In the last few weeks, you might have heard me mention that I was fighting an incredible Eye infection. Well… I think that’s what it was. My eyes (yes, both) turned blood red and my eye lids (top and bottom) blew up like they were trying to escape my face. It was scary. Considering that I’m a photographer during wedding season. I would show you a photo but I’m afraid you’ll never see me the same way again.
During the worse of it, I was debating getting a photographer friend of mine to shoot my upcoming wedding. I couldn’t function (nor see) properly and I only want the best of my clients. Wouldn’t be fair to shoot the wedding half-stoned on meds. Luckily, I started feeling better on the friday and decided that I could do it! But… what if I couldn’t ? This made me think of a post for you guys to read.
What do you do if your photographer cancels on you?
It’s terrible but, it could happen. We are human. Something could happen to us which will stop us from coming to your wedding. Knock on wood.
Understand that it happens. Your photographer didn’t mean for this to happen and is probably killing herself (or himself) with guilt. Weddings are booked so far in advance, there’s no way of knowing what could happen in the future. Lucky for you, there’s a LOT of photographers in any city. There’s bound to be one available. Even if you are last minute.
This is [hopefully] something you did BEFORE signing the contract. First though, a) MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE A CONTRACT TO SIGN then, b) Make sure there’s a clause that states what the photographer will do if they have to cancel. In my contracts, It says that I will do my absolutely best to find a replacement for your wedding day within my roster of friends (all professional WEDDING photographers) or, if no replacement can be found, ALL PAYMENTS (including the non-refundable deposit) will be returned in full. In terms of asking for compensation for your troubles, there’s not much that you can do. Like i said earlier, things happen and, as long as the photographer agrees that you should get ALL PAYMENTS refunded, that’s all you can really hope for.
See if your photographer knows of anyone else that could work that day as a first shooter (usually photographers know other photographers of the same caliber that might be willing to help out). Your photographer’s second shooter will most likely be there and they probably have loads of experience shooting weddings with them so you’ll only need to fill the position of the main shooter. Or, the second shooter might take over as first (given that they know the style of photography of the sick photographer) and another photographer will come in as second. Also, ask if your photographer will take on the retouching afterwards – so that the quality is the same as you were hoping – or if it’s better to go with another company altogether (and cancel the contract). Chances are, your photographer did a lot of research and asked around before telling you the bad news so, hear them out.
If you are dealing with a big studio and spoke to the owner (rather than the photographer themselves), ask to see the other photographer’s portfolio (if the studio gives you that option).
If your photographer can’t find a replacement for you, chances are she’s given you all your money back and cried herself to sleep for letting you down (that’s what I would do anyways).
Start googling wedding photographers in your city and start calling NOW. Tell the photographers your situation and ask if they are available to help you out last minute. I’ve gotten calls like this before. Unfortunately, I was always booked for their dates but I would have helped if I could!
Lucky for you, we live in a time where everyone (and their cousins) have a camera.
Here’s what I recommend.. You can either :
a) Buy disposable cameras or polaroids and place them in buckets for people to take a use.
b) Ask your guests to help out and bring their cameras and snap as much as they can! This is completely the OPPOSITE of what I would want if I was there photographing your wedding day but … you have no photographer so … DO IT. The photos aren’t going to be stellar but you’ll have endless amounts.
c) Call schools and get 2 new photographers to come and take photos on your day for a couple hundreds dollars to build their portfolio. Wedding photography is hard so I recommend 2 so that you have more chances of getting good photos 😉
d) Go rent a few gopros and place them around to capture footage (or time lapses) of your day. Just make sure you remember to move them as you change locations. Try putting one in your bouquet too for 1 person view!
e) Get a professional to do video instead! If photographers aren’t available.. maybe video people are.
f) Get your intended photographer to schedule a photo session of you and your hubby (and wedding party, if you want) in your wedding attire on another day. That’s right. That doesn’t HAVE TO BE done on your wedding day. All you need to do is go back to that park (or not) and get back in your dress/tux and have a photo shoot. At least those will be professional photographs, right?
Hopefully, no harm was done and you found a new photographer for your big day. It hasn’t happen to me yet (and I hope that I’ll never have to cancel on a bride and groom) But all i know is that a few days before their day, I was in BAD shape. I wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t see straight and I kept falling over in my house. Yet, all I kept thinking was : “Why did it have to happen now ? I have a wedding. I can’t let them down.” Lucky for me, I ended up going. Which is good because my second shooter ended up breaking her foot that day! Oppsy!