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photographer just announced pregnancy

First, I gotta say that you ladies are a wealth of information--I've been lurking (and learning) for a few months already:). I apologize in advance for the length of this post

A bit of backstory: I have followed my photographer for years and have always loved her style. She was the first vendor I locked in after venue, and I even moved my date back a week (11/12/16) so that I could book her. 

Last Thursday she announced on social media that she was pregnant with her 4th. It was accompanied by a detailed blog post, including that she was considered high risk and would have a c-section at 37/38 weeks. Doing the math, our wedding falls at 36 weeks. 

I waited a few days and reached out to ask her what our plan B would be if she can't make it--the high risk aspect is a little concerning, and I will say up front that health of her and the baby is obviously the most important factor here. She wrote back with 3 pretty fair options and I'm just not sure what to do...
 
One was that she would be there and involve a third shooter if necessary (her hubby is her second shooter). Two was if she couldn't make it, a 10% discount, her hubby would be first shooter and second shooter would be one of 3 specific photog's (I'm familiar with the work of all and would be thrilled if one of the 3 was it. The other two are meh). She would still edit all images. Three was refunding my deposit and letting me out of the contract. 

Several friends (including one that just got married last weekend) are telling me the stress isn't worth it and to just go with #3. The prob is that I've already out feelers out to other photog's I may be interested in for their availability and am not getting that warm fuzzy from any.

Thoughts or guidance welcomed:)






Re: photographer just announced pregnancy

  • I agree that I think it's odd that you had to ask her what your options are, and she didn't approach you first.

    If she can guarantee that option 2 would be the photographer you'd be thrilled with (ie pinning them down now as a third shooter so they'll be there whether she is or not) I'd go with that, but I think I'd expect a larger discount if my primary photographer wasn't there.

    If she can't make that guarantee, I'd find someone else, ASAP.

    As (sort of) a side note, if the photographer you'd be thrilled to have is one of 3 backups for your date, they sound available. I'd probably start there.
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  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
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    edited June 2016
    OP, one thing that's really troubling me (slow work day) about your situation is this:

    How--and when, more importantly--would you have found out about this issue if you didn't follow her on social media?  Would you have found out at all, or even in a timely enough manner to make other arrangements?

    This whole thing really sounds unprofessional, and, if I'm honest, questionable.  Photographers tend to book quickly, and I know I interviewed a lot of them before I found one I clicked with and knew I could work with.  Had you not been already following this woman, who knows how much time may have passed before she contacted you to let you know her situation and, more importantly, alternative solutions.
     
    For me, that question and amount of uncertainty would have me taking option 3 in a heartbeat.

    ETA: she's, what? 12 weeks, give or take? This likely isn't news to her. No, she didn't have to go public with this sooner than she did, but she's probably known long enough to have notified you in a timely manner, especially if it's her 4th.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

  • TyvmTyvm
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    edited June 2016
    ...is it possible for you to just book the one of the three third shooters that you prefer? Like, separately, at a discount?


    k thnx bye

    kimmiinthemittenlc07
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be
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    I don't like the husband bring the backup. In most situations that mean she can't function as the first shooter, he will be with her and not acting as the stand in first shooter.

    Photography is a physical job and I have a hard time seeing her being able to work effectively one week before a scheduled c section of a high-risk pregnancy.

    Hire someone new. Start with the third shooter you like and go from there. GL!
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    JediElizabethkimmiinthemitten
  • At first I was thinking why not go with option 2 if you can get the shooter you like but then PP made good points that if she can't be there her husband probably can't either.

    Also I agree with PPs that you finding out through FB about this and having to reach out to her is a red flag. We chose our photographer because we loved his photos and album styles and he was super friendly and it felt like our personalities clicked. He was great for our wedding but communication with his office to get our photos and our album has been atrocious. If I had a dollar for every time they said they'd call me back that afternoon and didn't I'd have the amount we payed them... Ok not really but they are awful. So I would just caution you against using someone who shows poor customer service no matter how great their photos are. Also our photographer was supper communicative until we gave the last payment which was due a week before the wedding.
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  • edited June 2016
    Thanks to all for getting through my post AND for your various thoughts:) 

    I was trying to take the fact that I was completely butthurt by what I perceived to be her lack of consideration and professionalism in dealing with the situation out of the equation. But yea, I was bummed.  I know pregnancy can be a pretty delicate matter in the first trimester, but I did feel as though she could have notified me before I found out on social media. She did an adorable stylized photo shoot and lengthy blog post to announce. I felt like a quick email to a few of her (self proclaimed) neurotic brides letting them know what was happening wouldn't be out of line.  Thank you all for validating that I'm not a completely over emotional and irrational hot mess ;)

