Refund for Photography?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by shelley_gunn, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I'm posting here as a newlywed bride, not a photographer ... I hope that's okay. I just have been lurking around and noticed that some of you have great insight into these topics - and I need a "professional photographer" point of view, if possible.
    We were married less than 3 months ago. We decided to get married in a different city from where we live ... we hired a wedding planner to book all the stuff that needed to be local there - kind of treating it as a "destination" wedding of sorts. She booked the location, ceremony officiant, flowers and photographer. Everything else was up to us - just as I wanted it, as my career deals with event planning and I know what I'm doing when coordinating schedules and getting vendors in line.

    The day went off without a hitch. Everything was as it should be - except that the wedding planner did not even come to our wedding. She just never bothered to show up. We were told she only goes to her "big" weddings. We were a little put off but set that aside - our issues started with the photography. I told the photographer that I did not like "traditional" wedding photos. We are a non-traditional couple and didn't want all the usual poses. Not too much to ask, I thought. Although this was expressed to the photographer as soon as I got to the ceremony site, he insisted on putting us into various poses for our entire session with him. I was disappointed - but I knew that he had taken at least some pictures where he was trying to catch us being natural.

    Fast forward to a month after the wedding, we received our wedding photos in the mail (after much arguing with the wedding planner who insisted that her fees did not include shipping the photos to us). We were incredibly displeased immediately. We got a cheap vinyl album with 37 pictures (our contract only called for 30 so this was a surprise) and only about 7 of those are worth anything - the rest are all terrible. People are blinking, people are making wierd faces, and then there are the posed photos I specifically asked to not have done - where we look unnatural and fake and uncomfortable. They provided a disc of photos - so I was relieved that I would then be able to pick different photos that I could reprint. Well, no - the disc had the 37 photos they printed and that's it. The album is one of those that you can buy at any WalMart or the photo department of your local grocery chain ... it has the plastic pages that you insert photos into and lines beside each plastic cover so you can write what it's a picture of.

    I emailed the photographer within two days and asked him if it would be possible to at least view the other photos, and to purchase a disc with them on it. He emailed me back right away, telling me that if there were other pictures, we would have been notified and since we weren't notified, there were no others. This was difficult for me to believe - there were no other pictures? I remember others being taken that weren't part of our 37! He also (rudely) suggested I ask our friends who attended to give me their copies. He called them our "other photographers". So I emailed again, being a little more precise. I reminded him that he sent our family and friends away so he could be alone and take pics of us - just him. Those were the pictures I was paying him for and wanted. Was there any way I could pay him for those photos? No reply. Two weeks later, I gently reminded him of the email. No reply. Two weeks later again (a month after my email) and I gently reminded him again. His one-sentence response the same day was "I am not able to help you".

    I decided to email the wedding planner. She is the one who insisted we hire this photographer (after I told her months before the wedding that I was going to book someone myself) and told us that he was giving her a great rate as a favour so we should stick with him. So in my email to her, I reminded her that she pushed this guy on me and now he was being curt and borderline rude with me when all I was doing was trying to figure out how I could get my hands on the rest of my photos.

    She emailed me back the next day and told me that they provided a photographer, they went above and beyond the contract by giving us 37 pictures instead of 30 ... and that the photographer cannot give us more photos.

    I was upset - and my husband doesn't like to see me upset - so he called the wedding planner when he got home and she started yelling at him and told him the following:
    * there are no other wedding photos - he has deleted them all because of how bad they are
    * we had no chemistry in our photos and were not working with the photographer to get good photos (although during the photography, he told us not to worry and that if he didn't get the shot, he'd keep taking pics until he got it)
    * this was not the photographer's fault but ours (all the shots were bad, she said, but that was apparently because we were unphotographable)
    * the photographer struggled to get those 37 out of the "terrible" photos we had (again, during the session, he told us that we had "at least 40 good pics")
    * we obviously have "issues" in our relationship and are uncomfortable being around each other
    * we're broke
    * we are "low-end" clients
    * she doesn't have to deal with us anymore because we are no longer her customers ("Thank GOD," she said)
    * if we call or email her any further, she will have the cops called for harrassment

    My husband was shaking when I got home because he's never been spoken to this way. He did not once raise his voice but she was screaming at him the whole time, hung up on him twice and he kept saying "What are you talking about?" when he could get a word in edge-wise.

    I have discovered today in my Google searching that she and this photographer are married. Nowhere in my many emails through planning and the post-wedding discussions did either of them ever indicate this (major) detail. It's becoming clear to me that she was likely upset that I had admonished her husband (who I thought was just a vendor at the time) when I asked for her help in dealing with him.

    So there it is - and now here I am, at a complete loss for what to do. I would like nothing more than to forget I ever had to deal with this woman and her photographer husband. But I feel like I deserve some kind of refund or compensation for the way I'm being treated. Am I wrong?

    I need some kind of help, I think. I am at the point now where I need to redo my wedding photos - I cannot look back fondly on my wedding day through my pictures and I certainly cannot pass these crappy pictures onto future generations in our family. Technically, they met the terms of the incredibly vague contract we had with them - but where is the customer service? Can any of you give me advice on how to approach this with the planner / photographer? Opinions? A virtual shoulder to cry on?
    Thanks so much in advance ...
  2. Wow! Wish I could help, this sounds awful. And only 37 photos? Even for my shortest 1 hour weddings I usually give the couple at least 150. How long was he there shooting?
  3. Wow. That so-called wedding planner may be confusing the word "customer" with the word "victim."

