My Wedding Photography Nightmare.

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by richardsnow, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. This post is in response to the many inquiries I've had regarding the nightmare I am still going through with my wedding photographer, (5 months after the event). This was originally mentioned in my post regarding Wedding Photography Etiquette.
    HERE IT IS, MY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY NIGHTMARE!!!
    My wife and I got married last September in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The weekend we picked is a particularly busy wedding weekend for local couples due to it's placement between the summer tourist season and the fall foliage tourist season. Because of this, we planned way ahead, booking the hall we wanted and a Pro DJ friend of mine. The only thing missing was our Pro Photographer.

    Unfortunately, the two great photographers I would have chosen were booked for the weekend, (my first choice was in Alaska, my second choice had already booked), so my wife and I started looking for photographers.

    We stumbled upon what appeared to be what I would consider a "diamond in the rough" wedding photographer. Technically, her photos weren't perfect, but her composition was great and she seemed to have an eye for the moment...something you really can't train.

    I was skeptical, but my wife liked her style so we set up our initial meeting. At the meeting, we saw both her portrait and wedding portfolios. You could see in both portfolios a progression from someone with a knack for catching the moment and little technical knowledge of photography to a great technical photographer with a great eye...or so it seemed. I asked for references I could call or email, which she provided; and I asked what type of equipment she'd be using.

    Here's where things get funny...

    When asked about equipment, she responded with:

    2 Canon Bodies, one with a 24-70 f/2.8 and one with a 70-200 f/2.8. She also mentioned a couple of Sunpack flashguns, which I paid little attention to.

    I also mentioned that the ceremony would be outdoors at 11:00am and the formals would follow immediately after, also outdoors. The Reception would follow and it is in a room with difficult lighting due to massive windows along 2 sides of an L-shaped room, one side situated behind the main table (curtains drawn for dinner and toasts to make lighting a bit easier). She said that it wouldn't be a problem as she had shot in difficult lighting before.

    My wife and I left the meeting feeling good about the photographer. Everything seemed right, and on top of that, she the type of personality that I wanted out of a photographer.

    After some discussion and meeting with a few other photographers, we decided to go with the one we felt the best about. We set up a second meeting to verify a few details and seal the deal.

    Little happened until the month before the wedding when we went over the final details of the wedding day with our photographer, (over the phone), and went over how final payment would be made.

    THE BIG DAY!!!

    Our photographer showed up earlier than expected...a pleasant surprise. She set up camp in the bridal prep room, and popped in on myself and the groomsmen from time to time to snap a few shots of us getting ready. It was excitement, stress, anticipation...everything you'd expect in the groom;s room, so I barely noticed the photographer when she did pop in.

    The ceremony started a bit late, but went extremely smooth...15 minutes...short and sweet, just like we planned, (and we both said I DO). Recessional, quick bathroom break, and on to the formals.

    Guests were comfortable having cocktails, so it was just the wedding party, immediate family, and the photographer. (My uncle with my camera was the exception...) It was then it hit me...my photographer is shooting with one camera!!! No second body... maybe it's inside... it'll be fine, just relax. So on with the formal shots we requested...took about a half hour, just like we anticipated.

    Then it was just the photographer, my wife, and I. We asked for a few portraits of just the two of us in two nice locations on the property. Then it really hit me...this time there was a violent lurch in my stomach...I saw it...a SIGMA BODY with a SIGMA KIT LENS. I wanted to throw her out right then and there...but I also wanted my photos...and I had to see them...see if they were as good as her portfolio...

    So on went the day, no issues, great fun for all, and the photographer so far in the back of my mind that I didn't even know when she left... (She checked out with the in-laws, who paid her, when all of the major events had ended)

    Then the waiting...it wasn't so bad at first, since we were in Mexico for our honeymoon. Then a month went by...then two...no word or response to many emails and phone calls. With a final email threatening legal action we got a response and two DVDs of our wedding photos a few days later.

    Upon receipt of the DVDs, my wife looked at the photos. She then immediately called me at work to let me know they were there. I asked how they were and she, sobbing slightly, said I needed to see for myself. When I got home, I immediately looked through the 2 DVDs, my blood pressure increasing with each passing photo. I was appalled...there were nearly 800 photos and not one was even close to the product she advertised. Out of focus, too dark, too light, shadows in the faces of the formals, formals with eyes closed...poor composition, poor lighting, etc, etc. In a word, it was bad photography. There is no other way to put it.

    I immediately called and emailed her to try to set up a meeting. Surely that was the least she would do. Her response: "please take half of your money back, just don't ask to meet again, I'm too emotional a person and don't take criticism well."

    When I refused, but offered to pay her for travel, and time (equivalent to what I'd pay a second shooter for a day), she blankly refused and told me her generous offer of half of our money back was off the table. Currently I am pursuing legal action against her in small claims court.
     
  2. well.that sucked...
    I have to ask...
    did you just look at the sample portfolio? or a complete wedding work?
    whats in the contract regarding quality of work and refunds?
     
  3. I'll bet I could have shot that wedding well with the Sigma. It is the nut behind the wheel that is usually the problem. (trucker's saying)
     
  4. Hello Richard, sorry to hear about all this. Have you persued the refrence contact to see if it was legit? If this person said the photographer in question shot their wedding when in fact they have not, there would also have to be consequences for that.
    Also, you seem to bring up she told you she shot with canon, but came with a sigma. I think you should drop that argument all together, there could be any number of legitimate reasons for different bodies. I wish you luck. I'm not sure if you own the copyright to those photos but if possible could you post what you think are the best 30 in a gallery somewhere?
     
  5. That is a really bad situation. I wonder if your photographer went through something profound after your wedding that would make her change so much. I hope that you have a copy of the contract in hand. Is there anything in there that worries you? Did she go over it well with you? Hopefully you get this resolved as easily as possible. Good Luck.
     
  6. I only looked at the sample portfolio...shame on me.
    I did, however, do the diligence of calling and emailing some of her past clients.
    There is no "buyer beware" clause in the contract. It has been reviewed by a lawyer and she stated that there is an "implied agreement" regarding quality when it is not spelled out in the contract.
    Here is a link to a directory I just put up of some of my favorites. They are unaltered except to resize for web viewing. Link removed by moderator.
    I do have a signed Photographer Release from her, although, other than for this purpose, I don't believe I'd ever use it.
     
  7. yikes...i stopped after 3 images..
     
  8. Wow, ok you have a case man.
    Those past clients that you called, they were all happy with her work?
     
  9. Too bad. If the rest are like the sample, it is really bad work. You did not say how much you paid her. Maybe small claims court is worth the effort, but small claims court has its own hassles, and collecting can be even more difficult. And in the end, you will have no photos that are any better. If court will give you a sense of closure, by all means pursue it. For some people, it generates more aggravation and little sense of closure. No amount of yelling at her (in person or in court) will change the outcome. I might use the 1/2 refund to hire a Photoshop guru to help select and do the best possible with the best and most important 25-50 images.You will leave a bit of cask on the talbel but you will be able to put it behind tou, get the best that you can out of what you have, and enjoy being married.
     
  10. You know, I never understood the concept of asking photographers for references and then calling them ( same thing applies to like asking a job applicant for references and then calling those ).
    Of course they going to give you someone that like their work. It is kind of pointless if you ask me. For all you know they simply gave you names of his drinking buddies.
     
  11. @ Konrad
    Apparently...although who knows if they were really clients...
    I want everyone to know that I tried damn hard to settle this out of court. I even asked if there was some problem with her equipment that may have caused the inconsistent metering and poor focus... I could have understood that, but I again would refer to her response to my question about the equipment she used.
    All I got was a big runaround. That's my reasoning for pursuing legal action.
     
  12. @ Mark
    Good point.
     
  13. hiring a good photoshop guy is probably a good idea..although i'm not sure how much better can one make out of those pictures.... maybe a really good photoshop guy can save some images
     
  14. Sorry about this again Richard! I clicked three photos at random. Sorry to say, they are horrible -- something my 12-year-old nephew or niece might shoot. then I clicked on 4 more... clearly she had no idea what she was doing.
    A Sigma SD14 ehh? What a piece of JUNK. She was (is) as far from a Pro as it gets and you've a solid case in small claims court I'd wager. I'd like to see you awarded the actual damages including punitive and the shooter's "license" taken away. There is NO EXCUSE for such shoddy work -- essentially you were lied to.
    Oh yeah -- I can tell you married a great looking gal but this tyro shooter is a complete disaster.
     
  15. @Mark
    I have an extensive Photoshop background (started on Photoshop 3). I worked at a small shop and did some major jobs repairing old photos and old, discolored negatives. That's how I originally got into photography. I found that knowing more about how photos are made gave me more insight into how to fix damaged photos.
    I found out when I first got into digital photography that it is very much like shooting slide film.
    Under expose a stop and you can compensate with small adjustments.
    Overexpose a stop and the detail in the highlights is gone...forever.
    Oh...and when a photo is shot out of focus, I've found that there's not much that can be done.
     
  16. Okay, okay, I'm not about to take the photographers side on this, but I will chime in with a little bit of an alternative at least towards understanding this person.
    1. She's embarassed by the work she did. She can't take criticism and won't talk to you because she knows it's bad.
    2. I'm not sure about her geographical location to yours, but in the U.S. it is always considered best to try and settle before the court date.
    3. It's my feeling, just a guess, that she would love to give you all the money back, but feels that she should (this person is a "she" right?) get something for the day.
    So, what can you do? I'm not sure, but I can tell she feels backed into a corner, and I am going to bet that if it took as long as it did to get your images, it was because she has another job, and couldn't find a way to make these pictures work.
    So, if I could suggest.
    You send a certified letter, not an email, not a phone call..unless she will pick up, explaining calmly, that you really don't want to go to court. That you want to salvage everything you can from the pictures because you are a romantic at heart......I'm serious, include that last part....
    Then include that you would really like to just get as much of the original data as possible, to make your own edits and so forth. Don't talk money at this point, you already said you wanted to drop the suit, if she meets, or talks, I'm sure she will offer up something, probably 1/2, but if you can get her into a come to jesus moment, you may find she is willing to offer a refund in total.
    Let's face it, she knows if you go to court, it's public record, and her reputation is trashed. Out of court redemption is possible.
    Like I said, if she is a person who retreats when stressed, going full tilt will not get her out, and I would lay even money she wouldn't show up at court (which is when?) and let the judgement against her be filed.
    By the way, I'll bet you that an artistic eye could make very interesting abstract for the wall and album from even these. The formals???, yeah, they're toast...but the rest...a case could be made.
    betcha!
    daniel
     
  17. I have to be honest. At first I thought this was going to be another client nitpicking about his/her photos over small details. I was wrong. These are so bad I can't help but wonder if there wasn't a problem with her gear. Implying canon bodies at your meeting and showing up with something else may be a clue. The EXIF data shows every pic was shot in auto. I was looking for at least some fill flash to kill that sun. Her shadow is even in one of the portraits.
    Again, I seldom criticize pics so openly because I too have made many mistakes but this is horrid.
     
  18. First of all, you and your wife make a handsom couple, and your wife was a gorgeous bride on her wedding day. I have to agree with Anthomy Zipple in this matter...Choose your favorite images and work them. Try really hard to get half the money back from her if you can, but I doubt she will bother to refund you. If you can get your attorney to send a letter to her, it may prompt her to send it to you right away and you can both move on before a suit is filed.
     
  19. Daniel,
    You're probably right. I probably could do some work and use a few of the photos artistically to make something abstract for an album. Unfortunately, until this is settled, I don't intend to use any of the photos.
    Also, in my area, arbitration is required before it goes in front of a bench judge.
     
  20. I think you could ask for - and probably get a judgment for - ALL your money back.
    As far as photoshopping, it may work up to a degree.
     
  21. Moderator Note: G.E.--that was nice of you to fix up one of Richard's wedding images. However, posting an image that isn't one you've shot is prohibited on photo.net. While taking another's image, editing it and re-posting is permissible with an image originally posted by a photo.net member (which he or she shot), the image you edited was taken by Richard's photographer, and originated from a linked site. Sorry. You may want to e-mail Richard directly. Also remember that Richard is currently involved in a lawsuit against this photographer.
     
  22. Your story sounded a bit one sided and very hard to imagine as correct or true. You really sounded like a groomzilla, however after seeing the samples, I truly beleive everything you said. It didn't sound real! The photos look worse than the ones taken with my casio snap happy! I don't know where or how you got this so called photographer, but in court you should be able to get all your money back and hopefully more for all your trouble. Any photographer who doesn't take critisism well and is too emotional to deliver good quality work after taking your money, doesn't belong in business. Good luck to you and your wife.
     
  23. Wow- those are bad. Sounds like you made the right decision in going to small claims court if she isn't interested in refunding all your money. If you don't mind, would you update when you get a resolution from the court? (or if she settles in the meantime) It is always interesting to see how lower courts handle these situations, and they usually don't get widely reported because of the amount of damages. Good luck.
     