    I did reply back to her and ask if the second shooter could be guaranteed and haven't heard back yet. IF that can happen (and I'm honestly thinking it's not possible since the one I want has her own photography business), I would feel comfortable with option 2. But it's looking more and more like option 3...and I am thinking of reaching out to second shooter to just book her free and clear 
    Knottie1452098987
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
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    Thanks to all for getting through my post AND for your various thoughts:) 

    I was trying to take the fact that I was completely butthurt by what I perceived to be her lack of consideration and professionalism in dealing with the situation out of the equation. But yea, I was bummed.  I know pregnancy can be a pretty delicate matter in the first trimester, but I did feel as though she could have notified me before I found out on social media. She did an adorable stylized photo shoot and lengthy blog post to announce. I felt like a quick email to a few of her (self proclaimed) neurotic brides letting them know what was happening wouldn't be out of line.  Thank you all for validating that I'm not a completely over emotional and irrational hot mess ;)

    I did reply back to her and ask if the second shooter could be guaranteed and haven't heard back yet. IF that can happen (and I'm honestly thinking it's not possible since the one I want has her own photography business), I would feel comfortable with option 2. But it's looking more and more like option 3...and I am thinking of reaching out to second shooter to just book her free and clear 
    When you are a paying customer, regardless of the services you're receiving, you're entitled to a certain level of respect and professionalism. This is not even close.

    Your photographer is entitled to share her news anyway she sees fit, but when her clients find out about it, not from her, not from her office, but from her blog, that raises a lot of questions about the way business is conducted within this company.

    I would be butthurt, too. Rightly so. FWIW, a month after we booked our venue, we found out from the hotel when we called to block rooms off that our event coordinator at the venue had left her job. We did not hear anything from the venue. That is unprofessional. It was months before we found out who her replacement was, and that was thanks to a Google search. That is unprofessional

    About two months before my wedding, my makeup artist had a massive cerebral hemorrhage and sadly passed away a few days later. The day after she was hospitalized, her partner called me to tell me the news and to tell me that she had found a replacement for me. That is professionalism. That is the standard all customers are entitled to have.

    Your concerns are valid, and if I were in your shoes I would have gotten out the moment she offered me a refund. And I would have told her exactly why.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    madamerwinkimmiinthemitten
  • A quick update: I sent the response email asking if we could specify who the second shooter would be in the event that she can't make it and her husband moves to primary.

    ....its been over 48 hours since and nothing back yet. I'm thinking that she likely doesn't want to do the wedding anymore and was just doing due diligence with her plan B's so her conscience was clear (since she knows from the start how important booking her was to me and that I moved my wedding back). 

    My fiancé is awesomely proactive and reached out on his own to find out if second shooter I love was booked for our day--she is (boo to not being able to have her either way because I would have just straight up booked her)!! And yes, we definitely have meetings with other photographers set up at this point.

    BTW @AtomicBlonde your MUA artist--holy crap. I can't believe in the midst of all of that she had found you a replacement so quickly--THAT is def professionalism. 
    atomicblondeKnottie1452098987
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
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    Yeah, I would definitely just cut my losses, have a small pity party over a large glass of wine or a margarita (or three), and then move on.  This sucks.  It's incredibly unprofessional, and continuing to work with her would just cause you so much more stress.  Do you have it in writing that she promised to give you your deposit back?  I would get that before telling her you're backing out of your contract... JIC.

    Good luck with everything, and I'm sorry that this is happening.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
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    @AtomicBlonde that is so freaking sad.  And one of the situations I would have given a pass on.  But this photographer has known for weeks and has dealt with this is a super unprofessional manner.


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    SP29Knottie1452098987Blue_Bird
  • HeffalumpHeffalump
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
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    edited June 2016
    I don't like the husband bring the backup. In most situations that mean she can't function as the first shooter, he will be with her and not acting as the stand in first shooter.

    Photography is a physical job and I have a hard time seeing her being able to work effectively one week before a scheduled c section of a high-risk pregnancy.

    Hire someone new. Start with the third shooter you like and go from there. GL!
    That was my thought, as well.  If she's on bed rest, maybe he can make it (if someone else is with her and helping with their other three kids).  If she just had a kid, he almost certainly can't especially if (god forbid) the baby ends up in the NICU or something. 

