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Snarky Brides

Photography stress

Perhaps I'm over thinking it but I'm starting to panic.

my photographer is a local woman whom I've known as acquaintances for about 2 years, and I've heard great reviews from others and see some amazing pictures. We signed our contract and out 50% down. Other half due 6 weeks before the wedding (this upcoming weekend).

Part of the contract was an option for engagement photos or family photos at a time arranged before the wedding date, and it was included in the price.

2 weeks ago she announced on her FB business page that she is taking a break from photography. I inquired how long and she said YEARS. I immediately asked if I needed to find another photographer and if so I would need my deposit refunded immediately. She got really defensive. Now maybe I went about it wrong but if I business says closing its doors wouldn't you want your items or your $$ back?? she kept saying no no Ill be doing your wedding, don't worry about that. If she's not longer available I deserve my $$ back with notice don't I?? The venue told me she can come look at the grounds if shed like before hand to get ideas for photo shots and when I mentioned it she said its too far (understandable) and shed just figure it out that day.

I'm hearing from others she is having some financial troubles bc she volunteered to do discount photos for a local moms group and they took massive advantage of her and its put her in personal debt... Truly NOT my problem. She was offering a $100 photo session for like $20 to help low in me families have their pictures done. While its admirable if you can't afford the loss, don't do it!!!

so now I've spent the last 2 weeks asking for her address so I can send her a check for the final amount and she says cash only. Contracts states no such thing. I told her I NEED to write a check for my records and she asked if I don't trust her. Ive told her thats not the case but my fiance is having me write checks or use a credit card for everything wedding related nonrelated to better track my spending. and ive been trying to set up a date/time for our family photo shoot since we're running out of time and she just ignores the question which really bums me it bc it took me almost 2 months to get FI to agree to the photo shoot (he hates cameras).

I'm not sure what to do here.... The contract does state she will be at the wedding and with me all day (up to 8 hours) however if she is sick and unable to make it she will send a replacement. 'm so scared she's going to not show, send a replacement that I don't know and ill be screwed.

Do I just let it be now?

Re: Photography stress

  • rel1988rel1988 member
    250 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer First Anniversary
    edited April 2013
    I can understand her getting a little defensive when you asked her right away for your deposit back, especially since she is still saying she can still commit to doing your pictures. It sounds to me like maybe she is not accepting new jobs? In that case you would be breaking the contract and would not be entitled to getting your deposit back.

    The check thing is weird. I would stay firm on that. Maybe she's had bad experience with checks bouncing in the past and doesn't want this to happen again especially with her financial situation? I would politely tell her that contract states nothing about cash only and you need to write a check for your records. She can cash it before the wedding to make sure it won't bounce if it makes her feel better.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I would not pay cash to any vendor, and especially a vendor who has the history of your vendor.

    I know it is too late, but this is why I think people ought to avoid working with family friends, or family, or friends.  Business is akward enough without trying to dodge the extra bullets that come from a pre-existing relationship. 

    Good luck - don't do anything via meetings or phone calls you don't also back-up and document in writing.  Anything.  Not. a. thing.  Get EVERYTHING in writing.  She sounds like she is one step away from skipping town.
  • This does seem fishy. If she is having finacial problems, you won't get your money back because it's probably spent. However, if she still seems committed to doing your wedding, maybe you can come to a happy medium and get a money order or cashiers check right from your bank. That way she can take it anywhere and get cash but you also have a record of the last payment in your financial statement. 
  • In Response to Re: Photography stress:
    This does seem fishy. If she is having finacial problems, you won't get your money back because it's probably spent. However, if she still seems committed to doing your wedding, maybe you can come to a happy medium and get a money order or cashiers check right from your bank. That way she can take it anywhere and get cash but you also have a record of the last payment in your financial statement. 
    Posted by AmeshaT
    Don't do a money order.  It still won't be refunded if it is cashed.  The best you could hope for would be to use this record in a small claims court.
  • Best advice I can provide is that you need to stick to the contract. As a business owner she needs to uphold that. You are willing to work with her and give her your business so she needs to appreciat that. Owning and operating your own business is a big burden at times both on your head and wallet and I hope she does come through for you and your Fiance. Since you have already put down 50% I would hate to see you lose that because she flakes out on you.

