Here is some advice for soon-to-be brides shopping for a wedding photographer. In recent years, the industry has been plagued with scammers trying to make an easy buck at your expense. They steal other peoples work and pass it off as their own.
Back when film ruled the industry, it was near impossible to steal other photographers work, but today with digital photography and social media, photographers must post their work online for today’s client to see. However, doing so creates a dilemma, do I as the photographer protect my images from being stolen by putting an ugly watermark across the image, put a logo on a corner that is easy to crop out, or show my work at its best and risk having it stolen.
My advice to future brides, ask to see full weddings. When someone has highlights of multiple weddings, they could have easily stolen them, stealing a full wedding is much harder. I am guilty of only posting highlights, only because I am not sure what potential clients would rather see, and I am not alone on this, I have been to business seminars and when I asked experts, their answers differed. However, ask me to show a full wedding and I will proudly show you my work.
Here are some tips to ensure your wedding photographer is legitimate:
1) Ask to see full weddings
2) Ask them if they are personally photographing your wedding and if they are not, ask to meet with the actual photographer and see their work
3) Ask if they are insured and if they have backup camera equipment and storage.
4) Other signs of imposters:
a) If they are really cheap, and have amazing photos, be wary, that is likely not their work. (This unfortunately is much more common than you would think)
b) Be careful with Craigslist photographers, this does not automatically mean everyone on Craigslist is illegitimate, but Craigslist ads do not regularly appear on Google searches, making them a haven for displaying disingenuous work.
If you see any of the red flags I just mentioned. Thread lightly and consider doing a Google image search on some of their photos, you will be shocked on just how often the search results turn out to be stock images, or worse, from different photographers claiming it as their own. If so, I recommend going to the website Stop Stealing Photos and report them. The industry needs to out these imposters.
If my post may sounds like a rant, really it’s not, it is advice. I recently had my work stolen. A client told me about this when I was away from my desk, when I went to my desk to take screenshots and report the person, they already removed the posts. My client unfortunately got so upset because the person changed her name and made up an elaborate story about her, that she contacted them first. I was not aware of this or else I would have taken screen shots on my smartphone.
Bottom Line: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Visit Stop Stealing Photos to see just how far thieves go.