  24. You know, something odd is going on with the exposure and DOF of these images. Lets concentrate on the last 5 images.
    These were all shot outdoors on a nice bright day, no shade, so the "Sunny 16" rule applies perfectly. The camera reports that these were all were shot at an ISO of 200 and shutter speeds of either 1/400 or 1/500. The Sunny-16 rule says that a reasonable f-stop for these would very close to f/11. The EXIF data confirms that the camera thought they were all shot around f/11, yet, they all look to be overexposed by at least a few stops.
    Next, look at the focal lengths used: The camera reports that these shots were taken at focal lengths ranging from 36 to 56 mm. The last photo, the next to last, and 5th from last were all taken at FL=36 or 38 mm and, I would estimate, distances of around 15 feet. Using dofmaster.com, everything from 9 feet to 52 feet should have been in focus. Clearly, this is not the case.
    The strong overexposure and reduced DOF leads me to suspect that the diaphragm on her lens probably was stuck wide open for some reason. Yes, this can happen to anyone. However, if the photographer had been a pro, she would have most likely looked at the LED display every dozen or so shots, noticed that the histogram was way out of kilter, noticed the poor focus, and if the problem couldn't be immediately solved by remounting or switching lenses, immediately switched to a backup system. If she had done this, she would only have lost a dozen or so shots. Rather, all she did was set the camera on auto and mindlessly push the shutter button like any amateur.
    I feel very sorry for you and your wife. The previous comments in this thread were reasonable, particularly, the psychological insights of Daniel McG. However, if I were you, I would send the photographer a short, factual, registered letter stating in a straightforward and cordial manner that:
    • (a) No reasonable person would consider her images to be acceptable;
    • (b) You understand that this problem could have been caused by equipment malfunction, but a pro would have noticed the problem almost immediately and switched to a backup system. She did not do this.
    • (c) You plan to have the formals re-shot;
    • (d) (assuming this to be true) You plan to re-stage parts of the ceremony next summer;
    • (e) This will cost you at least X thousand dollars above and beyond the cost of simply hiring another photographer. The additional costs include transportation, venue, lodging and other expenses for just the bridal party, not the guests.
    • (f) Unless we come to some agreement within the next X days, you plan to take her to court to recover the sum you already paid her plus these additional expenses.
    I hate to be a hard-a$$, especially to an aspiring pro, but while she almost certainly is embarrassed and wants to hide from you, you need to get her attention and try to avoid the expenses and hassle of going to court. I personally think you are being way too nice by only asking for a refund since her incompetence could easily cost you additional expenses that are well beyond the cost of simply hiring another photographer.
    Just my $0.02,
    Tom M.
     
  25. Tom,
    You're right, I noticed something "off" about the formal photos, too. The outer edges of the photos almost look like they'd been shot with a LensBaby or something. In full sunlight like that, there should have been more than ample light for a deep depth of field, while keeping a very fast shutter speed. I'm also suspicious of some sort of equipment malfunction.
    Richard, those photos really are pretty bad, I'm very sorry for the situation you find yourself in. Good luck with your case, it looks pretty open-and-shut to me.
     
  26. Looking at those images and inspecting EXIF data, I came to the conclusion that the overexposed formals are due to male function of the camera/lens. All those are shot at and around 1/500sec f11 ISO 200. Which should give you a excellent exposure with the sun behind the camera even a little dark when the sun is not that high up. Looks like this was a shoot and burner? How much did you pay for what could tell us something.
    [​IMG]
    Sun coming from behind with fill flash
    [​IMG]
    Sun coming from front left with fill flash at -1.5
    [​IMG]
    Sun comming from right behind. High power flash from left. Notice the dark blue sky at this f-stop
     
  27. @Tom Mann, I was just posting my samples. You beat me. I came to the same conclusion.
    I agree with those, that you should get all of your money back. These are the worst images I've seen since the day I shot with a faulty polaroid.
     
  28. Not only should you take your money back, but also some compensation for moral damage. The wedding is only once, not something remediable.
     
  29. I'd like to see a pro post images he/she shot with that Sigma SD14 POS monstrosity! LOL. As if.
     
  30. I agree with eveyone...the "sunny 16" rule should apply.
    Here's another conclusion, but I'm not sure, let me know what you think.
    She was using a flashgun, presumable for fill flash, in bright sun. Is it possible that the camera she was using did not sync beyond 1/60 sec? This would also explain something not seen in the photos I linked to. Several shots were taken in the shade. You can tell when the flash fired and when it didn't due to overexposure and underexposure. Perhaps her flash had a slow recycle time...not sure as I'm on my wife's laptop and don't have reasy access to the photos/ EXIF data.
    @Tom
    I wish I could re-shoot this summer, but due to my wife being pregnant, (Due in August), a re-shoot is impossible.
     
  31. Ed, really nice shots. I'm glad we reached the same conclusion. I must admit, however, that I stopped cold when I read your sentence:
    "...I came to the conclusion that the overexposed formals are due to male function of the camera/lens..."​
    I started thinking, "did he mean the male contacts on the lens" or something similar. Another millisecond later, I realized it was just a typo and got a good chuckle thinking about B&H selling products to enhance male functions in cameras. :)
    Best regards,
    Tom M.
     
  32. It sure looks like equipment failure is a real possibility. For that I feel sorry for her. That said. I too was beginning to think you were a bit of a groomzilla until I saw the pictures. I would not have been so concerned about her equipment. It was possible to shoot a wedding with the Sony.
    On this forum there are threads upon threads beginning with what __________should I buy for wedding photography. Here is a case where what your photographer should have done is take her sony and spend a couple of weddings with a professional. She appears to have literally broken all of the rules foremost among them getting in way over her head. How can she not have looked at what she was doing and noticed the problem. Then to work without a backup camera?
    I think you will be happier if you just drop the lawsuit thing. There is no joy in that. Get whatever of your money back that you can and go about your business. Spend that money getting some wonderful portraits of you and your wife. This is a very sad event and I fear all to common these days. One thing that film did was hold the amateurs at bay. Between CL and cheap digital SLRs everyone with a camera is looking to turn pro. Having said that. It occurs to me that there are hundreds of talented amateurs on this site who would have done a marvelous job for you but in the final analysis the real lesson is that when you hire an established professional you usually get what you pay for.
    I am very sorry this happened to you. Maybe if you posted your location one of us nearby may be able to get you some nice recreations for not too much money.
     
  33. Just a typo Tom, it's not my native tongue (Dutch). But I'm working on my male function too (LOL).
     
  34. @Lee Richards
    Once things are settled with the photographer, I will post more info about me and the results of what happens.
     
  35. Richard - I don't think the major problem that I discussed above is flash related. If you shoot above the max synch speed, you usually see a bright band from the flash in the portion of the frame where the FP shutter was open, and darker elsewhere. I don't see that. In addition, I don't see any evidence of fall-off of the fill flash with distance (eg, brighter grass in the foreground, subjects brighter than the background, etc.). Everything looks pretty uniformly overexposed.
    Even though a re-shoot is impossible, my suggestion is to state this in arbitration, but still ask for mental damages (or whatever the lawyers call it) of the same amount. As I said, I can understand how this happened to the photographer, but she shouldn't have represented herself as a pro and have taken your money.
    Tom M.
     
  36. @Ken Papai, what does the camera has to do with this? I never shot a SD14 but from the sample images on the web shows that there is clearly nothing wrong with it and a competent shooter should be able to cover a wedding with it.
    BTW, I agree with Tom, Ed and others above - equipment malfunction.
     
  37. it

    it

    I would name names so she doesn't ruin someone else's big day. She ripped you off straight up.
    In other lines of photography usually people are competent. If you hire an 'architectural photographer', s/he will know how to shoot their subject. Ditto 'food photographer' etc.
    When someone calls themselves a 'wedding photographer' it means they have a camera.
     
  38. When someone calls themselves a 'wedding photographer' it means they have a camera.​
    Which leaves us with the final question: what did Richard pay for what? Could explain a lot IMO.
     
  39. Moderator Note: Naming names is not a good idea, particularly now, during a lawsuit. Also not a good idea, in case anyone is considering it, is attempting to find out who the photographer is, or posting any of the images Richard linked to in this thread, whether edited or not.
     
  40. There is a real problem with "wannabe" photographers posting the work of other people on their websites. I read about instances where people are caught at least on a weekly basis.
    Based on this fraud, I suspect there are even more cases of "waanabe"s showing images to clients they didn't take.
    When shopping for a wedding photographer it's important to have them show you entire weddings they've photographed. It's harder to fake it. Many photog's can show a collections of a few pictures from different events where by luck they've got a nice image here and there, but it's the pros that can show clients wedding after wedding in all circumstances where they deliver the goods.
    Based on the comments about her presentation or in this case mis-representation you should be able to get back all funds.
    You can also post critiques of her on websites such as weddingwire.com and the knot.com to name a few. Also a number of TV stations have consumer advocates who have helped bridal couples deal with both frauds and wedding vendors who have had their business go south from the combination of poor customer service and the sour economy.
    Good luck, and keep us posted when a resolution is reached.
     
  41. i would be most interested to look through the sample portfolio that he showed you richard. since you can't name the photographer in the forum you can just send me an email ( in my profile ).
     
  42. An interesting discussion, but above all I feel sorry for your loss here Richard. Good luck...
    The other way around is possible as well. I did product shoots, which were fine. When I provided some samples of the work done to the client, the person giving me the job settled for the samples only and did not pay me for the full job.The samples were small, but it was good enough for his purpose as it seems.
    There was a contract and everything. But well, the moey just wasn't enough to go to court for - and the client surely knew that.
    Afterwards I found two designers who were 'used' in the same way by the same client. A good lesson for me to next time put much bigger watermarks on my sample shots ...
     
  43. Other than the obvious equipment malfunction that was going on here's my take on what happened.
    Photographer meets with you and your bride to be. Shows you a portfolio that she has built (keep in mind that portfolio's are the best of the best).
    She indicates that she shot (Past TENSE) all of those with a Canon - and that she would be using similar gear at your wedding. Plus have a backup.
    In between agreeing to shoot your wedding and the actual wedding day, she is at a camera store and sees the Sigma on sale and gets sucked in by the "megapixel claims". Not that the Sigma is a bad camera - it's not, but she switches brands between the time you sign her and your wedding. Now I've never even picked up a Sigma body, but I'm guessing that is it kind of like switching between Nikon and Canon. Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, but is a different breed of duck. She dumps her Canon gear for a fraction of the cost / value and grabs the Sigma, a Sunpak Flash, and a kit lens.
    Of course she doesn't have time to get fully acquainted with the camera or it's settings, but does remember that she had to set her Canon with certain settings. She does so and assumes all will be fine, because the test shots she took - with no stress / pressure worked fine.
    Now it's your wedding day and she starts shooting, panic sets in when she realizes she doesn't have a backup camera and the shots that she is taking are not turning out. Seeing as how she's already admitted that she doesn't take criticism well, she's not going to turn to you or "Uncle Bob" for assistance or to see if there's something she's got set wrong on the camera.
    She gets back home, looks at the images in horror and spends the next month trying to salvage them in PS.
    She wants to do right by you and your bride, offers the half refund, figures you'll take it and walk away. You don't - ask her to meet you face to face and she responds by saying that that is out of the question and the offer she had made is off the table.
    My guess based on this line of thinking is that she inadvertently went into the menus or switches on the camera body and changed something which caused a conflict within the software of the camera. Further I would bet dollars to donuts that she was getting all kinds of warnings in the viewfinder. There is no way that those shots with the background out of focus like that were shot at F11 or F16.
    So - three possibilities here - none of which help you get your photos -
    1. Equipment malfunction - If she is using the standard PPA type contract - there is a clause in there that says photographer will not be responsible beyond monies paid for images that don't turn out due to equipment issues.
    2. Photographer Unfamiliarity with equipment - Again - standard contract - she will have to refund monies paid but that is about the extent of it. My bet is on this one. She inadvertently changed a setting thinking that she was still on a Canon and didn't even realize that she had done it. When she became (IF SHE BECAME) aware of this it was either a) too late or b) she didn't know how to undo what she had done. (not sure if the Sigma has the 3 button reset factory settings or not).
    3. Photographer incompetence - Yes there is the quality clauses in the contract - again - you'll get your money back.
    Lessons for us all....
    1. Chimp frequently
    2. Don't shoot a wedding with unfamiliar equipment
    3. Don't shoot a wedding without a backup body and lens
    Dave
     
  44. Just a thought... (the samples are offline, so I can't do this myself)
    If the EXIF data has the serial number of the camera, you can lookup if this was sold on ebay (if a seller listed it) or even ask Sigma if this camera was RMA'ed recently.
    That is if you want to dig deeper.
     
  45. Amazing how people can make a determination without listening to both sides, we have one person who is claiming that the photos are the best that were taken, I don't know the person so I am unable to verify his propensity for telling the truth. My experience has been that people seem to have different versions for what has occurred. I am so glad that so many of you have already judged the person who took the photographs.
     
  46. May I suggest a different measure of damages for consideration.
    Take the photos to a reputable professional in the art photo restoration. Some apparently will be salvageable, some will not. The cost will be high. That is, any image that might be restored will be a labor intensive exercise in Photoshop. The estimate from such a professional restorer would usually be acceptable evidence in small claims court, where, in most states, the rules of evidence would be relaxed and not necessarily require the presence of the author of the evidence.
    E.g., someone with the skills of, say, a Wayne Palmer, co-author of Photoshop Restoration and Retouching , with Katrin Eismann. http://www.palmermultimedia.com/main.htm
     
  47. Well perhaps part of the issue is perspective. I know a photographer in Texas that does weddings and people just think she is fantastic. She has one low end Nikon camera with no backup, a couple of average lenses and the lower end Nikon flash. Many of the images suffer from color balance issues, are not focused properly and exposure is off. But the people that get the images love them. I think the images are terrible and if I paid for them I would be angry.
    I suspect the people that are using her are used to cell phone cameras and really cheap P&S images. Almost anything is an improvement over those images. I can take a better image with my cell phone than many people can take with their P&S. But then I know what can be accomplished and what to look for in an image. I suspect all of you do also.
    I say this because pursuit of damages in small claims court may result in nothing. You may get a clueless judge (and there are a lot of them), who takes pictures with a cell phone and sees nothing wrong with the images. It will come down to personal judgement. Being unable to see the images I can make no judgement. Email me the link to the images to satisfy my curiosity.
    Moderator Note: Ray--Richard can e-mail you by clicking on your name. Please don't post e-mail addresses in threads--thanks!
     