    You don't mention what you paid, at least for the photographic part of the services, so it's a little harder to get a sense of just where the Outrage-O-Meter should be pointing, and how/whether to proceed.
  4. Shelly -
    Get out your contract with both the planner and the photographer... If they are one and the same - great.. if not, get both out. Read them very carefully...look for limits on liability and what they said they would deliver.
    Send them both a certified letter stating your case for a refund - either full or partial. State in the letter that you are seeking a refund for x amount. Get and keep all e-mails from them both. Don't delete or destory anything they have sent you.
    Next - find out the rules for small claims court in their state (assuming it's different then your state).
    Finally if they do not respond - decide if it's worth it to pursue in small claims court.
    Personally - I have never heard of such unprofessional and borderline unethical behavior. At a minimum - you should have been informed of the relationship between the two of them and been able to see samples of his work before you booked him.
  5. Do you have a copy of your contract? Maybe you could post it up here. They sound like total scam artists! What a bummer! :( :(
    Where do you live? Maybe you could contact a photographer in the area to do a bride and groom session with you and your new husband? You could get all dressed up again and do some fun, casual shots. I know it's not the same as wedding day photos, but at least you'd have something to keep and look back on.
    Hope it all gets worked out for you!
  6. [[so it's a little harder to get a sense of just where the Outrage-O-Meter should be pointing]]
    Given the treatment, the results, and pretty much everything else mentioned here, if they paid anything over $10 the meter should be pegged.
  7. Good advice from David!
  8. My apologies for not including those details - I wanted to try to keep it brief.
    The cost thing is hard to break down - it was a "package" for the wedding planner that included photography. I can tell you from looking through old emails with her that photography was considered an "add-on" to her basic package and started at $250. I'm going to go with that.
    The photographer was there for 2 hours. We were roughly 30 minutes late getting started (husband didn't follow my timeline!) so he had 90 minutes of shooting before we hopped in the limo to head to dinner. I estimate that he probably took 150-200 pictures because he was constantly snapping in our wedding video!
    The contract with the wedding planner was for them to provide a photographer and to give us an album with 30 pictures as well as a disc with images. By definition, they met the terms of their contract ... but they could have given us 30 pictures of our feet and met the contract so where does the customer satisfaction come in?
    One more minor detail (and this raises the Outrage-O-Meter in my opinion, in light of finding out now that these two are married) - the planner called me while I was on my way to the location where I was getting dressed for the ceremony - and told me that I was expected to tip the photographer as well. So he also was tipped for this service in addition to the money they made on "wedding planning" and "photography" with their package.
  9. Wow, I'm speechless. First of all: Congratulations on your marriage and please don't take anything this "wedding planner" said to your husband to heart. I'm so sorry that this happened to you guys. If she booked the photographer, then you don't have any legal remedies against him but rather against her since he has a contract with her and not with you directly.
    There's no excuse for her behaviour, lack of manners, lack of respect and lack of professionalism. Absolutely none. The only thing I can think of that the photographer is a personal friend of hers. [added: I just read that they're married so that explains it, she's sticking up for him now and pushed him onto you because he's most likely working for free) The "I've deleted the rest of the files" is a cheap excuse. Since you offered to buy additional files from him, I'm sure he would have gladly sold them to you if they had been any good. Since even money can't buy more files, I'm assuming they are even more terrible than what you've seen so far and he simply doesn't want to release anything that would make him look any worse. This then leads me to believe that he isn't a professional wedding photographer. Have you been able to locate his website, his information on PPA (if you're in the USA) or anything that would indicate that he is anything but a husband helping her cheat her clients?
    Since I'm no legal expert and it sounds like they're running some sort of scam, I would read through your vague contract carefully, see what was agreed upon, consult an attorney, report her to the BBB, review her wherever she is listed and see if you can get a refund. From what I hear, Small Claims Courts should be sympathetic to this one and the filing fee would be worth it to me.
    If you're anywhere near Vermont, I'd be more than happy to volunteer my services as a photographer so you can have photos to pass on to future generations that actually meet/exceed your expectations.
  10. First off, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles. That sounds flat-out insane. What a story.
    However, just as an ADMIN note, please do not use this forum to "out" the photographer or planner by name here. While we are happy to advise you and give support over the issue, is not a wedding provider review site and has no interest getting in the middle of that sort of thing.
  11. Here is the one-liner from the outline of services she was including with the package:
    § Photography, 30 - digital photos, all 4 x 6 photos in a presentation album, unmarked CD with images (ceremony and formal photos)
    And here is the contract:
    "It is the intention of both wedding planner and the client to work together on the planning of the event. The consultant's role is that initially of an advisor. The client will make the actual selections and the consultant will implement those selections.
    Any cost estimate is designed to give you a starting point in the financial planning of your wedding. The estimated cost for each item is derived from either actual quotes from the vendor, consultant's professional experience or both.
    All vendors accepted by the client shall be liable for their own business practices. The consultant will do everything reasonable to assure that any vendor referred and accepted by the client is reputable and reliable. If a specific vendor cannot perform, the consultant under this agreement will make an effort to find a satisfactory substitute as directed by the client or in the consultant's best judgment.
    The Client, by signing this agreement agrees to hold harmless the consultant for any error, non-performance, or change made by a vendor. In event of litigation regarding this agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees.
    The consultant has explained all services, fees and policies. This contract may be cancelled in writing for any reason. If cancellation occurs 30 days or less before the wedding, refunds are limited to any funds in excess of non-refundable deposits and out of pocket expenses. Should the event cancel within two weeks (14 days) prior to the scheduled date, 100% of the package price will be charged."
    Vague, yes?
  12. You've been given some great advice by David Haas and I am glad to see you've already pulled out the contract and read it.
    Everything that you've related to us that she's said sounds like excuses and not reasons (big difference). Small claims court may be your best option - you won't get more pictures but you should be able to recover your money. In many states, you can recover the filing costs for a small claims suit if you win.
    Good luck, congratulations on the marriage, and on behalf of real professional wedding photographers, my sincere apologies that this happened to you!
    May I ask where the wedding was and where you got married?
  13. Shelly,
    I am really sorry to hear this. I really don't understand the "30" photos limit. Never heard of such a thing. Like Eliza Beth, I don't think I've ever delivered fewer than 150+.
    Had you seen examples of the photographer's work before you agreed to use him? Did you have a preliminary meeting with him before the wedding, where you talked about what you wanted? Sounds from your account like the answer to both questions is no. I think there is some burden on the bride to check out the photographer and be confident that he's talented and/or experienced enough to do the job you expect him to do - something he demonstrates by showing that he's done it before. If you didn't vet the guy, I'm afraid your current position is somewhat weaker than I would wish. If you did vet the guy and what he gave you matches pretty much what you saw, then it doesn't matter too much whether you asked him for something different.
    I'm afraid that the photographer doesn't sound like he's experienced or, frankly, minimally competent. I suspect that you accepted the recommendation of the wedding planner and that was that. I don't mean to beat up on you! I understand the situation and might have done the same thing myself, indeed, I have done similar things. I too tend to be a trusting person. But I've gotten burned a couple times, too.
    Like Matt Laur, I'm thinking the amount you paid might make a difference to what you do now. A photographer working for FREE should have done a much better job than this. But if you paid $100, well, you might not want to spend as much trouble trying to get it back as you would if you paid $1200.
    David Haas's advice about how to pursue them legally seems exactly right.
    You may have another remedy: build a web site telling the story of your experience with these guys and (of course) naming names. When we moved to Dallas from Houston six years ago, we hired a moving company that turned out to be just about as competent as your photographer. I picked them because their quote was way lower than the quotes from the reputable movers I talked to. (Yes, that should have been a big red flag to me.) Dealing with the movers we hired was, in a word, a nightmare - and it ended up costing more than twice what we had quoted. I built a web site telling our story in detail, as dispassionately as I could, and with scrupulous honesty. Within a day or two, I started getting email from other folks who had similar experiences with this outfit. And a week later, I got a call from a representative of the "company". Apparently the site had come to their attention and they realized they were losing business because of it. They sent me a refund for $1500 (about half of what I had paid them) and after the check cleared, I took down the site.
    I don't RECOMMEND that course of action. I'm not completely sure that it's a safe thing to do, personally or legally. My wife is an attorney and she okayed what I did. And others have used the Web in the same way. I'm not sure but I think this may be part of the point of Anyway, you'll have to decide for yourself.
    Good luck.
  14. "However, just as an ADMIN note, please do not use this forum to "out" the photographer or planner by name here. While we are happy to advise you and give support over the issue, is not a wedding provider review site and has no interest getting in the middle of that sort of thing."

    Thanks, Josh - there is no way I'd out them on here - as much as I'd like to shout their names from the rooftops to any and all getting married in their area, I know better than that. :)
    And thanks to Katrin for the offer - we live in Canada and although we'd love a trip to Vermont, I'm sure I can't justify the trip to my husband. :D
    Rob - we live in a small city outside of Toronto and got married in Niagara Falls.
  15. "Had you seen examples of the photographer's work before you agreed to use him? Did you have a preliminary meeting with him before the wedding, where you talked about what you wanted? Sounds from your account like the answer to both questions is no. I think there is some burden on the bride to check out the photographer and be confident that he's talented and/or experienced enough to do the job you expect him to do - something he demonstrates by showing that he's done it before. If you didn't vet the guy, I'm afraid your current position is somewhat weaker than I would wish. If you did vet the guy and what he gave you matches pretty much what you saw, then it doesn't matter too much whether you asked him for something different."

