Wedding Woes

Photographer Issues

Hi ladies!

I've never posted before, so here it goes.

My husband and I got married last month. We had a lot of issues with our photographer that day and long story short, he tried to bribe me to give him a good review, I said no, and he ended up making a scene and said he was deleting my photos. My wedding day was horrible because of this photographer and now he is just prolonging it. I simply want my photos. It will cost a lot more to sue him than to just move on, but this isn't right. What can I do?

Re: Photographer Issues

  • I agree with Olive above about going to your contract, seeing what it says, and asking for a timeline based on what it says. If you're past the expected date of delivery I would go right to sending a registered letter requesting your photos by x date and outlining what you will do if you don't have them. 

    But also, he tried to blackmail you?! In person, or are there tests/emails?
    short+sassy
  • I'm calling MUD. 
    mrsconn23CharmedPam
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    *Barbie* said:
    I'm calling MUD. 


    I am close to this with the whole blackmail bit.  But it wouldn't be the first time a SS came in here and thought the world revolved around her and her wedding.  And when the photographer made this comment, it was totally in jest and SS took it all literally. 

    So like Bon Jovi, I'm half way there.

    short+sassysparklepants41
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Hi ladies!

    I've never posted before, so here it goes.

    My husband and I got married last month. We had a lot of issues with our photographer that day and long story short, he tried to bribe me to give him a good review, I said no, and he ended up making a scene and said he was deleting my photos. My wedding day was horrible because of this photographer and now he is just prolonging it. I simply want my photos. It will cost a lot more to sue him than to just move on, but this isn't right. What can I do?
    Where did the scene/blackmail happen?

    I mean, if that happened my wedding day I'd totally play along even if I was unhappy if I was concerned about his professionalism, and then complain after.
    image
    short+sassy
  • mrsconn23 said:
    Why would you not just be all 'sure, sure! I'll give you a good review' or whatever?  Was he wanting a blood oath or something?  And then once you have your pics, you can do a good review, bad review, or no review.  Did he stipulate that a review must happen in your contract? 

    Furthermore, I don't believe it costs much (or anything) to file in small claims court.  If he doesn't live up to the contract and you do everything you can to contact him (and have the receipts), then do your research on filing with small claims. 

    You gotta learn to fake it, especially when it comes to something like this.  

    I'd bet dollars to doughnuts filing a smalls claims costs something in most/all jurisdictions.  But I'd guess in most places the filing fee is under $100, plus probably the cost of service.  Of course, not where I live.  Here, it is a $250 filing fee, plus the cost of service.

    OP, I'd keep the idea of small claims court in your back pocket.  But it should really be your last resort.  Even if you get a judgment, unless he really...really cares about his credit report, he probably won't pay it anyway.  The next step...which is another big hoop...would be to have his wages garnished.  Except I'm assuming this is his own business.  Which makes him fairly "judgment proof".

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    mrsconn23
  • My contract says he has until September 10th to deliver the photos. I know I can't do anything until then, but he was going to my father's work trying to get him to sign something saying we wouldn't sue him (I was not going to). Then he kept calling my house and parent's phones asking if we want the photos and saying we have to sign this document or we won't get them. 

    As for the bribe part, we were at the wedding and it was 8 pm. He came up to me and told me that his contract was up because of the time, but said he could stay for the dances for an extra $400. I said "No thank you, but that you so much for taking photos today." Then he said "I have an idea. I'll stay for free if you give me a good review." I excused myself from the conversation and told my husband that I was not doing that, it was time for him to go. I was getting upset because I'm worried that's why he has such good reviews and at the same time, I was worried because when my husband told him we were good with him leaving, he made a scene outside the ballroom (yelling at my family) and said he was deleting the photos. 

    It's hard to deal with this because I'm stationed over 4,000 miles away from home (where I was married) and in my home state, you have to be present for small claims court. 

    I played along all day with his unprofessionalism. I kept my cool and was just as nice to him as I was to all of my vendors. I would have lied about giving him a good review, but then he wouldn't have given me my photos until I wrote it and I refuse to be the reason another bride hires this guy. If I say I will give him a good review, via email or phone conversation, do I have to? Can he sue me for not following through? 

  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    where did you find this guy?

    MissKittyDanger
  • The Knot and WeddingWire.
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    What I would do is talk only about his contract terms if he brings up reviews.  If he has emailed you asking for the review, I would respond back with.  Per our contract, you have until September 10th to provide me with the pictures.  I am looking forward to seeing the pictures.  As with all of my vendors for the wedding, I can only base my reviews upon what I have seen and I have not yet seen anything from you.  I look forward to seeing my photos on September 10th.

    Did your parents sign the contract or anyone else sign the contract on your behalf?  If you and your H are the only ones on your contract.  You should tell your parents that when they are contacted by him, that he must speak only to you or H because you two are the ones on the contract.  Your family has no input on anything.  I would also stop answering his calls, if I were your family.  If one of your family members signed the contract on your behalf, they should say a variation of what I put above about not offering reviews until you see the work completed.