  48. Under "Fair Use", it's legal to show someone else's photo to illustrate something about it, such as what could be done to salvage it in photoshop. And if the OP's having a lawsuit with the photographer cautions not showing the photo here, nor stating details, then it also warrants not having a thread discussing the issue here.
     
  49. Manuel -
    You're correct - we are assuming that Richard is telling the truth...both about the quality of the photos and the portfolio that the photographer presented. None of the photos that were shown in the gallery while it was live are anything that I would EVER give to a client. The only way those photos would get to a client is if a court ordered me to cough them up.
    The challenge of the net is that we often only do get one side - so we rely on honesty and trust to make our judgements. The benefit of the net is that it allows us to share information, opinion and commentary much more rapidly then at any point in human history.
    Personally - I would love to hear from the photographer and get her side... Why did she say Canon and show up with Sigma? Did she even say Canon? Did she know her camera? Did she think she could fix everything in post and then discover that it was far worse than that?
    There are a ton of "photographers" out there that don't know their equipment, don't know lighting basics, but instead think that they can fix all things in post as long as they have the "RAW" file. As McCoy once said "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor! Not a miracle worker!"
    Dave
     
  50. I had one experience with small claims court and it was an exercise in futility. Even if you win, there is nothing the court will do to force the payment, unless you somehow find out where they bank and account numbers. Even then there are additional steps, and expenses, you must take just to try and get your money. If the judgment is not in the thousands of dollars (out of small claims jurisdiction), I feel it's totally useless.
     
  51. Yikes... that is a terrible story. If she hadn't lied about her camera bodies I'd say tough noogies, but she obvious misrepresented herself.
    Although I do want to say, shame on you for having formals around noontime :p Yuck.
     
  52. David, we don't even know if she promised to use a Canon, not that it should make a difference, I know a professional photographer that uses the original Sigma Pro that came out in 2004, he loves the colors he gets from it.
     
  53. @Ken Papai, what does the camera has to do with this? I never shot a SD14 but from the sample images on the web shows that there is clearly nothing wrong with it and a competent shooter should be able to cover a wedding with it.
    I could not disagree more. An SD14 is not a tool to use at a wedding gig -- esp. mated with a similar POS slow lens. Check out the EXIF data.
    But then again, some people are of the mind that a pro could even cover a wedding with a P&S camera, as if equipment doesn't matter much at all.
    The fact the photog used the Sigma camera after claiming a relatively pro Canon setup means she was clueless about equipment. No backup. Wrong flash. Wrong lens. Wrong body. Disaster. Sigma's as pro bodes are indefensible. Case closed. Anyone here want to claim the SD14 as their primary body? ;-)
     
  54. What a disaster, sorry to hear...
    Photo restoration might partially salavage some of the wreckage as mentioned, above.
    Photo CD's are common from Pro wedding photographers? When I saw "CD", I raised my eyebrow, and was thinking that 'proofs' would likely be delivered as part of a signed contract.
    John
     
  55. G.E.--Fair use is not in question here. It is prohibited on photo.net forums to upload images that you didn't take yourself. Richard did not do that, so that was fine. However, you took one of the wedding images, taken by Richard's photographer, edited it and posted it. So you posted an image that you didn't take. That is prohibited, fair use aside.
    If Richard had taken an image himself and posted it in the thread (this is OK), you edited it and re posted it, that would be OK according to photo.net guidelines. See Item 2 in the following:
    http://www.photo.net/info/terms-of-use
    As for the thread itself affecting the case, beyond images, you are right--it could. However, once posted, apparently, if one is called upon by the court to submit the information in an online posting, one must--doesn't matter if it was subsequently deleted. So that question is already answered. Richard knows this.
     
  56. @Manuel Barrera
    I agree with you and David. No one can tell if I am telling the truth or even a reasonable fascimile of it.
    Keep in mind though, I had no intention of posting this until people questioned the situation in a previous post of mine titled "Wedding Photography Etiquette" I considered the ramifications of posting this, and figured it was worth the risk to get some insight into what to do.
    As I mentioned, I tried very hard to settle this matter out of court, and hope to settle it before going before a judge. The juristiction I live in requires that we meet with the photog in front of an arbitrator to try to resolve the issue without a judgement. This is what I am hoping to do, but I did have to file a small claims case against her to get her to even consider meeting me fact to face.
    I have no intention of putting the link back up to the photos. I have been advised by Nadine, and checked with a friend/lawyer who confirmed, that it could be used against me if I do go to court, as well as anything else I post here.
    As for everyone asking what I paid for. I paid for her services to photograph my wedding and provide a DVD/CD of full-sized, corrected JPEGs and a photographer release. She agreed since she said that she does not make money from prints, but provides them to couples who want proofs and enlargements. She also offered to put a gallery up on her site for family to purchase prints directly, (which after seeing the images she took, told her it would not be necessary). I did not pay for an album as I have some graphic design background and decided, (with my wife's input), that we would design and print our own album.
     
  57. Another angle here:
    I hate to say it but I don't blame the photographer at all.
    I think the fault is 100% on the bride and groom for not investigating the work, knowledge, experience and abilities of that photographer. Too much was taken at face value, and too little researched. Most reasonable people could've found the photographer as an incompetent in 2 minutes after demanding and viewing her work.
    At the end of the day, there were steps the B&G could've taken to prevent such a disaster, and on the most important day in their lives. Sady, I think the B&G are a victim of their own incompetence.
     
  58. I hope you can salvage something via Photoshop. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, my experience has been that wedding albums get looked at less and less, so the loss you feel today will ( may ) seem much less a few years down the road. Good luck.
     
  59. Richard,
    I'm sorry for your pain. You're understandably angry but one day it will pass. My own wedding photography was not that good (it was done by friends) but the food and everything else was fine. The wife was and is fine too. (It was a budget wedding.) 23 years have now passed. Marriage is a long haul. It could have been worse. Your wedding photography could have been world class AND inexpensive but then you find out your wife doesn't like you at all and vice versa. You part company painfully and expensively soon after but still have 500 perfect images to remind you of the first day...
    Having said that, I hope you can get some great pictures taken at a later date. And enjoy your marriage.
     
  60. What to do, nothing will bring back the day, if nothing else the bad images have made for a ceremony that you will never forget, in time you will even laugh about it. I will tell you a story about a man I saw once for a citation in the amount of $65, he received while unloading at an airport as he and his family were to embark on a trip to Europe for a month. I saw him about 45 days after the issuance of the citation. He was still very bitter and mad, I asked him if he enjoyed the vacation, he did not as he let that citation bother him the entire time, I mentioned to him that I could tell that he was well off by the type of clothes he was wearing and inquired if he made $100 or $200 an hour he smiled an said "I am very rich". I pointed out to him that the $65 was pocket change to him and he had let a small amount of money ruin a vacation with his family. He realized what had happened and he started crying. Enjoy your new life, your new wife, there will be many memories together that will be much more important than some ruined photos that do not meet the expectations. Happy Wedding
     
  61. @ken
    I could not disagree more. An SD14 is not a tool to use at a wedding gig -- esp. mated with a similar POS slow lens. Check out the EXIF data.​
    There's nothing wrong with using an SD14 for a wedding. Is it a Nikon or a Canon ? No...but it is no worse then using a Nikon D1x or D1? or for that matter a D200? or a 20,30 or 40D?
    I am 100% in the camp that the tool only gets you so far...the rest is up to the photographer knowing the tool and using it in the proper manner. You can give me the same set of tools that a professional carpenter uses, but I guarantee that the results I provide are not going to be in the same category as theirs.
    @Richard -
    Good luck in getting this sorted out. I have no doubt as to what / how she presented herself to you... I'm 90% certain that I've sat next to same photographer at least 4 or 5 times at the local coffee shop. (figuratively)
    Dave
     
  62. HERE IT IS, MY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY NIGHTMARE!!!​
    I'm very sorry to hear that the photographer you hired failed to capture your wedding day to the satisfaction of you and your wife! My wife and I went through that pain myself many years ago. :(
    It sure looks like equipment failure is a real possibility. For that I feel sorry for her... I would not have been so concerned about her equipment.​
    If she promised to bring "2 Canon Bodies, one with a 24-70 f/2.8 and one with a 70-200 f/2.8" as Richard claims, and the problem was due to an equipment malfunction as Tom & Ed claim, then I don't feel too sorry for her as she apparently misrepresented her equipment. If she had brought two Canon bodies and lenses as promised then that one malfunction likely wouldn't have spelled disaster.
    Keep in mind that damages are not necessarily limited to what you paid, especially if she misrepresented herself and you need to pay a professional to correct those images. That sounds like exactly what you will need to do. Of course, I'm only hearing one side of the story--there may be more to this.
    I bring two camera bodies, two flashes, extra batteries, extra cards, etc. on every shoot. Actually, that's the case for most non-Craigslist wedding photographers. We have only one wedding our whole lives--or so we hope! Capturing those moments right so you can look back on the day with fodness for years to come is a wedding photographer's duty. Bargain photographers often turn out not to be bargains.
     
  63. What is interesting it that when I shot weddings with another a 4x5 chrown or speed was formals; and a MF camera like a C3 TLR; Kodak Medalist; or Rapid Omega was more for the informal stuff in the 1960's. What mattered was results; no the camera or tools used. I have seen nice wedding images shot with a Kodak 620 folder with a triplet lens; and bad stuff shot with a Blad too.

    Here i printing I have printed very fine wedding images done with P&S digitals; BUT the user used the tool well. Simples stuff like olympus 3030 and 5050's. Now on this thread a 14 megapixel dslr is not enough.

    Try to savage the existing images.

    What matters in pro work is the results; not the tools used at all.
     
  64. Richard, just a side note.
    few people remember where the pic's are stored 10 years after the wedding. ;-)
    I am a photographer that ruined all the shots at a wedding I did. I refunded all the $$ sold most my equipment and didn't touch a camera for years after that. I wish I could use the "camera malfunction" thing but it was all on me! Did too many weddings and got complacent (and lazy)
    I feel for the photographer, but she had NO BUSINESS selling her work.
    I think you should do what ever is needed to get all the money back, warn all your friends, but also don't let this be a thorn in your side for the next 50-70 yrs. Enjoy your life, wife and kid(s)
    Congrats on the baby on the way! (hint: give your wife a Mother's day gift this year)
    Good Luck,
    Nik
     
  65. "I only looked at the sample portfolio...shame on me." -Richard S.
    Yep! There's plenty of newcomers that don't have a clue to getting good exposures and actually covering a wedding. You stated earlier that you thought she was a "diamond in the rough" so you already began making excuses for her before the ceremony ever happened. It's always important when screening photographers to see several full weddings to get a representative idea of what to expect. In this case you got much more "rough" than "diamond", and I think you seriously under-estimated wedding photography which is likely exactly what your newcomer did as well. The only one who really wins anything in court is generally the lawyers. Her offer of 50% seems reasonable since I would consider your judgement in hiring a "diamond in the rough" would leave you to share significant culpability.
    As a side-note: I also get somewhat peeved when a new shooter joins the forum, asks for a critique of their website and then gets extra help from forum participants to "cherry-pick" the best images to present in their online folio. Leaving them to decide what represents their work seems more honest.
     
  66. Sigma's as pro bodes are indefensible. Case closed. Anyone here want to claim the SD14 as their primary body? ;-)​
    Ken, this really made me laugh. I would have also defended the Sigma, as it appears to be a perfectly functional camera, and not to blame. Truthfully, I don't think the camera is to blame. But I will admit I would never bring that camera to a paying gig in 2010. It's just not professional. And regarding some confusion of others: This is a 4MP camera, not 14. Sigma used some experimental pixeling technology that greatly diminished the resolution, but they claimed it produced "better pixels". In practice, it was just another 4MP camera without quality glass to support it. I would use a broken down old Canon Digital Rebel on a paying gig before I pulled out a Sigma, and I think any other responsible photog would, too. I applaud your challenge to bring out a single photog who actually shoots with a Sigma as the primary cam.
    Even if you were to defend the Sigma camera, you can't defend the decision to show up without a backup camera. Assuming the Sigma had malfunctioned, or the lens diaphragm was malfunctioning, it would have been a simple matter to replace it with the backup before too much damage was done. That right there is the case for negligence. The photographer was negligent in her duty (and that's aside from the issue of misrepresentation).
    I think the fault is 100% on the bride and groom for not investigating the work, knowledge, experience and abilities of that photographer.​
    This is just ridiculous. It's a professional's responsibility to accurately represent the product. The client (as far as we know) was given a standard, brief presentation including a portfolio. Although the portfolio would have been a collection of best works, it MUST be a representation of the quality of goods to be delivered. You can't defend any position to the contrary. The fact that the client actually called the references is proof of a reasonable amount of research before committing to the contract. According to the OP statement, the client was swindled, plain and simple. The only way this isn't the case is if the facts we've heard aren't accurate.
     
  67. Richard, going back to your first post -- "Technically, her photos weren't perfect." I'm very sympathetic to what has happened to you, but once you saw that she wasn't proficient technically, that should have been the end of your dealings with her. If someone is holding themselves forth as a professional photographer of any kind, wedding or otherwise, having the technical end down cold is the minimum standard. You can argue over whether one photographer's pictures are better or more creative than the other, whose personality is best, who is most reliable, etc. But if they have pictures in their samples that are out of focus, not properly exposed, etc., then they shouldn't be charging and potential customers -- especially a photogrpaher who knows about these things -- shouldn't be hiring.
     
