or the couple changes their mind once an order is placed… that is on YOU. YOU run your business NOT the client. It is your responsibility as the professional to set clear guidelines and rules. Our contract outlines clearly our expectations from our client and what you can expect of us. Our clients have exactly 30 days to return their album order forms with their image selections. If you take longer than that, then you clearly understand you forfeit your album. Once you turn in that signed order form, you know that you have signed that you clearly understand that the image and album selections you have made are your finally selections. NO changes are accepted or allowed. Period. As far as being late… we don’t put up with that either. On the photography schedule we provide our brides it outlines to our bride, based on our experience, for them to be ready by the photography start time, then they need to schedule their hair and makeup appt. by this time and eat brunch/lunch by this time. We make it a no-brainer day for our brides. For those very few who run late, we keep a very clear diary of the day and you already have agreed via your contract that if you are not on-time then you understand you sacrifice the creative pictures. We provide our brides with a Photo Checklist that outlines our basic images we will take and lets us know who will be there. That list is due and we review it with the bride two weeks prior to the wedding. During that meeting we write down the first names of EVERY SINGLE FAMILY MEMBER who will be involved in the picture process. The day of the event, we orchestrate the picture process like a well oiled machine. It never fails that we have family come up to us afterwards saying “WOW! I have NEVER seen anyone work so organized and efficiently before”. That’s us. We are extremely organized, self-motivated, leaders who knows what the bride wants better than she does and we get the job done. Twenty years from now those images running thru the field will be nice, but what you will cherish is that image of you and your grandma who has now passed. Lastly, we work with our brides just as a planner would from start to finish and help her to hire other vendors that we have worked with to ensure the day flows flawlessly. There’s nothing worse than ready to begin photos and we have no flowers because a bad florist was hired… or no cake to photograph… or tuxes too small. When you hire me as your photographer, I am your wedding specialist. I’ve seen a large crop of new photographers budding up all over town and I have to say that only 3% of them are truly “professionals” who care about their craft and providing good customer service. In my opinion, and yes I said my opinion, the dealbreaker for any bride should be the photographer they hire at a very minimum be a PPA member, have a business license, prove they carry liability insurance, prove they have identical backup equipment of their main equipment (we have a minimum 4 backups of all our equipment from cameras, to lights, to lenses) and they have a contract outlining what they will get in their package and when they will get what is in their package. Also… if your photographer is sick or has an emergency the day of your wedding, what is their contingency plan? Brides, also find out how your photographer stores your images until you have them in your hands. I’ve seen photographers lose images because their hard drives crashed or they were robbed. As soon as we return from a wedding, we backup images to SIX different hard drives… one of those hard drives is on our person at all times. If the entire studio burns to the ground, I have a backup hard drive in my purse with your images on it. We also have a system in place that automatically backs up your images to our cloud based archive system. If the studio burns to the ground AND my purse gets robbed all in the same night… your images are STILL safe out on the cloud. Brides, do your due-diligence homework and make sure you are hiring a PROFESSIONAL. Photographers…. start being PROFESSIONAL. Pay your taxes and start running your businesses like a professional. YOU make the rules in your business. Do not let any client push you into making decisions that go against your business model. Give your clients a signed contract and be clear and realistic with them on how long everything takes.

    • Julie Hedges says:

      Edit – that should say we photograph 45 min of the couple’s pics, then 20-30 min family pics, and 30 to 45 min wedding party pics. Our goal is to ALWAYS be finished a minimum of 45 min prior to the ceremony start time so the bride can relax and us breakdown our equipment.

  67. doug Steley says:

    This is a stark reminder for brides to do their research on photographers they hire, expect to spend money for a good photographer, look for young keen photographers if you wish but do not expect them to know all the tricks and have all the skills.

    Wedding photography is all about communication and that goes both ways.

    Yes there are many bad photographers out there bot pro and backyarders

    you need to know what to expect, you need your photographer to know what you expect and you need to have a contract that lays out what is expected.

    Research research research, price is not always a guide, reputation is a bloody good indicator

    Ask to see one of their entire wedding shoots not just the edited album or their best shots

  68. Great article, fantastic follow up debate. I have lots to say on this here if it’s OK, with a link back to this page. I think this is relevant to all suppliers, not just photographers. The lessons will be the same across the whole spectrum of wedding related suppliers.

