Friday, April 24, 2015
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
I got a desperate phone call late last night, asking me to shoot a wedding coming up. Before I answered the phone, I recognized the phone number, but wasn't exactly sure why. On the other end of the phone was a familiar voice, begging me to let her explain herself. Once she said her name, I knew exactly who she was.
About a month or so ago I had a client that I was booking a wedding photography package with, she agreed to the terms, so I sent her my contract and PayPal invoice. It was a few days later that I noticed the invoice was still not paid, so I sent her a friendly email making sure everything was still moving forward. Her reply was that her mother had found a photographer that would better suit their needs. At first I was a little bugged that they wasted my time, but I totally understood. I have been in that same position before, where you thought you knew what you wanted, until you find something "better" so you go with it, then you're too afraid to face the person who you originally agreed with so you simply ignore them. This lady, was at least nice enough to email me back within a few days.
This time around though, she was singing a different tune. She agreed to work with this other photographer, who was a friend of a friend, who happened to know someone who knew someone else, who shot a wedding once, and would be willing to do it for cheap. As the woman explained this to me, I couldn't help but giggle a little. "Things aren't always what they seem are they" I replied. I simply couldn't help myself, whether the comment offended her or not, I didn't even think before I spoke.
She apologized, and continued to beg for me to shoot her wedding at the originally agreed upon price. The photographer that she ended up going with completely disappeared! The client sent a check to the photographer, so she thought everything was ok. She then had a hard time getting in touch with the photographer to make adjustments to the flow of the wedding day, and it was only at this point that she became aware that the photographer had taken the money and ran. Ignoring phone calls and emails, making excuses when she did answer the phone, with no clear explanation.
I have heard horror stories like this from Brides who are getting married, but I had never been this close to the drama until now.
When a client books me, I have a contract that everyone signs, and the payment is done via PayPal. All because I want to be transparent, I never want there to be a miscommunication or misunderstanding.
Lesson learned? Always know who you're dealing with. Does the professional have an online presence? Do they have decent reviews? Are their results of the same level of quality with each project? Remember that you always get what you pay for.