Holy smokes, this is a sh*t storm.
First off, my heart goes out to those couples who have had booked this company for their wedding.
This company isn't actually a solo photographer like myself. They own an office, a receptionist, a client gallery for viewing, own editing team, and subcontractors. Having so much overhead, if not maintained, can create make things more complicated. And it's absolutely irresponsible to close down and not refund your clients deposits. Yes, I know that we're in a pandemic but I wouldn't be able to bottle up the guilt of keeping the deposits. It's simply not their fault.
Putting the pieces together
- Glasser Images is a North Dakota Wedding Photographer Studio owned by Jack Glasser (source)
- Matthew Shey a subcontractor to Glasser Images say he hasn't been paid for 5 months before the office closed
- Subcontractors are allowed to send unedited images to clients but unsure about how the future clients will receive a refund.
- Brad Siegal another subcontractor was denied pay for seven weddings.
- There were 150 subcontractors working with Glasser Images, yikes.
- Jack Glasser made a statement, ""We Cannot Apologize Enough. We've been in business for 16 years and up until Covid-19 hit, we were successful and growing, but then things drastically changed for the worse," Glasser said. "We pivoted and made changes, but simply couldn't keep up with our ongoing costs, debt repayment, salaries, rent and other business expenses. These factors have caused irreparable damage to the business and has forced us to make this decision rapidly. Closing our doors is extremely heart wrenching for me."
- Tim O'Keeffe is the company's Attorney
- As of October 13th, Glasser Images has not filed for bankruptcy
- They have been in business for 16 years
- Facebook Groups "Glasser Images Connection" are connecting with couples who have lost their deposits, some have paid in full and left without a dime, link to that group here
- Glasser Images received a $245,000 paycheck protection program loan in April of 2020 and another $257,500 loan in January of 2021 from Starion Bank to help with payroll, utilities, and rent according to U.S. Small Business Administration
This company runs a legit business. The bank and PPP loan gave them, in total, half a million dollars for the pandemic. This should be able to pay for everything(unless they bought stuff that's unrelated to business, which is fraud).
My thoughts for the future couples who are booking a photographer, ask them the right questions. If you are paying them <$2000 for a 4,6,8 hour wedding, they are selling themselves short. It's very likely that they wont be able to last for the next year (unless they have a second job which could also mean that the turn around times can be longer and be more focused to other things than your wedding.)
To be completely honest with you. Running a photography business is super complicated. We collect a non-refundable deposit in order to pay for our gear, marketing, and knowledge. A single photographer pays at least $300 per customer, before he even photographs your wedding, they are set back at least $50 per lead that comes to their way. The rest pays for his rent, meals, insurance, etc. which is essentially making minimum wage.
Tips on minimizing on a bailing photographer
- Hire a small team. Look at the number of employees or subcontractors. When there is a lot of overhead, this could be a sign that they're not actually going to be photographing your wedding. They're most likely subcontracting it to other photographers to maximize profit. Hire a small team, boutique, who knows what they're doing.
- Ask for an Insurance. Photographers need to carry insurance when they're photographing a wedding to protect their client and themselves if ever something happens like an SD card frying, or if a camera breaks, they are covered for general liabilities up to one million dollars.
- Social Following. This is another obvious one, check their Facebook, Instagram, social media, etc. How often do they post? Do they have communities that like, comment, or share their photos?
- Blog Posts. Not important, but its nice to be able to see their recent work.
Join our Facebook Community
I've recently created a Facebook community called Portraits | Fashion | Editorials in Wilmington NC. Its a growing community of photographers and models that share fantastic work. We do small workshops, personal projects, photo walks, etc. for our local Wilmington Community. Click on this link to join our group! Thanks!
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