You've probably come across the stories of wedding album disappointments on social media - like this Facebook post by a disappointed Singapore bride which went viral. Her gripe? To sum it up: blurred, poor quality photography, and (according to the bride) undelivered promises - all of which have resulted in a police report being made. Yikes! The Facebook posts from both parties have been taken down but you can read the story here.)
While we aren't going to touch on who's in the right or wrong, here are some tips to help avoid a similar fiasco for your own nuptials, whether you're hiring a bridal salon's photographer or a freelancer.
#1 Do your due diligence
I've personally attended a wedding where the lighting, ballroom and decor looked welcoming and glamorous, but you wouldn't believe me if you'd seen the pictures. The lighting looked flat and harsh, and the bride and groom were photographed in completely unflattering poses.
Most bridal salons offer all-in-one photography packages, and while it's true that you can enjoy big savings there, many bridal salons don't allow you to pick your photographer. So be sure to ask if you're able to see samples of actual day wedding shots. Otherwise, be prepared to accept that your wedding photos might not turn as you expected.
Check out reviews on their job attitude and professionalism, too. There have been instances where the photographer showed up late and actually missed the pre-wedding prep. Eeeks!
#2 Don't count on pre-wedding portraits
A photographer who's a whizz at pre-wedding portraits might turn out to be not-so-great on the actual day - actual day photography involves the photographer's ability to capture emotions well as well as having a quick reaction.
#3 Have it in black and white
While you're discussing terms, make sure what was discussed is included in the contract so it doesn't become a he-said-she-said situation. If the contract has ambiguous, unclear or rigid terms, or doesn't have to flexibility to opt out of out of unfair and unfavourable terms, reconsider committing. More tips to get the most of out your wedding package, here.
#4 Communicate with your photographer
If possible, meet your photographer in person, or at least over email or the phone. I know of a bride who had checked out the portfolio of the photographer (part of a bridal salon package she signed with) but did not speak with the photographer. On the day itself, not only did the photographer take her own time with each shot, the actual day photos turned out horrendous (awkward facial expressions, blurred pictures, weird postures - you name it).
Be specific about the type of shots you want, whether it's a group shot of you and your besties, or of you and close relative who's flown down all the way from another continent for your celebration.
While it's not a good idea (unless you want to piss him or her off) to micromanage your photographer, consider prepping a short "checklist" of must-take photos or important people to capture and go through it on the wedding day. There might be Photoshop to correct a not-so-great photo (in some cases), but you won't be able to get back missed moments and shots.
#5 Be very clear of the cancellation terms and policies
You won't be expecting to cancel on your package, but it's best to err on the side of caution. Like in the unfortunate bride's case, she was unable to hold the reception due to personal reasons. She was then told she would not be able to receive the photos of the solemnisation, which she had earlier, as she'd only paid the deposit.
Before sealing the deal, check on the cancellation terms and policies, and make sure it's included in the contract - it's best if the terms are listed as clear and concisely as possible.