    AND KEEP ALL COMMUNICATION WITH THIS GUY!!!!! If it comes to be that he has your photos and says that he will not release them without a review.  Call his bluff.  Tell him you will only review after you see the images and have them in your possession, as per your contract.  If he still will not release the images.  You can contact an attorney, who should be able to write a stern and scary letter to photographer about getting your images.  Attorney would be able to attach copies of his bribes to this letter.  I can't imagine it would go any further than that.  He would release the images.  The attorney can send this letter with you 4000 miles away, with probably little cost to you.

    If its been suggested to you, I would not go to the local news until after Sept 10th passes and make sure that all contract terms have been completed on your side of things.  There was the recent $1.2 million defamation case a wedding photographer won because a couple trashed her on the news and the bride's blog.  Except the happy couple didn't read their contract correctly and THEY were in the wrong, not the photographer. 

    MissKittyDangerJediElizabethInLoveInQueensshort+sassy
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer

    One other thing I forgot to address.  This mysterious document he wants your family members to sign.  Since it seems like its a covenant to not sue, there is a possibility that you may not get any photos or they will be very poor quality.  I feel like this is a worse case scenario.  So hope for the best, but be prepared for the worse.

    This.

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Who was the sole person responsible for payment?  That is the only contact information the photographer should have.  Why does this photographer have multiple phone numbers?  Why does he have your father's employment information?

    You have a signed contract.  Unfortunately, all you can do now is wait until the contract date.  I do worry that it does sound as if he may have screwed up royally with your photos.  Hopefully you did not demand an unplugged wedding and you can check with friends and family to gather photos they may have taken throughout the day.

    As others have said, document all communication.  Try to do the majority of it with email.  I would try to draft an email restating what you think his perspective was in order to start a paper trail.

    Dear Photographer,

    Our contract states XXXXXXXXX, and that photos will be delivered September 10.  We have satisfied our contract with payment in full (HAVE YOU?)

    No other additional contracts or communications should be necessary.  Please notify in writing if you have any questions or concerns.  We look forward to receiving our pictures on September 10.
    missJeanLouise
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers


    However, the bolded does sound like he's trying to coerce you, and harass you; you should document every time he tries to do this (keep call logs, screen shots, texts, and write down any time he comes to the door). I might be reading into this but it sounds like something happened to your photos and he's trying to cover his ass before the deadline. 
    Yup, that's my gut instinct too. And lurkers, this is why unplugged weddings are a bad idea. 
    image
  • One thing you CAN do, given that you are stationed 4,000 miles away, is contact the Better Business Bureau and get into arbitration with this person.  That will cost you nothing at all, and it will expose this photographer's behavior to the public.  Contact the BBB in the area where the wedding took place and ask their advice on how to move forward.  You do not need to be present for their process to take place.  They will investigate everything and help you move through the steps necessary - it's usually a process of you writing a statement regarding what happened and then the photographer must respond.  If he is not a member of the BBB, press the BBB to help you anyway.  When you write your statement, you'll have plenty of time to write it out, step back and make sure you sound objective and not emotional - important, because everyone thinks brides are overemotional - revise, and give them the very best draft you can.  I hope this is an option you can use from your location!
    short+sassykimmiinthemitten
  • I am going to ask everyone that was at my wedding to upload photos to a link so I can have those at least. I didn't know not receiving photos from your wedding photographer was common.

    I did pay him in full prior to the wedding and I've been trying to email him, but he only wants to talk on the phone (probably so I can't document anything). 
    I'm going to take one of the email formats from above and use that. If that doesn't work and he refuses to send me photos, I will try to talk to the BBB about it and finally post my review.

    Thank you so much everyone for your advice! It has been incredibly helpful in this situation. You never think it's going to happen until it does. I'm not sure if I should update this post as I go, so if I should, please let me know!

    short+sassy
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I am going to ask everyone that was at my wedding to upload photos to a link so I can have those at least. I didn't know not receiving photos from your wedding photographer was common.

    I did pay him in full prior to the wedding and I've been trying to email him, but he only wants to talk on the phone (probably so I can't document anything). 
    I'm going to take one of the email formats from above and use that. If that doesn't work and he refuses to send me photos, I will try to talk to the BBB about it and finally post my review.

    Thank you so much everyone for your advice! It has been incredibly helpful in this situation. You never think it's going to happen until it does. I'm not sure if I should update this post as I go, so if I should, please let me know!

    This guy sounds really shady.  I would send a registered/certified letter that forces him to acknowledge your paper trail.
    MissKittyDangerOliveOilsMomshort+sassyInLoveInQueens
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I wasn't around yesterday and missed your response.  If he will only talk on the phone, one thing you can do is record your conversation.  Just make sure at the beginning of your conversation that you TELL HIM you will be recording the conversation.  "Photographer, I just wanted to let you know that I am recording our conversation so that I can remember everything we discuss.  Now. . ."

    One thing about the BBB, they don't really fix things like they used to.  They used to be a great tool for consumers, but now they seem to run more pro-business.  Also, be sure to not demand or file any complaints until after your September 10th deadline passes.  Anything before that can be turned around against you.  Its fine to have discussions with the photographer now, but make sure no complaints or disparaging reviews are posted until after Sept 10th.

