Hiring the right photographer to capture one of the most important days of your life is a decision that usually comes with a bit of uncertainty. The stakes are high, and after all the work and stress that goes into organizing a wedding, who wants to end up with bad photos of the occasion? Or worse, no photos at all? If you're having doubts about the photographer you've hired, you may be wondering — can you fire your wedding photographer last minute? Although each contractual agreement may vary, you do have options.
If you're having a bad feeling about your wedding photographer, the first course of action is to zero in on the source of your discomfort. Maybe they haven't been as responsive to your messages as you'd like, or you feel like they just have a bad attitude. According to wedding expert Camille Abbott, doing your research is a must. "Checking a photographer's reviews and social media feed will tell you a lot about their attitude and commitment to (or lack of) client satisfaction," Abbott wrote for The Huffington Post. Ideally, researching your photographer's reputation is something that should happen long before a contract or commitment to use their services is made.
However, if you've already signed a contract, firing your wedding photographer might not be as easy as you'd hoped. In a story for Brides, owner and lead planner of The Event Ninjas, Marisa Flores, recommended keeping clear documentation of any and all contract breaches that have occurred in case a vendor tries to push back. "We recommend including a timeline of deadlines in the scope of work of your contract to ensure your vendors meet key milestones," Flores told Brides. "It helps set/manage expectations and gives you grounds [to fire them] if important deadlines are missed or ignored. If a situation escalates, it won't be enough to say the vendor took three weeks to answer a question. You'll need to point to key incidents that have negatively impacted the overall wedding planning process."
Even though saying goodbye to your photographer might seem like the best option, if you've paid a hefty deposit (which is most-likely non-refundable), it may be worth it to try and work things out before jumping ship. "Be direct and open to giving your vendor a chance to course correct," Flores said. "A vendor won't know you're unhappy unless you calmly and directly communicate what's wrong. Also, you chose the vendor for a reason and most likely paid a deposit so it's worth it to take the time to communicate your needs and frustrations." In the midst of a disagreement, Flores also recommended talking over the phone, or even meeting face-to-face if possible. "Most issues can be solved with a conversation giving the vendor an opportunity to correct actions and regain trust," added Flores.
Unfortunately, if having an open dialogue hasn't helped the situation, it may be time to consider other options. Depending on how soon your wedding is, booking another photographer may still be possible. But before letting go of your current photographer, it's important to ensure that you already have a replacement lined up. In extreme situations, for example, if your photographer didn't show up or scammed you — consulting a legal professional may be the best course of action.
Dealing with unforeseen wedding drama is never fun, which is why it's important to read over contracts carefully before signing them. That said, sometimes, even when you do everything right, things still don't go according to plan. In these situations, asking friends or family for help finding a solution may alleviate some of the burdens.