It's not that the photos were lost...

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by brookref, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. ...it's that the photographer never showed up. At all.

    This is a case of being on the other side this time, of being the customer. We finally heard back from the photographer yesterday, who
    apologized profusely and offered to try to make it up to us somehow.

    He mentioned offering to do some portraits but the reason we had hired him was for his portfolio of journalist-style photos. We're not
    necessarily inclined to sit for portraits, although the idea is not such a bad one.

    So to the Forum, I'm asking - what would be a reasonable offer for us to request?
     
  2. Amol - it's unclear if it's free. we haven't talked to him yet, we just said we needed a little time to consider his offer. we did
    have a contract, yes.

    John - well, it was more about not letting anything ruin the day and everyone's fun. ironically, until he sent the email, i was
    okay with things. his email, while appreciating the apology, actually made us have to think about it again. this is why we're
    hesitating at all. we were ready to just consider it a shut case, one of those what-can-you-do things but now we have options.
     
  3. He didn't show for a wedding? or some other social event?

    What did you end up doing, regarding pictures?

    If it was a wedding, then personally, I might hear the excuse for the no-show. Otherwise, screw-it ask for a refund, and not do the portraits.

    Of course, I'm not a very trusting person, break my trust once, and I'm done.

    If you are more forgiving, then give him a chance, or hear him out.
     
  4. If it were a wedding, or some other high dollar event, I wouldn't be inclined to be very forgiving. Even if I were the photographer. When you are a professional, you are paid to be there come hell or high water. Yes, life happens from time to time. But if you cannot make it for some reason, you had better damn well have a backup plan and another photographer you can send in your shoes (with a refund check in hand).
     
  5. it was our wedding. luckily everyone carries at least P&S cameras these days, so we have btw 200-300 photos from
    everyone, combined. still, as you can imagine, they are everything you'd expect - underexposed, in-camera flash, etc from the
    P&S; long DOF, shutter shake, auto settings etc from the two SLRs....there are literally only a handful that are technically good for an album.

    he cited "personal chaos" and that they overlooked our date; they found the contract while doing a clean up. it's believable. there isn't a refund
    necessary - we were supposed to pay in full on the date.

    we're just torn between saying screw it, and making a reasonable request. trying to get opinions from people who can see both sides. i don't
    want to get even, i don't even know if it's fair to ask for anything.
     
  6. It's a pretty lame excuse, but it happened. I'm also surprised you didn't call the photographer before the wedding, just to make sure everything was OK. Nothing can be done now.

    Instead of getting a free photo sitting I'd ask the photographer to do whatever he can to adjust the pictures from the guests. Often one can do remarkable work with Photoshop and other types of software. I think you deserve that, plus a free portrait sitting.
     
  7. Is he offering to do portraits for "free"? Or would you have to pay him for them.

    If he is willing to do portraits for free, then maybe. Though, honestly, he forgot a really-really important photo event, I wouldn't count on him to remember a free photo shoot. (Though, if his concerned about reputation, he might actually follow-through with this).

    Out of curiosity, did you have a signed contract?
     
  8. Bob - thank you, this is the sort of suggestion i was hoping to get. I hadn't thought of asking for editing work.

    And yes, part of my mellowness is down to the fact that I didn't get hold of him before the wedding. It was on my list of things
    to do but in the craziness before the wedding....we managed to get hold of all the other vendors....

    Josh - my apologies for calling you John. Twice. !
     
  9. All photographers should be so lucky to have a level headed client like you if they make a mistake. I think most clients would be sending the guy to small claims court. Or at least making his life miserable by slagging his name all over the place.

    You are a good soul to be so mellow about the whole thing.
     
  10. I too would also have him create an actual album from my P&S files along with two parent books. I sure wouldn't want the bozo takin' a pic of me.....once I receive the albums I would then have my friend Vince from New York look after him.
     
  11. But do you really want to trust him with the shots your guests took? If you do, send him the files electronically or put them on a disk.

    Conni
     
  12. I wouldn't have anything more to do with him. He wants to placate you so you don't spread your experience with him around. If I were in your shoes I'd be more concerned with the next B & G to fall victim to his "personal chaos". Is that a death in the family or a bad hair day? I'd want to know specifics, and it would have to be a really, really good excuse.
     
  13. Okay, this questions *really* isn't meant to bash on the guy, but how on earth do you manage to "forget" a wedding when you're a
    wedding photographer? There's so much to do before a wedding! It sounds like he took the booking (with deposit?) then never gave it a
    second thought.
    So really, how can this happen? Anyone out there got any close calls? Could-a-been-me's? I ask because I've been know to be, uh, less
    than perfectly organized in my personal life ;-) Professionally, I try to make up for it ten-fold! So I'm wondering how this can happen so
    that I can make sure that it's never me missing a really important shoot.
    Richard, I'm really sorry that you've had to go through this! Although you sound very understanding of all this, I'm sure that you and your
    wife (Congrats, by the way!) must be very upset.
    Might I suggest that whatever you ask of him, it should have monetary value to him. Yes, I'm sure that he's very distraught by all of this
    too, but this was a VERY big mistake. WAY beyond "I lost all of your files". It should cost him something, not just a bit of his time. It's
    the things that impact our wallet that make us think really hard. It doesn't have to be big or over the top, maybe a nicely laid out album
    or something.
    If the editing thing doesn't work out with him, I might be willing to donate some time to give you a hand, just drop me a line through my
    website!
     
