I am a member of a pretty amazing group on Facebook, it’s called Northeast Ohio Wedding Resale. The group was formed by some pretty awesome photographers from Brass Key Photography, based right out of Northeast Ohio. Thanks to this group, a local “photographer” was caught using stolen images on his website, used to attract clients. This “company,” called Bou-Jai Studios, stole images from local photographers, online stock images, wedding catalogs, and even from a National Geographic photographer, and passed them off on their website as their own. Disgusting, I know. Sadly, this happens all the time. Since being exposed, they have taken all of their images down. You can view more about this subject on a website called Stop Stealing Photos, and can view the post here Bou-Jai Studios in Cuyahoga Falls.
Why am I telling you all about this? There are many reasons. First off, I want to expose this company so no one else is scammed by them. We all know how much of your hard earned money goes in to real professional portraits and wedding photos. No one deserves to be scammed by false hope, misrepresentation, or thieves in general. Secondly, to expose this so called company for what they are. They stole other artists work. Work that they put their heart and soul in to, their own sweat and tears, and their own hard earned money. Lastly, I want you all to do your research when looking for your photographer. What kind of research? I will get in to that in my next paragraph.
I know that a budget is a huge deciding factor when looking for a photographer, especially for a wedding. For me, being a wedding photographer, that was the largest part of our budget. I knew that these images were so important, ones that I want my grandchildren to look at one day. I knew I had to hire a true, honest, and talented photographer. The saying holds true, you do get what you pay for. So please, do not diminish your big day, by hiring just anybody because they will do it cheap. Either you are going to get scammed, or your photos will not be what they could be. Maybe they will, but it is a huge risk for such an important event.
Always meet your potential wedding photographer! If they decline a meeting, run! Meet up with them, ask to see prints of their work, and always ask to see a few wedding galleries. WHOLE wedding day galleries! Do not just trust the pretty photos that they have on their website, or social media. As in the case I talked about earlier, had couples met with that company and asked to see the whole gallery from any of their images, they would have known they were scammers. Also, by viewing an entire gallery, you are seeing how capable the photographer is in all conditions. Not all locations have the best light, sometimes the bride is getting ready in a dark basement and the photographer needs to know how to handle the light situation, just as in an up-lit reception.
Another great idea is to look at their reviews. Yes, there are not so nice people in the world that leave horrible reviews that have not even worked with the photographer(sadly it happens), but there are a lot of amazing and real clients that leave amazing reviews. You can view my Facebook reviews here, Lindsay Dawn Photography. And look at the photographers responses to those reviews as well.
My final thought on this is to ask your potential photographer about styled photos. There is nothing wrong with being a part of a styled shoot, but there is a huge difference between those and a real wedding day, where you cannot control the elements. Below is from an amazing styled shoot I was a part of while in Baltimore. Is it gorgeous? Yes!Is it a real couple? Yes! But, all elements could be controlled and were planned by professionals in the industry. I have blogged about styled shoots before, you can find it here: Styled Shoot.
I hope you found this helpful while searching for your Northeast Ohio Wedding & Portrait Photographer. Happy planning!!!