    A coworker of mine does photography on the side, and she was working up until about a week before she delivered her first.  (She was actually trying to finish retouching a bunch of images while she was in labor, because she wanted to get them done.)  But she wasn't high risk, either.

    Sorry things worked out like this, but I would probably start from scratch if your favorite second shooter is already booked and the other two are just meh.
    OurWildKingdom

  • ....its been over 48 hours since and nothing back yet. I'm thinking that she likely doesn't want to do the wedding anymore and was just doing due diligence with her plan B's so her conscience was clear (since she knows from the start how important booking her was to me and that I moved my wedding back). 

    I suspect this is true... If she still wanted your business after finding out she was pregnant, she would have reached out to you before sharing the news publicly to let you know about her circumstances. Hell, even sending you (and any other upcoming clients) an email the day before announcing it publicly would suffice. But the fact that she waited until you came to her to ask what the plan was, and now she is taking days to respond, makes me think she is trying to avoid you until you decide on option #3.

    Either way, if I were in your shoes, I would cut my losses and find someone else. If you are looking for recommendations, try going to your local board on here to see if anyone can give you ideas for other great photographers in your area.
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  • TyvmTyvm
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    @glitterbomb1112 YAY! Sounds like a near-perfect happy ending!


    k thnx bye

    OurWildKingdom
  • Thanks again for your advice and thoughts, everyone :)

    We had a meeting on Monday with a new photographer on Monday and signed a contract with her.  It just so happens new photographer is the mother of the second shooter we were hoping for from original photographer's plan B; they are a mother/daughter team, mother taught daughter everything, AND they were in our top two when we were originally selecting photographers.  We truly lucked out that she was even available for our day!!  And we were very up front with her, knowing she has a relationship with the original photog, to make sure she felt ok with the situation and she was perfectly fine with it!

    A week later, we ultimately never rec'd an answer from original photographer in regards to our follow-up question on her plan B's which really solidified that we had made the right decision.  As did her response when I emailed to ask out of our contract--while she wasn't outright rude, it was definitely not the most heartfelt or thoughtful response, as emails from her typically have been throughout this process.  Definitely feel this was the right decision!  And wish nothing but the best for she and the baby!!

    I'm glad it all worked out for you - sounds like you will have a great photographer!

    To the bolded: This irks me. She didn't respond to your other emails, but then she was not gracious when you understandably asked to get out of your contract? That's lame. But it definitely sounds like the right choice given how she is acting!
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    It definitely sounds like you made the right choice. This photographer has serious issues with communication and professional treatment of clients.
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
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    Thanks to all for getting through my post AND for your various thoughts:) 

    I was trying to take the fact that I was completely butthurt by what I perceived to be her lack of consideration and professionalism in dealing with the situation out of the equation. But yea, I was bummed.  I know pregnancy can be a pretty delicate matter in the first trimester, but I did feel as though she could have notified me before I found out on social media. She did an adorable stylized photo shoot and lengthy blog post to announce. I felt like a quick email to a few of her (self proclaimed) neurotic brides letting them know what was happening wouldn't be out of line.  Thank you all for validating that I'm not a completely over emotional and irrational hot mess ;)

    I did reply back to her and ask if the second shooter could be guaranteed and haven't heard back yet. IF that can happen (and I'm honestly thinking it's not possible since the one I want has her own photography business), I would feel comfortable with option 2. But it's looking more and more like option 3...and I am thinking of reaching out to second shooter to just book her free and clear 
    I'm glad it all worked out for you! I'm unclear from the bolded whether the photog is calling the brides neurotic or whether the brides are calling themselves that. If the former, that's another red flag and is extremely unprofessional. 

  • Hi again everyone:) been wanting to log on with update but for some reason TheKnot is temperamental and won't let me. Got lucky when I attempted tonight 

    @lovesclimbing no, that was all me. I'm first to admit that I am neurotic and super detail oriented when it comes to the wedding!! 

    I did end up getting our deposit back, about a month later. I may be reading into things but I am assuming she heard we booked the photog whose daughter she is friends with because the check arrived in plain white envelope. No note, nothing wrapped around it so no one would know it was a check in the envelope, nada. Just check(which looked a lil worse for wear, tbh). Oh well, I wish her well. 

    And have heard through other vendors that another of her brides was concerned due to the lack of communication after THE announcement, so made me feel better that I wasn't the only client that was worried. 

    Thanks again to to all for the advice!! xo
    Blue_Bird
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