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Red Flags to Look for in Wedding Clients

Red Flags to Look for in Wedding Clients

We've all had our fair share of nightmare clients. I'm part of a Facebook group where photographers air their grievances and seek advice from their peers on how to handle certain situations. A recent topic of conversation was sharing stories of nightmare wedding clients and potential red flags they look for during their initial consultation. See below for some of my favorites.

  1. “My mom wants to talk with you since she’s paying.”

  2. Haggling

  3. Asking for raw/unedited images

  4. Wanting to edit the contract after already signing

  5. "We like your $2000 package, but saw a competitor offer something similar for $900. Will you price match?"

  6. “We want a copyright release on the photos, because my fiancé will edit the photos himself.”

  7. “When they have a list of questions printed out like ‘what do you wear to a wedding?’”

  8. “Talking s***t about a previous photographer they’ve worked with.”

  9. “Parents who push me on my booking policies (paying in full in advance), asking what’s to keep me from bailing with their money.”

  10. “Can I have a list of past brides and their contact information?”

  11. “I’m already three months pregnant and don’t want our family to know I'm pregnant at our wedding in four months.”

  12. “I met them for a consult and the bride told me she was getting married in a dark cave at 6 pm, but wanted no lighting, flash, or even the shutter to click.”

  13. “I don’t get along with my future in-laws, so I want them in as few photos as possible.”

  14. “One groom told me he didn’t want to give me permission to use photos because I would ‘make money’ from it.”

  15. "My fiancé is in the witness protection program. Are you able to photograph the wedding wearing Kevlar? It's really very lightweight!"

What are some of your nightmare wedding client stories? How did you handle any crazy situations? Share them in the comments section below! 

Lead image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash used under Creative Commons.

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76 Comments

Previous comments
Deleted Account's picture

I know what it was. What it wasn't was a rebuttal to his comments.

Deleted Account's picture

"Wedding Photographers need to get their noses out of the damn sky."

Keep saying stuff please!

Deleted Account's picture

So, no rebuttal then. :-/

Deleted Account's picture

And miss the chance to hear more absolutist soapboxing?

Deleted Account's picture

What did he write that was absolutist? Photographers like to say our processing is a style but it's not okay for him to want his own style? As for the noses in the sky thing, well... Okay, I'll give you that one.

Deleted Account's picture

I literally quoted him.

Deleted Account's picture

Well, yeah... I was referring to "Keep saying stuff please!"
Anyway, sometimes my "righteous indignation" gets the better of me. In this case, I've had my own bad experiences with wedding photographers.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Deleted Account's picture

I agree with Jacob. Some wedding photographers are true artists and the rest (the majority) are hacks! I can't believe they (some, not all) have the audacity to call themselves photographers at all!!!
Having said that, I know it's a very difficult genre to do well, which I suppose is why so few can.

Richard Neal's picture

The trolls are out in force today! Don't feed them guys!

Deleted Account's picture

Are you addressing me or ???

Bill Wells's picture

This is just a case of a couple guys arguing about something they have never done, in an industry they know nothing about, with results they have never achieved. Then the other guy jumped in like joining the me to movement.

Deleted Account's picture

You don't have to be a chef to know the food sucks!

Bill Wells's picture

We make the RAW files available at a cost. We don't have to beg for wedding work, maybe we should, I'm just saying we don't.

Being a photographer you understand that RAW files are like negatives.

g coll's picture

Agree. There's nothing wrong at all in making the RAW files available to the couple. Just charge a decent amount for them. It's a non-issue.

Deleted Account's picture

You seem to be taking this very personally.

John Martin's picture

You argue with everyone. Your'e a major red flag for life.

Deleted Account's picture

I don't argue with people who're right! ;-)

Bill Wells's picture

Not personally. You defended one position and I the other. Nothing personal. Just defending my position as I expect you to defend yours.

Deleted Account's picture

I just thought looking him up on Facebook seemed like you were. I'm sorry.

Deleted Account's picture

Probably. While I agree with him, I'm sure he's not the kind of client most wedding photographers would want.

John Martin's picture

Why trash photographers who run THEIR business their own way. Don't like it ? Then go elsewhere.

John Martin's picture

Are you a professional wedding photographer or a baseball little league photographer ?

Deleted Account's picture

And that's the kind of comments I argue against! >:-(

Ivo Dukic's picture

I agree with Sam. The person paying ultimately gets to decide on what type of files they want from the photographer. It is up to the photographer to accept or decline the client's request, educate them or help them identify a photographer who could help them.

I presume there is an inherent reason why you would not give the client the RAW files (e.g. reputation damage). However, for every problem, there is a solution, and it would be simple to make sure that the client cannot give the RAW files to any other party, other than for personal use, and could not publish the photographer's name in association with the photographs. In my opinion, as a 'luxury' service industry, wedding photographers should make every effort to work with clients.

Ultimately, Bill, you are also guilty of deciding whether Jacob is or isn't a photographer, mainly by his Facebook profile? This seems a bit unprofessional given that you are in the professional photography business. Does your judgment of whether a client can post process RAW files affect whether you would allow them to pay for your services? Although they are in many ways like negatives, they can be converted to dng files and metadata removed so that you still retain the original files. If this is all the client wanted, you could simply photograph the wedding and save time on post-processing.

Robin Nuber's picture

I rarely do this... but I actually logged in to down vote this.

Richard Neal's picture

My favourite is the "we need you from 9am to 9pm, we only want you to take photos for 4 hours during that time so we would like your half day package with some discount on top" enquiry.

Bill Wells's picture

As for the original post, pretty much nailed it.

Ignacio Balbuena's picture

Around 2010 o 2012 I was assistant for weddings, the company for who I worked decided to take the job of a gypsy wedding just because they was "paying well". They decided pay half first and the other half when they have the pics, from the first minute everything went wrong. From guests stealing in the party to destroying the inner park with pick up trucks, the service found people throwing the trash in the bathrooms between a lot of other things.
At the moment of give the photos my boss send it in low res, the couple show up with their family saying that the photos was totally crap and they wanted the photos for free, after a long and agressive discussion they agree of pay the half of the remaining half and give us a car for our service. Of course my boss only took the money.
Few months after that I say goodbye to weeding photos. Never more.

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