It’s going to be no surprise if we tell you that many people go to wedding photographer websites in order to pick their wedding photographer. And it’s only fair. Think about it – how often does a couple look for a wedding photographer? If they are lucky – once in their lifetime. Hence, it makes sense to simply google “wedding photographer” and voila – you’ve got results! The problem is – most of the times the first results you’re going to get are pages from theKnot and WeddingWire. Both of these sides boast that they have ratings with top wedding photographers and that you can rely on them. It can’t be farther from the truth!
How do wedding photographer websites work?
Most of the wedding photographer websites are businesses. Do you pay to access these wedding photographer websites? No. Do you see many ads? Ever wondered why? The answer is fairly simple – all you see is mostly ads. Since these websites rank top in the search results, they get plenty of views. Hence they try selling these views to us, professional wedding photographers.
If you’d like to be mentioned as a top photographer in a particular region, the price is usually around 750$ per month. If you’d like to be mentioned on the first page – it is usually around 500$ per month. Moreover – ever seen the “award section” photographer profiles boast with? They are small internal awards, fairly easy to get, available for the paid customers.
The problem with wedding photographer websites
If money were the main problem, it would still be acceptable – advertising is never free. At the same time, it’s not really advertising. In fact, it’s manipulation. Since viewers trust the rankings, the reviews and awards, it should be the prime goal to monitor and filter the reviews, to award only the best and to rank based on merit. In reality, photographers are ranked based on their financial contribution, awards are easily given away to incentivize becoming a paid client and reviews can be manufactured out of thin air. Go ahead, try it yourself! You can check any photographer’s page and leave a review. No verifications, no proof needs to be provided.
And as a result, all boils down to the fact that reviews cannot be trusted, rankings are fake and awards are meaningless. It’s not much different from going to the photographer’s Facebook page. Only difference is that the photographer doesn’t have to pay a monthly fee for that one!
Wedding photographer websites alternative
The purpose of this article is not ranting about the state of things. We all know that reliable information is hard to find these days. At the same time, there are things you can do in order to protect yourself from being manipulated. Here’s a list of tips::
- Always try to visit the website of the wedding photographer you like. Usually you will get to see a richer portfolio and a greater variety of works. It’ll offer you a better overview regarding photographer’s skills;
- See if there are reviews matching the couples the photographer mentioned on the website;
- Check if there are non-wedding photographer websites that mention the photographer. It can be news, professional photography websites, etc;
- Ask the photographer for the references. Most professional wedding photographers have a big list of people who would be glad to endorse their work;
- Avoid photographers who rank top on the wedding photographer websites. Most of the very best photographers do not need to advertise themselves this way. Hence you are likely to encounter a less experienced one;
- Try avoiding photography companies. You may easily end up with a photographer you’ve never met prior to the wedding day. Hence you may lack the vital experience in interacting with each other. As a result, the photos ma lack the flair;
- Check if the photographer can help you schedule the session and offer ideas for the shots. A professional wedding photographer has plenty of ideas how to capture great shots;
- Inquire about the pricing. Professional photographers tend to have a very clear and transparent pricing structure. The reverse applies to the less experienced photographers;
- Find time to get a meeting. Face to face interaction beats any other form of communication when it comes to photographers.