Last minute wedding photographer

It’s a daunting thought, what happens if the wedding photographer falls ill and cancels at the last moment? Good wedding photographers generally book out 6 - 12 months in advance, so what do you do if you’re in need of a last minute wedding photographer?

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Luckily this doesn’t happen often, most decent wedding photographers will do what ever it takes to be there on your special day, there are no sick days for a photographer if they want to thrive in the wedding industry.

The first and most important step in the beginning (not useful now if you are in fact looking a photographer for this very reason) is to make sure you have a written agreement with your wedding photographer with a clear clause outlining what action the photographer will take if there is a last minute reason to cancel. This section of the agreement should list the actions the photographer will take to ensure you’re not left high and dry on your special day and if it doesn't, ask what will happen if they do cancel.

“The photographers second shooter will now be the primary shooter for the day.”

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Most wedding photographers work with a second photographer who are very capable in their own ability to shoot a wedding. The second shooter knows the style of the primary shooter and will shoot the wedding the way the primary shooter would have, and is thus likely to meet the expectations of the couple. Having one photographer shooting the wedding instead of two isn’t a problem either, as a single shooter will still capture 2,000 - 4,000 images from a full day to work from.

“The photographer will attempt to find another photographer to cover the day for equal cost”

Here in Melbourne, as well as other states I’ve worked as a photographer, strong communities of wedding photographers exist who generally look out for each other. Wedding photography isn’t as competitive as you might think, and often top photographers work with with other photographers as second shooters or cover one and other when something happens.

If the photographer does need to cancel so some reason and they are well established enough they should be able to secure a suitable replacement fairly quickly.

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If you do find yourself in a situation without a photographer, firstly you are entitled to your deposit back. Next, start contacting a few other photographers, even if you think they will be booked, explain your situation as they might have second shooters, affiliate shooters or just people in their network they can recommend. Contacting photography institutions like the Australian Institute for Professional Photography (AIPP) could also be another option, they will have directories of photographers and should be able connect you to other options.

Hopefully this doesn’t happen to anyone reading this, it’s a awful feeling for the couple and guilt will haunt the photographer for needing to cancel, but it’s likely there is a solution so don’t panic!

Eerik Sandstrom