We hired Mad Chicken for our wedding in August 2013 in Duluth, Minn. After looking at websites and portfolios for several photographers in the area, and being very impressed with the photos Jes (the owner and primary photographer) showed on her website and blog -- as well as a strong, half-hour conversation with her -- we decided to go with Mad Chicken. Despite it being the most expensive photographer we looked at, we felt the investment would be well worthwhile. And despite getting married in Duluth, we live in Washington state, and we hoped Mad Chicken would give us a trouble-free experience with amazing photos of our important day.
We were wrong. In hindsight, we absolutely wish we had gone with another photographer, both because of the quality of images and the stress that we’ve had dealing with the company since our wedding.
For the most part, our wedding-day photo experience was fine. Our family photos outside the church were taken on a hill with a fairly steep slope, but in a pretty, wooded area. But despite us telling Jes more than a month ahead of time the general area where we wanted our wedding photos taken (and telling her on a timeline sheet provided by her), she seemed completely unsure of where to take the photos. Eventually, they were taken along a brick wall, behind a restaurant in an alley.
When we received our photos, we were horribly disappointed -- and not just because they arrived later than the date guaranteed in our contract.
First off, there were zero usable photos showing the bride and her mother. Secondly, the wedding party photos, taken in the alleyway, prominently showed neon beer signs, broken-down HVAC systems and bird droppings on the wall. When we voiced our disappointment about these shots, Jes claimed we had changed the location for this shoot late in the process (which is not true -- we never changed the location), and she would always choose a location with good lighting over good scenery. This would have been fine with us, if the photos had been properly edited, so that we didn’t have to see a lot of junk in our wedding party photos. Unfortunately, they were not.
Most of the photos lacked imagination and creativity. Most of the best shots, in fact, were ones that had been suggested by us before and during the shoot. Despite having two photographers working throughout the day, there were virtually no shots of the bride getting ready at the church.
We sent Jes an email expressing our concerns and asking for some more photos to be edited. She responded with an offer of editing five photos, and we followed by asking for at least 20 photos to be edited. After that, we heard nothing back for more than two weeks.
Eventually, just to get a response, we had an attorney send her a letter, detailing some of the problems and requesting either some money back or having more photos edited. After getting nothing but silence for weeks, Jes responded the day after our attorney sent the letter offering to edit 20 photos, or to do considerably more if we agreed not to write a review. After agreeing to have 20 photos edited, she further pushed the idea of having more photos edited in exchange for signing a non-disparagement clause.
About two weeks after that (now more than six months after the wedding), we received our edited wedding-party photos, which did look nice, though not noticeably better than other friends‘ wedding-party shots, taken by photographers who charged far less. Had these photos been what we received at first, we wouldn’t have been overjoyed, but would have had no issues that required additional months of stress and threats of legal action.
We have family members who have used other wedding photographers in Duluth, and we now wish we had used one of them. Many of the other photographers offered the same ‘extras’ as Mad Chicken (or more), and provided hundreds of high-quality, edited images, but at a much lower price -- and with considerably less stress and aggravation.