  68. Back in the film days I used to take three camera bodies to weddings. At one wedding I had all three cameras failed. Yep, I was diligent in that I brought backups. But the planets aligned, the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. Whatever I was severely stuck. After much frustration and the loss of a roll of pictures I was able to get one camera unjammed. That single camera served the rest of the wedding.
    As others have said the camera was/is not the issue. I could photograph a wedding quite nicely with my Sony DSC-F717. A lowly 5 mpix camera that many would regard as a P&S as it has no raw support or interchangeable lens. It is the operator of the camera that determines the ultimate results unless the camera is one of the Thane Cameras (use the web).
    Also don't expend too much energy on this effort. The most you will be able to recover is what you paid. You will still have bad pictures. Don't let the emotions get to you. My wedding pictures are fading and I cannot find the negatives. After 35 years they only remind me that I am getting older and fatter. Watched the wedding film once.
    Remember, sometimes it is like mud wrestling with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig likes it.
     
  69. The fact of the matter is, she promised two Canon bodies, and 2 nice lenses. She came with a Sigma body, and a kit lens. If she did experience equipment failure, she should have rented a body or two, and a nice lens for the event. This is someone's wedding, it only happens for the first time ONCE. You don't show up with an incompetent camera when the client SPECIFICALLY ASKED what kind of equipment you use, BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT TO THE CLIENT. The photographer is 100% in the wrong here, she should fess up and repay for damages atleast. I don't care if it was an honest mistake, you don't run and hide from it, especially when it is something as important as a wedding.
    @the people questioning what her portfolio looked like. Obviously she isn't going to put photos of this quality in her portfolio, I can't understand why anyone would think this is the bride and groom's fault. A professional photographer, whether it be a first year, or someone with 30 years of experience, knows their limits. She claimed to have shot weddings before, she claimed to have nice equipment, she claimed to have shot in low light situations before, etc. Her shots not only make me question the low light claim, but also any previous experience in photography at all. Shooting in full auto mode the ENTIRE TIME as a professional photographer is unacceptable. I realize she may have needed it to catch a moment, but for the posed photos she should have atleast been in a sub-manual mode.
    My condolences to the OP, hope you get this sorted out. Like another user said, just try to put it all behind you once you get this figured out. No need to let it affect your marriage or lead to arguments. Good luck with the baby!
     
  70. Folks should be a man about this matter; and not be little kids. It is NOT about equipment; it is about end results.

    The end user is at fault not the gear used. Folks should drop the slacker; amateurish kids stuff and grow up.

    Learn to stop whining; act like an adult. Stop blaming the tools; blame the user.

    Grow out of the amateur pond; learn to take responsiblity from ones actions.

    One can shoot a wedding with far lessor tools than the amateurs on this thread blast. Being a whimp and blaming ones gear means you are an amateur.

    The goof is the guy you see in the mirror; one who blames the gear instead of oneself.
    Cameras are not incompetent; the users are if they go not understand the tool and what it can or cannot do.

    Grown professionals do not whine about gear; they use it and get results.

    The beef is if the photographer delivered the required results or not; NOT about what tools the photographer; plumber, etc used.

    Good photography is NOT about gear; but amateurs seem to think so.

    It is actually about results.
     
  71. No kidding, the problem here is the fact that she promised two nice cameras, something he obviously cared about, ie HE ASKED, and she came with a Sigma. I agree it's about end results, but what happened here? The end results weren't up to par, or even close for that matter. You make a decent point but in doing so make it sound like you're an elitist. Obviously it is the operator who is in control of how great the images are, but when he SPECIFICALLY ASKED what equipment she used, again, BECAUSE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HIM, she should have came with what she promised.
    Don't pull the amateur/slacker/whining garbage, none of what you said even pertained to my post, although I know it wasn't solely directed at me. I said nothing about the image quality of the Sigma, I said nothing about a professional's ability to shoot a wedding with it. What I DID say was that the equipment was important to him, she promised him two Canon bodies with two nice lenses, and she didn't deliver.
     
  72. Petes; the product being sold is good images of a wedding; the product not sold is cameras.

    If the results are poor; a slacker/amateur/child blames the equipment; because he or she is not man enough to admit they screwed up.

    Trying to micromanage what tools a contractor uses already set the stage up for failure; one is closing the loop around what does not really matter; ie the tools used.

    Dwelling on the gear/tools used is what a child does; since their narrow mindset is such the tool matters alot; and the photographers skills are nothing.

    Whiners DO stress the tools used; since in their mindset this matters alot.

    ****What really should be focused on is fixing the images. The wedding is long over with.



    The first post says the sample images were not technically perfect. How does one expect to have this be better with a wedding where folks are moving; light changing? Does the amateur mindset think that a more expensive tool is like magical beans; ie a fairy tale?

    Equipment matters alot less than an amateur's brain can accept; it is weak function at best.

    Thus the dwelling on gear instead of actual results points to the typical amateur mindset that marketers love.
     
  73. Isn't the SD14 Sigma's Foveon Camera which uses something like three 5MP or so layers (instead of using interpolation as conventional sensors do) in order to get supposedly better color? The reviews I've read indicate it is the approximate equal of a 10MP or so conventional sensor with very high fidelity color. I don't have an SD14 and have never used one but the reviews I've read wouldn't have led me to think it was a terrible camera to take to a Wedding. Maybe not a conventional choice but not a bad machine.
    I don't know what the kit lens was, but my 5D uses a 24-104/4L and that is also referred to as a kit lens even though it's quite a decent lens. So it is possible to have a good kit lens. Again not sure how bad this one is. This kind of story is why when friends ask me to take their wedding (I'm merely an amateur landscape photographer) I say NO I'm in no way qualified. Sorry things turned out so badly for you though. Good luck with your small claims suit.
    Excerpt from Pop Photo review: http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Cameras/Camera-Test-Sigma-SD14?page=0,0
    Our image quality tests came down in favor of RAW files over JPEGs. In JPEG mode at ISO 100, the SD14 captures detail on par with an 8MP DSLR such as the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. Combined with an Extremely High color accuracy (9.9 Delta E), JPEGs earn an Extremely High image quality rating.
    But in RAW, also at ISO 100, the SD14 performs more like a good 10MP DSLR, capturing about 10 percent higher resolution and Excellent color, earning it an Excellent image quality rating. Still, NEF RAW files from the $920 (street) 10.2MP Nikon D80 show higher detail. So this is not what you'd expect from a camera billed as having 14.1 megapixels.
     
  74. Pete -
    I never ask a general contractor if they use Dewalt or Stanley or Craftsman tools - So what difference should it make if I ask a photographer if they use Canon or Nikon or Sigma and then they show up with a different brand?
    The simple facts as presented are:
    1. She represented that she was qualified to photograph a wedding
    2. She indicated that she would show up with 2 bodies + high quality lenses
    3. She showed up with a single body and a kit lens.
    By itself that doesn't pose a problem. What poses a problem is that she showed up with one camera and one lens which one of them either failed or she didn't know how to use properly. Period.
    Any one who calls themselves a "PRO" or accepts money for shooting weddings (and even those trying to break into the game by doing "Free" weddings) should have at a minimum a backup of every piece of equipment. Not having backup is indefensible.
    Also indefensible in my book (and I did say this earlier) is that she did not look at the display to see the results of her work. Had she bothered to chimp - she might have noticed that there was something wrong and could have a) said something or b) asked for assistance...both of which are difficult to do during a wedding, but would have been preferable to what happened.
    Dave
     
  75. To the one who didn't have the change to look at results of Richard's wedding images and it is not allowed to post any of them, I've mutilated one of my own images so that everybody can better judge the results of the images. If have decreased color saturation, focus and increased exposure about 2.5 stops.
    The EXIF data of the images presented but yet removed stated 1/500 @ f11 @ ISO 200.
    BTW there's nothing wrong with the Sigma unless it is kaput. Same goes for Canon or Nikon.
    Using a kitlens most certainly could get you into troubled because it is always cheaply build quality, most likely to fail then a pro lens. Moreover, the color of these kitlenses are most of the time bad.
    My images are shot by the same exposure.
    First the mutilated image:
    [​IMG]
    The origional
    [​IMG]
    If anybody is interested in the first image effect, I sell this as an action (LOL).
     
  76. "diamond in the rough"​
    Uncut diamonds are not the one you want to buy.
    “Technically, her photos weren't perfect, but her composition was great”​
    Don’t you worry darling, We get the high res files and I’ll fix this with photoshop in a blink of an eye.
    My question
    “… what did Richard pay for what? Could explain a lot IMO”​
    No answer yet how much Richard paid for the gig.
    As for everyone asking what I paid for. I paid for her services to photograph my wedding and provide a DVD/CD of full-sized, corrected JPEGs and a photographer release.​
    “Shoot and burn” is not considered high quality pro IMO. Certainly not if the groom thinks he can outperform design skills of a real pro’s services.
    I did not pay for an album as I have some graphic design background and decided, with my wife's input, (SUUUREEEE) that we would design and print our own album.​
    A typical DIY groom.
    There’re 4 scenarios:
    1. DIY groom + lousy photographer = no deal
    2. groom + excellent photographer = deal with good images
    3. groom + con = disaster
    4. DIY groom + con = disaster with some extra frustration
    Of course the photographer should deliver images at pro level. But she appears to be a fraud and not a pro photographer.
    “What matters in pro work is the results; not the tools used at all”​
    Bad or broken tools won’t do anything at all, whether you are Cartier-Bresson or not. That’s why he used his reliable Leica.
     
  77. I immediately called and emailed her to try to set up a meeting. Surely that was the least she would do. Her response: "please take half of your money back, just don't ask to meet again, I'm too emotional a person and don't take criticism well."

    When I refused, but offered to pay her for travel, and time (equivalent to what I'd pay a second shooter for a day), she blankly refused and told me her generous offer of half of our money back was off the table. Currently I am pursuing legal action against her in small claims court.​
    I have no doubt that her photos sucked. The only question flows from what you've said here: Quite simply, there's no reason for a meeting. She cannot explain what she's done or failed to do. I would do as others have advised and try to fix what she has broken. The costs you incur will become additional damages (beyond what you've already paid) and may be actionable.
    Here's hoping some of the images bring joy to you and your wife, eventually.
     
  78. I agree with the poster above. There's no reason to meet her. She messed up and has no excuse. (I would hesitate to incur further expenses until I had confirmation from a reputable attorney that the compensation for for "fixing" the problem is actionable, though.) See if an attorney buddy will send a letter (for cheap or free) demanding a full refund and all of the raw files. That's as good or better than you can expect to do in your arbitration and subsequent court proceeding.
     
  79. I thought the kicker was going to be she showed up with a Canon T80, hey it is autofocus... Like the guy said it's the driver, but hope things work out for you, at least your uncle helped you out. Tom
     
  80. I can't believe this happened to you. I would really like to see the pictures she took if you could repost them!!
     
  81. If it's any consolation, once the baby arrives you will be having so much fun with family photos you'll probably forget all this. My wife and I hired an amazing photographer for our wedding, everything was great, total pro, well worth the $5K. Beautiful photos. 10yrs later I can't remember the last time I looked at them....That's life i guess.
    On another note, regardless of equipment, Canon, Sigma, etc, I just can't fathom a pro (or someone aspiring to be one) not having a backup. The few weddings I've shot, I've been so paranoid something would go wrong I've had three cameras with me just in case.
    Best of luck
     
  82. Ed te Pas If anybody is interested in the first image effect, I sell this as an action (LOL).​
    Is that your new and improved CellPhone Simulation action for PS?
     
  83. Is there a way considered legitimate by Photo.net for the OP to provide a reference to the images described verbally in this thread?
    This thread is hard to fully appreciate, without seeing samples of the images in question.
     
  84. Ken was right about the Sigma SK14! The SK14 is junk!
    http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras/sigma-sd14/4505-6501_7-32078973.html
    "HE BAD: Slow performance overall; overly noisy images at ISO 800 and ISO 1600; poor control scheme; inelegant design and ergonomics." It is perhaps the worse DSLR you could use for a wedding!
    Sure you'll find one or two that shoot weddings with it and get great pictures, however those are the exception and not the rule. Just like you'll find a contractor that can build a fantastic house with 3rd rate tools from Kmart or Walmart....this does NOT prove those tools should be used for such tasks....that camera is junk for weddings, and it should never be considered by a so called Professional that wants his tools working for him and not against him.
    I've seen the work of one Canadian wedding photog that did fantastic artsy wedding work with a HOLGA...so does that prove the HOLGA should be used for weddings? Of course not!
    Lets get real folks....quality images is a conspiracy between a skilled human and good tools that support the human requirements for making art. You want the weakest link in that conspiracy to be the human and never his kit.
    Hal B, just because someone calls them selves a wedding photog and is expected to deliver the goods does not guarantee that will happen....to assume quality work from pro is ridiculous, absolutely foolish.
     
  85. Petes; the product being sold is good images of a wedding; the product not sold is cameras.

    If the results are poor; a slacker/amateur/child blames the equipment; because he or she is not man enough to admit they screwed up.

    Trying to micromanage what tools a contractor uses already set the stage up for failure; one is closing the loop around what does not really matter; ie the tools used.

    Dwelling on the gear/tools used is what a child does; since their narrow mindset is such the tool matters alot; and the photographers skills are nothing.

    Whiners DO stress the tools used; since in their mindset this matters alot.