    Thanks Will for all your comments. I'm sorry to hear about your move! :)
    To your comment that I copied above, yes - the answer is no. We went on faith with the planner that she knew the best vendors having been in this business in that area for so many years - and she did not disclose any of our vendors before the wedding day at all. Red flag? Absolutely! But I suppose hindsight is 20/20. :(
  16. All vendors accepted by the client shall be liable for their own business practices.​
    Not that I am a lawyer, but that line in your contract sounds very dubious to me. Shelley - the important thing to know in your own mind is what outcome you now want to achieve, and what lengths you're prepared to go to to get it. You may have a legal remedy if the pictures are sub-par (you *certainly* would here in the UK where such a 'contract' would be torn to shreds by a court) if you're prepared to pursue it. My girlfriend is a Toronto-based lawyer, and I will ask her if she has a short suggestion for what you might do next.
  17. Shelley:
    I'm not sure pursuing this will be worth your time.
    From the sounds of it, the photographer has fulfilled his contract. I think you'd go through a lot of potential headaches just to get $250 back, at most. And since you have 37 pictures when the contract called for 30, I'm not sure what else a court would award you.
    Sounds like neither the photographer nor the wedding planner should be dealing with people. That's about the nicest way I know of summing it up. :) I'm sorry you had to go through this mess and have your wedding memories tarnished.
    As difficult as it would be, I'd try to forget about it and move on. I find myself happier if I'm spending my energy on positive items rather than dwelling on something that is unlikely to be changed and requires lots of negative emotions. Take what you can learn from it, and move on.
  18. I like the idea of re-staging photos. It happens in cases of illness, bad weather, etc.
    I got a job once where I had to re-do/undo another photographer's mess. Always go with your instincts, i.e. you thought inside you should hire your own. It might be possible to assist you with photoshopping what you have to make them better, but the attitudes involved are inexcusable. If they don't want $250 clients, they shouldn't offer that price. 37 photos? I take that in a few minutes!
  19. Well the best advice I can give you is to look forward and try to forget about what happened. Upload the pictures you have to this site and we'll try to edit and fix them. Then I suggest hiring a Professional photographer to do a "rock the dress" photoshoot and get amazing photos then! It's hard I know to forgive and move on, but the only alternative is to fight the photographer but that's not going to get you more pictures :(
  20. It's too bad you got such a bad experience on what should have been a great time. David has some good advise but you have to determine if it will be worth your time (or you can just go after them in principle.)
    While the planner is clearly terrible, I would say the problem really lies with the photographer. Although if the contract is with the planner it gets a lot more messy as you would have to go after them (and you don't know if they took some money off the top and gave the photographer less).
    In Ontario you can file a small claims suit against them. I don't know if the cost/time will be worth it if you if you are just looking for reimbursement. It costs $70 to file and then you have to go through the trouble to serve and go through proceedings. You would also need to file it in the Niagra area since that's where the business was performed so you would have to account that into if it's worth pursuing. Since they completed the contract (what's in writing) it would be doubtful they would give you back the full $250 and then it's all up to the judge. He doesn't sound like a professional though. The contract would have to be looked over closely to see the wording, etc... I would be happy to look it over for you - I am not a lawyer but since my contracts are structured and targeted towards those in the Toronto/Ontario area I may be able to give you an idea if it would be worth your while.
    Your best bet is to find a photographer you like in the Toronto and surrounding area and dress up again and do a fun and relaxed session. It's just like a bridal session except you are doing it after.
    Best of luck,
  21. Shelley, following up on what I said before; I spoke to my other half who is a Toronto lawyer, and based on my description of what you've said (so errors are likely to be from my misrepresenting you to her, and misunderstanding what she said):
    If your contract is with the planner, and the agreement included photographs, you would have to proceed against the planner, not withstanding her disclaimer. If you could demonstrate to the court that the photographs were below a reasonable quality (the onus to do that would be on you) bearing in mind the price you paid, then you would have a good chance of getting either a full or partial refund of the photography.
    You might also have a valid claim of negligence against the planner for recomending someone whom she knew (or should have known) was not competent to fufill the role. You would have to demonstrate that to be the case - are there complaints online from other brides, perhaps? I would be surprised if this was the first such situation.
    The small claims court procedure would be your ultimate destination, but you should start with a letter setting out your case, and asking for whatever you think is reasonable. It's up to you, obviously, how much grief you want to give yourself, given the potential reward.
  22. Thanks for posting this. I hope other future brides see more of this. While I'm very sorry this happened I also have to say you kind of get what you pay for. $250 should not set very high expectations but even those were not met.
    Someone may have already mentioned this but there's just too much for me to read it all tonight. You mentioned he was contantly snapping away in the VIDEO. This may be the key to a solution. Try to contact the Videographer directly and see if you can arrange for him/her to provide stome nice still images from the video. Or, bring your video to a lab and see what they can gleen from it.
    Good luck.
  23. Hi Shelley!
    I'm usually more of a lurker, but I just had to comment! I'm in the GTA and work throughout Ontario, and my partner and I would love to offer you a free re-shoot .. a few hours and some fun locations .. I hate seeing such horrible experiences! Let me know if you're interested.
    Otherwise, out of curiousity, does this "planner" work only in Niagara Falls?
    Best of luck!
  24. Ok... I'm a newlywed myself, and we were married in a similar location to you; a popular place for "local" destination weddings. In my research, I was floored by what passed off as professional photography. It seemed like everybody and their brother who had camera was a professional. It was down-right scary. I was looking for a package deal, like you, because it is very overwhelming planning a wedding, no less planning a wedding away from where you live. I was lucky enough that a photographer friend volunteered to attend the wedding and shoot, so I luckily avoided the headache of that end. But to those who are astonished by the quality of, and amount of, photographers for this sort of thing, simply google "smokey mountain wedding" or "niagra falls wedding" or "las vegas wedding" to get an idea of the absolute cr*p (sorry, there is no other way to say it) that is out there. It really is astonishing. Sad, yes, and your jaw will drop.
    First, the whole "30 picture combo" is common on these sorts of thing. I wish you had gone with a real pro (because imagine the possibilities of shooting something so breathtaking- and in a wedding dress at that!!), but that aside (because you did agree to it, in the end), you should have legal standing at this point. I would first off consult legal counsel. I don't think anyone here is saying "yes, go sue a pro because you're greedy" ... not at all.. I think what we're all saying is that we're tired of a pal with a camera claiming to produce when they can't. Mistakes happen, granted, but 100 pictures producing 37 is outrageous. If I were in your shoes, I would be pissed. Very pissed.
    Consult an attorney, document every correspondence (even those prior to the wedding, even if you have to be vague as to the date of the communication) and proceed. You need to look over you contract, and have it, along with all addresses and contact numbers in writing, before you proceed, but I think you should push this. I wouldn't push for only the amount paid, but I would push for a re-stage and associated costs. There has to be a limit to this type of business, and only the couple who paid for the services has a legal right to bring it up to the courts. We, as professional photographers, can't say "yeah, the dude sucks and their business practices are questionable," but you can. My main complaint with the contract is
    hold harmless the consultant for any error, non-performance,​
    and I think you should sit down and talk with someone knowledgeable in the field (of law, that is, but it wouldn't hurt to have a pro photographer around) and address this issue.
    In short, I was just astonished at the quality of work that was passed off as being professional in these "mini-destinations" that it really floored me. In fact, my husband and I have talked about moving there just to be competition!
    But my ranting and sympathizing cut short, you do have a legal right to stand up to these people and I hope you do.
  25. when all else fails we can whip the horse's eyes and make them sleep and cry......The Doors, Soft Parade
    Jim Morrison was an incredible observer of the human spirit. The above verse from the song The Soft Parade. has always been a mystery. However, taken in the whole concept of human experience i think it applies directly to your experience. Those people need to sleep and cry. Take that as you will.....but I know what I'd do. I'd spend my last dime, making sure they understood what whipping the horses eyes meant.
    but.............that's me. and I'm not implying anything illegal here...........just, what goes around, comes around.............and that can be helped along tremendously sometimes.
    but first...............yeah, talk to a lawyer. sometimes they are more devious than could be expected
  26. Wow - I'm completely overwhelmed with the responses to my post. Thank you to each and every one of you who have offered your opinions. They are exactly what I was looking for - both sides of the coin! :)

