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What do you do if you're not super happy with your engagement pictures?

My fiance and I took our engagement pictures in July for our August 2015 wedding.  We've had the pictures back for a few weeks now and I just sat down and showed them to my mom and a friend.  They agree with my reaction to when I first saw them:  just okay.  I don't hate them, but I don't love them.  I feel like I should be absolutely ecstatic about them!  We've concluded that we're unhappy with the pictures for the reasons of the day being too bright and my fiance and I squinting a lot and a lot of overexposed/washed out pictures.  I also was disappointed with her lack of direction for poses and what to do.  So, I found myself and my fiance to look very stiff and unnatural.  I'm not completely surprised at what we ended up with because the photographer we hired does photography as a hobby, she's not a "professional" with her photography business being her first job. So she doesn't have a ton of experience.   Anyway, from the previous weddings in her portfolio she showed us, I am absolutely in love with what she's capable of.  So I don't want to drop her and find someone else.  But I'm just disappointed with how the engagement pictures turned out and her lack of direction (my mom pointed out our wardrobe choices were poor for the pictures and she should have said something, especially before).  SO, what advice can you all give me? Please help!  Thank you!

Re: What do you do if you're not super happy with your engagement pictures?

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I would talk to your photog and tell her you are unhappy, site specifics like squinting eyes, shadows, etc. I would expect her to offer a retake session.

    I would also recommend looking for a new photographer, but you have said you don't want to do that. How many weddings had she shot? Were the brides and grooms very attractive and photogenic people start with? Wetter the wedding locations gorgeous and the decor over the top? These things help a mediocre photog looks like they have vision and skill when in fact they just got lucky with gorgeous models and breath taking views.

    You have decide if you are willing to risk being unhappy with your wedding photos if you don't hire a pro. Granted there is always that risk, but a proven professional minimizes the risk.

    It's a tough call. GL! :)
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • As photokitty said, you can tell her x,y,z, reasons and see what she can do to help resolve the reason, but on my wedding day, I wouldn't risk having messed up photos with only a person takes photos as a "hobby".

    And sadly, you pay for what you get, if you pay $6,000 on a photographer that does this for a strict living chances are things are going to turn out better, than if you pay $1,000 or well below and does it strictly for a hobby or is just starting out.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I would ask for another photo session and be honest with the photographer.  If you are paying less and working with someone who might be amazing at photography but not good with giving direction you have to really work with them.  The person I'm using is the same way- not the best with direction but he has a really great eye for photography.  I'm going to give him a schedule to go by and meet with him prior to go over examples of shots that I want.  Fortunately for me- I know him very well and I'm 100% willing to express my concerns.  You really have to try and be open and honest with the photographer.  It's you big day! And if you don't like your engagement photos, ask to have them redone.  You should never have you engagement photos done during the day- so if you do a re-shoot, go for later in the day before the sun sets.  And if they refuse to do a reshoot for free, start looking for someone else.
  • A pro would know what time to set up your on location shoot. A pro would know how to pose you, and how to make you comfortable. There are many things that Pros have that a hobbiest won't have or know. If this is the hobbiest's goal - to be a wedding photographer then they should spend some time being a second shooter for an experienced pro - not taking chances with couples one and only day.

    You said they had shown you amazing examples of wedding photography they had taken... There is a great tip on this forum that when deciding to book your photographer look at their portfolio, and then ask to see a complete shoot from beginning to end of one wedding. That will give you a better idea of what the person is actually "capable" of. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Another thing to consider, and I feel I must bring it up, as I've seen it happen. Unscrupulous photographers will buy photos off stock photo and then pass them off as their own portfolio. Or they will just plain steal the images they are using. Most hobbiest's or amateur photographers don't have enough "great" wedding shots to build a wedding portfolio without being a solid second shooter for a while. When you ask to see a full wedding this will eliminate this issue.

    I am flabbergasted that you know the person isn't a pro, and at your first session you felt uncomfortable, and when viewing the finished work are unhappy - but still you are confident you want to stick with this person. How many things have to go wrong or fall in the negative column?

    This photographers opinion:
    Change photographers and do your homework in selecting your new photographer. Best wishes on whatever you do.
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