  69. Vickie says:

    My best friend hired a “Pro” photographer to photograph her wedding and reception. She paid nearly $9k for her photographer and an extra shooter. She only asked for Photographs. She didn’t even want to have a photo album for the shots. Her guest list was pretty small. 65 people showed up. Mostly all family. The group shots she asked for were horrible and she only wanted a couple of each. (His family, her family, cousins, aunts & uncles). She asked for photos of her getting ready on the day of the wedding, and of the groom getting ready. She also wanted some group shots of her and her brides maids (asked for 2 different shots) and of the groom and all his groomsmen (2 different shots). This photographer “supposedly” had been in business for 20+ years. He did have many references. She did see many previous photos he had done including another family members. Her disappointment was over the top when he didn’t deliver the same quality photos for her wedding. I have seen his photography and I at first thought he was awesome. When I saw her photos, I wanted to cry for her. So all you people talking about paying for a pro, not all “so called” pro’s always deliver their best.

  70. Christian says:

    wow!! Lol
    This chuckle is two fold. First off, some of the responses from the bride seemed pretty ridiculous. Especially the one who spoke about “not getting the shots you see on Pintrest.” Really, did the bride not hire him/her after looking at his/her portfolio? Did she want that awesome barn shot or sunset even though it was a typical country club or rainy day? Those type of complaints goes to show the bride was a bit quixotic when answering this article. But even worse is the response by Kitakitazu. Wow!! I mean really, WOW!! I’m not even going to respond to such an ignorant comment.

    Communication is the most important aspect to setting the foundation of this “Special Day.” It takes two parties to communicate. Because I wasn’t physical there, I’m not even going to attempt to justify the photographer’s actions.

  71. Very interesting wedding photography article for both photographers and brides. There is no doubt that this field is saturated with so called “pro” who erode the reputation of hard working and talented wedding photographers. Otherwise why would there be so many articles offering advice and retrospective on the topic.

    I am a wedding photographer working in San Francisco Bay Area since 2010 and have seen it all: from photographers ditching their clients on the night before the wedding, to losing all of their images. It’s simply frustrating to see the level of pain some clients go through. This industry needs to get back in order or it will go down the drain. Actually like when WPPI introduced their wedding photographer certification program. I think it is a good way to get some screening and add rigor to shooting weddings.

    Many of the topics in this article and generic but true. Other can be easily prevented if bride and groom are aware and take their time to select the right “pro” photographer. Few months ago, wrote an article on this topic as well: https://trifonanguelov.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/wedding-tips-for-brides-from-a-wedding-photographer-point-of-view/

    My hope is that as many clients are educated and aware of what expect from a wedding photographer, the better we all be. There is nothing more beautiful than the moments and emotions of a wedding day.

  72. Good write-up. I definitely love this website. Thanks!

  73. Kevin says:

    It’s great to hear directly from the Brides!
    I take it as the Bride is the Boss and the Photographer is the project Manager. It is the project Manager duty to research and asking questions to know the Boss/Bride&Groom needs also to listen to the Boss requests to complete the project. Communication should be promptly pre & post wedding, no question ask. It is a pleasant way to earn the 5 stars rating from the Boss and I am happy to earn it every time.
    Without making the Bride happy, Wedding Photographer only working for money.

  74. Allan says:

    Interesting article thought feedback from both sides of the camera was particularly interesting…

  75. Delio says:

    Apparently, some these brides expected spectacular and complete coverage when they hired a below-average photographer. Tip: You get what you pay for.
    The second “Apparently” is that some of these brides expected beautiful photos in ugly situations. Tip: Be realistic, you will not have a “beautiful setting” without an actual beautiful setting.
    Also, did these brides view enough weddings by these guys? Another Tip: View and “try out” before you buy.
    Many of these brides wanted to tell the photographer “what” to do. Don’t do that. Tell him/her what you would like, and ask if he/she can deliver. Tip: After viewing samples of the work, you should know if that’s what you want.
    To the one that said “Should have had a 2nd Photographer…”: Ask and ye shall receive, and probably pay a bit more. Tip: The more, the merrier, and the more expensivier?
    To the photographers that feel they “deserve” to be fed and have dinner at the wedding: You’re working!!!! Tip: Don’t use the sorry excuse “we’ve been on our feet 6 hours,” you’re making the good photographers look bad. Also, thank your clients.
    To the brides that want photos during dinner: These are photos that SHOULD NEVER be taken. I’ll explain: Your beautiful table decorations? Gone. Your Mother in Law? Looks like a hamster with it’s mouth full. You mother? Looks like a hamster too. Tip: No photos during dinner (except for the bar.) Just imagine a table where there are dirty plates all over and your guests look like they haven’t eaten all day (because they most probably have starved themselves just to eat the food you paid for).
    I got more tips but, you’ll have to call to find out :)

