Petit Four Films (https://www.petitfourfilms.com) recently left hundreds of couples in the worst case scenario situation: closed their business, filed for bankruptcy, and is NOT refunding couples. Unfortunately, due to the bankruptcy filing these couples will not see their money refunded. But how could Petit Four Films get away with this in the first place?
Petit Four Films structure was not new. They offer wedding photography and video packages at low prices that seem too good to be true. The weddings are all farmed out the work to random sub-contractors who may or may not be skilled vendors. Want to know how I know? I used to work for some of these companies when I was a new videographer and wanted some extra cash. They’re also notorious for not paying their subcontractors, but that’s a whole other issue!
Other companies that work like this are George Street, Lily and Lime, Timeless Tree, pretty much anyone offering photo and video packages under ~$3,000 or advertises ‘budget friendly’ packages. That price point for that amount of work is not sustainable and it’s a matter of time before these companies declare bankruptcy, keep your deposit, then start another business doing the same thing. After 10 years in the industry, I’ve seen this every year from one of these companies or the other.
What should couples look out for when booking wedding photographers and videographers? Here’s a few tips from an industry veteran:
1. Read the website – does the owner of the company ever introduce themself?
Does the website vaguely refer to a team, but never an individual person? Never ‘meeting’ the owner is a tale tale sign that the company hires random sub-contractors.
2. Is the price + experience too good to be true?
If you come across a website of someone that says they have x years of experience, all 5 star reviews, and their prices are the lowest you’ve seen, that’s a red flag! If they’re so good, why aren’t they charging an average price or more? It’s because they’re not actually that good.
3. What if you really want to book with them anyways?
I get it! Weddings are expensive. Not everyone can afford an average investment of $6000+ for wedding photography and videography collections. If you’re set on booking with one of these companies:
A. Keep googling them throughout your engagement to make sure they’re still in business
B. Line up another vendor at the first sign of them not responding to you, or you hear that they’ve cancelled on other couples
C. Book them close to your wedding date so that they don’t have time to go out go business before your date
Stay safe out there and if you can, invest in industry professionals who will put you first!