    A special thank you to the people who have offered to do re-shoots for us ... I did not post here to try to get "sympathy wedding pics" ... (smile)!! :) :)

    I can accept the "you get what you pay for" stance. I was willing to go above and beyond for the wedding photography. I knew before my wedding that the photography was one of the most important aspects of the day and I had emailed the wedding planner to tell her that I was going to find my own photographer. At many points along the planning (including the photography), she convinced me (or tried to convince me) to go with a less expensive option. A couple of things she did not succeed but the photography, she unfortunately did. I knew going into it that I was only going to get 30 pictures - I was just hoping that I would either get to pick which 30 I would get or that he would primarily give us the ones that only he was there to take.

    Anyway, I'm reading each of these posts thoroughly and reading them to my hubby as well so that we can decide together what we'd like to do. Again, thank you so much to everyone - you are all so wonderful, helpful and knowledgeable! :D
  27. I'm with Eric Merrill [​IMG], Sep 15, 2009; 06:29 p.m. and Thomas Sullivan [​IMG], Sep 15, 2009; 10:05 p.m. on this one. Sorry for your troubles but it sounds like the photographer delivered what you agreed to buy. Too bad the coordination was so bad and your expectations weren't understood, but maybe it would be best to just move on. If you want photos you might want to pay someone to re-enact, but getting your money back seems like a real long shot. Have a happy life!
  28. Shelly - Congratulations on you wedding - I am so sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with a planner and photographer. I think that you should seek a lawyer because there is an ethical issue here IMHO - and that is - as a "professional" he should deliever professional quality photos to you in a professional manner. The challenging thing is that in the day of digital photography anyone can be a photographer with no training and get paid to do it. We have seen brides on this forum before disappointed in their photograhs because of her lack of knowledge in how to hire a professional. I would highly recommend that when you take your first vacation together - have a pro, that you hire, take your photos - or you could get someone to do that for you now.
  29. I never have had luck with wedding planners. Most of them don't have a clue to whats going on. Their experience is often based on there own wedding; so after one wedding they are now pro's.

    There are good planners out there that do amazing jobs. One lady at the Beverly Hills Hotel has been there for years and is the best I've ever worked with. Also, because of Vegas having so many weddings,
    are worth their weight in coordinators in gold.

    Photographers with experience should also advertise themselves as planners, because we always know the best DJ's, video people, florists, cake people, the works.

    How to solve this? If it were me I'd file with the BBB, file a lawsuit against the plannermand the photographer, settle for a lump sum consisting of having your photos retaken by a photographer of your choice. The planner and the photographer will have to argue their case with the courts or the BBB and solve your dilemma. The results won't bring back lost images, but you will get quality treasured photo's from cring professional photographer.
  30. The appropriate phrase is ALWAYS "buyer beware".
  31. Here's a thought: you paid for a package, and your contract was with the planner, not the photographer. You've estimated that the photography portion was $250, but I think you might have an argument that the abysmal (and underhanded) performance of the planner on the photography portion substantially eliminated the value of all the services she performed, entitling you to a full, or substantially full refund. Alternatively, you could argue that the photography was certainly worth more to you than $250, and that's why you were willing to pay whatever the whole package cost (there's no reason you should be bound by the arbitrary value she put on the photography in arriving at her package rate). You made plain to her that photography was an important part of the deal, and went so far as to try to hire your own photographer, only to have her talk you out of it. Consider as an analogy if she had failed to provide an officiant, or if she had provided one who could not legally perform the marriage. Then it wouldn't matter how good the flowers, cake, photos, and so forth were; her services were worse than worthless. You probably couldn't push the bad-photographer argument that far, but I see no reason why the lousy photographic services (by her alter-ego husband) shouldn't be considered as having an impact well in excess of their nominal cost -- and thus give you a bit of leverage in extracting a settlement. (Of course, you still have a bit of weakness in your position: her counter argument would be that the photography could not have really been all that important to you if you agreed to a 30-picture arrangement. (Your counter to that, though would be that you thought you were going to get 30 good pictures; the best of the best, rather than a few hundred mostly so-so ones.)
    Good luck.
  32. 37 is a fine number. I used to give 20.
    But I am now reminded why I got out of doing weddings. Not because of clients, but because of unprofessional photographers giving us all a bad name.
  33. I'm not a lawyer, but the parts were she actively dissuaded you from getting another photographer, and the part where she failed to mention her photographer was her own husband sounds like a serious conflict of interests. I have no doubt any jury will see this as well.
    As said before: make sure you know what your ultimate goal is: Do you want better pictures, and leave this all behind you, or do you want your money back and the guilty parties crucified? In the first case, go with any of the offers from real photographers here, in the second case, contact a lawyer and investigate your options.
    And always remember: The marriage is more important than the wedding. You still have each other.
  34. I think you will find that going to small claims court isn't worth the time and trouble since they are not local to you.
    You can post a review of the planner and photographer on The Knot and Wedding Wire. I would encourage you to do the reviews to help save other brides the grief you've experienced.
    Also there is a professional association for wedding planners, but I suspect she isn't a member based on her performance.
    At best this is a cautionary tale for brides that you should be provided a contract that spells out in detail the services and products being delivered by the planner and vendors.
    Regarding the style of photographs (others may disagree) but with only 30 photos in the package it's going to be traditional (not necessarily cheesy) posed pictures as even a PJ photographer needs a base to work from as many people will insist they want PJ and come back and ask where "so and so image is". It's insurance for a photographer to keep family members happy. PJ style and a small fixed number of photos are sort of mutually exclusive.
    Regarding the album, with the allocation of a budget of $250.00 that doesn't even cover the cost of a professional album let alone photography. I would suggest scanning your photos and perhaps creating your own album from someone like "My Book" etc.
    I would also not store the pictures in the "Walmart" style album as I'm sure it's not archival quality and will damage your pictures over time.
    Just treasure the neurochromes that you have, maybe the two of you can write a story about your wedding day to help you remember what's important to the two of you.
  35. Shelley,
    I'm very sorry to hear this. What you really should of done was find a different wedding planner when it became apparent that you two had different opinions. But that was then and this is now. I hate to say it, but I think that your natural desire to get justice for the wrong done to you may be getting the best of you. I would feel the same way.
    You need to start weighing your options. Do you pursue this matter in small claims court and spend the money and time to possibly get only $250 back? You could end up spending close $250 to do that between the associated fees and time required. You also risk the possibility of not succeeding; the judge saying that though you don't like the photos, they fullfill the contract and that it could be consider partially your fault for not insisting on seeing sample photos from the photographer before and being able to claim that your delivered items are not representative of the level of work advertised.
    Yes, your wedding day has passed and can not be directly recaptured. Instead, do you spend the money you would of spent on court and spend it on getting some pictures that you like?
    You have to weigh the options and decide.
  36. could you post some of the images that are available to you? One thing I have learned in life, there are always two sides to every story
  37. Shelley,

    So sorry to hear about your situation. I'm a wedding photographer located north of Toronto. If you're interested in somewhat recreating your day with some quality photography, I'd be happy to help.