    ****What really should be focused on is fixing the images. The wedding is long over with.



    The first post says the sample images were not technically perfect. How does one expect to have this be better with a wedding where folks are moving; light changing? Does the amateur mindset think that a more expensive tool is like magical beans; ie a fairy tale?

    Equipment matters alot less than an amateur's brain can accept; it is weak function at best.

    Thus the dwelling on gear instead of actual results points to the typical amateur mindset that marketers love.​

    Kelly, what you wrote is absolutely wrong times 1 million.


    How about this...I will you a HOLGA, three HOLGA's a HOLGA flash (3 of them) loads of film and lets see you shoot a world class wedding....you see, tools in fact matter....all this bravado about "it's the photog, not the equipment" is utter nonesense....sure the human counts the most but if his tools cannot support his vision, HE WILL FAIL.
     
  86. First, Richard I am sorry for your experience. Hopefully others will learn from it and some good can come out of the situation.
    Second, since the majority of people here are photographers and not brides, it is pointless to talk about how to select a wedding photographer. Save those posts for the Knot. [btw: Richard, this would make a great article for the Knot.]
    Third, To all the photographers out there are reading these posts, this experience should send shivers down your spine - because that could be/will be you. The question is not will you have an equipment failure, the question is when will it fail. Someday your equipment will fail. It may be your camera, your lens, your flash card, your computer or your raid box. And on that day, you'll wish you had something to "fall back on"
    The Professional Photographers of America includes an indemnification trust in its dues. There are specialized lawyers on retainer that work with you and client to achieve an acceptable solution. And if the service failure is covered under the policy (most are, but your second shooter is not) then the trust pays for refunds and any damages. PPA dues are not cheap, but they are cheaper than stress, anxiety and monetary loss caused by an angry client.
    For more information: ppa.com
    Larry J Foster
    Certified by the Professional Photographers of America
     
  87. Kelly, what you wrote is absolutely right times 1 million!
    Just my opinion...
     
  88. Indeed a nightmare.. I am so glad I have a wedding to shoot Saturday. Yep, got my authentic Canon gear, complete with the 70-200 f/2.8 IS... :)
    Ian Danziger
    Member PPA, Accredited BBB, Geared up and ready to shoot!
     
  89. Of course equipment matters. You can't shoot a wedding with f3.5 kit lens and think youre going to get any real pictures. It doesnt matter whether it's Sigma or Nikon, but it has to be good.
     
  90. When I read this thread I wonder how photographers ever managed to shoot weddings with their Canon D30, D60, and 10D bodies or Nikon 1D, D100 and D70 bodies. How did they manage to produce decent wedding albums back then. Were those bodies unusable at wedding, of course not and I am sure those that actually could produce decent wedding photos had many happy customers. The problem with the Richard's wedding photos was not the chosen equipment but that the photgrapher failed to realise that the equipment was not working properly, was not familiar enough with the equipment to use it or was just not good enough to be shooting weddings in the first place.
    Any decent wedding photographer that has had time to become familiar with the equipment could go to a wedding with a pair of Nikon FM2 bodies a Nikkor 28-85 3.5-4.5 zoom a series E 75-50 3.5 zoom, 50mm F2 and their choice of flash equipment and produce a decent wedding album. It may not be in their usual style and they may not enjoy the experience but they would be able to do it.
     
  91. How about this...I will you a HOLGA, three HOLGA's a HOLGA flash (3 of them) loads of film and lets see you shoot a world class wedding....you see, tools in fact matter....all this bravado about "it's the photog, not the equipment" is utter nonesense....sure the human counts the most but if his tools cannot support his vision, HE WILL FAIL.
    I can point you at three photographers who use Holgas either in whole or part in their wedding coverage. All three are well-known, have a reputation for excellent work and command significant fees to match.
    I first saw examples of this type of work in Grace Ormonde. Naturally it looks like it was shot on a Holga - soft, vignetted, defocused in places. But it was very different and very good, mostly because these photographers are governed by their vision, not their gear. They can produce work that has aesthetic value, emotional resonance and an enduring purpose — even using tools with substantial limitations.
    I side with Kelly's point about the gear. It's less important than the person using it. I've shot weddings with cameras that some people might think are very unsuitable. I once shot a wedding (as a friend) with a camera that had no meter and only two working shutter speeds — and the results were good enough for a fine album and a 24" print that still hangs on the couple's wall five years later.
     
  92. One thing that is apparent here is that what a photographer is using for gear has some effect on the opinion the client is going to have about his level of professionalism. I suspect that using odd gear such as holgas is probably the province of photographers whose reputation is strong enough to warrant a higher level of trust on the part of the clients. The Canon 5D (or maybe the mk II these days) may be a more common (confidence building) choice, but any kind of decent professional wedding photographer could have probably shot the wedding with Sigma SD14's. I read lots of reviews of this camera because I liked the idea of the DP-1 (which has the same sensor) and on average it was moderately well received by reviewers. Clearly here there are more problems than the camera.
    Conversely, had I tried to shoot the wedding with my 5D, the fact that I had a pretty decent camera wouldn't have resulted in good work since I know nothing about weddings or even portrait photography. I might not go as far as a holga, but given good skills and experience, almost any semi-decent equipment would probably do. Better equipment would probably elevate the work but even with an SR-T-101 and a normal lens, a good wedding photographer could probably do something the client would be satisfied with.
     
  93. Holga's are gadgets besides an overall professional kit. You must have a weird bride to want a full Holga wedding album. Moreover, you can always create your own Holga effect, 99.99% of the brides won't notice the difference. And I doubt if a pro will see the difference if it's done well, because every Holga has its own characteristics.
    My attempt.
    [​IMG]
     
  94. Interesting. It looks exactly not like an image made with a Holga. :)
    Weird brides? That's quite an assumption. I know one couple whose album has primarily Holga and Polaroid imagery. She's an art director in well-known London advertising agency, who eats and breathes photography and knows exactly what she wanted from her wedding photography. Their album is a particularly beautiful example of emotional and evocative lifestyle imagery. It's also unique - a true art piece in its own right.
    Any 'alternative' approach to imagery is by definition not mainstream. But that doesn't make it weird. More often it makes it bespoke, artisan, unique — and frequently highly valued. Which may be one reason why some photographers who work this way have a fairly high-end client base.
    And the other reason, of course, is that the people who work this way are very good technically. When you're using a camera with one shutter speed and one effective aperture, the only control you have is your choice of film stock and the way you develop it. Which demands absolute understanding of true, technical photography. There is no 'fix it later in Lightroom'.
     
  95. OK everyone,
    This thread has evolved from an "I'm curious about what happened, so let us all know" thread into a "Who's/What's to blame for the situation?" thread.
    Let me say that I take some of the blame for the situation. I did not do my due diligence and ask to see an entire wedding shoot. I took the photog's portfolio as what I should expect from her, and I took her word that she had adequate equipment and experience to do the job.
    However, that does not excuse the photog. She did not have adequate equipment, (apparent by the lack of a backup camera/lenses), and she did not provide any images that were remotely usable without serious correction. I do not blame the equipment for failing, I blame the photog for not having any back up.
    As for the solution of chimping...she did. I have several images taken by P&S relatives showing the photog chimping in 90% of the shots she was in. It is apparent by the exclusive use of "AUTO" that she either did not know her equipment or she knew something was wrong and didn't know how to fix it.
    On to the "why did he care about her equipment? Equipment shouldn't matter" issue.
    When I asked about equipment, it was not to find out what brand of camera she used, but to make sure she had adequate equipment, (2 bodies, multiple lenses, multiple flash heads, etc). Like I said earlier, I have shot weddings for friends at the site where my wedding & reception took place. I knew the difficult lighting situations that could arise during the course of a day.
    To help you understand how I feel about equipment, I will use myself as an example. When asked by a friend/family member if I can shoot their wedding, I explain that I am not a pro, so they shouldn't expect pro results. If this is not agreeable, I give tips for picking a photog...(something I may reconsider doing due to the results I got when I actually picked one). If the couple understands that they will not get the results a pro typically provides, I explain that I will not charge for my services, but they should consider it their wedding gift, (not quite so harsh). If this is agreeable, I have them sign a contract, (PPA type without a 'sole photographer' clause). I then explain that if they decide to go with a pro, please let me know so that I don't incur any expenses.
    My equipment consists of a D90 with a variety of lenses. My typical style of photography requires 1) a fast prime and 2) a fast tele-zoom, so I rent a 24-70 f/2.8 when I shoot a wedding. I know that I can get by with what I have if a friend asks me to shoot their wedding, HOWEVER, I know that the 24-70 makes my life a whole lot easier, which is why I rent it. I also have my D70s as a backup body should anything fail. About a week prior to the actual wedding, I scout the location, take test shots, and make sure that all of my equipment is working properly. If there is any fear of failure, (it has happened), I will rent a second body when I rent the 24-70.
    Hope this sheds some light on the subject
     
  96. Now hiring an experience carpenter to build a professional quality deck off the side of my 21 story apartment balcony. Must have own top of the line equipment. I can't pay you anything for the labor or the building supplies but you can use the deck for your portfolio and i'll tell a lot of other people you built the deck. Sound like a deal?
     
  97. A very interesting thread, Richard, and I am sorry for the tough situation. If it is any consolation - I was married 6 years ago and paid a good photographer a fair amount of money to produce some lovely shots, which he gave to us as printed 4x6s, negatives and a CD. I got about half of the best ones into an album, which now sits in a shoebox with the other prints. We haven't looked at them in years. Not to diminish the value of good wedding shots, but hopefully you will have many years to take pictures of your wife, kids, and even yourself.
    I might take the worst, or most humorously bad, of the bunch, and print them up for a display at home, and call it a day.
     
  98. @ Jeff
    Seriously? Did you read the whole thread or just assume I didn't pay the "pro" that shot my wedding?
    @ Nick
    Thanks for the advise. It's something I'll consider doing, just for a laugh, once everything has been settled.
     
  99. Larry J. Foster
    With regard to PPA errors and omissions coverage, is it really worth it, though? I mean the best most clients could hope to recover is the cost of the coverage plus a little bit, and then maybe get you to restage and reshoot the wedding (provided it was an equipment failure, and not due to total incompetence on your part).
    In the end, if you lost all of the wedding photos, the damage is done, your reputation is fried, and all you're doing is working with an insurance company (through the PPA) to pay the B&G compensation/hush money. You still ruined the wedding/lost the images/did something unfixable. As such, if we're just paying out money to the B&G, then why not self insure. Keep a few thousand around (depending on how much you charge and how much you're going to need) to refund money or do whatever else you need. Lastly, imagine that you are the B&G--would you rather have the photographer cut you a check (no fuss) and work her hardest to fix the problem? Or would you prefer try to get an insurance company to cut you a check? If you've ever tried to get your car fixed you'll recognize that getting a check from the photographer herself is clearly superior.
    If you're a competent solo photographer, I'm nearly positive it's almost always cheaper to self insure. If you're running a studio with 20 underpaid underqualified minions doing your work, then sure, maybe PPA E&O insurance is worthwhile. If you're somebody who runs the business AND takes the photos, I think that you'd save money skipping the E&O coverage and putting aside funds to cover. You must compensate when you screw up. I would say you should compensate more generously than the insurance company would, but in the end all the insurance company can do is pay out money. You can do that as well (or likely much better) than the insurance company
    People also self-insure by carrying extra equipment to gigs, making redundant file backups, and generally being careful. I'm pretty sure the B&G would rather get images from a backup hard drive (after your primary failed) than fight to get a check from an insurance company. Just my 2 cents.
     
  100. This thread has evolved from an "I'm curious about what happened, so let us all know" thread into a "Who's/What's to blame for the situation?" thread.
    Yes and that puzzles me as well. A judge/arbitrator will not be asking if you researched this photographer's credentials. That being said, the onus to prove malice will be on you and proving misrepresentation is probably your best shot as the photos themselves will not be evidence enough. Quality/Art is subjective and she just might plead that your wedding was her, "soft focus" style. Yeah, I know... that's a stretch but keep in mind this, "arbitrator" will most likely be a lawyer.
    It all depends on the agreement you signed. Most of us have liability clauses in ours that protect us from unforeseen disasters and equipment failure. I do not however, specify what kind of gear I will be using nor do I say anything about backups even though I have them. I even go so far as to exempt myself from damages beyond a full refund. (Which may or may not hold up of course). Nowhere do I guarantee that you will like your photos. Generally speaking, a lot of us have contracts that are slightly tilted in our favor - not the client's. (I rejected the first one my attorney drafted for me because even *I* wouldn't have signed it).
    Just saying there's a lot of, "buyer beware" in this industry and I wouldn't rely on just the photos to decide this thing. Among photographer here, it's pretty clear you got screwed and most of us aren't that quick to condemn a colleague. Unfortunately, you might just be at the mercy of this arbitrator and his/her interpretation of your signed agreement.
    Good luck!
     
  101. While I can't see the photos now (unless you email me) based on Ed te Pas's and Thomas Mann's posts, my guess is that she left it on a shutter priorty mode. So while it was in a degree of "auto", she had the ISO set firm at 200, the shutter set firm at 500, and the aperature was supposed to set exposure. However, in bright sunlight, the lens hit its max aperture of f/11. The camera takes the picture regardles of the overexposure. (I've seen this happen on a prosumer Panasonic LX-3. ) This may be why the outside photos were overexposed, but the inside ones were not.
    There's a lot of people out there who are somewhat creative and can press a button, they fashion themselves as photographers. They can build a portfolio out of some good photos... even a broken clock is right twice a day. (This happens with real estate agents as well.)
    At least back in the day, film photographers had to learn enough technical aspects in order to operate the camera so it was a decent assumption that they might also learn some technical aspects of lighting. I bet the images all looked okay on the little LCD screen when she was taking them.
    I don't think it was the Sigma and kit lens itself. While they would not hold up in quality when compared side by side against a Canon 50D, seeing the photos shouldn't leave your wife crying.
    Of course, embarrased she just sat on the photos until you threatened her with legal action. However, she's too unprofessional to give you a full refund.
     