  14. Just move on, don't set yourself up for another disappointment.
     
  15. Richard, my question to you is, did you put up a retainer? If so, then you have a strong case for some compensation. I understand that you have a contract, however, I will often draft up a contract to commit the customer with the understanding that it is not binding until I receive the retainer. If no retainer was giving up front, then take whatever the photographer is offering. Next, why did you not contact the photographer prior to the wedding. I know I usually will have my finally consultation with my clients one week prior to the wedding and payment is due then. In addition, I show up to the rehearsal 95% of the time. The only time I do not show up is if I am out of town on another job or I am doing an another event at the same time as the rehearsal. Also, it is my policy to show up to every wedding one hour prior to the contracted time. It is stated on my website and included in my initial consultation. It sounds like there were indications that you should of picked up on that he was not going to show up. I am guessing this is the reason why you are so calm.

    Now for compensation. If you did put down a retainer and the photographer just did not show up, I would expect him to compensate for my tux, compensate to make my wife look like she did on our wedding day, and do a mock up of some of the must have shots. I would ask him to produce a sort of candid/pose photo session like a love story so to speak. I would hold him accountable. If I was not happy with his service or if my wife was not happy, then I would take it to another level. I would not let this guy off the hook very easily.
     
  16. Consider creating a Web page dedicated to this photographer and your transaction with him. Stick to the facts and leave out opinions. Even if it's a forum page here on photo.net.

    It's not about getting even, it's about preventing other couples from suffering the same fate, in the event they might research his name or business name, prior to hiring him.

    Most pro wedding photographers would ask for a deposit prior to the date of the wedding. The fact that he did not, should have been a red flag to you.
     
  17. There is absolutely NO reason to forget..

    As soopn as I have a signed contract and retainer, I have a folder made wtht he B&G's name and wedding date and it goes in the files. I ahve the date in jy dayrunner as well as an 18 month calander on the wall, AND my wife is always on top of this.

    I say, get your mony back AND qriet a review in The Knott and other sites that let you review.

    Guys like this give the good guys a bad name
     
  18. Yup, all things considered, I accept some of the blame, even if a "professional" should have made following up unnecessary. To be honest,
    this was the only thing that slipped through the crack. Could have been worse....

    I do like the suggestions of asking him to do editing. If we send him a CD of the tracks and ask him to put an album together, it would definitely
    take time (i.e., cost him). That would be one way for him to redeem himself.

    If he does a rubbish job, then I'll seriously consider putting up that web site...
     
  19. Go with what you know...

    Move on!
     
  20. I agree with Bob--ask the photographer to edit/optimize the images you have and make them ready for printing. You can ask if he'll make the album for you free, but that would be direct, out-of-pocket for him, whereas just editing or a portrait shoot would not be. However, he might agree, just to make you happy enough to not bad mouth him. It depends on what you intended to do with the images to begin with--did you have an album in mind?

    Otherwise, if it were me, I'd pass on the portrait shoot unless you are able to conveniently don the wedding dress and tux (or whatever you wore) again for some 'fake' PJ styled images in a session that might include the appropriate locations and/or a local park or urban background--like a casual and fun engagement session, only with the wedding clothes. That or convert the session to a family portrait session at your next family gathering.
     
  21. Get your money back and make sure your friends know about it. There is no excuse for walking on a wedding without
    providing back up or giving a hell of a lot of notice.

    I would wave the portrait session.

    Yes, things happen but this should not have, especially with no communication.

    -Cheers
     
  22. It all depends on what reason he didn't show up...it it was (on the wedding day), nature disaster, car accidents, or family member got sick
    to emergency room, etc. that is understandable.

    For me, I will get the money back. For lame excuse, I don't feel trusting him to work on album, editing pictures. Doesn't sounds like
    portraiture sitting is a good deal for you...
     
  23. Richard P,

    I offer my condolences on the absence of your treasured photos. But remember that many people who are unhappy with their "pro photos" still go to another photographer after the wedding and redo the bridals, engagements at the special locations like the church and the reception hall. My wife and I did. The key point here for me is that I hired another photographer whose style I really liked and personality I really liked. So here it comes,...

    If it were me, I'd have the previous photographer pay for another photographer of my choice to do my photos. Just remember that wedding photography is one of the most sued business in the world and without a firm contract that excuses him of all liability, he and his business can be held to the fullest extent of the law. But that's just me. Leverage him until you get quality photos of you and your lovely bride that you'll be happy to print at poster size, wallet size, album size, web size, and have in every room in the house, you wallet, your desk, your ... you get the idea.

    Although, I do very much like the idea of having him retouch your photos. But I'll tell you what. I'll do them for free if you mail me a DVD. (Seriously). I'm good, I'm fast, and I know what I'm doing. Now go get some amazing photos of you and your bride!