    Marilyn Berrys
  38. Wow, sorry to hear this, the wedding planner was scalping off everything, including the photographer. So it was her husband, probably not even a experienced photographer, 37 photos ? My understanding is the contract was for 30 photos ? Unfortunately he fufilled his part of the contract. Sadly, you got took by someone who makes the rest of us look bad,,,
  39. Howdy!
    What do you mean by "non-traditional"?
    Everybody knows what "traditional" means. But it's hard to define the negative of that. Unless you presented the photographer with images that show what your preferences were, then he had to read your mind, and it must have been really difficult for him.
    Another big problem here is that you paid for a traditional portrait session, so you got a traditional portrait photographer. What you probably really wanted was a photojournalist, who could capture spontaneous moments throughout the wedding. But that service does not come cheap.
    Now I have worked with couples who had ZERO chemistry during the posed portraits and formals, but who SHINED during the rest of the reception. Even though the formals were a bust, the couple walked away happy because of all the pictures caught in the moment.
    If you ever decide to renew your vows (I have, and I think everyone should) then I would advise you to do your own shopping for a photographer, and get one that will cover the whole event in a photojournalism style.
  40. the part where she failed to mention her photographer was her own husband sounds like a serious conflict of interests
    Unfortunately, nepotism occurs in most businesses around the world, and even though it stinks, she was under no legal obligation to tell you he was her husband. I don't in any way think what she did was right, and it sounds like they were really unprofessional, but on the flip side, when you were paying $250 for photography, when even amateurs are charging $500 - $1000, I'm not surprised that all they delivered was 30 images (well 37 actually).
    Again, I'm not saying what they did, or how they did it was right, but it's pretty much you get what you pay for, and the consumer needs to be prudent and ask the right questions.
    Shelley, I'm sorry that you didn't get what you wanted, but you do have something, and it sounds like you have video, so that should help at least a little :) I would take Marilyn up on her offer, or find someone local who can do some nice bridal and couple pictures for you guys.
    Good luck in your marriage, but I wouldn't pursue this, the most you will get back is $250 and it's unlikely you would even get that, sorry :(
  41. Sure, there's things you could have done as a consumer to make a better selection, but as all professionals, they have a professional responsibility, and no contract can get them out of that. Don't think that since you signed something absolving them of responsibility that they don't have any.
    Part of my day job is to write contracts for engineering work. I could put in a contract something that says "if I screw up and this bridge falls down, you can't sue me, because you signed this form". It could be witnessed and notorized, but if that bridge falls down, guess who's responsible. The same theory applies to wedding photography.
    At a minimum, even if you don't expect to recoup much from them, going after them legally may at least prevent them from preying on some other unsuspecting couple.
  42. This distressing situation very much underlines the fact that we can't always take what we're told at face value. It's vital that anybody hiring a vendor, any vendor, has access to examples of their work and their products upon which to make an informed decision. For example, I would not hire caterers if I had not seen their food, no matter how small my party. A stranger's recommendation is not good enough, especially when they are selling something.
    It would be helpful if the OP could post some examples of the pictures.
  43. Shelley,
    A few thoughts come to mind...
    One is that every time you look at these photos you're going to be reminded of what happened on what should have been one of your happiest days. With that in mind I would make the following humble suggestions:
    1- Trash the photos...don't give the creep the chance to hurt you any more by looking at his cheesy work.
    2- Forget the scummers...the world will always have folks like these...but I believe people do eventually get what they deserve. Making retribution your goal will just prolong the memories and agony.
    3- You have had at least one offer to take new photos...restage or even replan your photo scenario and make memories you want to keep.
    4- Have a mojito or two... (that always works for my wife and I whenever there is a dispute that needs settling!) :)
    Good luck...
  44. I had the pleasure of photographing my daughters wedding & rehersal last spring & in total shot close to 700 photos,you clearly got totally ripped off!
  45. Really sorry you've been through this Shelley.
    To me the planner has failed in her performance of her contract with the following clause that you quoted:
    "The consultant will do everything reasonable to assure that any vendor referred and accepted by the client is reputable and reliable."
    I can only comment on English law, but it seems clear that, whilst the other areas are very subjective and difficult to quantfy, this is one area where she has legally failed.
  46. I keep hearing hundreds of photographs, we can all do that but do we really want to take the time to prepare those photographs properly for $250? I shoot in raw that means every single photograph would require some attention from me, I want to give every one my attention, many would be similiar images. I like to give people 8x12 at 300 dpi, depending on the camera it may require some additional work. Not every one of those hundreds of photos are ones that we would want to present, our fault, their fault, any ones fault, eyes closed, funny face, etc.
  47. If you don't win in court, you can always tell the whole world about your experiences with this wedding planner. The planner may be willing to pay a little back then...
  48. Shelly, I have two apologies for you.
    But first, congratulations on your wedding. Hopefully, it will bring you as much happiness as it did me (Chris and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary in November).
    Now, my apologies as a member of the photographic community for the actions of one of us (although I don't really want to claim your photographer as a member of my community, he unfortunately is one).
    And my apologies, in advance, for diverting your thread with my next post...
  49. I would then see if you have any photos that a guest took that day. A lot can be done with post processing to make some of the shots look good assuming they have a decent file to start with and at the very least give you some good memories.
  50. A few thoughts. First, if your contract was with the planner, then your fight if any is with her since the photographer was only a subcontractor. But since she and he are married that may be a moot point. Secondly, both the contract and the price should have told you something. "30 - digital photos, all 4 x 6 photos in a presentation album, unmarked CD with images (ceremony and formal photos)" doesn't begin to approach what any competent wedding photographer would consider the deliverables from a wedding. Wedding photographers typically deliver a few hundred to several hundred proofs (as prints or electronically) to choose from, and an album is at mininum a couple of dozen 8x10s in the hold days and often scores of images today. And no competent self-respecting wedding photographer would get out of bed for $250. you certainly did not get competent photography but it sounds like you got what you paid for. Your best bet at this point is to find a photographer you like -- deal with him/her yourself, not through a third party -- and restage photos in your gown and tux. By nature they will be posed and formal, but that doesn't mean they have to look stiff and fake. I know you're "non traditoinal" but tradition is what weddings are all about. Good luck.
  51. Shelley,
    You have clearly been let down by any standards, and the pro photographers here are obviously very sympathetic, as well as disgusted by the discredit brought upon their profession by this sort of behaviour.
    I think that I would, now, try to take the pragmatic approach suggested by Jack Aldridge, a few posts up^^^^. You say yourself that the day went without a hitch, so it would be wrong to keep "beating yourself up" that you could have done any more to prevent this hitch with the photos.
    The one good thing is that everything can still be largely put right by another photo-session with a competent professional who is willing to make the effort to understand what you need, and the time and skill to put this into effect. And you'll then have a perfect and enviable set of photos to keep and pass on to your friends and family.
    Oh, and not forgetting congratulations and good luck for the future.
  52. Thomas
    Jim Morrison was an incredible observer of the human spirit. The above verse from the song The Soft Parade. has always been a mystery.​
    Permit me to solve your mystery. That line is actually something he picked up from Dostoevsky. Jim Morrison was incredibly well read. You'll find paraphrases of Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Huxley, and quite a few others in his works. There's a list of his favorite books in a bio I have on him. Crime and Punishment is in the top ten. Here's the horse episode from Crime and Punishment . Section 1, chapter 5, translated by Constance Garnett.
    He ran beside the mare, ran in front of her, saw her being whipped across the eyes, right in the eyes! He was crying, he felt choking, his tears were streaming. One of the men gave him a cut with the whip across the face, he did not feel it. Wringing his hands and screaming, he rushed up to the grey-headed old man with the grey beard, who was shaking his head in disapproval. One woman seized him by the hand and would have taken him away, but he tore himself from her and ran back to the mare. She was almost at the last gasp, but began kicking once more.​
  53. First, I'd like to commend you on your measured, friendly, tactful, fair, and even-keeled presentation of what must, of course, be a huge bother for you, still. You didn't swear, you kept your composure, and kept your dignity, which is more than what mister and misses vendor have apparently done so far.
    I agree with Jack a few posts above. In fact something I've seen done if you really have your heart in it-- ( and this is along the lines of trashing the photos)-- get ready--
    Send the whole shebang back to her-- seriously- the book, all the photos, the plastic, so on, and tell her in a dry put polite fasion--
    Since she decided to rip you off, and there's no going back to redo it, you thought that instead of ripping you off 80%, why not do it fully, and rip you off 100%-- so here's the book back and everything you sent me.
    And Jack goes on to say- redo the pictures, take a trip, do the whole think again-- but you have to do this in a Zen kind of way-- totally clean yourself from the photos, and redo it in a way that you'll want to cherish. Do it willingly, not out of anger or spite, not out of regret. Do it like a second honeymoon or wedding (the restaging, reshoot). If you can't do it exactly this way, then don't take this approach. Get a kid from a Niagara area university to shoot you. Or see below.
    Here, you can optionally tell her that you're forced to reshoot and restage, and that expect her for refund the 250$ plus a reasonable expense for your forced travel. She can either send you 350-450 bucks or so, or expect to see you in court. You can optionally sue for replacement photo and opportunity cost to get your reshoot by someone else paid for.
    I think the 350-450 will be a steal for her.
  54. The fortunate side of things is that not everyone out there is anything like these people. As a vendor we have never allowed others to book us on behalf of their client since we prefer to have contact with the clients directly. It just seems to work out better that way. I am certain you will have some great photos once you do your session with someone else.
  55. Two things: The wedding day can never be simulated later. I would go with seeing what other guests have and try to get ten good images from everything available.
    Suing people can be risky and expensive. Most people in business have professional indemnity insurance, so you would end up suing a large insurance company. They tend not to lose. It can also be a hollow victory as what you want are good wedding photos, right?
    I'm so pleased to tell everyone that "wedding planners" are not the done thing here. Usually the couple, the couple's parents and the management of the reception venue do all that stuff, and the latter also know who the good photographers are as they are probably doing one wedding a week.
    But all the best. These things can sour what should have been your biggest day. At mine, my parents refused to come because there was a disagreement over the guest list. I was quite young and an only child. It stained the whole thing. I was numb for weeks after and didn't speak to them for months. I'm sure it contributed to our breakup later on. Don't let something like that happen.
  56. jtk


