Photos and Video

disappointed in engagement pics... advice, please

We got our engagement pictures back. No joke, I cried. I'm VERY disappointed! 41 pictures (the 41 best of the 200+ the photographer took) & we're smiling in only one- and that was a candid. In the others we look awkward, uncomfortable or they're just bad pics. I'm devastated & scared my wedding pics will suck. When he called me to ask if I liked them, I thought, "if you can't say something nice..." but I was asked directly, so I lied. I know, I shouldn't have lied, but I did.

I want amazing wedding pics. Hell, I'd settle for nice. My parents think it was a fluke, after all, he works for a prestigious newspaper and teachers photography at my alma mater. And of course, they say, my fashion choices didn't help much. (My thought to that last statement is that, if that were the case, the close-ups should be better then they are!) My friends have said that my wedding pics will be better, that nobody's engagement pics come out nice, that it was an overcast day so the lighting was bad. My answer is that the photographer is the professional (see afrementioned qualifications) so he should know how to take in bad light, tell us to smile when we aren't, etc.

I know I need to call him, but how do I tell him how unhappy I am? I know I need to deal w my fear of confrontation. That I get. But any advice on what/how to say it? And in all honesty, is telling him I am not happy with him going to change anything? Actually, that is my real fear.

Any words to quell my fears would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: disappointed in engagement pics... advice, please

  • edited August 2012
    Send an email since you're not confortable being straight over the phone. Tell your photographer that you're not happy with the pictures. Tell them what you think the three of you should do- do you want a new engagement session? Do you want your money back? Do you want some editing done with the pictures? 

    Engagement pictures can and do end up looking nice, even in bad weather. If you are comfortable in your fashion choices, you should be able to smile and be happy, regardless of how your clothes look. Those shouldn't be used as excuses for pictures that look bad.

    Just because this photographer works at a newspaper and teaches, doesn't mean he knows how to take engagement or wedding pictures. Does he have experience in wedding photography? 

    If you're not happy with how these pictures came out, you might want to consider breaking contract and hiring a different photographer. The engagement session is a test run for your wedding- if you think you look awkward and uncomfortable, then you'll probably look the same in your wedding photos; the photographer's style isn't going to dramatically change from one session to the other unless you speak up (and even then, it might not). 
  • Just an FYI from a photographer. An overcast day can produce some of the most beautiful evenly lit portraits around. Working with the sun can sometimes create harsh shadows on the face. Just so you know this tid-bit.
  • I am very sorry to hear that. When I first got my engagement pictures I hated them too! I thought we looked awkward and stiff in most of them, so I showed them to a few friends and they raved how amazing they looked. Is it possible you are being to hard on yourself? Give it a couple of days then look at them again.

    If thats not the case and they actually are bad pictures I would send the photographer and email stating what you dont like about the pictures. If you dont and your wedding pictures turn out the same way you will be kicking yourself.




  • I think there could be a few reasons for this and you need to evaluate what you truly don't like about them. For example, if you weren't smiling in any is it because 1) he told you not to smile 2) you were not smiling on purpose 3) you just weren't thinking about your facial expression 4) you remember feeling uncomforable. If it is the quality of the pictures that concerns you most, or you didn't like how he was posing you, etc you definitely need to voice your concerns and possibly break the contract. But if it is not liking how ya'll look in the pictures, that is a different concern. Taking pictures can be awkward and I think it's easy for that to come across in your facial expressions. Maybe you need to practice getting more comfortable in front of the camera. Have a friend do some mini practice shoots with you or take pictures of each other. Practice smiling and different poses in front of the camera. Maybe you felt uncomfortable with the photographer and that came across in the pictures (that would be another reason in which you might want to break contract). When we got our E pics back, I only liked how we looked in about 2 out of 25 pictures. I thought my neck looked fat, I didn't like how pale I looked, we looked fake and stiff in some, fiance thought he looked fat. But, the pictures themselves were great. Everyone raved about them and really we were just being hyper critical of ourselves. Some things though (like feeling pale and fat) we're working on so that we hopefully won't feel that way about our wedding pics. I think you have alot to think about, and you should take a couple of days to get over the initial disappointment before deciding your next course of action. Don't be afraid to discuss it with your photographer though. I'm sure that he wants happy customers and he might even have suggestions to help you in front of the camera. I think that you need to work on being a little more confrontational though, because being able to speak up with suggestions or concerns while you're taking the pics is important too.
    "When life hands you lemons, make a beef stew." Andy Milinokis
  • EK2013EK2013 member
    100 Comments 5 Love Its First Anniversary
    edited September 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_photos-video_disappointed-in-engagement-pics-advice-please?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:30Discussion:bd515360-9e39-44f8-82b3-d859dbe39e97Post:89dfbaec-efbb-416c-9802-fa49f0a5c0f7">disappointed in engagement pics... advice, please</a>:
    [QUOTE]We got our engagement pictures back. No joke, I cried. I'm VERY disappointed! 41 pictures (the 41 best of the 200+ the photographer took) & we're smiling in only one- and that was a candid. In the others we look awkward, uncomfortable or they're just bad pics. I'm devastated & scared my wedding pics will suck. When he called me to ask if I liked them, I thought, "if you can't say something nice..." but I was asked directly, so I lied. I know, I shouldn't have lied, but I did. I want amazing wedding pics. Hell, I'd settle for nice. My parents think it was a fluke, after all, he works for a prestigious newspaper and teachers photography at my alma mater. And of course, they say, my fashion choices didn't help much. (My thought to that last statement is that, if that were the case, the close-ups should be better then they are!) My friends have said that my wedding pics will be better, that nobody's engagement pics come out nice, that it was an overcast day so the lighting was bad. My answer is that the photographer is the professional (see afrementioned qualifications) so he should know how to take in bad light, tell us to smile when we aren't, etc. I know I need to call him, but how do I tell him how unhappy I am? I know I need to deal w my fear of confrontation. That I get. But any advice on what/how to say it? And in all honesty, is telling him I am not happy with him going to change anything? Actually, that is my real fear. Any words to quell my fears would be greatly appreciated!
    Posted by julesapops[/QUOTE]
    <div>
    </div><div>I learned a lot about our photographer when he shot a few pictures of us for the signature frame (we didn't do a full "engagement" session with him). There were things I quickly saw that didn't match up with my "ideal wedding" image: He cared more about genuine expression, for example, than making sure I didn't have a double chin.</div><div>
    </div><div>Because it was also obvious from these images, even the ones with more chin than necessary, that he actually was very good, I was willing to keep working with him and was happy with the result. <strong>But</strong>: I got pretty much exactly the quality I expected based on the point of view I'd already seen.</div><div>
    </div><div>Note: It sounds like you're not using a "wedding" photographer by trade. We didn't either. An acquaintence who's a wedding photographer was very nervous about this because the things that work best for newspapers and such are not necessarily the things that work best for weddings.</div><div>
    </div><div>From what you're describing, there's a pretty big problem either with him or the way he works with you. But I have a few tips, for what they're worth:</div><div><ul><li>The best way to look believably happy in a picture is to be feeling happy as you take the picture. Call up something that makes you happy: the thought that you're about to marry your FI, or a memory of the proposal, or an image of a pet or something like that.</li><li>The more things you do to disguise trouble spots, the more awkward you'll feel if you're not used to doing it. (On my honeymoon, I had the reverse issue: I'm so used to standing with at least one hand on my hip that when a photog asked me to stand with my arm down, I felt and looked super awkward.)</li></ul><div>How comfortable are you around/with your photographer as a person?</div></div>
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