    Sincerely,
    Joseph Snively
     
  24. Even in a family emergency, unless he was incapacitated there was no excuse not to have phoned you and let you know
    he was not going to be there.
    If I was in your place and had a contract I would be taking him to small claims court. You should be compensated and he
    definitely needs to learn from this.
     
  25. Well, you are an unusual client indeed.

    I, as a pro, would expect to pay you compensation and give a free session at the very least.

    As a Client, I would be inclined to report it to the local BBB at the very least.
     
  26. Hey Richard! So sorry to hear what happened with your photographer, that really sucks :( While I think taking him to court
    may be more of a hassle than it's worth (especially since you're not out financially), I would suggest a "trash the dress"
    session for you and your new wife, obviously at no cost to you. You could also suggest he edit the photos you DO have
    and design an album (again at no cost). I think that would be fair to both parties and you wouldn't have the headache of
    going to court, which may or may not go in your favour. Best of luck!
     
  27. His reasons for failure sound pathetic, not sympathetic.

    If it had been because of a car accident, or some other life-and-limb endangering situation, I would be more understanding. Not making it
    because he confused himself by making too many promises to people is just weak. He is a grown adult; he can manage his own
    schedule. He probably not only should have scheduled to be at the wedding, but also scheduled some kind of verification or confirmation
    phone call, visit or appointment before the big day to ensure that there had not been any last minute changes that would affect his
    providing photography services.

    I recommend washing your hands of this person and the situation he created; and, drive on. You're lucky you are not
    married to an infuriated bride, who could be making your life a living hell right now; she could be constantly complaining
    about how this person's weak will and lack of commitment ruined her wedding day. Focus on your wife and provide her
    with loving attention.

    The BBB complaint sounds like a good idea. That way you won't get mired in something destructive and beneath you.

    Ditch this dude. Spend money, time and future arrangements on being nice to your new wife. Congratulations on your
    wedding. J.
     
  28. Holy Moly!! If that had happened here (northern NJ/NY metro area), you can bet that there'd be attorneys involved by now - not that I agree with that route but that's the mind-set around here. If I were the photographer, I'd certainly expect a demand for payment or restitution for 'pain and suffering' or some such thing. God bless you for being so understanding - and while I agree that 'things happen', there's simply no excuse for: a) not having a backup plan, or b) forgetting.

    I would not even deal with this guy for anything again - there's no guarantee that any future work will be as expected.

    This is the kind of thing that gives wedding photographers a bad name :-(

    --Rich
     
  29. it

    it

    Free photos, money back, grovelling in the dirt and so forth...
     
  30. Don't pay much attention to those suggesting any of this is your fault or you should have known that the "pro" was supposed to contact you, you were supposed to contact him, etc., etc. There will be those who circle the wagons around the most egregiously poorly performing "pro" seeking some way to blame the customer.

    As nice as he may be, see your lawyer. Don't discuss it in forums. Not what you did, not what he did. This isn't to suggest that the first step is a lawsuit. But the lawyer will be able to discuss the provisions of the contract and what is a reasonable approach.

    BTW, other threads sometimes suggest that this level of "problem" can deserve more than just refunds, retainers, etc. Of course if he doesn't have appropriate insurance, you probably won't recover the costs of a re-shoot, re-rental of locations, tuxes, travel, etc., etc. But your "damages" aren't defined by the limits or lack of insurance coverage.
     
  31. Why does everyone have to sue? If he sues, no way will the photographer try and make up an album with the guests photos. A few decent photo's is a lot better than no photos at all. Sorry, taking legal action is the wrong approach this early in the game. If the photographer refuses to do something positive well then the situation may have to take a nasty turn and go to small claims court. Save your money on the attorney unless your photography costs were over $5000, which in most states in the cost of small claims court.
     
  32. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Fixing the files of the Photographs taken by the Guests is a great idea.

    Mistakes happen - Richard you are very accepting - if it were my mistake (and I made a similar whopper once, a long time ago, when I was just staring out) - your attitude would get absolutely everything from me.

    Whilst you (Richard) run with this (firm) attitude, you control the situation, and have more aggressive methods at your disposal, should they be necessary, later.

    Litigious reaction is the very LAST course of re-action IMO.

    And to those above, crying for Blood, - - - never made a professional mistake, eh?

    WW
     
  33. Ronald -

    I've had a recurring night mare about this very thing happening to me... I keep all of my contracts in one spot, and no else goes there or touches it. I keep 3 calendars updated with the date / time / shoot info...

    As for what happened to you...

    Since you didn't pay a deposit or retainer - then you might not get any money back or damages - If he's offering - I'd take him up on the deal to do some portraits and see about the album.

    Dave
     
  34. Wow, I have to say - Thanks to everyone.

    An update: Our one friend that took the most photos - and the best ones - said he'd put his shots on a CD. Once we get
    that, we'll be able to get a better idea of what we'll do.

    I think I'm more inclined to work with those of you that have so generously offered to help us out - my Photoshop skills
    aren't up to snuff yet or else I'd do it myself. On the other hand, there's a part of me that would like to make this guy have to
    do something.

    But overall, I'm just impressed with how you all have responded. Thanks for that.
     

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