  76. Graeme Pettit says:

    Superb comments from brides (and probably the brides mothers as well, reading a few). A request back to brides reading this – allow us the time to deliver what you have asked of us on the day.

    I’m UK based, and I find that my approaches tend to come from folk who really do not have a clue what is involved, nor how much what they want, will truly cost – especially with a tailor made package. Basic packages are exactly that – basic, a standard range of shots – and even then, often, no time is made to actually get those shots at venues on the day by bride and groom. (even when explained in full to them)

    Then there is the reception – arrive in the half light or dark, expect me to use flash and reflectors – and if that means you stand in the rain whilst I take the photo you want where you want it, expect to get wet if you dont use the shelter provided. If you want aunt ethel, make sure she is available when required and not filling her face with gin in the wrong bar. Then there is the request from B&G to their guests – please allow our photographer to do his job – please put away the selfie sticks, the mobile phones and dont aim flash at the camera in the corner which is filming us…..a simple enough request to make, but if not made, then myriad problems will occur in the processing. etc etc – the list could go on.

    I would be interested in seeing the price paid against the comments above – I suspect many underpaid for what they actually wanted but failed to tell the photographer in order to keep the package cost down. I gave up shooting weddings a couple of years back, after doing a 4 day shoot, having the bride, groom atc make the shoot unviable by changing timings, locations, not being where they should be, wanting unpaid for shots, times etc. I took 1500 plus images worth putting across to my client, and the same number I rejected pre editing. Editing time, I was told, would not be paid for – OK, I’ll do 36 and nuts to you then – have the rest on me, but please dont ask me to be photographer next time you marry (I still dont think it will last!!!). Upshot, no transport paid, no hotel paid, no food nor drink provided, no payment for time, extra staff I had on hand, nor processing, nor album, nor online hosting as requested, nor anything else – they didnt pay up – I had to cover it all, and nothing recoverable from them legally either, despite a written contract. Rather than take the hit on the reputation (and I have the online threats via twitter and facebook, and the brief and strained e-mail and postal discussion), I decided to call it quits, and learn a simple lesson – wedding photography does not pay, and is not worth doing. No amount of processing is going to turn an ugly bride into a beautiful one, and even a beautiful one will present as ugly if she is a shrew of a woman, and no beauty in her soul, nor take very simple advice so I can serve her with the package she has requested. Brides – your photographer IS NOT YOUR WEDDING USHER, nor do we control time – you have to allow it, if that is what you want. Sorry folks – and often, the problems lie with the brides mother.

    I will still shoot a wedding, but at a price which will make you choke, not just cough – I know it is your day brides, but if you want the images, allow the time in your schedule, and have someone control and organise you and your guests. Try discussing it with your mother, and your husband BEFOREHAND, and agree on some idea of what you like. I send out information, and ideas and samples – at least have a look at them and read them – but lastly, dont expect a £20k package for £500.

  77. fgh says:

    Reading the comments to this article reminds me of why I no longer work in commercial arts. I don’t know why, but the commercial arts just attract the biggest lot of self centered whiners! Customer service should have been a two semester course in art school. Because they’re clearly dealing with a lot of people who don’t understand the concept. ANY OTHER INDUSTRY would have read a similar article directed towards their profession with a grain of salt, and as constructive criticism to improve their game. They’d realize which aspects they did well and which ones could use improvement. But not you guys… you guys just look for ways to blame everyone else. Yeah yeah it takes forever to perfect your art, your overhead cost is expensive, nobody appreciates the true value of your work, nobody wants to pay…. blah blah blah. Welcome to the real worl folks. Welcome to owning your own business. Oh and guess what? If you want real success you better eat your humble pie and put the customer first.

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