  102. I mean the best most clients could hope to recover is the cost of the coverage plus a little bit, and then maybe get you to restage and reshoot the wedding​
    The cost of restaging the wedding might be vast - and you could be asked to pay it. A few thousand dollars might be just the start.
     
  103. Alec,
    You could be asked by the B&G to pay for it. I would challenge you to find one single case in the 50 states where a negligent, but not malicious wedding photographer has been required by a court to pay for those costs. Realistically a professional should be contracting out of consequential damages at the beginning. Writing a contract that protects yourself should be part of your "insurance." I know that everyone loves PPA and feels some camaraderie, but honestly PPA E&O sounds like a retailers extended warranty.
    FYI, there are very very few published cases involving wedding photographers, and indirect or consequential damages seem to only be awarded where the photographer made false representations or where other serious misconduct exists.
     
  104. A pro in most fields understands one tools; and what they can or cannot do.
    Blaming the equipment means the person drank the marketers Koolaid and believes ones results depend on ones tools.

    Bunny Yeager shot with a dumb Kodak TLR for along time; she could not afford a rich amateurs Rollei TLR then.

    I suppose if one showered the wedding photographer with 100,000 bucks worth of gear and the images were still poor the whining slackers could get a class action lawsuit; and blame the camera makers; or advertising agencies that got your mindset in place.?

    Blaming others and blaming ones tools means you should see a shrink; ie for not growing out of the childlike role of not taking responsiblity for ones actions.

    The whole concept of having a design margin was known in wedding photography 50 or 100 years ago. One was like a Boy Scout; ie be prepared. Even a pre WW2 Pop Photo magazine mentions checking ones films; holders; flashbulbs; shutter and have spares. They mention seeing where the church is; trying test exposures; doing a dry run with the flower girls.

    At one wedding I had rolls of Verichrome in 620 where the spool ends had a bad crimp. The spools end would come off while in the camera or afterward; and one got a fogged edge. What saved my bum was having some spare old 620 takeup spools; and having a changing bag. At another wedding a kid barfed on my suit; I had a spare one in the car. Tales of flashes and cords failing go back eons.

    I was asked to shoot a wedding about 6 years ago and declined; I had not done one in decades; my old sunpak 611 is abit flakey; so is it spare. Knowing when to fold/punt is the sign of being a pro too.

    The stressing of needing top notch gear appears to be more of a newbies method of covering ones bases. The real danger is even with a great tool one can get bad results. The newbie thus sets himself up for a mental breakdown; the magical tool did not help with the inexperience; or wrong usage; or bad luck.

    If one asks a plumber or carpenter about tools and they bark back Ridgid and Milwaukee; but they flub the job then how do you live with your newbie agenda of equating gear with results? What if the plumber or carpenter with 50 years experience used a Harbour Freight tool; do you box him in a corner by your newbie dogma?
    It is really about results; not the tools. Amateurs never understand this.

    That is why each new toy is what they crave. Marketers read the newbie brain and each new toy is what you need for good results. This churning of tools is why folks are called consumers; they consume the toy. This helps the economy; it also means the constant upgrade cycle makes great tools on the used market real cheap for a pro.

    The amateurs brain is wired such the latest ball; skates; lens, shoes, golfclub, camera ,software, saw, late night TV loose weight exercise gizmo will make a worlds difference; and actual practice /work does not matter.

    One might have a servo guru person with 50 years experience who can sniff out a problem with a Simpson voltmeter and his teeth; and newbie with a 100k spectrum analyzer and no experience; and this thread damns 50 years worth of experience.

    In a way; equating that only equipment matters means you think little about real world experience; or the persons worth ; ie craftmanship; ie the photographer is just a drone button pusher.
     
  105. Richard, Jeff meant that posting for a different forum. It appeared in two other places and was completely out of context in one place. I don't think he meant it as feedback on your situation. It's only coincidental that it appeared in this discussion.
    Juanita - The PPA Errors and Omissions insurance is only $50 above the regular annual dues. PPA requires any members who list themselves as wedding photographers to carry it.
    Richard - Not sure how much you really want to say if you are considering small claims court. I'd be really interested in seeing the photos and finding out things like was the photographer cheap or did the photographer charge like a real pro.
    I'm guessing the real issue here is that she seems to have defrauded you and misrepresented her equipment and abilities. Lying about the equipment she uses was a bad start. But obviously there's no way you could have known that before the day of the wedding. There's no way anyone is going to convince me that she did something like traded in her Canon gear to use a Sigma SD14.
    Asking for references is still a good idea even though no one is going to give out a bad reference. At least they will be other bridal couples that were happy with her work. And even if they were fake references, it would require her to involve more people in her charade. Not sure if you bothered calling the references. A lot of people probably don't bother.
    She had a lot of chutzpah to offer only 1/2 the money back. If it were me and there were a disastrous failure of that scale I'd give all the money back, do whatever possible to recover the shoot, and take my losses. But if it were me, I really do bring three bodies, multiple lenses and flashes, I know how to use the gear, and I have the PPA insurance too.
    Of course, I'm more interested in creating quality images. Your photographer seemed to be more interested in just taking your money.
     
  106. Tom,
    At $50 a year (plus PPA membership dues) it's not as bad a deal as I thought. We have a local PPA-like chapter that charges a lot more than that. I'm totally off-topic here, but if there's a thread that talks about a photographer's experience actually using PPA malpractice coverage, I'd be interested to hear it. My guess is that most photographers (even those with coverage) have the sense settle with the client as quickly as possible--before they even bother to call the PPA attorneys.
     
  107. Of course, I'm more interested in creating quality images.​
    This is exactly the point I was trying to make when I mentioned that I don't NEED the 24-70 I rent, but in tight situations where movement is limited (like a tight dance floor or a cramped church) it's a whole lot easier to make great photos than with the 35mm f/1.8 (DX) that is attached to my D90 75% of the time.
     
  108. This is quite a long thread- is there a link to samples of the shots? I retouch photos and am interested in seeing just how bad these really are.
     
  109. Michael, look at Ed's image above--the one he calls the 'mutilated image'. That is basically what a lot of the images look like. Otherwise, you will need to e-mail Richard for the link. I would say that one would need to do a fair amount of detail fabrication, because there is no detail to bring up beyond a point.
     
  110. I too am interested in digital retouching, and hoped that I could still get something out of the shots. But no, they're dreadful shots.
    Though a bit late to see the deleted link, I'm lucky enough to retrieve it via search engine. Google it , it's there.
     
  111. FYI, there are very very few published cases involving wedding photographers, and indirect or consequential damages seem to only be awarded where the photographer made false representations or where other serious misconduct exists.​
    We had just such a case here in the UK a couple of months back. It got a lot press, and was discussed on photo.net. He wasn't malicious, just incompetent, and he got taken to the cleaners by the court.
     
  112. 1. I'm talking about US jurisdictions--since the OP's problem happened in the US. I won't comment on UK law.
    2. My comments about PPA insurance relate to people who would be eligible for E&O coverage. Generally to get E&O you have to demonstrate some level of professionalism to the insuring body. The photographer at this wedding would not have been eligible for such coverage.
    3. My focus was on equipment failures and car accidents. If you are incompetent to shoot a wedding then you are misrepresenting your ability and should not be covered by E&O. Where you have made a misrepresentation even a US jurisdiction might throw the book at you (though the cases are few and I would not waste the massive attorneys fees chasing a unicorn). E&O protects against errors, not incompetence.
    Thanks for clarifying that you were discussing a situation in the UK, that makes more sense now.
     
  113. The interesting thing about the this thread is folks need to ponder equipment over results.
    I wonder if the catering's coffee was poor; due folks here get into discussions on Bunn-o-matics versus Mr Coffee versus Acme brand coffee makers? Typically I have found that clients who stress equipment are the worst clients to deal with; they want to micromanage ones tasks.

    The issue is about results; and not about micromanaging the hired gun's tools.

    With a botched or poor job the professional thing to do is repair the ill images.

    The damages are the poor product delivered; ie the images. If you drag into small claims court comments about her equipment; then you deserve to loose the case. You are justifying the bad results based on the tools; and avoiding the controller of the tool; ie the photographer. One should focus on what matters; the actual damages; ie the poor images.
     
  114. Kelly, there is often a correlation between one's abilities and one's tools. We agree the most important component is the human photographer, but his inability to afford commercial kit, can often say something about his ability to make wonderful art. The best kit is not a guarantee of great work, but the absence of decent kit can be indicative to other issues. Why do you think the best wedding photogs in the world use excellent kit? Do you see a correlation there? Of course!
    There is a more drastic correlation between decent kit and good pictures then one will find between a carpenter's hammer brand and the finished house. This is why most people are not so concerned about the carpenter's kit when he is contracted to build a deck. The brand/grade of tools has a much less impact on the finished deck then camera kit and mastered photographs.
    And give me a break...if the images are "botched" the chances of repairing them in a quality way are most often very, very low...if they are botched then most often nothing can be done to restore happiness...the prof screwed up.
    And I think NO ONE here suggest a client micro-manage the kit used by a pro...no one wrote that....but if a pro uses a profoundly sub-par kit, that should raise concern.
     
  115. Juanita,
    If it's quite so simple in the US just to disclaim liability why does anyone there bother with insurance? If anything, the litigious nature of US society suggests to me that disclaimers not withstanding insurance is even more necessary there than in the UK.
     
  116. I think the issue of equipment is overblown here. It never was an issue.
    The only issue here is, and was, dishonesty. Myself, I use a Pentax K10D. If I were asked by a client what I use, I'd say I use a Pentax K10D.
    If I said Pentax, and showed up with a Canon, it'd be just an heinous as understating - as happened here.
    There is always room for being discreet you can always decline to mention which equipment you use, and if pressed, say; "I'd prefer that my results speak for me rather than my equipment".
    However, the photographer here showed neither honesty, nor the desire to defer to her results.
    If a businessman is proven to be dishonest, the deal is null and void. Simple as that. If the products are defective, that's a different story.
    Bad photography, bad construction, bad cameras, are not necessarily grounds for return or damages - dishonesty is. The only profession which is not bound by the laws of honest transactions is that of Real Estate - where laws have been changed to make verbal contracts null and void. In any other field, a person's word is his bond. It might sound old-fashioned, and difficult to enforce (it is) but it's also precedent.
    If photo dot net promises to send you a signed, original, Ansel Adams print with your one year membership, and it turns out to be only a Henri Cartier Bresson, you'd have grounds to pursue them for the difference or your money back - plus damages if you could so prove them.
     
  117. I can't believe people could actually blame the groom for the results of the photographer.
    A few years back I shot video at a wedding of a friend. When she came to look at the video she almost burst into tears when she told me about the pictures she got from her photographer. They were blurred, out of focus and improperly exposed. The guy blames the church and the lighting there. He also said he was doing weddings for 20+ years. She was so happy to see the video was well done, I was even able export some frames for her to print, so she could have some half way decent pictures of the ceremony for her album.
    Opposite side of the coin, my wife and I were shooting a wedding as a favour for someone at the same church. The bride could afford much, so rather than charge her a ridiculously small amount of money, we did it for free and called it a wedding present. She also wanted me to do the video, but she could afford the $500 to rent the video equipment I told her I needed for the job, so she had a church brother record the event. I was tasked with editing the video because we discovered he didn't edit or really know how to handle the files on his camera. I got sick to my stomach editing the video. The camera shook so bad I got a headache watching it on my computer. During the vow he was trying to put the camera onto the tripod and he was not successful. I thought the guy was having the fits or something. Needless to say the bride actually cried when she saw it. But she was happy for the photos.
    Its really scary these days when you hire someone for anything. Folks will just get some "tools" and call themselves pros. From pressure cleaning sidewalks to major home repairs. And sometimes event he most diligent shopper still get burned. I just find it odd the groom in this instance is actually getting blamed for the outcome.
    And I wish him luck in his upcoming case.
     
  118. Dan; a good craftsman knows his tools and limits.

    This separates amateurs from pros.

    The correlation between ones abilites and ones tools is in a newbies head; since they do not know a lessor tools limits.

    I have seen great wedding images shot with dumb Kodak folders and TLR's with dumb triplets; and totally poor wedding images shot with a darn Hasselblad.

    Having a better tool does not inject wisdom and experience into a newbies brain; in fact it often gives them a cocky ego; one just waiting for the big fall called reality.

    In printing I have customers who have used *FAR* lessor cameras than were used with this wedding and not had *any* issues. By dwelling on the old tired lame excuse of ones tools; you reinforce lame amateur behavior.

    Having shot for over 50 years; I have found that folks who preach the equipment crutch create poor results. They botch the basics like lighting.

    Gear hounds drive the photo market; *most all* photo gear is bought by amateurs; thus preaching great gear is required is the basics of amateur thinking.

    The camera in question is great for colors; it has a 3 layer type sensor. It is just average at the higher isos for noise. It is radically better than many pro cameras that were used for weddings awhile back. One could go back to say 1890 technology and just use a dumb tripod and a better fstop for many shots; buy yes that has something called understanding.
    A good shooter could have shot great images with the tools used at the old wedding; but that conflicts with the newbie mindset. Oh yes it also conflicts with the canned dung that it is all about the tools.