    Long ago friends, one a very successful painter and the other a teaching graduate of RIT under Minor White, had one photo to show from their wedding. It was more than enough: A simply framed 5X7 B&W of the couple with Suzuki Roshi, the priest who married them.
    Different strokes.
  57. Wow! What an awful experience. I am so sorry...the only thing I can say is that I cannot believe the way she treated you. Good luck!
  58. Yes, you got screwed. I think the best option is to mail a letter asking for a refund of whatever amount you feel is fair and explain that you want the refund because the photographer the planner provided was unacceptable. Explain you will take legal action if you do not receive the refund by a specific date (give them about two weeks). If you do not get it, go ahead and file a smalls claims action. You may be able to do this by phone or by mail. You may get the refund when they receive the notice from the court, just to avoid a trip to court. If not, you will either have to go to court or forfeit your filing fee and forgot it if it is too far. If you go I think a judge would certainly see that you were treated unfairly and might give you your judgment.
  59. In addition to contacting the BBB, I would leave them a negative review on every online listing of their company.
    google, etc.
  60. Major "Conflict of Interest" here.
    Wedding planner should have mention to you the photographer was her husband. Not telling what her relationship was with the other vendors she used.
  61. Shelly,
    firstly I am so sorry you have had this happen. I just reshot a coulpe who had a similar experience to yours. Not the photog. husband being married to the planner, but to the brides sister.
    Anyhow, I would suggest getting (ASAP) setup to reshoot some of the two of you. Try to get a time at the venue that will be similar lighting/timing (even on a weekday).
    As for the current state of affairs; If you contract is fulfilled, you have little to no recourse legally (I am not an attorney) IMO. What you can do is complain to the BBB and other willing listeners about their deceptive treatment and subsequent lack of help/service. That will help prevent something similar happening for another couple. It will also affect their ability to do business. Next, contact all your other vendors and let them know how you are being treated, and what your experience is. This will help reputable vendors aviod dealing with them. Alas, I don't believe it will benefit you to take legal action against the photog. but you may have a case with the planner as she deceived you into hiring her husband.
    Who are these people?
  62. Sorry to hear about this. But it would be nice to hear the other side of the story too. Just for perspective.
  63. "Two things: The wedding day can never be simulated later. "
    Never? May be the case for you-- isn't it their call if a second photoshoot and visit will make them happy?
  64. Sorry to hear about your dilemma, sounds to me like a prime example of someone who thinks just because they own a high end camera it makes them a photographer. I worked at a camera shop for 5 years, and processed many "wedding photographers" work, most of them a disaster. I found it hard to believe that anyone actually paid money for most of them. I think the lowest amount of shots that we ever gave to a customer is 750. If you ever make it to the Cleveland Ohio area, we would be happy to comp. you some shots. I know they wont contain the memories of your Big day, But at least you will have some quality shots! hope this is helpful to you!
  65. I really hope it all works out for you and you get the photos you are happy with in the end.
    As a photographer and one who covers Weddings I fully appreciate and understand the importance of getting the images, the memories you want and receiving a 'professional' service throughout the process. The photographic business and especially Weddings is a difficult business and quite clearly there are some out there who are just not cut out for it. Alas in this day and age some see it as a route to a quick buck.
    If anyone is reading and you thinks that maybe you fit the bill then do the industry and the public a favour and pop down the job centre.
    I know things work differently in some countries regarding legal issues etc but I would urge you to ensure that if you can review any service providers shoddy service provision then you do so, so others in the future can make a fairer assessment of what they might be getting themselves into.
    Good Luck.
    NB. Only bad photographers take bad photos.
  66. I don't know about US, but in UK a contract that absolves them of anything going wrong would be in severe risk of being declared an unfair contract and then it would be open season (does their contract have a 'force majeure' clause - if not then more fool them!). And as a paid professional planner, any advice she gave would be expected to have an influence on decisions you make.
    Does the contract say that she will attend the wedding? If it does then she is in breach of it herself - and if you mention she will realise she is immeidately liable to legal action. The comment from her colleague that she only attends big events shows some willingness to attend.
    Recreating the atmosphere and the 'feel' of the wedding can be difficult so is there anything else you can do? You prefer the informal shots, so one solution would be have a first anniversary celecbration? Invite as many people as possible from the wedding itself (if you explain why you are doing it more may turn up that otherwise would have done) and get a 'proper' photographer to take pictures. B&G wearing original wedding clothes may not be out of place.
  67. Hi Shelley,
    You have my fullest sympathy. In years to come, you might remember the bad experience but it gets less painful in time. After all, you are starting on the long journey of marriage and what happened in the first 6 hours is less important than the next 3 months/ years/ decades.
    I do wedding photography on occasions. The lowest I ever charged was 23 pounds (about $35) and that included a double set of large prints. I did a good job; I was paid 2 months later! My own wedding was poorly photographed. The best photographer I had gave me the shots one YEAR after the wedding, only because I asked her a few times. But, that was over 22 years ago. Marriage is much more than 100 perfect images.
    Enjoy your marriage. Enjoy your husband. It's a long, painful--and joyful journey together.
  68. Shelley, my sympathies also. And consider making certain to make a note of this performance with the local Better Business Bureau, as well as any other outlets that might consider using this wedding coordinator. Your story is a reminder why I don't shoot weddings, and decided not to get into the wedding coordinator business full-time after pursuing it part time for a while.
    If it's any consolation, my uncle shot my wedding for me, using his Mamiya Twin Lens Reflex. When the film came back, he discovered that the lens cap remained in place throughout, so no pictures.
  69. Given that you're already $250 in, you might want to contact your state bar association and get an attorney referral. In some states such a referral will get you a half hour or hour consult for $25-$50 and you could at least get an idea of what kind of case you have even if you end up pursuing it in small claims without a lawyer.
  70. Just a little musing on my part, but..
    My first wedding - very, very, first - I did as a favor to a friend. Gave them over 300 images on CD, some prints, a small album, and only spent $200.
    AND shot all in 35mm film. AND processed & scanned professionally.
    Obviously your photographer isn't going to cut you a cost-plus-small-percentage rate, but that should give you an idea of what $250 CAN provide, when pressed with gaining a bad name, or losing more business, or having to refund a lot of money, by any reputable and good photographer, traditional posing or not.
    to echo others' sentiments, I'm very sorry you and your new husband got sucked into this mess. Niagra Falls - what a romantic place to get married :)
  71. Shelly:
    First off, sorry to hear of your troubles, but I agree with many others here to move forward, and make the lemonade...

