Most Common Wedding Vendor Issue: The Photographer

Most Common Wedding Vendor Issue: The Photographer

Couples getting married often purchase wedding insurance to guard against any unexpected accidents or issues involving vendors. A recent report by Travelers insurance found that 58 percent of all vendor issues involved photographers. Vendor-related issues led the survey as the leading cause of wedding-related problems with photographers leading the field by a wide margin.

The Travelers Report appears online here but only indicates that photographers were held accountable for lost or damaged images and falls short in explaining if photographers were liable for the quality of their work. Stellar work backed up by a solid contract and good business insurance are the greatest protections against becoming a statistic in next year's Travelers Report.

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Adam's picture

Out of curiosity, do any of you guys think there is any ignorance on the part of the bulk of today's newly-weds-to-be that simply hire cheap photographers out of ignorance and are later upset/disappointed with what they receive? And then, of course, I'd imagine it would be these same budget wedding photographers that wouldn't have any kind of decent contract to protect themselves... What do you think? Does this happen a lot for this reason? Or are there really that many "great" photographers that have a great business, but make that many mistakes?

That and I would add unrealistic high expectations for perfect shots. Which is somewhat understandable to a certain degree as it's just human to have very high expectation for their own weddings.

I think it's a mixture of items, but a lot more bad photographers is to blame as well as the fact of brides looking through glossy mags of bridal shoots and expecting the same on their day.
The comedown from a wedding from a bride and the photographer/video being the last people to deal with the couple doesn't help.

Lee Hawkins's picture

I just think that photographers (especially the low-end ones) have so many more ways for something to go wrong. If you use a camera with only one memory card slot (i.e. no backup slot) then it only takes one memory card fault to create a loss situation, especially if there isn't a second shooter. If you hire a low-end photographer, s/he may not have a backup camera body or lens, may not have a second shooter, may use a 32GB or 64GB SD card that hasn't been tested and craps out, may not have multiple hard drives to store backups, etc. It's a lot easier to lose a little SD card or have it fail than it is to lose a whole case of 36-exposure rolls of film...

Bruno Inácio's picture

wedding insurance??? Somebody can explain me? Couples go to Zurich and buy a wedding insurance? and after, if they aren't happy with the party they can ask fot money? lol

Lee Hawkins's picture

Someone may decide to have their wedding on the beach in North Carolina in September, and a hurricane destroys everything and the company goes bankrupt and they lose all the money they spent booking it. It could be that the DJ or photographer gets deathly ill and won't return their deposit...or perhaps that the flowers never showed up or the limo gets in a wreck the day before. Or maybe there's a power outage at the reception hall and they have to cancel the reception...there are dozens if not hundreds of legitimate things that can go wrong with a wedding, and so I can see the wisdom of purchasing insurance to cover these contingencies. It's a shame photographers have the most claims, but it's important to keep in perspective that they are 58% of the claims during the 24% of the time that it's a vendor problem--meaning that 14% of the time there's a problem with the photographer, as opposed to 19% of the time that someone gets sick or injured (I broke my foot before a friend's wedding I was in), 14% of the time the weather messes things up, etc. Granted 14% is a lot, but it's not a surprise if your photographer gets drunk during the reception, loses his memory cards, or does something else irresponsible with even just some of the photos. It's a lot more likely some of the $500-2000 photographers won't have adequate backup equipment or the work ethic to come through on all of his or her contract than it is for the DJ to not come through on his.

Bruno Inácio's picture

Thank you by your answer! In Europe, this is not so usually, so I was surprised and curious!

It's a mixture of those reasons but also the fact that we only place our best shots in our portfolio (rightfully so) which can sometimes build unrealistic expectations. They want those emotional shots that tug at the heartstrings because they saw it in our album. But then you get to the wedding and the whole thing is completely devoid of emotion. Sometimes they seem joyless. We photograph what's there and if there's no joy, it's not in the shot. The camera doesn't lie.

That's not to say that there aren't tricks we can use and personality doesn't help a lot because it does but it's just a fact that not everything's going to be perfect.

A smart photographer will have something to that affect in their contract.

Show My Photos's picture

when i read this quote "The Wedding Protector Plan can be purchased from Travelers for as little as $160. It covers items such as lost deposits, perishable materials, unavoidable cancellation due to weather or military leave, lost or damaged photographs, damaged gifts, host liability and more. " it sounds to me like the claims could simply be that the bride and groom ruined the CD that their photographer gave them or dropped their wedding album in the bathtub. It could also cover a hard drive crash on the photographer's side that resulted in the loss of pictures. I would like to think that photographers/insurance companies are not being held liable because the bride is not a pretty as she thinks she is and the pictures show that.

I looked at the sample contract that is offered and it specifically excludes Quality related items "Failure of the to meet anyone's, including without limitation an event photographs or event video honoree's, expectations of style or quality, in- cluding the absence or clarity of sound, or the ab- sence or clarity of certain content;"

so how can they buy insurance but not invest in a good photographer. Another mind boggling question.

"The Wedding Protector Plan can be purchased from Travelers for as little as $160." $160 + $500 for the shoot and burn newbie photographer is still thousands less than a $3000 experienced photographer.

If this is so true, most couples would have relied on reputable wedding photographers instead of hobbyists.

Seriously, it's insurance. Why does everybody keep thinking you can file a claim based on your satisfaction of the event? WHEN HAVE EVER BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT WITH INSURANCE. it covers claims based on damage or loss, not whether you are happy. If they allowed that then EVERYBODY would make a claim.. "ohh yeah these photos suck, in fact so did the cake....and uhhhh..... ohhh and this gift right here, it's uhhh the wrong color.... and uhhhhhh lets see what was the most expensive cost on this list.... hmmmmmmm " <---------------------- would never happen.

This completely leaves out the fact that a professional wedding photographer should be bonded already.

Please, professionals out there, get insurance to cover your disasters. They happen.

Lee Hawkins's picture

This is really great advise. While I'm sure it's more expensive to insure against "errors and omissions , AKA incomplete or lousy work, it costs only a few hundred dollars per year to get liability insurance in case you accidentally knock grandma over backing up to get a shot or if someone trips over a light stand. Usually you can get low-deductible coverage for your equipment on the same policy. It sure makes me feel better having it!

The total percentage of vendor issues is 24% of all issues with photographers/videos counted within that percentage. Which means the total issues with photographers for all issues is er....16%. I think. (Hey, I take photos, I don't do math, ha ha.) Anyway, considering that illness/injury is 19%, and the venue is responsible for 15% the photographer don't seem to be the major problem any more than the other problems. I really hate people who put together horrible infographics that give the wrong impression...