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

jacob kerns's picture

Well I'm a photographer and I made sure to hire a wedding photographer that gave me RAWS other wise they didn't get the job. I don't want them editing them. Wedding Photographers need to get their noses out of the damn sky.

Then you only hired half a wedding photographer. The editing is as much of a wedding photographers style as the shooting, and if you start imposing rules, you probably didn't get anywhere near as good wedding photos as you'd have liked.

user-156929's picture

Maybe he prefers his own style!?

Tyler Thomas's picture

Logged in just to say that of course another photographer would want the raw files. When I got married we hired a local pro and we made a deal that I would get the raw files for my own personal enjoyment but that all the official photos would come from him. I was completely satisfied. He edited them like normal, we got a normal product at the end and I got to tinker with all the raw files from my wedding. Everyone wins.

Edit: I should add that didn't care for how over processed his tastes were but his eye was great.

user-156929's picture

Exactly my point. I don't think the OP was dissing the photographer, since the main point of photography is...taking the photos!

Why did you hire him if you didn't like his processing style.

jacob kerns's picture

Wow I guess I need to check back more often. I hired a female photographer who did excellent work cause people here keep assuming it was a he..

Most of my photography is for a private organizations hired for private kids schools, BTS sports teams events and Conventions most which I'm not allowed to share my work unless I've have written consent. Which brings me my snobbery because I've had to hire said pro photographers to work venues and weddings. Most bring their A game and are professional.

However I was talking about the "So called so self proclaimed Pro Wedding Photographers that their portfolio look like a glamour shot sessions and trying to charge $3,000 grand "

I specifically looked for a photographer that would allow to have RAW files (for a fee) so I could do the edits at the request from my wife because she wanted my style of edits to the photos. Since I can't shoot my own wedding. I guess everyone missed that point.

I didn't look at their processing. I look at their lighting, composition and posing. Their personality was probably the most import part. I didn't care what their editing style was.

Seems that most people got upset because they took it personally. As to the people looking for my Facebook page all I can say is wow you really have issues if you had to find something to bash me on that I hardly keep updated ( or share my paid work with) and I don't really care what Fstopper users or any other photographers have to say because you aren't the ones paying me.

michaeljin's picture

So you paid someone to give you work to do...

user-156929's picture

Kinda like going to the gym!

michaeljin's picture

You pay a gym to use their facilities since it would cost money and space to buy your own equipment and keep it maintained. You hire a personal trainer to give you guidance and keep you accountable.

In this instance, you're paying a wedding photographer to do half of their job and give you an unfinished product. It's basically the same reason I dislike going out to eat Korean BBQ. If I want to cook meat myself, why the hell am I paying restaurant prices for it?

I don't get it.

user-156929's picture

My Japanese wife loves Korean BBQ. I don't get it either but she likes it.

jacob kerns's picture

because I can't shoot my own wedding and my wife wanted my style of editing.

Late to the game here, but I think the appeal of Korean BBQ is the primal novelty of eating meat right from the fire. You do not get that in most restaurants, your food will have hit a plate, cooled a bit, etc. Hot rock and the sizzle platters that you sometimes see for fajitas and high end steak restaurants are a bit of the same theory. (I'm assuming Sam's wife is not vegetarian).

michaeljin's picture

Yeah.. if I want to do that I'll just go fire up my own grill at home with meat bought at $6.99 a pound rather than pay $30 per tiny serving. I'm cooking my own food either way.

Then again, i suppose a lot of people don't have a grill.

Crystal Johnson's picture

Let me guess, they just started doing weddings and their total price for it was $150 for 6 hours?

marknie's picture

So your a complete Jerk then? I would never work for you ever, and make sure that you were black listed as well.

user-156929's picture

"...make sure you were black listed" Who knew there was a wedding photographers mafia!?

jacob kerns's picture

Mark all I have to say is LMFAO!

Jeff Walsh's picture

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, iPhone camera and Insta portfolio? Also, another shot in the dark, when you say "I'm a photographer," what you really mean is that you've taken pictures with a camera before, and not that you create art, and/or do photography related services in exchange for a currency of some kind.

user-156929's picture

So, you can't or won't dispute anything he wrote, instead choosing to attack him with no evidence to back it up? Sad.

Bill Wells's picture

Hi Sam, I will dispute what he wrote, if that is even needed. He is not a photographer. So there is that.

I'm sure he would post his website, Instagram or something to show his work.

I've already posted his FB page, no photography, didn't see a wife and he may or may not have a chicken.

Then he said "Wedding Photographers need to get their noses out of the damn sky.". I don't understand that statement. It's not just Wedding photographers, but not giving clients the RAW files is industry norm. Unless they are willing to pay for them. You bet I will give him our RAW files - there's a price for that. A professional photographer would know that.

There are occasions like high end product shoots, that contract for RAWS, but they pay for them.

user-156929's picture

First of all, you don't know he's not a photographer. I'm a photographer and don't display my work. I have a closed set of clients so there's no need to advertise and I don't care what anyone else thinks of it. And the fact he visits a photography site seems to indicate he IS a photographer, albeit not necessarily a professional photographer.

Posted his FB page? What does that mean??

You're right that it's not just wedding photographers. He may not be a professional photographer (which doesn't mean he's not a photographer) and isn't familiar with industry norms. And we don't know that he wasn't willing to pay for RAWs and he may have, in fact, done so.

In any case, Jeff's comments were just over the top!

Bill Wells's picture

Here is what he said right off the bat.

He identifies as a photographer - "Well I'm a photographer"

Put his foot down to photogs -"I made sure to hire a wedding photographer that gave me RAWS"

I am the man - "I don't want them editing them"

I hate Wedding Photogs - "Wedding Photographers need to get their noses out of the damn sky."

You just said "He may not be a professional photographer

Everybody is a photographer! He is making remarks like he considers himself a pro and knows the industry norms. I don't think he wold pay for RAW's, I'm not sure he is even married. But I will tell you I don't know.

The FB page was to let people know who they were talking to. Once we know that, then we can proper evaluate his post here. When you defend someones position, you take on his position as if it was yours.

user-156929's picture

Not knowing what his position is, I can only defend how his words apply to me. When I got married, years ago, I got very mediocre photos with no processing. He wanted to charge me an arm and a leg for prints which would have been fine had they been worth a damn but they weren't. My son got married a few years ago and the photos weren't bad but not that great either. His processing, though, while not horrible, was less than average. I'm obsessive with my photography and everything has to be as good as possible. Now, I realize wedding photography is very difficult but if someone isn't really good, they shouldn't be doing it.

As for, "who they were talking to", you don't. Is he a professional? I kinda doubt it. Is he really good? I really doubt it. But he has a right to ask for the product he wants. I can understand if anyone thought he was talking about all wedding photographers but, since it's impossible to lump them all together, I didn't take it that way, regardless his intention.

All that out of the way, I looked at your photos and I really wish my son had hired you! The ones I saw were really good! :-)

jacob kerns's picture

Sam you nailed pretty much exactly what I was talking about. If Bill would read the my top response cause I'm not copy and pasting. Bill you have issues.

user-156929's picture

I'm not sure but, I think if you put "@" in front of someone's login name, even if you're not responding to them, they get a notification.

jacob kerns's picture

Thank you Deleted User. Its like a den of angry photographers in here.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

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

So says the guy that has his head up his a......never mind. :P

user-156929's picture

"...never mind" If you didn't want him to mind, you could have not commented. :-/

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You really need to get out more. It was an implied message, that apparently, went over your troll head.

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