    A craftsman can take a dumb 150 buck P&S walmart digital and shoot a wedding if he has to. He might have to be abit of a man and direct the couple to be in a better lit area for formals, He might have to bracket more to not blow out the dresses whites. He doesnt assume like a newbie does; he KNOWS his lessor tools limits and still makes decent images.

    One can look back at master craftsman decades ago and there was more work towards understanding ones tools. There was not this slacker attitude about blaming one tools. Whining was childish then. There was more respect for being a craftsmen.

    What is sub-par is the newbie attitude that it is all about the tools. At some point you have to develop some skills. One can take a great looking set of images and the newbie question is always going to be what camera was used; since the amateur mindset is if they used the same settup; it will magically fill in the craftsmans decades worth of past experience.

    What is subpar is the images; what equipment was used really only matters to folks who are not on the craftsman road; they are on the gearhead road.

    There is a better correlation between image quality and tool quality with a beginner than a craftsman. A real craftsman learns what his tools will do; they tend not to use them in an ill way; like a newbie does. A craftsman with a lessor lens might stop the lens down and use more light. This was known 150 years ago; in the less whining area.

    Whether it is blacksmithing; shooting a gun; shooting a wedding; playing golf; a craftsman knows is it NOT all about ones tools; it is about experience and practice. The childish whine of needing a better tool is what drives the amateur consumer economy; it is the soul and heart of marketing.

    The funny thing is in printing; where the wedding crowds P&S shots are better than the pros stuff sometimes; but the cameras are just film disposables and simple P&S digital stuff.
     
  119. Kelly,
    I in no way tried to "micro-manage" the pro's kit. I simply asked if she had adequate equipment to do the job. Her response to this was rattling off what she had, which was totally different from what she showed up with. I could have cared less if she had 2 D70s, 2 Rebel XTis, 2 Mamiya DM56, 2 Sony Alphas, or even 2 D40s. What I cared about when I asked about equipment was her back-up plan should anything go wrong. I've seen far too many "pro" photographers without any backup kit.
    I have no doubt there are wedding photogs out there who can make great images with the Sigma camera she has. Given enough time and practice with any camera, I believe beautiful images are possible from anyone, (i.e. a pro that shoots with a Holga).
    As for your reference to the coffee...well, if we were all coffee connoisseurs, I bet we would be talking about the choice of beans, (film), choice of coffee maker (camera), possibly even the choice between white sugar and raw sugar to sweeten the coffee (Fuji vs Kodak Paper/chemicals to develop). This may sound absurd, but really think about it.
     
  120. Richard,
    First of all, I am so sorry for your experience, which is not your fault in the slightest. As they say, hindsight's 20/20, so it's easy to blame yourself for not viewing an entire wedding spread. However, as one of the mods pointed out, there is a huge amount of dishonesty in the world, teamed with a vast quantity of stupidity. I can just imagine some fool thinking they've had a "clever idea" to use other peoples' pictures in their own portfolio to "get their business off the ground". I hate to say it but it sounds like something along those lines may have occurred here.
    Anyway, I could speculate until the cows come home, but I suspect we'll never know what really happened. However one thing I do when I have a misfortune is to think to myself that misfortunes are a statistically inevitable part of life so if my misfortune for now is _____ then I can live with that because it could have been something so much worse and I could be wishing it was "only" _____ instead. There was a story in the news not so long ago about a bride who was riding some gimmicky, motorized vehicle - I forget what - to the church, but never made it because her dress wrapped around the crankshaft. She lived, but lost both legs. However, she still managed to walk down the aisle a year later.
    If I were you, after your baby is born I would go and have some professional portraits taken of you and your wife, in a beautiful location e.g., near a waterfall or beach or anywhere lovely. At least you have the advantage that it doesn't need to be near the reception venue. I would get some or all done in wedding attire. At least then you will have some beautiful photographs you can enlarge for your home.
    I do think it's good that you are pursuing this through court as this person failed you on multiple counts. As you've said, it's not her fault the equipment malfunctioned, but it is her fault she didn't have back ups. Also she should have informed you of the equipment change as the verbal agreement was based on her using Canon. I work in the operating room and it wouldn't do for us to say when the patient wakes up "Oh sorry about your botched operation. I know we told you Dr Blogs was going to do your surgery but he wasn't well so we got the orderly to do it instead" ;-)
    All the best to you and your family,
    Madeleine
     
  121. Alec,
    I've driven this too far off track, but in the US you can disclaim contract remedies but not tort remedies. From what I understand (only a paralegal here) a wedding contract that is not fulfilled is only a contract dispute and damages are severely limited. If, on the other hand, your light stand fell on the bride and groom and the modeling light burned her, that would be a tort remedy and is a whole new ballgame. You would have to contact a licensed attorney to get absolute clarification, and even if you did the answer he would give would likely be "it depends."
    So with that background, why do we bother with insurance? Well insurance for tort liability is absolutely necessary, because you could get sued for a huge amount if you hurt someone. That's "liability coverage." E&O coverage is a different ballgame. It covers for failure to perform your contract duties (and like I said above contract remedies are much more limited in dollar (pound :)) amounts).
    That's why Madeleine Hopkins response about orderlies performing surgery--while clever, is not legally applicable in the US. If a surgeon commits malpractice, then it's a tort--a harm. If a photographer commits malpractice it's a contract claim. You'll survive the photographer's botched operation.
    So in short, yes you can disclaim consequential damages (for failure to perform a contract), and a professional should do so. Remember how your film canister doesn't allow you to sue the film manufacturer for the value of pictures that don't turn out--even if it's their fault? Same sort of deal. Contract breach is different than tort (harm) under the American (and I believe Anglo) system.
    Your potshot about the litigiousness of Americans has been noted and ignored. I'm going to leave this thread alone after this because I've already hijacked it enough. You're free to have the last word, if you'd like. You can email me if you have any other questions.
     
  122. and, where the photos are?
     
  123. Lets get real folks....quality images is a conspiracy between a skilled human and good tools that support the human requirements for making art. You want the weakest link in that conspiracy to be the human and never his kit.​
    Dan, I re-read your earlier post and found this to be an interesting statement. Personally, I'd want the weakest link to be the kit, not the person.
    When 14th century stone masons began work on medieval cathedrals they knew it was going to take them at least three generations to complete. Success was the product of a vision that could be clearly articulated, architecture and engineering that could be proved by mathematics in advance of construction, and a supply chain that required immense social planning. The vision had to be big enough, and robust enough, that it could be shared through time. The results had absolutely nothing to do with the tools, and everything to do with the people.
    It's an extreme example, but it supports Kelly's point about equipment.
    There are often posts on forums from people asking questions like: 'I really loved X's pictures - what camera does she use?'. Of course, that's a beginner's question. More experienced photographers would wonder about the lighting in X's images, not the mere camera. And advanced photographers would wonder what X wanted to say with the image, not how she made it.
     
  124. Richard,
    As per original message (The weekend we picked is a particularly busy wedding weekend for local couples due to it's placement between the summer tourist season and the fall foliage tourist season. Because of this, we planned way ahead, booking the hall we wanted and a Pro DJ friend of mine. The only thing missing was our Pro Photographer.

    Unfortunately, the two great photographers I would have chosen were booked for the weekend, (my first choice was in Alaska, my second choice had already booked), so my wife and I started looking for photographers)

    The DJ was a friend, It was a well known fact that (Technically, her photos weren't perfect) as per your thoughts BEFORE you became upset. Also, as per your original message "After some discussion and meeting with a few other photographers, we decided to go with the one we felt the best about. We set up a second meeting to verify a few details and seal the deal.

    Little happened until the month before the wedding when we went over the final details of the wedding day with our photographer, (over the phone), and went over how final payment would be made.

    In this area as is the case in many other areas, a photographer is booked at least six months or longer prior to the wedding date--sometimes it is a year or longer. Had you did this, very likely you could have got a friend to shoot the event with their XYZ cameras. She gave you a CDs or DVD's of 800 shots and that was likely what you wanted but the shots were not perfect. MY question is "Was this so called poor photographer paid the same rate as an actual Professional Photographer would have charged you for the event and files. What did you pay for her photo services have been asked by many but there never has been an answer. All I see in the above is hear-say and you wanting perfection--nothing from the photographer.
    At the start of this a few days I was inclined to blame the photographer but as time goes on and no attempt to say what she charged you forced me to look closer. A very quick check on rates in that area starting at $2000.00 to $4400.00. Quite often quality carries a price--weddings is not an area to skimp on. You did have choices! #1 being booking people required for the event well in advance. The above is my opion only.
    Garry
     
  125. First let me admit I am a Nikon shooter and have been for a few decades.
    The failure here was not because she used Sigma. A good shooter could knock your socks off with a Sigma and good selection of Sigma glass. I'll bet there are any number of pro's here who own at least one and probably more Sigma lenses. It was not long ago by some of our calculating when the Nikon D1's were being proudly used for wedding photography; that or the D100. The SD14 would outperform either of these cameras in all liklihood. I have personally shot a wedding with a D100 (for all the wrong reasons) and the B&G were thrilled with the results. My D2H is still in the car for a third backup and I believe I could do a decent job with that if I had to. From what has been said the conditions present at the wedding would not have challeged the capabilities of just about any digital SLR.
    She should have had a backup camera. She should have had a plan. Most of us would have suggested that she go with a Nikon or Canon for the long haul if she intended to be a professional photographer. Nevertheless. What went wrong with this shoot, if it was an equipment failure, could have and probably has happend to all of us who have been around for awhile. The equipment failure was a mere speed bump to a photographer with a back-up camera. If she had not had the failure you might have been very happy with the resuts. Certainly the fact that she used a Sigma in no way guaranteed a bad outcome.
    On edit I realize that I missed Kelly's excellent post. He said it far better.
     
  126. Well, you said that you have sued in small claims court.
    So, your course is set. The measure of damages, assuming breach of contract is proven, can vary, but the burden is on the plaintiff to show both. Having a true pro as a witness or affidavit might be helpful.
    When the result is in, kindly let us all know what the Judge ruled.
     
  127. While I would agree that the failure is not because his camera was a Sigma, I think that may be an important part of the court case. The client asked what equipment would be used in the execution of the contract, and the photographer named particular cameras and lenses but used other equipment that was not as good. If it goes to court, the client says "these images are bad" and the photographer says "actually, that's an artistic interpretation and I think they're good" and the client now has to make that argument. But two things here that are much easier to argue about in court are:
    1. Did the photographer show portfolio images that were not her own? This would be falsifying credentials, which would be fraud.
    2. Did the photographer make specific claims that can be proven false? E.g. "I will use two Canon cameras with these two professional grade lenses", and doesn't do that.
     
  128. "We stumbled upon what appeared to be what I would consider a "diamond in the rough" wedding photographer. Technically, her photos weren't perfect, but her composition was great and she seemed to have an eye for the moment...something you really can't train."
    As stated in other posts, this is your issue. I know a photographer who could shoot a wedding with an iPhone. Gear is not the issue at all. The person you hired was not a seasoned professional wedding photographer. You got what you asked for. You hired an amateur and you got amateur results. It happens all the time. I love amateurs for their passion but I would not hire one to do a professional job, any more than I'd hire a budding young surgeon to operate on me. As for the "eye" that you can't train, sure you can. It is about experience and practice.
    That all may have sounded harsh, but I really am sorry you had this experience. You deserved better. I hope you can salvage some of the images so at least you have something to show for your wedding pictures.
    All the best Richard.
    Lou
     
  129. You got what you asked for. You hired an amateur and you got amateur results.​
    You're speaking as though Richard was somehow psychic and should have known he was hiring someone who wasn't up for the task. Sorry, but it sounds like fraud may have been involved (i.e., the photographer used other peoples' photos in her portfolio) in which case Richard could not have known this. Hindsight's 20/20 dude.
     
  130. Madeleine,
    Hindsight????
    When the judge asks to see the samples and she shows samples similar to what Richard got????
    Did the signed contract stipulate Canon equipment or was it hearsay. The issue of what can 100% be proved to a judge that what was was actually paid to the photographer may help a judge determine liability and who gets paid as it is very easy to find starting rates for pro's in that area. The Judge will likely not even take into condideration what Richard's friends would have charged him nor should they in my opinion--lots of reasons why people get friends to work for them and expect huge discounts --been down that road once too often. Yes too many questions are unanswered in my opinion.
    These are my opions only. Richard may be100% in the right though. It may take a court to decide but it is sad that it had to go this far.
     
  131. The only point I'm making is that if she showed photographs she hadn't taken herself then it's fraud and Richard should be awarded a full refund plus court costs. However, if the sample photos are her own then it will be up to the court to decide if they are similar or different and award accordingly.
    Unfortunately however, if she did indeed steal the images then she'll most likely turn up with a new portfolio and all the stolen images will be gone without a trace.
    One of the admin stated earlier that people are caught regularly using images that aren't their own so it wouldn't surprise me. There's just so much dishonesty in the world.
     
  132. Madeleine, you'er kidding right? Any third rate photographer (and not necessarily a wedding photographer) could have sized that lady up in 2 minites....just by reviewing her portfolio, and asking a lot of questions....you make it sound like it's a craap shoot, a gamble....no, it is not. You lay the blame on the wrong person...it was the buyer that screwed up, I know, he knows too....how come you don't?
    And if she showed someone else's work, asking key questions about those comps can EASILY flesh out the truth...what lens, what f-stop, how did you set up the flash, did you bounce, what mode was the camera in? It would've been exceedingly easy for perhaps all of us to separate the grain from the chaff here.
    Buyer beware...
     
