1. Photographers Who Talk a Big Game.They could have a beautiful website with music, a charity section, and some saturated photos, but have little experience. I’m aware of a savvy marketing professional wanting to change careers to become a photographer. He knew all the pressure points for couples and exploited them. Positioning himself as a high-end photographer, he charged thousands despite little actual experience. Brides were unwittingly paying him for on-the-job learning.
2. Photographers Who Brag About Their Expensive Cameras don’t make photographers any more than pencils make writers. Don’t let a dear friend photograph your wedding just because he has impressive camera gear. One of the best photos taken of our wedding was made by an experienced photographer with a plastic toy camera. Excellent gear is important as a baseline must for your photographs, but it won’t necessarily lead to excellent imagery.
3. Photographers Who Are Family...If cousin Joey is an amateur photographer who has made decent pictures at previous weddings, can your relationship survive a negative outcome? Or will it be a source of tension whenever you gather together, such as an annual family picnic?
4. Photographers Who Lack Professionalism. Recently I had to intervene when a desperate friend couldn't get her wedding photographer to respond to phone calls and emails for several months. The photographer was a college student with little experience and professionalism. After a few phone calls that led to the involvement of a department head, the contrite student finally responded. Although their photos were safe and sound, my friend’s mental health wasn’t.
5. Photographers Who Don’t Have Work to Show. A photographer might say “Oh, I haven’t had time to make a website” or, “Here are some football games I shot.” A wedding photography company might say, “All our photographers take pictures like the ones you see on our site." Yadda, yadda, yadda. If you hire a company to shoot your wedding, you ought to know exactly who the photographer will be. Generally, the most reliable test of a photographer’s ability to produce great pictures at a wedding is proof from previous experience.
6. Photographers with No References....If a photographer has no positive testimonials even with great work, that should send up red flags about his possible behavior at weddings. The last thing you want is a photographer who is bossy, obnoxious or drunk at your wedding.
7. Photographers Who Don’t Use Contracts!!!! What happens if they get sick that morning? What happens if their light stand falls on grandma? A photographer should think about all this before you have to, if they are serious about their wedding business. They will have all their paperwork in order for you to peruse and sign, because the best wedding photographers only want to work with the best clients as well.