    Good luck!
  • Just talk to her!  Tell her since she is essentially going out of business you are a bit wary.  You are following the contract that she signed and need records. Tell her this is a business transaction, has nothing to do with friendship.  I would also, if the contract doesn't state it, ask for specific dates for engagement photos, timeline for day of, and when to expect proofs and final photos.  Also tell her you have had a hard time getting in touch with her and scheduling dates and you are concerned about that. I would call her, take notes, or meet in public and take notes.  Be honest and upfront.  Dont be rude but be direct.  And if she can't schedule your family portraits, then she is violating the contract.  If you don't like her responses, SAY SO and ask her to clarify or give direct dates.  And if she isn't going to go to the venue, ask if she has contacted the venue.  How can she know timing issues if she has never been there.  What is the drive/walk time from getting ready to ceremony site?  From ceremony to reception site?  Have you done a photo wish list?  Have you discussed the day of schedule yet?  If she can't make it to the venue she needs to talk to the venue.  These are all legitimate questions that you deserve actual answers to. Don't back down. I have seen many brides get screwed by the photographer after the fact and you don't want that to happen to you. Because it is not easy to get money back from someone.

    On a side note, 6 weeks early for final payment seems kinda early.  Mine is 2 weeks ahead of time. That on it's own would make me wary. Good luck and just talk to her but don't be wimpy, this is your money and wedding!
     
  • Sara, she has no contacted venue. Wedding and reception are at the same place. It is a 500 acre ranch and we are using prob 2 acres of it that is designed for weddings. The ceremony area to the reception is I'd say 150 yards, down a small "hill" and across a brigade over the creek. It's beautiful! She has yet to send me her address so I can send her the check that's been written and waiting to be sent. I'm not going to hound her. Day of, pic ideas, NOTHING has been discussed bc she keeps saying we can discuss it later. She's supposed to be at my house taking pics when I'm getting ready and then meet us for wedding and reception. THAT is in the contract. I'm so scared we won't have a photographer for the wedding. I'm a huge believer in supporting small business and mom based businesses and I've NEVER had a bad experience. As for saying I wanted a refund, she said out of business, so I asked if I'd be getting my money back. It was then she said she was still doing my wedding.
  • In Response to Re: Photography stress:
    Sara, she has no contacted venue. Wedding and reception are at the same place. It is a 500 acre ranch and we are using prob 2 acres of it that is designed for weddings. The ceremony area to the reception is I'd say 150 yards, down a small "hill" and across a brigade over the creek. It's beautiful! She has yet to send me her address so I can send her the check that's been written and waiting to be sent. I'm not going to hound her. Day of, pic ideas, NOTHING has been discussed bc she keeps saying we can discuss it later. She's supposed to be at my house taking pics when I'm getting ready and then meet us for wedding and reception. THAT is in the contract. I'm so scared we won't have a photographer for the wedding. I'm a huge believer in supporting small business and mom based businesses and I've NEVER had a bad experience. As for saying I wanted a refund, she said out of business, so I asked if I'd be getting my money back. It was then she said she was still doing my wedding.
    Posted by JillianNJohn
    Hey. You need to trust your gut here. I believe you know deep down she is lying to you and is going to cheat you. She may not literally take off without doing your photos, but she is certainly not going to give you what you want. A photographer who is aiming to give you the proper, professional, quality experience would be OPEN to discussing pictures and would have figured out a way to review the site in advance, would have given you their address, and would deal with you honorably.  From what I read here, she's preparing to commit some kind of bad business practice against you, and in short, take advantage of you. Please call a lawyer, and set-up a back-up plan for your wedding photos - it seems entirely likely she will not show up, or will not do the # or quality of pictures you deserve.
  • edited April 2013
    Thanks I think that's what I kinda needed to hear. So much going on with my kids (medically, 1 needs surgery and somehow between the 3 someone has missed a day of school every week for almost 2 months for one reason or another), job issues (pending promotional wait and other stress), FIs schedule is wearing me down and all else....I'm so Leary to make decisions these days bc I feel no matter what I'm being irrational. Spring is our busiest time of year,truly greatful and happy now that FI put his foot down and out fit refused an APRIL wedding. I woulda lost my mind for sure. I need to crunch some numbers and try to see HOW I can afford another photographer if any are even available now. 3 I'm aware of are booked into July already.
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