  133. I must have missed some new development further in the thread (I read most but not all of the thread). Richard said her portfolio showed progression to "a great technical photographer with a great eye" and then of their wedding photos "not one was even close to the product she advertised." I don't live in the US so the laws may be different over there, but in New Zealand false advertising is illegal and if either a) the portfolio photos weren't taken by her, or b) they are markedly different in quality according to unbiased opinion, then it would be classed as false advertising.
    Like I said, I may have missed something in this thread. I haven't seen either her portfolio or Richard's wedding photos. Maybe all of you have seen her portfolio and the pictures are actually terrible and that's why you're sure it would have been easy to spot that she wouldn't do a good job. Maybe you're right and Richard just happened to be the exception for this ability. Was he tired and distracted perhaps? Were his psychic skills a bit below par that day? Who knows.
    I do know that he shouldn't be blamed for trusting her and not questioning her on details of how she took the shot to make sure she really took them. I mean how far is one supposed to go? Make her take a lie detector test perhaps?
    I came in here to offer my opinion. I've given it. If you don't agree that's fine, feel free to continue saying so, but I'm through reiterating my point.
    I hope you get a positive outcome, Richard. All the best,
    Madeleine
     
  134. Dan Lovell's comment is far too harsh. Paraphrasing slightly "Any third rate photographer would have known not to hire this wedding photographer so it's the buyer that screwed up."
    Most wedding couples know a lot less about the technical aspects of photography if anything at all. And most would probably be put off by too much tech talk or even any tech talk. So would Dan make it the photographer's fault if one of those of those couples had the same experience?
    Maybe Dan was trolling. As if this thread needs more agitation.
     
  135. And if she showed someone else's work, asking key questions about those comps can EASILY flesh out the truth...what lens, what f-stop, how did you set up the flash, did you bounce, what mode was the camera in? It would've been exceedingly easy for perhaps all of us to separate the grain from the chaff here.
    Buyer beware...
    What Dan said. That hired Sigma shooter with the kit lens wouldn't have a clue of an answer.

    And earlier (4 days ago) I called out the Sigma shooters... so far zilch. All these false claims of "a true artist could shoot a 2010 wedding with an iPhone, or a Walmart P&S, or a Canon D30..." are simply posturing (and nonsense). Thanks!
     
  136. Ken, there was this one:
    Martyn Fox, Feb 18, 2010; 03:17 p.m.
    I have been reading through this post and noticed a lot of critism of the camera used on the day. It may, or may not be of interest to you, to have a look at this link http://www.rytterfalk.com/?s=wedding+shoot+with+the+sd14
    I certainly wouldn't defend all cameras, but you could probably do professional work with any interchangeable lens SLR camera system. Even the new Micro 4/3 cameras are probably sufficient. Some of the better Point-and-shoots can produce good results, but somewhere in that murky water is the line between absolute garbage and the bare minimum level of quality for "professional" work. For example, I wouldn't hesitate to use the Canon G11 with some flashes on a hotshoe trigger, and that camera can fit in a large pocket.
     
  137. And earlier (4 days ago) I called out the Sigma shooters... so far zilch.(Ken Papai)​
    There's been a fair amount of commentary about alternative cameras and processes in this post. Perhaps you've missed them.
    The Sigma isn't a bad camera, actually. Maybe you're overlooking a few things. The Foveon sensor is a specific design that offers a richer dynamic range within a low signal amplification threshold. Meaning it's limited at high ISO but at lower ISO it captures an image with more information than sensors with Bayer filter arrays. The pixels are typically described as hyperspectral due to their response curve for different wavelengths of light.
    One of the interesting side effects is the Sigma can offer some advantages for digital black and white, for example, with more information available for channel conversion than non-Foveon cameras. Often this translates to smoother and richer tonality than can be provided with other digital cameras.
    Another interesting side effect is the sensor design makes it impervious to focusing aberration and chromatic aberration, since pixel depth is unusually shallow (under five micrometers). If coupled with good glass, Sigma has the potential to actually out perform other cameras on a quality basis — at least at small image sizes, where it's not losing ground to resolution.
    The final image size will of course be a lot smaller than from D700/5D alternatives, but that doesn't make it unsuitable or unusable. And, I suspect if used with by the right hands (and with supplementary light sources), it could produce excellent results. On a specification level it's not much different that the Fuji S2 Pro which was a highly capable wedding camera in its day.
    It comes back to the point about tools. Any tool is useless unless used with understanding. But, with understanding, any tool can be made to perform usefully.
     
  138. There's been a fair amount of commentary about alternative cameras and processes in this post. Perhaps you've missed them.
    Of course I have not missed anything. THIS POST and this OP is about the sub amateur performance of a hired shooter and their substandard (in said shooter's hands) Sigma cam and junk lens. I don't go around changing the subject. And pondering "What ifs..."
    I could just as easily as you've done written about the small Foveon sensor (and its obvious to me advantages and disadvantages) in the Sigma. Nothing new there to me as I follow DSLR developments more than the vast majority of SLR shooters.
     
  139. Fair enough. I shall say no more. Your response has told me all I need to know about your understanding.
     
  140. Another interesting side effect is the sensor design makes it impervious to focusing aberration and chromatic aberration, since pixel depth is unusually shallow (under five micrometers). If coupled with good glass...
    That part was new to me and is very cool.... too bad the photog was focus challenged! And job overwhelmed challenged! And backup challenged! And glass challenged! And exposure challenged!
     
  141. Ken;
    the pickle is that a pro can shoot great wedding images with a lessor camera than you love to dog; ie "Sigma came and junk lens".

    Thus you support the dogma that it is about equipment and not about the craft; ie amateur/slacker dogma where one can blame ones gear instead of oneself if one screws up. It damns understanding, experience and the craft.

    How do you handle the cases where somebody goofs up the wedding images but has all the latest cameras and the best lenses known to man? Do you then blame the camera maker?

    Both you and Richard are focused on the equipment; instead of the results. It really does not matter if the gear was 100 years old and shot with glass plates; if the images are great.

    The wedding was 5 months ago; Richard and you still cannot fess up that the user is a strong component to the image quality or lack of quality. You are what marketers dream about; it is all about the gear; and nothing about the user. This keeps the economy rolling; if Kilroy buys a better tool; he is gets better results.

    The images are the ones to judge; that is the goods one is paying the contactor for. The person is an independent contactor; NOT an employee. In the employee case one can micromanage the chaps tools; with a independent contactor; you pay the chap to unclog the toilet; shoot wedding images; cut your yard; paint a sign. One normally doesnt manage a plumber about his tools; one wants pro results.

    Any lawsuit should focus on what one was buying; ie wedding images. Leave the childish stuff about the tools at home. It is up to a contractor to know ones craft. Do not support childish excuses by blaming the tools; it is insulting and it really does not matter. Focus on what matters; ie what one was buying; ie images. Do not waste the courts time with amateur hour playing gearhead. In a way it means you are letting contractor off the hook as to delivering the goods; since alot of the focus is about tools instead of results; ie justifying the contactors goofs.

    The damages if any are poor images.

    ALL somebody has to do to burst the amateur hour worry over gear; is to show some nice wedding images shot with a camera alot more lame than the "Sigma camera with junk lens" and dogma gets tossed out of court. Here in printing I have printed nice wedding images shot with an Olympus 3030 and even a D360L 1.3 megapixel too; BUT again they were shot by somebody who understood these tools and used them well; ie a pro.
     
  142. So after 140 posts people are debating whether a wedding can be shot with a sigma SD14. Come guys if you can't shoot a wedding with an SD14 it's not the camera fault now is it. It may not be the best choice for many photographers but it is certainly capable in the right hands. I don't think anyone believes that you can't shoot a wedding with a Nikon F2 or a Leica M2 but they don't have AF, AE and film can still be pretty grainy at higher ISOs or even lower ISOs but few here would say that they are not suitable weddings and probably everyone would agree that if you can't shoot a wedding with one of those bodies then you probably shoot stay well away from wedding until you can. It's not the gear that makes a great photo.
     
  143. Tom Boston wrote: "Dan Lovell's comment is far too harsh. Paraphrasing slightly "Any third rate photographer would have known not to hire this wedding photographer so it's the buyer that screwed up."
    Most wedding couples know a lot less about the technical aspects of photography if anything at all. And most would probably be put off by too much tech talk or even any tech talk. So would Dan make it the photographer's fault if one of those of those couples had the same experience?
    Maybe Dan was trolling. As if this thread needs more agitation."​
    Tom, we're not talking about any bride and groom...we're discussing the experience of an experience shooter, the OP, the guy that misjudged the hired "pro". Perhaps I'm a troll, or you need to read better ;-)
    Of course I'm harsh....a couple's wedding memories were at steak here...
     
  144. Dan, the real issue here is that the photographer apparently delivered bad images. If the images had been anything like the sample portfolio, then the use of an SD14 or any other camera or lack of backup equipment would not have been an issue.
    Even the bad images would have been less of an issue if the photographer had not misrepresented herself about the gear. Having lied about the gear casts doubt over whether the sample portfolio are even her own images.
    You are blaming the victim. Obviously, the poster feels bad about letting himself be cheated. And sure, with his photographic experience he might have asked more questions, possibly to the great ennui of his fiancee. Richard started by asking about equipment. She cited good gear. They had a good feeling about her. She showed decent photographs. Even possibly her own. She didn't deliver.
    The photographer accepted money for the job. Accepting responsibility for the results goes with that. "The groom is a photographer and should have known" doesn't mean anything. The photographer took the money but didn't deliver. She should give the money back and take ownership of her failure.
    All the speculation over what went wrong with her equipment (stuck aperture, wrong flash settings, etc.) or whether the bad results came from operator error is interesting but irrelevant.
     
  145. mmmm....steak....
     
  146. Reminds me of my Photographer horror story. For my sons graduation we tried link removed per forum guidelines. Found a great Photographer and Really started enjoying photography again
     
  147. Tom, yes the camera she used is secondary, and not directly the issue here; agreed.
    However her choice of camera is indicative of her lack of skill. Why would anyone use a high noise camera for a wedding?
    Had she been taken to task about how she makes pictures, very quickly would it become appearant that she was inexperienced, incompetent.
    In short, this situation could've been avoided, and I feel the pain of two newlyweds, so much in love, and they have crud pictures to memorialize the day.
    Yes I blame the victim, like I blame the lung cancer patient who smoked his whole life. But with blame comes empathy, and sadness because it could've been avoided easily. Especially these days, when every other person with a DSLR is offering wedding photography services on CraigsList...so many shooters, so few true professionals.
     
  148. Sorry Dan, the cigarette analogy doesn't hold. The photographer didn't show up with a portfolio that said "Warning. This photographer may be hazardous to your wedding album memories."
    I can't imagine the photographer responding in small claims court with "But your honor, he's a photographer too and should have known I'd do a bad job."
     
  149. Well said, Tom and Kelly.
    Dan and Ken, you are missing the point entirely. The issue is not whether the photographer would have been able to answer the questions about the settings used for the photos in her portfolio. The issue is that without supernatural premonition and psychic abilities nobody would feel the need to ask the questions. People just don't go around assuming everyone is a fraudster until proven innocent.
    Perhaps if a plane had been flying overhead that day trailing a banner that read "Warning: Check everything more thoroughly than you think necessary today" then Richard may have grilled her more rigorously.
    Sheesh, why do humans SO OFTEN do this? Whenever there is a mishap they spout off that the victim should have done a whole lot of things out of the ordinary.
    To illustrate: You are driving to work when suddenly your brakes fail and you crash into the car in front of you. Imagine all your friends telling you that you should have gone round your car checking each brake pad before driving off that morning.
     
  150. I couldn't disagree MORE Madeline. My well informed opinion backs me up.
    Please recite song & verse where I place (all) the blame on the equipment. Silly! The Sigma thing was a sure sign of incompetence. Sure as the days are short in winter.
    However, in any case, the Sigma SD14 thingie AIN'T a pro wedding camera. "No one" uses that thing. Obvious reasons why when SO MANY better cameras are available -- even a lowly dReb!
    In any case, I've already stated my case rather well and succintly. No reason to rewrite what all other true believers and top thinkers have already said.
     
  151. Succinct, yes. Well stated, not so much.
    Photographer said she uses Canon gear. She showed up with a single Sigma body. OP agrees with you that was a warning sign. But at that point, it was too late to do anything about it.
     
  152. Each time I read one of your posts, Ken, you seem to be buried a little deeper.
    Your 'well informed' opinion seems absent from this thread, if you don't mind me saying. All I can conclude is that you've failed to notice (or have chosen to ignore) any and all comparative explanation about either the Sigma itself, or weddings that have been shot on lesser equipment.
    Please recite song & verse where I place (all) the blame on the equipment. Silly! The Sigma thing was a sure sign of incompetence.​
    I expect you're not even aware of the deep irony in that statement. Sigh.
     
  153. I expect you're not even aware of the deep irony in that statement. Sigh.
    I couldn't care less Neil. Sigma camera/kit lens does not ever = Pro or even a skilled, proud of their work amateur. If anyone in this forum uses an SD14 regularly then speak up.
    Like I prev. wrote:
    An SD14 is not a tool to use at a wedding gig -- esp. mated with a similar POS slow lens. Check out the EXIF data.
    But then again, some people are of the mind that a pro could even cover a wedding with a P&S camera, as if equipment doesn't matter much at all.
    The fact the photog used the Sigma camera after claiming a relatively pro Canon setup means she was clueless about equipment. No backup. Wrong flash. Wrong lens. Wrong body. Disaster. Sigma's as pro bodes are indefensible. Case closed. Anyone here want to claim the SD14 as their primary body? ;-)​
     
  154. S sorry to hear of your troubles. Any chance of a gander at the pictures?!
     

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