Looking around the web these days you’d be forgiven that everyone in the wedding industry’s an award winner. So many wedding vendors proclaiming that their service or product is award winning. But how valid are those “wedding awards”?
Let me start out by saying that I have absolutely no issue with the concept of the awards process. There are some very valid and worthy award systems out there. Ones where vendors are judged by a panel of their peers, people actually involved in that sphere of the wedding industry. However, there are a number of “awards” which, on closer examination, appear to be nothing more than a scheme to “recognise” people in exchange for money.
In this internet age it’s really difficult for couples looking for wedding suppliers. Using Google (other search engines are available, as they say!) will bring up hundreds of results for a specific search criteria. Everyone seems to claim to be amazing, outstanding, fabulous. So how do the couple make their choice?
Seeing “award-winning” on a website might give you some comfort that this supplier’s one of the best, but should couples place a lot of faith in that claim? Well, on the basis of the following story, perhaps not. Let me explain ….
Jerry Ghionis is an Australian photographer, highly respected and widely regarded as one of the top wedding photographers in the world. A few days ago he shared this tale to the wedding industry, as a warning to couples that you shouldn’t necessarily believe everything you see ….
Jerry Ghionis’ story:
So I was contacted recently by a wedding magazine about being included amongst the top 25 wedding photographers in Australia. They were gushing about what a great honor this is and how proud we should be to be elected to be part of their endeavor.
After a large amount of needless gushing they said that we could be featured in the magazine for a fee of only $2500. But without paying for that advertising we would not be listed as a Top 25 photographer. What a surprise!
So for a fee, a photographer can forever boast about being on a top 25 list in the country for the rest of their career. And what’s more surprising is that this is from a what I believed to be a reputable wedding magazine.
Melissa (Jerry’s wife) was fuming and sent the following email:
“Thanks so much for that clarification. I find it hardly exciting and more than a bit disingenuous to tell a photographer that they have been voted as one the top 25 photographers in Australia, but only if they pay a publication money to advertise in it. As you may or may not know, Jerry is often considered to be one of the top 5 wedding photographers in the world (not just in Australia) and interestingly enough he has never had to pay for that title. It was earned through years of experience and hard work. I highly encourage you and your editors to reconsider your magazine’s decision to create a “pay to play” environment which will do nothing more than than tarnish your magazine’s reputation when the final list is revealed and the title means nothing more than the fact these photographers decided to advertise with you.
Your magazine has always enjoyed popularity in Australia and would probably be a publication that we may have considered advertising in. But not when it resorts to a popularity contest with the winner being whoever has the most money. That tells me that your “Top 25 photographers” has nothing to do with talent, customer satisfaction or hard work. And that is an unfortunate thing in to have happen in our industry.”
SO, SHOULD BRIDES PUT TRUST IN WEDDING INDUSTRY AWARDS?
As I said, there are some very valid wedding award schemes around, but couples shouldn’t place blind faith in every claim that they see on the web.
Take the time to research your supplier. Meet them. Look at reviews and testimonials from previous clients. Ask to see more than just a handful of examples of their work. Make sure what you’re seeing really is their work. Make sure that you see current examples of their work. After all, having an award from 2 years ago doesn’t mean that the supplier’s standards haven’t dropped. Rely on your instinct. If it seems too good to be true ….. well, we all know the saying don’t we?
What about me? Do I enter wedding awards? No. Not because I don’t believe in them, but at the moment I prefer for the quality of my work and my reputation to speak for me. It’s just the way I am, and that’s the way I’ll probably stay! 🙂
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Ian is one of Dorset’s leading wedding photographers. Based in Bournemouth and with over 20 years of experience photographing weddings across Dorset and Hampshire, Ian’s the perfect choice for couples who want unobtrusive, discreet wedding photography that captures the emotions of their special day. Read more about his own personal style of documentary wedding photography on this website.
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