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Wedding Photographer Nightmare, I need some advice!

A bride’s most important vendor is the wedding photographer, down the line people do not remember the taste of the cake, the food, the sound of the music, but we look with our eyes and relive the memories of that day through our photos. My wedding was on April 22, 2016, it’s been 6 months since the best day of our lives occurred, but now it lingers on a nightmare. I hired this couple, in our contract it stated 6 hours of coverage, 200-300 photos digital, 25 prints, a photo book, and we get all of our pictures in 6-8 weeks. It’s now six months, I have 253 pictures and 27, I repeat 27 are of my husband and I, we have NO PHOTOS of the reception, besides someone shaking someone’s hand, and nothing from the cake, dancing, ect. We actually paid 2 EXTRA HOURS for them to stay and take more photos to the end (8 hours of coverage total) we paid them cash that night, and paid the full amount a year before the wedding. The female photographer we originally hired bailed out on us, but the husband did a great job shooting and had an assistant with him. The wife is the owner of the company and now they’re getting a divorce and I have no more photos being sent, she won’t speak to us, only the husband is trying to, and she told my mother in law a month ago due to the inconvenience she’d send us copy rights to all of our photos in the mail, STILL have no received them. I called her last week, she answered, told her who I was and she hung up on me and never answered my calls since. I am not sure what to do, my only issues is that we do have 253 photos, but it’s the same stinking photos over and over again, but in black and white, or a different angle. What should I do? We don’t have our prints, our photobook, and we paid them two extra hours FOR WHAT????

Re: Wedding Photographer Nightmare, I need some advice!

  • First send a registered letter stating exactly what you are owed, what you have received, and what you would like to see happen, whether that is exactly all the products you want, only some of the products (i.e. edited photos on a USB- you could get prints done yourself if they are being such a PITA), or a refund of some sort. Keep this information factual and to the point. State what will happen if X,Y,Z is not completed by X date- i.e. legal action. Give a reasonable amount of time to complete the missing work.

    If not done, take the company to small claims court.

    Another thing you can do is fill out reviews for the company, anywhere and everywhere wedding/photography related that you can- might be enough to get the owner to sing a different tune. Likewise if you have something like the Better Business Bureau.

    DH and I had a similar issue. We had a contract that stated we were supposed to get a photo gallery online, then all edited photos on USB by 12 weeks. We did not get our photos until 7 months later after multiple calls, emails and finally a registered letter. Even still, we noticed the photos from the second shooter were missing, so we sent an update registered letter for those photos, which took until 10 months to get.
    short+sassyvikinganna87
  • pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm really sorry this happened to you. It's a really crappy situation, because at the end all you have are the pictures left. The advice given above is great. 

    Do you have other pictures from your guests of the reception, cermony, etc? Did any of your friends/family members have a nicer camera that they took pictures with? A few of our guests took awesome pics on their DSLR's, (even on their smartphones!), so at least you may have those. I also really like the advice of leaving them reviews. 
                                 Anniversary
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    vikinganna87
  • Honestly, 200-300 photos would be a red flag for me. Most digital wedding photographers that I know of take thousands of pictures and offer hundreds of photos that are worth going through/prints.

    Still, you cant turn back time...is going to court worth the money or getting your money back? Especially if they technically did meet the contract, but you just arent happy with the result.

     You can't make better photos happen, so count your losses and move on. I suggest hiring a different photographer and doing a 1 year anniversary shoot. I did this after my first wedding and absolutely loved the result. I wore my wedding dress with a much more undone look, my H wore a suit with no tie, etc. The pictures were gorgeous.
    short+sassyvikinganna87
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    megtownxx said:
    Honestly, 200-300 photos would be a red flag for me. Most digital wedding photographers that I know of take thousands of pictures and offer hundreds of photos that are worth going through/prints.

    Still, you cant turn back time...is going to court worth the money or getting your money back? Especially if they technically did meet the contract, but you just arent happy with the result.

     You can't make better photos happen, so count your losses and move on. I suggest hiring a different photographer and doing a 1 year anniversary shoot. I did this after my first wedding and absolutely loved the result. I wore my wedding dress with a much more undone look, my H wore a suit with no tie, etc. The pictures were gorgeous.
    They only met part of the contract. She was supposed to get some prints and a photo book, too. I realize it's not that much, but she's also going on 4 months past when the photog was contractually obligated to get them to her. PLUS, she has these pictures, but no release so she can't print them herself.
  • vikinganna87vikinganna87 Live Free or Die member
    Fifth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer

    A bride’s most important vendor is the wedding photographer, down the line people do not remember the taste of the cake, the food, the sound of the music, but we look with our eyes and relive the memories of that day through our photos. My wedding was on April 22, 2016, it’s been 6 months since the best day of our lives occurred, but now it lingers on a nightmare. I hired this couple, in our contract it stated 6 hours of coverage, 200-300 photos digital, 25 prints, a photo book, and we get all of our pictures in 6-8 weeks. It’s now six months, I have 253 pictures and 27, I repeat 27 are of my husband and I, we have NO PHOTOS of the reception, besides someone shaking someone’s hand, and nothing from the cake, dancing, ect. We actually paid 2 EXTRA HOURS for them to stay and take more photos to the end (8 hours of coverage total) we paid them cash that night, and paid the full amount a year before the wedding. The female photographer we originally hired bailed out on us, but the husband did a great job shooting and had an assistant with him. The wife is the owner of the company and now they’re getting a divorce and I have no more photos being sent, she won’t speak to us, only the husband is trying to, and she told my mother in law a month ago due to the inconvenience she’d send us copy rights to all of our photos in the mail, STILL have no received them. I called her last week, she answered, told her who I was and she hung up on me and never answered my calls since. I am not sure what to do, my only issues is that we do have 253 photos, but it’s the same stinking photos over and over again, but in black and white, or a different angle. What should I do? We don’t have our prints, our photobook, and we paid them two extra hours FOR WHAT????

    This is a really crappy situation and I agree with PP's advice.  The only thing I would add is if you feel comfortable doing so, show up at their home or business and see if you're able to have a conversation about it in person.  I hate to say it, but with the divorce and rest of the mess, you're likely not at the top of their priority list.  I'm so sorry you have to deal with this.

    Since this is a wedding forum and we're sharing advice, I'll add that you have to power to sign a contract that meets your specific needs.  After reading about photo nightmares on TK, we put together a contract with milestones and associated payments.  I don't remember exactly what the details were, but some sort of initial deposit to secure the photographer and date,  another payment  after receiving the digital shots and a final payment once the album was complete.   It worked.
    short+sassycowgirl8238mollybarker11
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