    Use the existing pictures as a "joke" album, and maybe decorate it with stickers and handwritten notes as if making a scrapbook, trying to make fun of the situation for the future. I don't want to make light of the $250, but you will get more aggravation trying to recover this amount than it is probably worth.
    You will have much more fun, and get some really memorable results having a real pro take a "trash the dress" type of shoot as an after effect.

    We (Justin Bass Photography) just did this (as a goodwill freebee) for a recent bride who also was unhappy with her original photographer. We met this unhappy bride while she was a guest at another wedding we were shooting. The "trash the dress" shoot was so much fun for all, and now they have terriffic memories!

    Here is a link to the blog showing some of the images, and then the full slideshow link is at the bottom of the post: Your Dress
    Good Luck, and let us know what happens!
  72. Wow ... again, I just have to say that I'm overwhelmed by the responses here and truly appreciate everyone taking the time to give their opinions. We have a lot to think about for sure and there are a lot of options out there that I hadn't thought of. :)
    To the posters who wanted to see some of the pics, here are some:
    This is one that I actually do like and more along the lines of what I expected - us looking natural and (gasp) like we just got married!
    This is one that he took of all the guests cheering while we were told to just stand and smile.
    Looking awkward in a pose. Day/ShelleyandMartin-6.jpg
    And this is apparently the best pic of our first kiss ... note that I'm squishing my hubby's nose sideways ...
    Thanks again to everyone - comments and suggestions are certainly welcome and I can post more of the 37 pics if anyone asks. As to the "other side of the story", I would like to hear it as well ... I don't know what their issues were, truly, I'd only be speculating if I said anything at all other than what the planner told my husband what she thought of us.
    Keep the comments coming - I'm reading each and every one and taking everything you're all saying into careful consideration. In short, I am so glad that I posted here if only because I'm feeling closer to have closure on this whole thing - and giving me inspiration for ways to have a 2nd session to get some real pics (and to have an excuse to wear my dress again!!). :D
  73. Shelly,
    Please do not post directly (or hotlink to) images on that you did not take yourself. This community has a lot of respect for copyright law. Not to mention the fact that it can create a legal issue for the site itself.
  74. Shelley, in summary, your photographer cost about $250 and was contracted to give you 30 images (you got 37), for a very limited amount of coverage. Having now seen some of the shots, I must ask what your expectations were, because I was expecting much worse than this. I can appreciate your dislike of a plastic album (you should have asked to see an example when you made your booking) but the photographs themselves seem decent. I'm pleased you at least like the first one of you and your new husband, it's a lovely shot of you both, and I think the group photograph reflects a happy moment. Asking guests to cheer is common practice amongst wedding photographers.
    I think when we're planning something uniquely personal, like a wedding, we are bound to admire all the beautiful boutique-style photographs we see in wedding magazines, and set an expectation based on work produced by some of the finest photographers on the globe. The reality is that most wedding photography is quite 'standardized' and is more a record of your event, and unless you employ a reportage expert, will include a number of posed and staged shots. It may be time to take a deep breath and re-evaluate your complaint, at least in terms of further publicising it on other sites.
  75. Please do not post directly (or hotlink to) images on that you did not take yourself.​
    Josh - OT, but, in another thread you (I think) advised another poster not to post an image that he hadn't taken, but that he should hotlink to somewhere it could be seen. Why is your advice to Shelley not to hotlink, now?
  76. Like Lyndsay I was expecting something really awful. These are not awful.
    They're not the best pictures ever taken and obviously you would expect something more exciting from someone who charges a lot more but I think they are at least as good as anyone could reasonably expect for the money. You have a perfectly competent set of pictures here.
  77. Alec - It is one thing to hotlink to a photographer's site or to a password protected "order online" page on something like Smugmug but this looks like she's put her images into her photobucket account and we don't know if she has the rights to do so.
  78. Hi everyone - I'm so sorry for posting without checking first. Truth is, I have no idea if I have the rights to post those pictures on here. Given that I have such a vague contract and all it really says is that I would get a disc with images that I could then reprint in larger format, I think it best to remove the photobucket pictures so the links above are broken now. If there's anything else I need to do, let me know. I'm new ... and couldn't find a way to edit my original post. :)
  79. MaryBall,
    Point taken - but, it's a sad state of affairs if you can't show your own wedding photos to people! Why else would you pay for them!?
  80. I can see Alec's point, it's natural to want to show people your wedding photos, and Shelly has been circumspect in not naming either the planner or the photographer. If a photographer hands over images on disc, then it is invariably for the purpose of the client making their own prints and sharing the images with any aquaintances they choose, and via the WWW.
    In any case, we are digressing, and once again I will say that whilst Shelley has had a great deal of support and sympathy as regards her dilemma, the issue seems to be one of managed expectation, and I do not see that the photographer is specifically at fault. However if the wedding planner was rude, as was stated in the opening post, then that is not excusable. She was doubtless defending her husband against what she will have seen as unfair criticism, but could have done a better job of it. As to her attendance at the wedding, it appears Shelley did not gain any such assurance before hand.
  81. Well as one of the few people to see the sample pictures, I don't think they were massively sub-par for CDN$250. At least, not for the £ equivalent, over here. I understand the disappointment but you have to consider the price paid. So I'm with Linsday and John. Obviously it's up to Shelley if she wants to pursue the matter.
  82. Josh - OT, but, in another thread you (I think) advised another poster not to post an image that he hadn't taken, but that he should hotlink to somewhere it could be seen. Why is your advice to Shelley not to hotlink, now?​
    I am fairly sure that I would never have told someone to hotlink to post images that weren't theirs. The rule on about posting only images you have taken is pretty clear.
    If you want to reference another photographer's images, please do it with a link.
  83. Very sorry to hear your tale. Unfortunate indeed. I usually have fun with these kinds of people, putting them in their place. Keeping it civil, or course.
    If you are ever in the Ottawa area, I would love to offer my services free of charge for an afternoon of shooting. I realize this can't replace your wedding photos, but at least you'll have some respectable photos :)
    If you're interested, contact me!
  84. HI Josh -
    Clearly I'm missing something:
    I would never have told someone to hotlink to post images that weren't theirs.​
    If you want to reference another photographer's images, please do it with a link.​
    What's the difference between a link and a hotlink?
  85. A link is text that you click on to go to another website. Like this.
    A hotlink is inserting an image that is hosted on another website. Like this:
    If you right click on that image and choose "properties" you will see that it is actually hosted on a different website (see here ). I just used HTML (or the little "insert image" button in the text editor) to make it appear here.
    Shelly originally hotlinked the other photographer's images into the thread, which isn't allowed. I changed the images to text links, which is allowed.
  86. Shelly originally hotlinked the other photographer's images into the thread, which isn't allowed. I changed the images to text links, which is allowed.​
    Ah - all is clear now. I only saw the post with the links, and thought that's what you were referring to. I didn't realise you had already fixed the problem and that the regular links were ok. Thanks for clarifying. Shelley - I guess that means you can restore the pictures (right everyone?)
  87. Thanks, Alec. I appreciate your candor. Understand that I am aware that I didn't pay too much into the photography portion of my package - I think I just assumed (wrongly) that I would get pictures that were worth framing or possible better/different shots than my guests got with their cameras. A lot of the pictures we got were of poses - "put your hand here, stand there, turn this way, now smile" - and I'm not saying that I don't understand those pics and completely understand that a lot of people want those pics ... but I told him before he started that I didn't want those and not only did he insist on taking up our time doing them anyway but then took up some of the 30 contracted photos by printing and sending them to me in the album. There's a lot of blinking and stuff, too, which I wouldn't have expected in a package of wedding photos. The 3 pictures I posted that Alec got to see did not show that aspect - I didn't want to post all 37 pictures last night. :)
    Should I have known that I was going to get this considering what I paid? Call me naive but I really don't think so ... understand that this was my first (and only) wedding and I don't know photography at all, save for being in my sister's wedding in 1994. I was just thinking that the photos of people making weird faces or photos where I (as the bride) am being blocked by other people or bushes etc. would have been weeded out instead of counting against the 30 I was to get.
    The disappointment I have is also compounded by her talking me out of hiring a photographer that I could have vetted and could have gotten what I wanted out of, essentially saying that using her photographer would be better because he was doing it at no extra charge "as a favour". I put my trust in her because she knows that area better than I do - obviously I didn't know she considered her husband to be the best possible option for me - and was he really doing this at no extra charge as a "favour"? She told me that usually photographers charge 2-3 times more for Saturday weddings. Hindsight being what it is, shoulda, woulda, coulda ...
    Again, I'm just here to get opinions ... so that I can make a decision that makes sense once I see all possible sides of the situation and that's where comments like Alec's and Lindsay's come into play for sure. As a first time bride-to-be without any experience in this kind of stuff, I hired a wedding planner to be my expert and be the person that I could trust to book the people that make sense for the style of wedding we were having. Trust being the key factor.
    My focus is (and always was) to have a long, happy and wonderful marriage with my new husband and that's what the end goal is after it all. :D
  88. It sounds like the wedding planner persuaded you to go short on something you would have paid more for, to suit her own (or her husband's) pocket. But in general, when people think they're getting $750 value for $250, there's always a catch....
    Sounds like you got talked out of the opportunity to pay more and get better photos, but ultimately you did agree, ahead of time, to hire a $250 photographer, and that's (more or less) what you got.
  89. Trust me, Alec, I know that now. But the implication is there that we were getting up to a $750 value for whatever we paid in the package (which is not necessarily $250 as that was an estimation on my part based on her pricing schemes). Again, I honestly didn't know the worth of what I was being offered by "normal" photographer standards.
  90. And PS - the planner herself said that the pictures they sent us were terrible - because they couldn't get good ones. So by her own admission, the pictures are sub-standard. For whatever that's worth.
  91. What a horrendous experience! I haven't read through the entire thread, but as both a lawyer and a wedding photographer, I am saddened and dismayed to learn of your story.
    I guess if you want to be practical, it all boils down to how hard do you want to fight for a refund of $250. As unprofessional, rude and incompetent as your wedding planner and photographer have been, your legal rights are all going to hinge on their performance of their contract with you.
    Hopefully you will be able to put this horrible experience behind you and enjoy your new life together as a new couple.
  92. Shelley:
    Sorry to hear about your experience. As a wedding photographer I try to do the right thing, be fair and give the clients more than they expect. You've had a lot of good advice from this forum. The only thing I could add is to let it go and if you really want to, do a reshoot. And advise your friends to get a professional photographer to shoot their wedding.
  93. Hello Shelley,
    I'm not sure what everyone has said in response to you here, so forgive me if i repeat anything someone has said already. But, naturally i'm appauled, of course, by your story. it's really a shame. my suggestion is to report it to the bbb and any other "local business" website or blog that you could note your story on. This way, at the least, other brides can avoid the same situation. If you are not interested in taking legal action, i would just suggest to be persistent. Persistance pays off. Keep calling her demanding a refund, atleast for the photography side of the deal. Although I am a good hearted person, sometimes you have to stoop to "their" level in order to get things done. Threaten her with your actions of spreading the word of how they run their business. That may give you leverage to get a response you're looking for. Good luck to you and on behalf of the good photographers out here, my sincere apologies.
  94. Christina, I appreciate not everyone has time to read a long post, but those of us who saw the images agreed that they were not sub-standard for the price paid (irrespective of the planner rudely implying Shelley and her partner were not photogenic). The album was plastic but once again the budget for the photography was so small that it would be impossible for the photographer to supply anything better. We all know that quality books are hundreds of dollars. Since Shelly has the disc of images she can make up her own book if she wishes or discuss the provision of a better album with the photographer. I don't think that the repeated assertion that Shelly should take legal action is constructive. The unfortunate moral of this story is that if you want stellar images then there is no other option than to hire, and pay for, a known and respected professional with a good record of customer care.

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