    When you do send him the latest email, make sure you put that it is your preferred method of conversation with him because being 4000 miles away, I'm sure you are in a different time zone with many hours difference.

    short+sassysparklepants41
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    State Attorney General offices typically have a consumer protection bureau.  You could try a complaint there as well.

    Yes, please keep us in the loop.  I hope to hear back that you got your photos!
    image
    short+sassyOliveOilsMomsparklepants41InLoveInQueens
  • I wasn't around yesterday and missed your response.  If he will only talk on the phone, one thing you can do is record your conversation.  Just make sure at the beginning of your conversation that you TELL HIM you will be recording the conversation.  "Photographer, I just wanted to let you know that I am recording our conversation so that I can remember everything we discuss.  Now. . ."

    One thing about the BBB, they don't really fix things like they used to.  They used to be a great tool for consumers, but now they seem to run more pro-business.  Also, be sure to not demand or file any complaints until after your September 10th deadline passes.  Anything before that can be turned around against you.  Its fine to have discussions with the photographer now, but make sure no complaints or disparaging reviews are posted until after Sept 10th.

    When you do send him the latest email, make sure you put that it is your preferred method of conversation with him because being 4000 miles away, I'm sure you are in a different time zone with many hours difference.


    To add on to @OliveOilsMom suggestion of taping the phone conversation, although it is probably best to let him know he is being taped ahead of time.  If he lives in a one-party state, you don't even have to inform him.  Most, but not all, states are one-party states.

    One-party means if ONE person in the conversation knows it is being taped, ie you, it can legally be taped without disclosure to the second party.

    However, some states are two-party states, which means everyone involved in the conversation needs to know it is being taped in order for it to be used as evidence.

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  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer

    I wasn't around yesterday and missed your response.  If he will only talk on the phone, one thing you can do is record your conversation.  Just make sure at the beginning of your conversation that you TELL HIM you will be recording the conversation.  "Photographer, I just wanted to let you know that I am recording our conversation so that I can remember everything we discuss.  Now. . ."

    One thing about the BBB, they don't really fix things like they used to.  They used to be a great tool for consumers, but now they seem to run more pro-business.  Also, be sure to not demand or file any complaints until after your September 10th deadline passes.  Anything before that can be turned around against you.  Its fine to have discussions with the photographer now, but make sure no complaints or disparaging reviews are posted until after Sept 10th.

    When you do send him the latest email, make sure you put that it is your preferred method of conversation with him because being 4000 miles away, I'm sure you are in a different time zone with many hours difference.


    To add on to @OliveOilsMom suggestion of taping the phone conversation, although it is probably best to let him know he is being taped ahead of time.  If he lives in a one-party state, you don't even have to inform him.  Most, but not all, states are one-party states.

    One-party means if ONE person in the conversation knows it is being taped, ie you, it can legally be taped without disclosure to the second party.

    However, some states are two-party states, which means everyone involved in the conversation needs to know it is being taped in order for it to be used as evidence.


    I was going to add this. You have to tell him if you or he is in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania or Washington. 

    InLoveInQueens
  • I wasn't around yesterday and missed your response.  If he will only talk on the phone, one thing you can do is record your conversation.  Just make sure at the beginning of your conversation that you TELL HIM you will be recording the conversation.  "Photographer, I just wanted to let you know that I am recording our conversation so that I can remember everything we discuss.  Now. . ."

    One thing about the BBB, they don't really fix things like they used to.  They used to be a great tool for consumers, but now they seem to run more pro-business.  Also, be sure to not demand or file any complaints until after your September 10th deadline passes.  Anything before that can be turned around against you.  Its fine to have discussions with the photographer now, but make sure no complaints or disparaging reviews are posted until after Sept 10th.

    When you do send him the latest email, make sure you put that it is your preferred method of conversation with him because being 4000 miles away, I'm sure you are in a different time zone with many hours difference.


    To add on to @OliveOilsMom suggestion of taping the phone conversation, although it is probably best to let him know he is being taped ahead of time.  If he lives in a one-party state, you don't even have to inform him.  Most, but not all, states are one-party states.

    One-party means if ONE person in the conversation knows it is being taped, ie you, it can legally be taped without disclosure to the second party.

    However, some states are two-party states, which means everyone involved in the conversation needs to know it is being taped in order for it to be used as evidence.


    I was going to add this. You have to tell him if you or he is in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania or Washington. 


    Thanks for including the list of two-party states!

    Funny enough, where this sometimes comes up for me is my side gig of mystery shopping (MS).  I live in Louisiana, which is a one-party state, but it is brought up in the shop instructions, if the instructions require taping a phone conversation.  Or it occasionally comes up on MS forums because some shoppers like to tape the audio of what happens when they are on assignment, in order to refresh themselves on what was said.

    Probably drawing a fine line for shoppers in 2-party states who are just using an audio for their own info.  But still technically illegal.

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